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My stormy weather food cravings

It has been raining the past few days due to a tropical storm pulling in the monsoon rains here in the Philippines and the wet and gloomy weather is making me reminisce of my childhood days when I was still attending elementary school. I remember eagerly anticipating the announcement from the radio that there will be a suspension of classes for that day due to a storm or flooding in our area (yeah it is a bit strange to wish for flooding but anything for a day off from school huh?). It also brings back memories of my favorite rainy day comfort food.

Chicken arroz caldo with some calamansi and patis (fish sauce) for condiments

I have to say that my favorite among many in this category is chicken arroz caldo. This dish is basically chicken rice porridge with a lot of ginger. It can be cut up bone-in chicken pieces or strips of chicken flesh if just chicken breast meat is used. It is usually served with a boiled egg and garnished with chopped spring onion and crunchy toasted garlic. I like the ginger in big enough cuts so that I would not accidentally bite into one thinking it is a strip of chicken meat (the flavor can be a bit overwhelming). This can already be a meal all to itself especially for breakfast or sometimes eaten as a snack in the afternoon merienda.

Nilagang baka (literally translates to boiled beef) with corn, potatoes, and cabbage.
A close second in my list will be nilagang baka and bulalo (I like to think of these 2 dishes as basically the same thing except that bulalo will use beef shank and part of the fun is in scooping out the bone marrow). I especially like having bulalo whenever we go to Tagaytay Highlands to have a big bowl of steaming bulalo to share with friends and family. The only thing to remember though is to eat it as quick as you can because the cooler temperature will cause the fat in the broth to congeal. Some restaurants will place it in a food warmer so that it will remain steaming throughout the meal. There are variations to this dish from the very simple beef and onions in broth to the ones with more vegetables such as cabbage, corn on the cob, potatoes, and long beans.

Ted's Lapaz batchoy has branches in most big malls in Metro Manila
This list will not be complete if I did not mention my favorite wet weather dishes from my hometown of Iloilo. Having lived in Lapaz, Iloilo when I was a kid, a short walk to the Lapaz Market is where the best Lapaz batchoy is sold. I still crave for Lapaz batchoy from time to time and good thing that one of the bigger Lapaz batchoy chains has branches here in Metro Manila so all it takes is a trip to the nearby mall to enjoy a steaming bowl of Lapaz batchoy (with free broth refill if you so desire).

Pansit molo is a rich and filling dish that you can do at home
Another favorite from my hometown is pansit molo, a dish that my mother has taught me to make (with some refinements taught to me by my brother). We would make a big batch during special occasions and you can even prepare the wonton wrapped meat in advance and plop it in the freezer if you want to make smaller batches. I would often time add strips of chicken breast to the soup and extra strips of shredded wonton wrapper for a richer consistency. Top it off with chopped spring onion and toasted garlic for that extra flavor.

Sinigang na ulo ng isda sa miso
In my opinion, you can never go wrong with sinigang. For me, it is perfect served during wet and gloomy weather and brings cheer when you take a sip of the hot sour broth and pair it with freshly cooked rice. There are many sinigang dishes out there but my top favorites are sinigang na hipon sa sampalok (shrimp in sour tamarind broth), fish head sinigang sa miso (maya-maya or talakitok fish are both great for this), and sinigang na baboy or karne sa batwan (a common souring ingredient popular in Iloilo and Negros provinces). One great thing about sinigang is its versatility. You can do a lot of different variations using different souring ingredients. You can use kamias (Averrhoa bilimbi), sampalok (tamarind), batwan (Garcinia morella), bayabas (guava), santol (Sandoricum koetjape), green mango, miso and even watermelon.

Sinigang na hipon sa sampalok
Some honorable mentions:

Guinisang monggo at kalabasa

Fish congee and dim sum from Hap Chan restaurant

Giniling na karne na may alugbati at kalabasa
Guinataang bilo-bilo is the only dessert in my list (glutinuous rice dessert)
What's your rainy day food cravings?

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