Everyone knows that in the Philippines, food abundance is king. In December, we celebrate a very special feast on the eve of the New Year. In “Bisperas” — as Filipinos would call it — we ready ourselves for another gastronomic journey to the special event called Media Noche. The Media Noche (“midnight” in Spanish) is an annual celebration where we celebrate the coming of the New Year, and with our popular Filipino belief, we grace again our table with an army of gourmet dishes to bring in good luck and prosperity.
We give you 10 unique dishes that will, by belief, give you an abundance of blessings for the coming year.
Puto and tikoy are two of the many dishes that help us usher in the New Year. The rice cakes, along with their sweet and sticky flavor, are a symbol of harmonious relationships and warm closeness of family members. Filipinos also believe that they will make good fortune “stick” all year round.
Also known as the Filipino tempura, the Camaron Rebosado is a great substitute for chicken. Chicken is not used in New Year fiestas because of this belief “one scratch, one peck” as to prevent a hand-to-mouth reality. With this in mind, seafood is a great replacement as it is believed to bring good luck.
Well, aside from being extremely healthy, green food like collards, cabbage, and many more resemble (you guessed it) money. The color is in itself a perfect symbol of monetary gains. Families place these veggies on the table in order to keep the money pouring for the coming year. It is also believed to give consistency in property and businesses.
Fruits of any kind are considered good fortune — especially when they are ripe and as fresh as they can be. Families make sure they don’t end up bad or sour. The belief is that, when the fruit taste bad then the next year will turn out terrible. Better make sure all your fruits are perfectly ripe and just in time for Media Noche!
This powerhouse serving goes all out because grains are not served in a single portion. Grains, because of their large serving quantities, are believed to bring in a large amount of blessings for Filipinos. They are usually placed in bowls and filled to the brim to show how abundant they can be. The more they are, the more the blessings.
Roasted, deep fried, grilled or stewed, this is definitely a dish to look forward to for the coming year. Pork, aside from its mouthwatering aroma and undoubtedly superb taste, is a symbol of progress for the coming year. The pork is the direct opposite of chicken in this sense. Also, you can’t deny how beautiful your table setup is when there is wafting roasted pork on the center.
Packed with Omega-3 goodness to prevent various diseases, fish is a great addition to Media Noche. Fish balances out all the fatty attributes of pork and beef and this leads to the belief that by having fish on the table, balance and prosperity will follow. If you are feeling extra generous, whipping up a mean Red Herring is a must-have addition, but you can always stick to our local bangus or tilapia.
This sweet delicacy is always thoroughly enjoyed during dessert. However, it must be noted that this festive dessert must be round in shape as it is a symbol of the cycle of the year. With the cake, the cycle of the year will be good and blessings will follow.
Because of their long shape, they are believed to produce long life in Filipinos. Noodles are usually cooked in deliciously made broths whilst being mixed in with beef or pork. It must be noted that noodle strands must not be broken as to prevent bad luck. Be ready for some slurping action in your Media Noche.
Lentils can be added to many dishes or it can stand on its own. Lentils are a symbol for coins so it is always a welcome addition to the abundance of money one can get in the coming year.
If you thought your stomach had enough of the Noche Buena vibe, then better be ready for some more gastronomic adventure as you welcome the New Year (we’re Filipino that way). You can customize your own setup for the Media Noche, with every belief different with each family. The important thing is that such gatherings bring about the holiday joy. Excited for the coming year? Then better whip up some mean dishes because Lady Luck will be watching out for you!