2020 wasn’t just the year of the ube pan de sal
Christmas is over and I can’t believe it’s the end of 2020.
This year has been very unreal. It was like living in a parallel world with a different set of habits and norms. This weird world where you have to disinfect everything before letting them enter your house, where you can’t be within arms reach of anyone, where the mere act of stepping out of your house is considered a risk to your life.
Nevertheless, resilient as we are, we got through it all. And some in the food world even thrived.
Here are a few standout moments in food in the year 2020:
1. Dalgona coffee
The first star of the lockdown. This is essentially instant coffee, sugar and hot water that is whisked until it reaches creamy, velvety and stiff peak status then dolloped onto your choice of cold or warm milk.
This became a huge craze when the quarantine started and everyone started falling in love with Korean culture, K-dramas and K-pop. I’m an espresso enthusiast so I’m happy this trend is over.
2. Ube pan de sal
During the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), it seemed like there were so many selling ube pandesal. This is a slightly bigger version of pandesal, almost like a bun with the texture of pandesal and with an ube halaya filling. Sometimes there is also cheese. This was a hit and miss. Some were incredibly addicted to it while others could not stand the trend.
A hobby that many got into was making sourdough bread. People were even naming their starters. Success in making your own sourdough bread was instant bragging rights. Of course we will never know if their sourdough bread was any good; we would just have to take those claiming to have made excellent sourdough for their word … and Instagram pics.
4. Upgraded kakanin (rice cakes)
For some reason, even high society started making their own versions and selling kakanin. They would then put this in a fancy package and sell. From palitaw to cassava to bibingka, never has the market been so alive with fancy rice cakes. Kakanin … but make it fashion.
5. Food groups
One good thing that came out of lockdown were all these food groups on Viber and Facebook. Delivery has never been more fun. The virtual marketplace was very much alive with so many new choices.
It was fun interacting with the owners themselves as you placed your order. We discovered so many more options rather than if it were “normal” times and we would have to find them in their mall stalls or restaurants.
6. DIY boxes
Whoever thought that we would be able to enjoy ramen at home through a do-it-yourself kit? And there is no limit to our creativity. DIY kits from ramen to burgers to cocktails brought delight to many stuck at home.
7. Zoom parties
I was late to the party because I was hesitant to download Zoom until I could not avoid it anymore. It turned out, it was really fun.
Themed Zoom parties are the best where you send everyone food and wine that you all eat and enjoy at the same time. You can even do Zoom karaoke and Zoom games. I have even seen friends attend Zoom weddings. I also attended a few cooking classes as well as wine classes where we were all sent sampler bottles to experience. The best part? You can literally drink until you drop and not have to worry about driving home.
8. Market deliveries
Although I do miss the fun of physically going to a grocery store and choosing items off the shelves, I have to admit the convenience of shopping online and having everything delivered to you has been most welcome. No need to stand in line to pay; no need to worry about parking; no need to worry about carrying a ton of grocery bags. This was a most welcome development.
9. Produce deliveries
This was another blessing: to be able to get right at your doorstep vegetables from Baguio, seafood from Palawan, imported meat from distributors. I especially loved how advocacies to help farmers came alive with the likes of Cordillera Landing on You, helping farmers in Cordillera, and the like.
10. Food for front-liners
The bayanihan spirit has never been stronger in our country. From restaurants coming together to produce food packs for our front-liners to celebrities cooking food for depressed communities affected by the lockdown to everyone coming together for those affected by the typhoons.
If there is one thing our people can be proud of, it is that compassion reigns supreme and it translates to action. We are the people who, even when we have nothing more to give, will still find a way to help.
Despite the challenges of 2020, Filipinos can be proud. We found ways to lift our spirits in spite of isolation. Singers, doctors, lawyers all found out that they have the capability to become food entrepreneurs. Best of all, we made sure that we helped each other out, feeding not only ourselves, but also others, especially those who needed it the most.
Congratulations to YOU, for turning the trials of 2020 into blessings. May you be blessed even more abundantly in 2021. Happy New Year! INQ
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