These Are The Different Ways We Enjoy Bibingka Around the Philippines

Bibingka has so many versions around the country!

IMAGE David Hanson

Bibingka, a rice cake usually eaten during the holiday season, is almost always a part of the Pinoy Christmas season. Whether you get it from the roadside stalls after Misa de Gallo or Simbang gabi, or order it from your favorite resto serving it, bibingka has a longer history than you imagined. 

Did you know that Filipinos have enjoyed bibingka since 1751, and there is historical proof of this? Back then as it is now, "bibinca" was eaten for breakfast, usually coupled with cocoa. While this is no different from how we enjoy it now, there is more to it than just that because there are many different varieties of bibingka and not all of them are the same. 

Here are five kinds of bibingka you can find around the country:

These rice flour cakes are topped with salted egg quarters and baked between banana leaves before being slathered with butter and grated cheese.
Photo by Majoy Siason
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1 Bibingka Galapong

Perhaps the most popular of all bibingka variations out there, this is also the one most widely available. Traditionally, it's only made of rice flour and water but can also be made "special" or "royal" with the addition of toppings: cheese, butter, coconut, muscovado, and salted egg. It's spongy, slightly sweet, and infused with the delicious, smoky, fresh flavor of charred banana leaves.

This is the bibingka you'll also usually get at mainstream restaurants and mall kiosks and while mall kiosks have ditched the traditional clay-pot stove due to safety, if you love bibingka, we're certain you don't just want to enjoy it once a year.

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2 Bibingka Malagkit 

This version is a combination of rice, glutinous rice, and coconut milk, and then topped with coconut cream that's been cooked until its solids have a caramelized into latik. Some people call it biko. Bibingka, whose rough English translation is "rice cake" includes this sticky sweet kakanin.

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Photo by David Hanson
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3 Balasan-Style Bibingka

Ilonggo bibingka is very different from bibingka galapong. Appearing white with a very toasty top, this bibingka is also flatter and sweeter. It's not airy, and instead is dense and rich with thick strips of young coconut. It's usually only peddled at the plaza outside churches during Christmas time.

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4 Bibingkang Kamoteng Kahoy

Apparently, not all bibingka is made out of rice flour! This one is made of cassava flour or grated cassava, and it can be firm or soft but is almost always topped with a concoction of milk and grated cheese. It's also more commonly known as cassava cake.

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5 Bibingkoy

Found solely in Cavite, bibingkoy is a rendition that's hard-to-find but totally worth the effort. Chewy like buchi and sauced with ginataan-it's bibingka like you've never had before. If you're going to Cavite, this is one food find you wouldn't want to miss.

Whatever shape or form bibingka has taken, we've all made it a point to tie this good food with good memories. So much of a Filipino Christmas is about the food we enjoy: the memory of warm bibingka, puto bumbong, and tablea not only tempts our stomach but also fills our hearts. With the cold Christmas mornings afoot, it's time for your hometown's delicious version of bibingka to form hearths in our hearts.

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