Filipinos love Noche Buena and the many fab food associated with the celebration. There’s always ham, queso de bola, roast beef, and even lechon to look forward to at this feast. But with prices on the rise, deciding what stays on the holiday menu can get challenging.
Sure, you might need to penny-pinch a bit this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious spread. Check out these tipid tips that honor Noche Buena traditions without going over your spending limit.
1. Skip the (Pricey) Christmas Ham
It’s no secret that cured, Chinese-style, or festive hams do not come cheap. In their place, go for a budget-friendly pear-shaped or brick version. Dress it up the same way as a classic whole ham – pour over a glaze and top it with fruit slices. Other tasty options are meaty embutido and a chicken or pork hamonado dish. Same taste and satisfaction, but less expense!
2. Replace the Protein in Spaghetti
Classic Pinoy-style spaghetti uses ground beef. An excellent way to cut costs is to swap it for ground pork, mushrooms, or even more hot dogs. Or why not make it with a can of corned beef? It’s economical and convenient. Plus, it lends that familiar beefy linamnam taste to your spaghetti sauce. Make it chunkier with diced carrots, celery, or chickpeas.
3.Bring Pospas to the Party
Pospas is a classic pre-Noche Buena food you can serve while waiting for midnight. Loaded with rice grains and whole chicken pieces, this Visayan arroz caldo is a terrific low-cost belly filler. You can make it using cheaper cuts, like wings and tails, then add a Knorr Chicken Cube to amp the umami. Serve with a selection of toppings, including red eggs, chiciharon, tofu, fried garlic, and green onions.
4. Utilize Offal to Make a Stew
Saucy stews, like beef caldereta, and pork mechado, are mainstays of Christmas menus. But most meat cuts they use fetch a high price come mid-December. If you want to stretch your peso, why not try cooking hearty callos this year? This Spanish dish utilizes affordable, tasty tripe that fits even the tightest grocery budgets.
5. Use Fish in Lumpia
What’s a party without everyone’s fave lumpiang shanghai? But skip the usual meaty filling and turn to shredded fish instead. You need to plan your Christmas Noche Buena food list to include healthier or meatless options, so these fried tinapa rolls a re a fantastic choice. Serve them with spiced vinegar or a sweet and sour dipping sauce with crushed pineapples.
6. Make Cathedral Window Gelatin
Need a dessert center piece that’s still within budget? Consider making an eye-catching cathedral window gelatin! This stovetop dessert is incredibly fun, affordable, and effortless to prep. Mix and match flavors and colors according to your guests' preferences. Or you can also mold it into cups to maximize and control portion sizes.
7. Serve a Native Cake
Did you know that you only need four ingredients to make Filipino rice cakes? That’s why biko is always a viable menu option for Christmas feasts. When you decide to cook the native delicacy at home, you get to flavor it as you choose. Chocolate, ube, and buko pandan are variations worth considering.
8. Go Bananas With an Everyday Ingredient
Some seasonal fruits, including mangoes, can be overpriced around the holidays. So, if you’re planning to make a graham float, go for a readily available ingredient, like bananas. Thinly slice the fruit and alternately layer it with graham crackers and sweetened cream. Finish with cocoa powder or chocolate sauce, then chill until ready to serve.
Don't let the rising prices of goods dampen your Noche Buena. Follow these simple tips to help you budget funds wisely while still serving your fam a fab feast.