Native Sweets

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Despite four centuries of daily exposure to Western culinary habits and preferences, Filipinos stay true to preserving what was theirs. Native sweets have endured, but they are primarily eaten for breakfast or merienda (snacks in between meals). The majority of these sweets are referred to as kakanin, from the Tagalog word kanin, which means “cooked rice.” Although kakanin are mostly rice based, using both regular and glutinous varieties, other sources of starch include roots, tubers (cassava or ube [purple yam]), grains like corn and millet, saba (cooking banana) and vegetables like kalabasa, a type of squash.