As the holiday season approaches, the number of the sales of the famous Filipino rice cake called “Bibingka” increases. After the Simbang Gabi, people will go directly to the vendors outside the church to buy and eat Bibingka. Christmas won’t be complete without the presence of the Bibingka vendors.
In Cebu, Mandaue City is well known to be the source of the best Bibingka with its traditional way of cooking it in “inurno” style and unique ingredients of Tuba (a beverage made from Palm sap). Nowadays, Tuba is being substituted with yeast.
Last Friday, November 18, 2011, the SM Hypermarket in Mandaue City organized the Supersized Cook Off Challenge. The event aims to showcase a record breaking Filipino Cuisine. The organizer chose Bibingka Cooking Challenge as the main activity of the event.
In my own calculation, more or less there were 18 groups participated in the contest. Each group showcased a unique version of Bibingka sa Mandaue. There were different versions of Bibingka on that day, in varied shapes and colors. Some cooked their Bibingka by adding artificial colors. For instance, Yela group made two versions of Bibingka, in pink and purple colors; while others stick to the traditional color of white with overcooked coconut caramel on top of the Bibingka.
It’s not just your usual cooking challenge because of the high-caliber pool of judges. The winners were selected by judges Chef Paolo Sia, together with Mr. Lee and Louella Cabanero, the current head of the Department of Tourism for the city of Mandaue. Let’s not forget that the main organizer is SM Hypermarket that makes it an extraordinary cooking challenge. Furthermore, winning groups can win Php 25,000 worth of gift certificates and Php 1000 worth of grocery bags for non-winning groups.
After the thorough deliberation and tasting, the Alang-Alang group bested among the 18 groups in the competition. Alang-Alang got an average score of 93.33% which made them grabbed the title “Best Tasting Bibingka”. On the other hand, the title “Largest Bibingka Serving” was given to Mandauehon group for cooking and serving 391 pieces of Bibingkas.