Saturday, August 23, 2008
Pan de Ube and Special Pandesal
My brother was probably too young to remember this, but when we were children on a family trip to the Philippines, we stayed at my lolo and lola's house in Tondo, Manila - a veritable "hood" of rascally characters, hooligans, rough kids and the like. Our father grew up in Tondo, around an area known as Triangulo, which is considered to be the world's most densely populated district.
While we were shielded from any of the rough life existing outside the family compound, a small bakery sat on the property and every morning the smell of fresh Pandesal would emanate from the small concrete bakery. It was this flavor of freshly baked pandesal and butter that would forever tie me to happy memories visiting Tondo, always reserving a special place in my heart for this simple bread of the people.
That's why I found it so exciting to be in Cerritos today visiting Valerio's Bakery. It's chock filled with good memories - even though I've never eaten any of their breads. Coming from a culturally void place like Baltimore, it's nearly shocking to see entire towns filled with ethnic communities, restaurants and bakeries, like you find here in Southern California. Looking for serious Japanese? No problem. Hawaiian? Got it. Korean? Of course. Filipino? You bet you're ass.
Pan de Siosa
And when it comes to Filipino bakeries, SoCal has them in spades. Whether it's Pandesal or kutsinta or otap or bibingka there's a place somewhere here that you can buy it baked fresh today. It's lovely.
If only I lived here, pops to mind. Not because I'd really like to live in SoCal, but rather because it would be nice to have this available at any time I desired. Like Polly, I could stock up on breads and have them for breakfast all week long. Suddenly, visions of hot pandesal slathered in butter are dancing in my head. I must have some now!
I better get outta here before it's too late!
Valerio's City Bakery
17210 Norwalk Boulevard
Cerritos, CA 90701