By KC Santos
STA.CRUZ, LAGUNA – The binatog - steamed corn kernels mixed with shredded coconut and a dash of salt – continues to be a favorite meryenda for many Filipinos.
In the early morning and early afternoon, most Filipinos would eagerly wait for the binatog vendor and the familiar cow bell that the vendor uses.
The vendor rides usually rides around on a bicycle to carry two steel containers where the binatog is kept.
Unfortunately, not everyone can have a taste of this simple treat because not all city streets are accessible to binatog vendors.
I am fortunate to be living in an area in Taguig where binatog vendors often pass by. I am not familiar with this treat, as I only moved to Manila about four years ago.
At first, binatog was a rather simple and “boring” snack since it didn’t really have anything special on it. However, all my reservations disappeared when I finally got to taste it. It was, in fact, love at first scoop.
There is something unique about eating a simple snack that has interesting texture. Most would like to use salt for flavor, but adding a teaspoonful of sugar gives the binatog a harmonious blend of salt and sweet flavors. I would describe the taste or texture as the closest thing to “linamnam”.
I have never been served binatog on a cone made from banana leaves. I always have a cup or a bowl ready so that the vendor just had to ask how much I wanted.
Marketman of MarketManila wrote about how Baguio residents often feel a sense of warmth from the steaming binatog especially in the early morning.
The binatog knows no boundaries, according to Leica of Lefang Lekwatsa. From the slums and outskirts of the city, to villages like the one she resides in, the passing by of the binatog vendor is always highly anticipated.
For most Filipinos working abroad, the binatog reminds them of their childhood days. For those who wish to whip up their alternative to the binatog, this post and video by Vanjo Merano of Panlasang Pinoy might come in handy.
For those who haven’t tried the binatog, it’s time you give this traditional Filipino snack a try. I assure you, you will not be disappointed.
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