No Filipino birthday is complete without the ubiquitous spaghetti—next to pancit, of course, for longevity. Our version of this pasta dish, however, is different from the usual sour tomato-based Italian one: it is sweet, sometimes overwhelmingly so but that’s what makes it unique—that and heaps of melty cheese and hotdog.
It’s something we sorely miss, too with mass gatherings on hold, birthdays are typically spent now with family and friends. So no, we can’t “balot” spaghetti to go from our friends’ birthday parties.[READ: Relive the glory days of spaghetti with hotdog and marshmallow]
But here’s the thing: You can make it—err, try to replicate it at home by asking your nanay or tita over video call. Or if you’re not one to cook, you can always opt to call for delivery from Jollibee or Amber (not Amber’s).
Nothing beats these classic restaurants but hear us out when we say we might have found their worthy rival in the form of Sarsá Kitchen’s 14-inch Pinoy spaghetti bilao.
According to chef JP Anglo, it took them four attempts to perfect this recipe. See? I told you it’s not easy to replicate this. It took a CHEF FOUR ATTEMPTS. Moms and tiyas are the best although they are very secretive with recipes of their specialties.
You will understand why it took Anglo that many attempts when you finally see the final product, which I can only describe using the Filipino expression “siksik, liglig at nag-uumapaw” because it really is overflowing!
Instead of settling with store-bought tomato sauce, this recipe uses grilled tomatoes so there’s an added dimension of smokiness to add depth. The usual ground pork or beef won’t cut it either, it has to be Tuguegarao longganisa, one of the most popular de recado types in the country, which adds a nice tang with its garlicky flavor.
And to top it off, there’s the melty kesong puti, which is relatively milder than aged cheese like parmesan but nonetheless comparable to the creaminess of the soft cheeses usually grated over a plate of this Pinoy favorite.
This bilao is the newest addition to Sarsá’s menu and is available for takeout starting today. Just hit them up at Viber 0917-5280115. And nope, there doesn’t have to be a party for you to order—not that they check.
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Writer: CHRISTIAN SAN JOSE
ART JOEY SIMBULAN