AS FILIPINO Food Month was celebrated in April, one traditional dish made in Caloocan went viral on social media — ube champorado.
Angelique & John Merienda is a small business selling a variety of traditional snack food including maja blanca, sopas, ginatang mais, palabok (a coconut milk dessert, a milky macaroni soup, corn porridge in coconut milk, and a noodle dish) and its bestselling champorado (sweet rice porridge) which comes in two flavors: Hershey’s chocolate and ube (purple yam).
Champorado is traditionally chocolate flavored, but because of stiff competition from a nearby neighbor, the couple developed the ube flavored variant which became a viral hit after a video was posted by a vlogger on YouTube. That was when customers started to line up for the champorado.
Preparation and cooking is not easy — they start at 5 a.m. in order to start serving the treat at 2 p.m. People start lining up at noon.
Champorado is one of the many dishes that was indigenized during the Spanish colonial era. The galleon trade brought over champurrado — a Mexican chocolate beverage made with corn flour — which was adapted into a more substantial glutinous rice porridge in the Philippines. It is still chocolate flavored, but gets a savory kick by being paired with tuyo (salty dried fish).
Angelique & John Merienda can be found at Barangay 28, Landaska Block 2, near Dagat-Dagatan Ave. South, Caloocan City. — pia-ncr