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Binatog

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One of the most iconic Filipino street dishes and perhaps one of the sweetest memories of every grown-up Filipino, binatog is a corn dessert served with coconut and salt or sugar as a topping. 

This dish is prepared by soaking the mature, waxy kernels in salt water until they’re puffed up. Then, they’re washed and boiled in water or coconut milk until soft. Afterward, the corn is put in a bowl and added with toppings of choice. 

The dish is a staple in the northern Philippines and is a must-have part of every merienda. It’s also commonly sold on the streets by sellers who are locally known as “magbibinatog.” These people are cycle riders who carry large tin cans, a bell, and sometimes even a sidecar to store their ingredients in.

That’s quite a unique way of selling, but what’s even more interesting is the vendor shouting at the top of their lungs, which lets the children and adults know they’re here. That’s why many Filipinos keep this dish so close to their hearts; it has such personality! 

Though a sweet-salty dish in its authentic form, binatog can be adjusted as per your liking by adding different toppings. For me, it’d be coconut milk. I mean, nothing beats the creamy taste of gata. ;)

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Origin

Due to the very limited history available about the dish, there’s not much known about the exact origin of binatog, except that it’s from the Philippines. Still, according to the limited data, it’s is safe to assume that the dish likely originated from the northern parts of the Philippines, where corn is abundant, especially in Luzon. 

Another assumption about the origin of binatog is that it might’ve been brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards in the colonization era. This is also supported by the fact that the nixtamalization process (which includes soaking and cooking kernels in lime water solution_ originates from Spain.

However, the main reason for this process was to make the corn easy to grind. So to say that the dish originates from Spain because they just introduced the specific process to the Philippines would be a complete underestimation of Filipino creative genius when it comes to food. 

In other words, we could say that the basic idea and ingredient came from Spain, while the dish was truly invented in the Northern Philippines, which makes it an authentic Filipino recipe. 

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.