Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fiesta Pinoy: Colourful and Sweet

I noticed a new store – Fiesta Pinoy – at the corner of Clarence and 8th and decided to investigate. Some online research told me that the word “pinoy” is an informal name for Filipino people and the store was full of food from the Philippines as well as products prepared in a Filipino style.

I was surprised to discover a Filipino Style spaghetti sauce. Apparently, Filipinos add sugar to their spaghetti sauce, and it’s often served with sliced hot dogs as well as ground meat.

There were packages of small cakes in every colour of the rainbow, but I was particularly struck by the purple ones. There were also jars of sweet purple yam spread. Purple yam isn’t unique to the Philippines, but I learned (Jun-blog, Stories from my Filipino Kitchen) that Filipinos use it more than anyone else to flavour and colour their sweet treats and breads. Purple is the colour of a one hundred peso bill and making something purple to serve on New Year’s Eve is believed to bring prosperity.

The Pili tree is a hardy rain forest tree that is native to the Philippines. Pili nuts are supposed to have a rich, buttery flavour. They’re high in protein, magnesium, and vitamin E.

The jackfruit is the largest tree-born fruit in the world, weighing up to 80 pounds. Fiesta Pinoy sells cans of green jackfruit, which some people refer to as “vegetable meat” as it has a similar texture once it's cooked. I found recipes for Pulled Jackfruit Tacos, Portland Jackfruit Reubens, Jackfruit “Crab” Cakes, and Raw Vanilla Jackfruit Custard. Researchers say that the jackfruit may replace staple crops threatened by climate change as it’s easy to grow, survives pests, diseases, high temperatures, and drought.

I had never heard of mangosteen pericarp tea, so again I turned to the internet for further information. The pericarp is the rind of the mangosteen, a tropical fruit. It’s been used for medicinal purposes for generations in southeast Asia.

Fiesta Pinoy is owned by Jon Iacsamana who also runs a janitorial service, AMC Enterprises. He told me that his company had recently been hired to do the final clean-up of the new police station.

Fiesta Pinoy is located at 928 A – 8th Street East.

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