“Pan De Sal” is comfort food to all Pinoys. When I was still living in Vancouver, I would ask my dad whenever he would visit to bring me a hundred pan de sal from the Lipa Bakery in Batangas. I would keep them in my freezer and enjoy them one by one during my pan de sal “attacks.”
(Every time I like something, I investigate how it’s made, and so I’ve learned that in pan de sal, pork oil is, sorry to say, involved—but yummy!)
There are a few other Pinoy breads I crave.
I love the oily and salty bonete of Lipa, the anise-scented bread roll and biscocho of Pasuquin Bakery in Ilocos Norte.
Once, my friend and I were driving for hours and were starved. We chanced upon Pasuquin Bakery and stopped to satisfy our yearning. We ordered a few freshly baked breads, Star Margarine and a can of Vienna sausage.
With the carbonated soft drinks full of sugar making us burp and our eyes water, we hummed our way to satisfaction.
Those moments are impossible to replicate. The ones that make you hum in satisfaction. Even a simple pan de coco works for me.
When I used to go to CCF in Sucat, right after service, we would drop by a grocery selling freshly electric oven-baked pan de sal. This version was heavy and quite filling. We were there after every service.
I get drawn to any sign that says “hot pan de sal.”
Each of us has our own favorite filling. I love that warm pan de sal with quisio or quesong puti from Samar, or the banana leaf-wrapped queso from Bulacan. Slightly browned in butter—it’s heaven!
Just last week, I was at a dinner of good friend Monch Cruz. In between bites of delicious Crispy Pata sprinkled with crunchy garlic of Kuyas at the Fort, I met a few of his friends and talked about many things. But one of the unusual things that happened that night, apart from the courageous singing of Monch, was, one of his guests gave me a brown bag of pan de sal. Hmmmm!
While watching my Cavs lose to the Golden State Warriors a few days after, my son’s breakfast was brought in. It was a simple toasted pan de sal with fried Spam. I was told it was “that” pan de sal I brought home the other night. Since he was still asleep, I grabbed one.
At the time-out of the game, I was asking for my own, with Turkey Spam this time.
That pan de sal I got a few days before was delicious. It was quite heavy, full and perfectly flavored. It was quite big and had a nice crust. It also looked different.
My first thought was to share my discovery with readers.
I called the owner and learned a few more things about the history of this Pinoy classic.
The bakery that makes this opened in 1939 and continues to use pugon to bake the pan de sal. Interesting. No wonder it was different. You have to check them out!
I really must get a larger freezer for my midnight snacks. Wooden Spoon Siopao (try our version), Crazy Chefs Balbacua, Felicia’s Ensaymadas, Corn Dogs, Pizza Pockets and now my new entry, Kamuning Bakery Café. I “micro” it for 15 seconds then toast. Happy eating!
Kamuning Bakery Café is on Judge Jimenez Street, K-1 Street, Quezon City, near Caltex on Kamuning Road. It has other breads such as pan de suelo, pan de coco, etc. All baked the old-fashioned way. Call tel. 0917-8481818.