Manila, PHILIPPINES – There are countless “specialty” western confectionery products. These cutely presented eats usually satisfy the sweet tooth of any Filipino, but they also contain copious amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, synthetic flavors, and unhealthy shortenings. If only there was a pastry that was delicious, aesthetically pleasing, and, most importantly, devoid of those artificial ingredients.
The “B” in Bibingka-esk is for “Better”
Eileen Formanes, Founder/Head Baker of New York City’s Bibingka-esk, brings her healthy treat to her home country with one thought in mind:” I want to share my creation to the folks in the Philippines. Some of my customers in the US have commented that there were too many cupcakes all over the place and my desserts are just the kind of unique delicacies they needed to taste—the variety I also want my home folk to taste. “ Having worked in Human Resources for two decades in corporate America (achieving Vice President positions in several firms) Eileen decided to follow her passion for baking and the change would allow her to spend more time with her family in early 2013.
Filipino food in New York City seemed to always take a back seat in Asian cuisine. Filipino desserts were practically unknown. She wanted to raise the profile for Filipino food by creating her own rendition of the bibingka.” Growing up, I remember enjoying bibingka during Christmas and I knew I wanted to share that experience with the folks here in NY, “she said.
Eileen’s bibingkas were first served to customers in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The uniquely-flavored, bibingkas Eileen created immediately took New York City’s food fairs by storm, eventually gaining the trust of even the pickiest eaters with her assurance that her bibingkas are gluten-free and are baked with the freshest ingredients.” I incorporated different flavors to the bibingka and it stuck. I mean, have you ever had a Peanut Butter with Chocolate Chip Bibingka? Or Too Much Chocolate? Offering a different spin on this and the fact that it’s gluten-free makes it appealing. “
Coming home, Eileen hopes to share her success in New York by giving Pinoys a taste of her specialty bibingkas.” I am very proud of my Filipino heritage and I want my fellow Pinoys to know that even though I am on the other side of the world, I am Filipino first before anything else. I have always said that I want the Bibingka to be the next chocolate chip cookie, “she smiles.
For many generations, the bibingka has been synonymous with Filipinos, both here and abroad, with celebrating the holidays. And, for one Filipina raised in New York City, it was this fond memory that was the basis for her own spin on a classic.