Inside a Filipino Panaderia: the 7 Most Popular Breads

Pandesal, Pan De Coco, Monay, Ensaymada, Kababayan and Other Filipino Breads

While rice may still be the top breakfast item in the rural Philippines, in the urban centers where the pace of life is faster, bread is the number one go-to breakfast. There is a panaderia (bakery) on almost every street corner, most are open before the crack of dawn and later into the night, and bread is baked fresh daily.

  • 01 of 07

    Pandesal

    Pandesal
    © Connie Veneracion

    Taking the top spot is pandesal. A descendant of the Spanish pan de sal which literally translates to the bread of salt, Filipino pandesal is lightly sweet rather than salty. These soft buns are rolled in fine bread crumbs before baking giving it a distinct texture.

    Because of its light sweetness, pandesal can be eaten by itself. One popular way of eating pandesal for breakfast is to tear a  piece and dunk it in a hot cup of coffee. Those who want something more substantial pair pandesal with...MORE fried egg, meat, cheese, butter, jam or all of them.

  • 02 of 07

    Ensaymada

    Filipino Ensaymada, Flickr CC 2.0

    Another Spanish legacy, the Filipino ensaymada is the local adaptation of the Mallorcan ensaimada, both characterized by their distinctive coiled shape. This sweet and airy bread is made with a generous amount of eggs and, after baking, the top is brushed with softened butter, sprinkled with sugar and finished off with grated cheese.

    Note, however, that ensaymada has a panaderia version and an upscale version. The ensaymada from the panaderia are often brushed with margarine rather than the more...MORE expensive butter. Often, the grated cheese is absent.

    In some Latin American countries, the bread is known as mallorca or pan de mallorca.

  • 03 of 07

    Pan De Coco

    Pan De Coco, Flickr CC 2.0

    Although the name is Spanish, there are no authoritative sources to conclude that the Filipino pan de coco is Spanish in origin.

    Pan de coco is a sweet bun with a sticky filling made with a mixture of grated fresh coconut meat and molasses or brown sugar.

  • 04 of 07

    Monay

    By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

    Descended from the Spanish pan de monja ​(nun's bread), the Filipino monay is a heavy and dense bun characterized by its twin cheeks. Made from the basic monay dough are variants such as putok (literally, explode), a bun with a cracked top and pagong (literally, a turtle) which is shaped like a turtle.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Spanish Bread

    Spanish Bread, Flickr CC 2.0

    A variant of the pandesal, Spanish bread is also rolled in bread crumbs prior to baking. It has a sweet filling made from a mixture of bread crumbs, sugar and butter.

  • 06 of 07

    Kababayan

    Filipino muffin, Flickr CC 2.0

     Kababayan means compatriot. The kababayan bread (sometimes called Filipino muffin) is a small, dense and chewy sweet bread shaped like a gong. Traditionally, kababayan is a bright yellow in color. Nowadays, the distinctive color and chewiness are no longer required to classify a bread as ​kababayan.

  • 07 of 07

    Tasty

    A woman baker working in a commercial kitchen
    Billy Hustace / Getty Images

    The Filipino tasty bread is simply a sliced loaf or sandwich bread. There is no well-documented reason as to how the loaf bread came to be known as tasty but a netizen offers the following explanation.

    I believe there was a brand of sliced bread called Taystee. It must have been a popular brand that soon people started referring to sliced bread as "tasty" from "Taystee".

    It's sort of like how some people say "Xerox copy" instead of "photo copy" (since Xerox is...MORE the dominant photocopier brand) or "rollerblading" as opposed to "in-line skating" (because Rollerblade was the most popular brand of in-line skates).