Wil je een toetje?
For starters, “toetje” (pronounced as tuh-ye) means “dessert” in Dutch. It’s that “something sweet” after dinner that ranges from vla with hagelslag, ice cream, kwark and more. All Dutch people I know, make sure they have toetje after dinner. It’s new to me because Filipinos do not usually have dessert after dinner. Especially not ice cream, which we usually only buy during birthdays or other special days. It is considered a luxury in the Philippines.
My boyfriend says that there is no need to have dessert in the Philippines because everything is so sweet. I do not know exactly which sweet food he has tasted that made him think this because he had Adobo, Afritada, Caldereta, Pancit Canton, ChopSuey and the likes but I don’t think that these are sweet stuff. Or maybe, my Filipino tongue is so used to sweet stuff that it’s ordinary to me.
Oh wait, I do remember. Our spaghetti is sweet. We even came up with our own Filipino Style spaghetti sauce. It is also how the Jollibee and McDonald’s spaghetti taste — in their Philippine branches. And we do have our own local desserts — sapin-sapin, puto bumbong, kutsinta — which are all sticky and sweet. And if our rice cake is not so sweet, we dip it in sugar to get that perfect taste.
Our breads are also, more often than not, sweet. PanDeSal is sweet and so is the Ensaymada. The Kabayan is also sweet and so is the Pianono. In the cakes division, we have a wide range — all shapes and sizes. One of the most popular small cakes is the Polvoron, the Goldilocks Polvoron.
Also, one of the most favorite pasttime food of the Filipino (summer or not), is the Halo-halo — a combination of sweet fruits, jell-o and ice that becomes even sweeter and more tasty when you jam the ice into the bottom filled with 12 different ingredients. Yummmmyyyy!
When the halo-halo is not available, we have my all-time favorite, Sago at Gulaman. A drink combined with gelatin and ice and brown sugar.
Come to think of it, Filipinos do have a sweet palate. I will no longer debate with my boyfriend about that. But as the saying goes, “we are what we eat”. Maybe that’s why the Filipinos are also naturally sweet.