Any Filipino parent worth their fish sauce will point you to Phil-Am Mart, where lines form on the weekends of people stocking up on pantry items that reflect the Philippines long history of colonization: canned Spam and Vienna sausages, Lady’s Choice mayonnaise and tuna spread, instant noodles and soup mixes. The frozen section hides imported and hard-to-find kakanins - from suman sa ibus (suman steamed in palm leaves) to tupig (a grilled rice cake). Head to the back to find their array of homemade kakanins sitting aside their house-cured sausages and other meats. They have kutsinta, pitsi-pitsi, and sapin-sapin, which all use different ingredients but have the same smooth chewiness of mochi. Kutsinta uses rice flour and brown sugar while pitsi-pitsi has cassava as its main ingredient. Our favorite though is the sapin-sapin, which has an eye-catching tri-color of layered glutinous rice. Also, make sure to add a few rolls of the tableas de cacao hidden behind the cashiers to your basket for making thick Filipino hot chocolate at home before you head out.
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Renee’s Kitchenette & Grille
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