Considering the sky-high prices of literally everything right now in the Philippines, it’s a challenge to plan when buying ingredients for your Noche Buena.
To help you out, we have come up with a list of affordable menu items to serve at your family’s Christmas dinner.
While the Filipino Noche Buena typically features the famous lechon (roasted suckling pig), it may be too expensive to serve one at this time.
Thus, why not opt for a whole lechon manok (spit-roasted chicken) instead? It is just as tasty as the classic lechon.
What’s more, a lechon manok is more affordable with its ₱200-₱300 price point.
Pair it with: Rice! (It goes without saying.)
For a more sumptuous meal, serve it with juice or soft drinks, but remember to drink moderately,
Ah, the quintessential Filipino Noche Buena handa.
It’s also quick and hassle-free to prepare. All you need to do is whip out and defrost your block of ham from the fridge or freezer. Then you can fry it in some vegetable oil afterward.
Oftentimes, you might not even need to purchase ham anymore as it is part of most companies’ Christmas baskets.
Still, other cheaper alternatives to the holiday ham are luncheon meat or canned meatloaf.
Pair it with: A good piece of ham goes well with sliced bread ( toasted or not) and cheese.
While you can seldom see fish as one of the main dishes during a Pinoy Noche Buena, it shouldn’t be too uncommon.
Besides, fish is a healthier and more affordable option for pork, beef, or chicken.
Currently, a whole bangus (milkfish) costs around ₱200. You can prepare it by grilling it straightaway or stuffing it with vegetables and spices (rellenong bangus) prior.
Pair it with: Again, bangus goes well with rice (as the main dish). It also goes well with a vegetable salad.
Filipino-Style Sweet Spaghetti
Birthdays are not the only celebrations that should be graced by Filipino spaghetti. Compared to the traditional Italian dish, Filipino spaghetti is unique because it is sweeter.
Cheddar cheese (Kraft Eden cheese costs around ₱150 to ₱200) and hotdogs (the classic 1-kilogram Tender Juicy hotdogs are priced at ₱207) are also added to Filipino spaghetti for added volume and flavor.
Pair it with: Again, a slice of bread is a great partner for Filipino sweet-style spaghetti. It’s a staple at this point.
Of course, this type of pasta is also good enough to eat on its own.
Moving on to the desserts, one of the first food items to come to mind is the “fruit salad.” But why not elevate it by adding elbow macaroni?
As Filipinos have a penchant for sweet things, it’s no surprise that they have created a sweet macaroni salad as well.
Some of the ingredients include a can of fruit cocktail (₱100-₱250, depending on the size you get), heavy whipping cream (around ₱90 for 300 grams), condensed milk (around ₱50 for 300 mL), and mayonnaise (₱110 for a 220 mL pouch).
Pair it with: Macaroni salad is the perfect dessert to follow your main course. Really, it goes well with anything.
However, if the macaroni salad is not your thing” you can opt to have buko pandan instead.
It only takes five ingredients or less to make this dessert. All you need are a pack of gelatin (which is surely less than ₱100), freshly grated young coconut (again, less than ₱100), condensed milk, and heavy whipping cream. And of course, don’t forget the buko pandan flavoring.
Pair it with: Nothing. Buko pandan is refreshing, which is perhaps why some people prefer it as a dessert. Like the macaroni salad, buko pandan can be enjoyed on its own.
Overall, we can still have a wonderful Christmas dinner without having to sacrifice our wallets.
Also, the prices we listed are just benchmarks. There are always cheaper brands you can try if you want to lower your expenses for the annual Noche Buena.
With that, we hope you have a great Christmas celebration!
And if you are hoping to get hired this holiday season or to change careers, visit Remote Staff’s job boards. It is constantly updated, so there’s always something for you. Who knows, you might find that one job you have been searching for – and might have a bigger budget in time for next year’s Noche Buena.