We all know people who have left Cebu. Some went to simply travel, others to search for more opportunities or even to immigrate. Almost all families have that OFW member who sends balikbayan boxes home for Christmas, right? When I noticed my friends going abroad one by one, I wondered why is everyone going abroad? Is it really as great as they say? Don’t these kids miss home? The year-round summer? The crazy jeep rides? Puso? Or do they now prefer the snow? Taking the subway? Thanksgiving? I wanted to hear from these people and see what life is from the other side. See what they miss, or don’t miss. I thought it would be great to receive a postcard from the place they now call home.
Thus this little photo+story project called Post Cards from Home. We sent a shoutout to all our friends abroad and asked them to tell us the story of their new lives.
This first one is from Tara, a former nurse from CDU-H who now works as a Mother/Baby Registered Nurse in New York. She’s frequently asked if she can safely carry a nine pound baby. Here she tells us about the food scene in the Big Apple, and why she loves steamed rice over the dimsum in Flushing.
In addition to the obvious (my family and friends), the one thing I miss most about Cebu is the food. While I’ve been on many a gastronomical adventure here in the “Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made Of”, there are certain things that just can’t beat the tastes of home. Sure we get pretty authentic dim sum from Flushing or Chinatown, but what good is dim sum without Harbor City’s steamed rice? You order ‘steamed rice’ here and all you get is a cup of plain white rice, a far cry from the saucy goodness and distinctive taste only our steamed rice has. My family and I used to eat at Harbor City almost every week, so it feels very odd not to have my usual bowl (or two) when someone says we’re going out for dim sum. And while siomai here tastes well and good, I can’t help but miss Harbor City’s quail egg siomai and my ultimate favorite: Siomai sa Tisa, with just enough of that spicy sauce to give it an extra kick. Pair that with puso and a nice cold beverage and you’re all set for fine dining with your hands to the beautiful sound of jeepneys passing by. You know what else tastes amazing with puso? Ngohiong. You mention ngohiong to other Pinoys here and sometimes get asked, “What’s that?” I was never even picky with ngohiong. I would take ngohiong from Domeng’s or Chinese Ngohiong or “that place atbang Sacred Heart” (the actual name escapes me now). I even miss puso in itself. There are loads of Filipino restaurants lining the streets of Woodside, but not one of them sells puso. Could you believe that? My sister and I have had to explain what puso is, especially to the unfamiliar. And don’t even get me started on our lechon, which really is the best. Nothing here tastes like it.
These are just a few of my favorite eats from home, but they’re enough to get the heavy cravings started (at 2:10 in the morning). Makes me wish there was a nearby pungko-pungko I could walk to get my ginabot fix, or a street siomai/ngohiong place that closes real late. So enjoy the good eats while you can, fellow Cebuanos. For now I have to settle for copycat Internet recipes and visuals on social media from my friends.
Are you reading this far from the shores of Cebu, Philippines? We would like to hear from you. Email us and let us know how you are doing.