THE FAMOUS PIAYA | BACOLOD CITY, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL
Welcome to Happy Trip. This site is all be about Travel and destinations. And since food is always part of any destinations, I decided to make my first post about the food where my beloved Negros Province is known for – the Piaya.
My First Love Affair with Piaya
For young men who are away from their parents for the first time in their lives, looking at the specter of college life and meeting new people from different towns and cities and forming new cliques, there are a few things that would bring them together as a unit.
Aside from the usual banter about personalities and sports, coupled with a few questions about their academic problem sets – there is something universally interesting about food that brings them together. It’s probably the diversity, the challenge of sampling something new, the exquisiteness of the local delicacies that brought young men from different places of the province together.
I was part of a big barkada. We all shared a boarding house in our freshman year so it kind of brought us all together. We were actually an eclectic bunch of guys – some of us played sports any time of the day, some of us loved to read, some of us reveled in playing musical instruments but what really cemented our bro bonding was food. For young men who were suddenly thrust into the process of being independent for the first time in their lives, it was important to find someone with the same taste in food! I mean, it’s quite difficult to be dining in the cafeteria alone, so you better have some buddies with you who have the same taste or are good at exploring cheap alternatives for nourishment!
Care packages are a big thing for us. Once in a while, our parents would send us care packages through a relative or an acquaintance and we’d immediately dive in for a taste of home. Our parents, bless them all, knew how difficult it was to fit in so they sent copious amounts of food that one growing youngster could consume so we had to share it with our pals.
And so, my love affair with piaya came to be. As I said earlier, we were an eclectic bunch. One of my board mates was also a resident of the city where we were studying decided to stay in the boarding house for some personal reasons. He had that certain flair and charm about him that endeared him to us. He introduced us to Piaya for the first time.
Well, you might be surprised that while I am from Negros Occidental which is known for Piaya, but when I was young I don’t like the way it looks. And it may sound weird but honestly, I never tried it then.
Fortunately, the first time I tried Piaya I was a bit intrigued by its taste. Some of my friends from other provinces and towns who tasted it for the first time also liked its taste and we were hooked because it offered something unique to our collective palates.
Up to now, I cannot really point out one specific characteristic of piaya that intrigued my taste buds – it was quite a bit and more.
It might have been the crunchiness or the chewy consistency that assaulted my taste buds initially. It was all good for me. It must have been the flavorful filling that talked to me. It was a pure sensory overload – the fragrant dough, the pleasant nuttiness of sesame seeds, the sweet filling – and the flaky texture that gives way to a soft chewiness.
And we haven’t even started on the taste yet – oh, what a taste! It is like capturing a bottle of pure bliss – the nuttiness adds a new depth to the sweet filling that engulfs the mouth in its entirety. It starts slow and escalates quickly to a crescendo that brings you to a happy place where everything is good, and everything is good in the world. And you get another bite and then just another and you reach for another piece and the cycle gets repeated and pretty soon the pack is done.
We’d be in the lounge or hanging out in one of our favorite places outside of the boarding house and we’d be swapping stories, each of us toting a soda, nibbling on a piece of home – reminiscing about home, our loved ones – but knowing in our heart of hearts that we were cementing a relationship with a new lifelong family – a family of brothers, unrelated by blood but brought together by circumstance, cemented by a common bond for food, bonding over Piaya and dreaming of big things in life.
What about you? Have you tried the Piaya from Bacolod City, Negros Occidental?
The next time you visit our city doesn’t fail to grab a package or two of this famous Negrense delicacy.
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