"Masaganang Bagong Taon" or Happy New Year!

If the circumstances were different, for New Year's Eve I would have thrown a party, made a crazy amount of appetizers and sipped on cocktails all night! But this year while many friends are out celebrating at fancy parties, we spent our New Year's Eve in pajamas and watching movies. It was very low key but I have no regrets... we have lots to be thankful for and much to anticipate in the new year!

In Tagalog, we greet each other with "Masaganang Bagong Taon" or Happy New Year! For some Filipinos, we celebrate the new year differently by surrounding ourselves with family. We decided to fore go the bright, colorful downtown NYE fireworks and celebrated out in the suburbs with my family instead. Just before midnight, my parents attended a Catholic mass while my husband and I spent time together in pajamas, watching movies. Once my parents arrived back from mass, that's when the party started... a New Year's Feast was awaiting us!

Our family celebrates the new year with a thanksgiving feast called Media Noche, where we should put as much food on the table so that next year we will have food all year round. Twelve round fruits should be on the table as it is a sign of prosperity for the next twelve months... and eating 12 grapes at 12 midnight is good luck in the twelve months of the year.

Wearing polka dots or anything with a circular design is also recognized as it symbolizes good luck. We also open the windows and doors during the first day of the New Year to let in good luck for the year.

As for dishes we enjoyed, it's also said to have lots of dishes with 'sabaw', a broth or soup for good luck. My mom prepared quite a few Filipino dishes with sabaw as seen below. Here are pictures of our Media Noche, taken the morning after...

Nilagang Bulalo (Cow Foot Soup)
This dish may have a pretty exotic name when translated into English, but it happens to be extremely flavorful. With a broth made from homemade beef stock, garlic, onions, and seasonings, fresh vegetables like bok choy and parboiled baby potatoes are added. For an extra kick of heat, a single chili pepper rounds out the flavors. This is served with steamed rice and the broth is enjoyed either over the rice or separately in a cup and sipped.

Nilagang Baka (Beef Shank Soup)
Similar to the Nilagang Bulalo above, this is made with beef shank instead of cow foot. Flavors are much more richer due to the beef and it delicious, especially if one isn't a fan of the exotic cow's foot. The broth is even more flavorful and enjoyed the same was as noted above.

Tinolang Manok
This simply put is a gingered chicken soup made with chicken drummettes, ginger, garlic, onions and various vegetables such as bok choy and/or chamote. This is served with steamed rice and the broth is enjoyed either over the rice or separately in a cup and sipped.

Lechon Kawali
Dry dishes are a great contrast to the brothy/soupy dishes on our table. This is just roasted pork belly which has been chopped into bite sized pieces and lightly fried or toasted on the stovetop.

Pork Adobo
The national dish of the Philippines, adobo is simply a preparation style of meat (pork, chicken, shrimp, beef, etc) which has been simmered in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, onion, salt and pepper.

Chicken Adobo
Mentioned above, this is prepared the same was as the pork only with chicken.

Here's wishing you a happy and prosperous new year ahead!

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