AS far back as I could remember, Friday has always been Ginisang Munggo day. At home, our Manang would always cook Ginisang Munggo on Fridays, and she always paired it with fried fish—which is the same thing other Filipinos do regardless of which province they come from. It is a given: When it’s Friday, you can expect Ginisang Munggo on the table, and if you are too tired or feeling lazy to cook, you can just go over to the neighborhood carinderia and buy an order or two of Ginisang Munggo. They will surely have it—and fried fish, too!
Even now, whenever it is Friday, I think of Ginisang Munggo. I used to cook it, but it takes time to soften the beans, and since Raff had problems with uric acid anyway, I stopped cooking it. Whenever I felt like eating Ginisang Munggo, I would just order. More so now that Raff is still confined to the bed after suffering his second stroke in June 2019. So, these days, when it’s Friday and I want to have Ginisang Munggo, I would just get on my bike and pedal my way to the neighborhood carinderia in our subdivision and buy. Although it has pork (I do not eat pork) and not much of the stuff that I like loading my own Ginisang Munggo with (small shrimps, tomatoes, ampalaya leaves, malunggay leaves and, whenever available, himbabao, as well), it still effectively satisfies my craving. So, there!
But I have always wondered why there’s a connection between Ginisang Munggo and Fridays. So I decided to find out by asking culinary heritage advocate Chef Christopher Guado Carangian, punong heneral of the Culinary Generals of the Philippines, an organization whose members dig deep into the history of each heirloom dish in an effort to preserve it.
There are two stories behind the Ginisang Munggo-and-Friday connection, Chef Chris says.
Story No. 1: “During the time when there were no refrigerators, people were buying their food stuff during weekends. So, most of the time, they had their best and most impressive meals on Saturdays and Sundays. The days would go by and by the time it’s Friday, there would be no more fresh meat and vegetables to cook with. Since munggo (or mung beans) does not spoil, people usually turn to it at this time of the week,” Chef Chris explains.
Story No. 2: “The other story, or explanation, has a religious background to it. During the Lenten season, priests encourage parishioners to abstain from eating meat. This is especially true on Fridays because Friday happens to be the day when Jesus died on the cross. Through time, this practice has become part of the Filipino culture and tradition, and so we got used to cooking Ginisang Munggo in our homes on Fridays. Carinderias would also always serve it on Fridays, and it would often be paired with fish. No pork allowed,” says Chef Chris.
So, that is why Fridays are Ginisang Munggo days.