"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

An Open Letter to the maker of Lucia Purple Yam

To Lucia Brand of Purple Yam (grated)
Florence Foods Corporation
Navotas, Metro Manila

I chose to buy your brand the last trip I made to the Asian store because they were so purplish, it gave me hope that I would not need to use food coloring to come up with that familiar purple color of ube.

However, the very first pack I opened had a dead insect in it. I had to throw it away, and kept praying that the next ones would not have any in it.

I proceeded, quite uncomfortably, to cook the grated ube, knowing that you do not practice sanitation and hygiene in your facility, after seeing that dead insect in the first package (I bought a total of 15 packages). I was rationalizing, "maluluto din naman."

But everytime I would stir, there would appear black specks or tiny tiny twigs? or insect legs? (no hairs, though).

I felt uncomfortable because I was planning to use it to make halaya and to flavor ube ice cream, and I planned to introduce my American neighbors to the Filipino cuisine. Now I am having second thoughts. My fellow Pinays would probably do not care as long as it was cooked (or would they? Should I even serve this to them?)

If you find it difficult to maintain sanitation in your workplace, please just freeze whole or cut purple yams instead, peeled and ready to grate, and sell them as is. I believe that would even be cost-effective for you. I would be willing to buy it at the same price you are selling the grated ube. That would give me peace of mind, just like I have been buying the whole Yucca (in place of cassava) and peeling and grating them myself. I like the uncooked frozen ube better than the powder variety, but if this is the price I have to pay for the frozen grated ube, then I might reluctantly resort to using the powder, or go back to getting the not-so-purplish brand but which was clean.

I do not know if there are others who have the same experience as I do, but I am almost certain I am not alone. So if in the next times I still get such products made by you and have the same problem, I will continue to spread the word on the internet.

Now if only other Filipinos with ube plants can sell their products frozen whole/cut or as plants through ebay, I would be a happy consumer.


  1. Ewwww, that grossed me out!! I buy the Tropics brand and never have that experience. I know it for sure because I put the grated ube through a sieve. The little specks I find are from the peels.
    That is too bad that the Florence Foods Co. doesn't have sanitation codes at their processing plant. Makes me wonder about their other products.

  2. So sorry you had such a bad experience! I hope someone with authority reads your letter.

  3. Hi Manang:)

    That is very gross indeed. It's a good thing you found it while you're still cooking, how embarassing would that be if one of your guests discovered it.

    You have lots of recipes here that I want to try and maybe I could get some tips from you esp with Filipino beef recipes. I admire your dedication to doing it the traditional way..and you have a "kudkuran", wow, I haven't seen one of those since I was little.

    Have a nice day! :)

  4. uh-oh! That's not good at all! Ini-export pa naman yung product nila tapos may freebies pa.=p They should act seriously about it and keeping their place sanitize and clean ALWAYS! tsk tsk tsk! di pa naman pwede ganyan dito like here in Canada, they are serious about it. Makakita nga lang ng isang mouse eh, pinapasara na the whole grocery store and they have to sanitized and clean the entire place.

  5. did they send you a response yet. I got the same brand but it's still in the frezzer. I also buy other florence product like bagoong. Now, I am thinking kung marunmi din ang iba nilang products :(

  6. I love your blog! Its very inspirational. Im trying to learn and become a good cook. I notice that your site is very informational and I visit it almost everyday. I will try your recipes and will cook your stuff one by one, at least the ones I love to eat.

  7. Excellent site you have here. I also have a food blog and was wondering if you would like to exchange links with

    me. My blog url is http://foodrecipesmadeeasy.blogspot.com/. If you are interested please add my link and them

    leave me a comment so that I can add also a link back to your site. It will improve our google pagerank since we

    have the same niche.

    I already have link your site to mine, hope you can also link back to my site.

    TITLE: Recipes Made Easy
    URL: http://foodrecipesmadeeasy.blogspot.com/

    Hope to hear from you soon.


  8. hello manang. i miss ya. everytime i visit here, i always drool. hehe...

  9. Did you get an answer from Florence products spokesperson?

  10. HI Anonymous, No I did not. But then again, they might not be reading blogs anyway...I did find ube that are in chunks instead of grated. Still made by them. So maybe I would stick with those.

  11. ewwwww!that's was bad!


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