Tuesday, December 22, 2015

34. Our Noche Buena Hams: KING SUE, PIÑA & ROYAL HAMS

FEAST FOOD: Detail from a King Sue Christmas Print Ad, ca. 1961
Take your pick of your traditional feast food for Christmas! These ads—from well-known makers and distributors of hams and deli treats—bring memories of how special our past noche buenas were. Hams were often the centerpiece of our festive table—and such delicious choices we had!

KING SUE CHRISTMAS ADS, from 1961 and 1962.

 KING SUE was founded back in 1930 by Fookienese immigrant Cu Un Kay, who was tutored by a German national on the art of ham and meat processing. Thus was created the famous King Sue Hams. The bone-in Chinese ham with the familiar sailing ship brand logo, came wrapped in paper and secured with nets; they were to be King Sue’s flagship brand for years. Today, King Sue has other ham variants plus other deli products—from gourmet sausages, chorizo de bilbao, salami, pepperoni to Filipino favorites like sisig and tocino.

PIÑA HAMS were imported and distributed to the country during the Spanish and American Occupation period by Genato Commercial Corporation, a company that began its distribution business since the 1850s. The pineapple was a symbol of hospitality and this trademark was chosen for this sweet-cured which Filipinos prized. “Marca "Piña" hams were imported all the way from Australia (Hutton's "Pine-Apple Hams"), wrapped in cheesecloth. Because they were expensive, Piña Hams were sold also in portions, at the Escolta store of Vicente Genato.

ROYAL HAM, "Portrait of a Perfect Holiday Dinner", ca. 1953.
 In the 50s, ROYAL HAMS became a more affordable alternative to Piña Hams, as these were also sugar-cured, in the style of Piña Hams. The Royal brand not only included other meat products like frankfurters and chorizox---but also coffee, for after-media noche perk-ups.

ROYAL HAMS, "Family of Fine Foods", ca. 1958
Right after the Christmas Eve misa de gallo, the holiday feasting takes place—and only after the chocolate has been drunk and the ham and the trimmings finished—can the folks retire for the day, but not before wishing everyone: “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!”

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