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Oct 04th
Home Columns San Diego Happenings Filipino-American Bakery Comes Up with “Obama Pan de Sal”
Filipino-American Bakery Comes Up with “Obama Pan de Sal” PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Saturday, 27 December 2008 03:05

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Saturday, December 27, 2008 

T he historic rise of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States of America will be commemorated in many forms. Being the first African-American to occupy the most powerful office in the world, Mr. Obama is cause for celebration. In the Filipino community of San Diego, a local businesswoman gets a share of history by creating a healthy bread alternative named after the incoming President. She calls it the "Obama Pan de Sal," Filipino bread made from whole wheat flour and sprinkled very-lightly with salt. Like Mr. Obama, the new creation is power-packed but lean, and certainly, in natural hale and hearty brown.


Honoring Diversity, Too

Filipino Bakery Names a New Bread Creation

the 'Obama Pan de Sal' to Celebrate US President-Elect


By Romeo P. Marquez


The author is a member of the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), the Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA) and National Press Club of the Philippines-USA.

A week before Christmas, Wilma Fernandez Ventura quietly taped a small sign atop the bundles of bread on one of the stainless steel shelves in her bakery that says "Obama Pan de Sal".


The unheralded event at seven in the morning was actually the soft launching of what she calls the "healthy bread alternative" named Obama Pan de Sal -- dinner roll-size bread made from whole wheat flour and baked to a hale and hearty-looking brown.


The new bread creation is named after President-elect Barack Obama, the latest addition to an array of popular bakery products at The Original Richard's Bakery on Eighth Street in National City, home to one of the largest Filipino communities in California. 


"It's meant to celebrate the first African-American President of the United States, and to honor our own diversity," says Ventura, who first migrated to Guam from the central Luzon province of Pangasinan in the Philippines, before settling in San Diego.


"Considering that pan de sal is practically the national bread of the Philippines, naming one after Mr. Obama is the highest compliment I could give as a humble baker, businesswoman and bakery owner in National City,"  Ventura stresses in an interview.


The Obama Pan de Sal comes in two versions: the regular, which is sold per bag of 15 bite-size rolls; and the special, which comes in a bun stuffed with that distinctive Filipino culinary taste of chicken adobo, cream cheese, raisin, sweet peas and carrots.


PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE - Redefining Community News
BREAKING NEWS -  Exclusive
Volume 2, Issue No. 29 / News Without Fear or Favor /

. . . . . A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice ( or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public. . . .

To thwart off any racist undertones, Ventura explained that the Obama Pan de Sal is just as healthy as the person whose name it carries. The natural brown color of the bread comes from the wheat.


"Mr. Obama's lean physique is the ideal, the perfect counterweight, to the spreading health malaise engendered by eating unhealthy," states the 43-year-old Ventura. "If black is beautiful, then certainly Mr. Obama's natural tan is gorgeous," she adds.


Except for the 100 percent fresh wheat flour and the other ingredients that are seen by the eyes, everything else is a closely-guarded secret, including the bread's preparation and its mix.


Ventura said she thought about commemorating Mr. Obama and his historic rise to the US presidency even before he won the presidential election. "The idea came when he won against Senator Hillary Clinton," she said.


At the beginning, Ventura was at a loss as to how to memorialize Mr. Obama. She was contemplating one morning, unmindful that the timer she had set for her dinner rolls in the oven had already sounded off.


Ten minutes beyond the time set for baking, Ventura was horrified the trays of bread inside the oven were already charred beyond eating. As she pulled them out one by one, she found them a little toasted, in fact, "toasted to perfection" as she calls it.


Suddenly, the thought flashed in her mind. Instead of baking 10 minutes longer than normal, she changed from regular flour to whole wheat flour to achieve the desired brownish color. It worked. The Obama Pan de Sal was born!


"I'd like to be part of history in my own little way. You see, it's taken more than 200 years before a man of Mr. Obama's roots and stature would lead this great nation. I am so proud of him," Ventura stated.


The special Obama Pan de Sal is a complete meal in itself. The energy-giving ingredients (chicken adobo, cream cheese, raisin, sweet peas and carrots) added to the bun can give the popular hamburgers a run for their money, according to Ventura.


 "Even the regular Obama Pan de Sal, unlike other bread, can stand on its own without meat or anything," she emphasized..


Indeed at $1.75 per bun (the size of a regular Mac), or $2.99 per bag of 15 bite-size rolls, the Obama Pan de Sal could revolutionize the local industry by shifting to reasonably-priced healthy food.


Customers who regularly buy their bread products from The Original Richard's Bakery easily warmed up to the idea of the Obama Pan de Sal. The novelty has become topics of conversations and banter.


"Why Obama?" some asked, and one of the obvious answers manifests itself in its true form -- lean, compact, tanned to a brown . . . as if saying healthy!


The Original Richard's Bakery is located at Nordan Plaza, 3400 E. Eighth St., Suite 114, National City, CA. 91950, beside the popular Conching's restaurant.  It can be reached by phone at 619.472.1530 or by email at


(This Breaking News was sent by Romeo P. Marquez, editor, Philippine Village Voice, San Diego, California. Mailing address: P.O. Box 2118, La Jolla, CA. 92038. Volume 2, Issue no. 29, December 27, 2008).


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Last Updated on Saturday, 27 December 2008 03:05

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