Binignit is a uniquely Cebuano version of Luzon’s ‘ginataang halo-halo’ –a sweet stew filled with slices of bananas and potatoes mixed in coconut milk. The Cebuano version of the ginataang halo-halo uses glutinous rice (pilit) which adds more texture to the stew and gives it a distinctive Cebuano taste.
The binignit is often the dish Cebuanos think about during the Holy Week. It has become soul food that every Cebuano craves during hot days. For most people, the binignit evokes nostalgia. It’s the sweet stew everyone’s mom or lola used to make when they were younger.
It has also become an unwritten tradition to eat binignit during the Holy Week, even though the binignit has existed way before the Spaniards came and Christianized us. According to travel writer Boboi Costas through Cebu Daily News, “we’ve been eating root crops and fruits even before the Spanish came.”
He explains that the reason why Cebuanos traditionally prepare binignit during the Holy Week is because the ingredients for the sweet stew don’t contain any meat. During the Holy Week, Christians are encouraged to fast and abstain from eating meat. Therefore the binignit, a meat-less sweet dish good for the sunny weather, became the perfect stew during the hot days of the Lenten season.