Here are some Pinoy delicacies and food that I truly miss:
- Batil Patung - is Tuguegarao's version of pancit. It is made of local noodles, generously topped with hot dogs, crunchy chicharon bits, ground meat, fried egg, and vegetables.
- Vigan empanada - is my favorite street food in Vigan. Walk around Vigan and it's in every street corner. Eat hot with vinegar-chili dip.
- Steamed wasay-wasay (hammer shell) - I tasted this very tasty shell in Bantayan Island. I coudn't find it in the seafood markets in Manila.
- Pagi cooked in coconut milk - pagi is the endangered stingray; the fish was cooked in coconut milk with green chili peppers. It's meat is so soft and tasty.
- Bagnet (chitcharon or deep-fried pork meat) - is made from choice cuts of pork. It is boiled then submerged in brewing oil until bubbles begin to appear while its skin hardens and begins to pop. There's bagnet salad (with tomatoes, onions and fish sauce) in Via Mare but I crave for bagnet from Ilocos.
- Kuhol cooked in coconut milk - kuhol is golden apple snail---escargot to the French. My father used to pay 5 centavos for each kuhol that we kids ate. We had kuhol marathons when the snail was in season.
There's also grilled bihod (fish roe) which I finally found at the Seaside Market along Macapagal Hiway, and taba ng talangka (crab roe paste)---prawns cooked in taba ng talangka! It tastes heavenly---well, not for you if you're concerned with your cholesterol. And of course, there's raw uni (sea urchin roe)---uni has a strong flavor and I believe, it's an acquired taste. My mother couldn't stand the taste or even the sight of uni sashimi. She fed it to the stray cats! Another favorite is cold jellyfish (dikya) salad, a common dish in Chinese restaurants, it is usually served with century egg.
Friends in Cebu were daring me to try the poisonous butete (blowfish or fugu in Japan). Improper preparation of this fish may result to fatal poisoning. Hey, I'm not that crazy! I also enjoyed drinking tuba (sap from coconut tree) mixed with Coke when I visited relatives in Leyte.
I'm a bit adventurous but I have my limits---my palate is not into bugs, worms and insects. But I would probably eat bugs if I'd be stranded on top of a tree and a hungry lion is waiting for me below. And I'd venture into eating worms and insects if I'm underground and it's the end of the world! Otherwise, I will tell myself that I'm on diet and fasting is good for the soul...then I'll wait to be rescued.