Monday, January 14, 2008

Food trips

I enjoy trying local delicacies when I visit places. Sometimes, I'm brave enough to try something exotic. I tried frog adobo in Tarlac ---and I actually like frog's legs when battered and deep-fried. But I have to say that skinning a frog pose a problem for me, particularly because some folks skin the frogs while they are still alive, or at least twitching dramatically. That's what the market vendor did when we bought live frogs in Moncada market.

A friend in Bulacan brought me to a restaurant serving adobong sawa (I don't know what kind of snake it was). My friend assured me that snakes are clean reptiles...they eat chicken so they should taste like chicken. Yes, it tasted like chicken. Another reptile that tastes like chicken is the bayawak (monitor lizard) which I picked from my uncle's plate of pulutan. I have tried turtle in Aklan, tapang usa (cured deer) in Kanlaon and tapang baboy damo (cured wild boar meat) in Nueva Vizcaya. Tapang usa and baboy damo are both very tasty especially when marinated with lots of garlic, pinches of sugar and salt, a dash of lemon and black pepper. Dipped in native vinegar with red chili and red onions, great for breakfast with garlic fried rice, and hot coffee on the side. Scenes from "Apocalypto" flashing in my mind!

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.


 gmirage said...

hmmm...sumptuous! I have my daily dose of pinoy food and eating places... here's one that I miss most sa pinas:

Doc Gita has lots of featured food...hay kamiss ang pinakamasarap na pinoy foods... =D

pusa said...

wow you've tried all those? so far i've only tasted frogs and am not sure if tapang kabayo and carabao meat's considered exotic. :)

Unknown said...

When I visit new places, I make sure that I sample the local delicacy...makes the trip more interesting. I guess tapang kabayo is exotic since it's not very common here. Thanks, pusa.:)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the link, Gzel. Pinoy foods that we used to take for granted, and when we take a trip or live abroad, nami-miss natin. On my trip home last year from the states, sizzling sisig ang nasa utak ko while on the plane to Manila. :D I am drooling now just thinking about it! hahahaha Halatang matakaw!

 gmirage said...

Naku, all food entries sa site ni Doc, me comment ako! lol. Horse meat here is readily available in sandwich shops...=) Parang meatloaf na! Didnt try it yet but my Daniel likes it hihi...mas ma-adventure pa sakin ang anak ko!

palma tayona said...

you're one highly adventurous lady ms. luna. you've tried foods that i have never even heard of!

maybe it's high time i get out of this city and try other places. i berate myself for being too city-bound.

Unknown said...

My mom is very picky with meat and fish---if the meat looks strange to her, she wouldn't even try it. Funny thing that her kids are all adventurous when it comes to food. My younger brother even tried cat meat once! Meowwwwww! I think its great that your son is daring enough to try horse meat in his sandwich. Thanks, Gzel.:D

Unknown said...

Go out of the city soon, Palma. There's a world for you to explore outside this urban jungle! It's an exciting and bolder slice of life when you're away from the suburbs. :)

pusa said...

cat meat!!!! as in siopao!!! ekeekekek di naman over un reaction ko hahahah