Iconic food

THE Christmas meal is now just a memory. It seems like only yesterday that we had our New Year’s toasts.

We kept the alcohol flowing in the name of toasting the new year. Music polluted the neighborhood and beer flowed like a river till the wee hours of the morning. What a marvelous way of extending the drinking session with family and good friends. No one complained. Hey, we were celebrating New Year.

How about tomorrow? What celebration can we toast? Answer: The moveable feast known as Sinulog. It is a social activity that is rooted on a religious feast honoring Senyor Sto. Nino or the Christ Child.

While I am at it, let me suggest a few things that may add satisfaction to your Sinulog sojourn.

Food is a good way of tasting the culture of any city.

When in Cebu, it is a sin to miss inasal nga baboy (lechon or roasted pig). I will not suggest any place. However, if you are with a friend from the locality, I am sure he or she will lead you to the better places in town when lechon is being offered.

Sutukil (sugba, tuwa, kilaw or roast/grill, fish soup and raw fish salad) can be found in many restaurants and lean-to diners in the island of Cebu. They can be found in Cebu City itself (STK Ta Bai) and in Mactan.

If you are staying with a local host, the family can fix you a homemade grilled pork or fish dish, tinuwa or fish soup and raw fish salad.

You need to try chicharon (pig skin cracklings), deep-fried danggit (dried rabbit fish), puso paired with pork barbecue or grilled meat, and masareal. The latter is a sweet delicacy made with ground peanuts and syrup.

By the way, puso is often described as “hanging rice” or rice wrapped in coconut leaves. Actually, it is a diamond-shaped casing made of woven coconut leaves. It is half-filled with raw rice and then boiled in water until the rice is done.

As Cebuanos, I think it is time to add more information to the “hanging rice” description. We can educate non-Cebuanos about puso being rice boiled in woven coconut leaves shaped like a diamond.

We must stop being lazy about how we describe this iconic food. If non-Cebuanos ask, “How’s that?” We can reply: “A magpupuso (puso maker) weaves the puso shell using young coconut leaves. The most popular is the diamond shape like the puso you are holding. He or she half-fills the casing with raw rice because the grains expand when cooked.”


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