Khok: Linarang comfort

Sira-Sira Store

Between getting out this column and trying not to ponder upon the grim future kindly delivered to us by the Covid-19 pandemic, something has to give. It’s another way of saying I was bereft of ideas for today, June 27, with me writing this column four days from publication.

I didn’t feel too enthusiastic about this week, thinking of the extensions of the community quarantine under a new “CQ” category. Who knows, it’s going to be called “GOUCQ” (Gahi Og Ulo CQ) or “RMCQ” (Reklamador Mo CQ) or “CYCQ” (Cebuanos Yawyawan CQ).

As I sipped my morning elixir, Uncle Gustave sat across me in the porch which faces the family garden in bloom. We sipped our cafe au lait in silence as we watched Nature awaken. It was early enough in the morning. The grass glistened with dew, like liquid pearls. Brown birds, locally called gorion, created a racket as they fought over early worms.

We discussed the recent events to hit the city like an uppercut. Somehow our chat slipped to a calmer topic: The essence of comfort food. For Uncle, “Sardines in tomato sauce takes me home.”

My Tita Blitte joined us: “Ah, like the Miss U. question on the essence of a woman. Well, the essence of comfort food, especially under the new quarantine execution, is the homemaker shielding the family from fear of Covid-19, and discomfort caused by the needed lockdown. My comfort food is Cebu’s linarang: Assertive, fierce, adventurous.”

Linarang is a Cebuano sour and spicy fish soup, combining fatty white-fleshed fish like mam-sa or white marlin with tomato, finger chili, ginger, green mango, scallion and tausi.

The fish swims in the clear sunny tomato base, and one sip of earth’s fire restores your well-being. All’s well with the world. And sunny Cebu will heal.


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