IT DOESN’T matter. You could be eating “poque-poque” (grilled talong ensalada) and “pok-pok-lo” (green seaweed dipped in sukang-Iloko) at Heritage Restaurant in Paoay or you could be in Silay eating “pinsutan”, “batitis” or “puklo-puklo” (a.k.a. century shell).
Auntie Tona used to fry “bayod-bayod” (mudpress mushroom) if we run out of free-range chicken for lunch. The late Inday Uding Unson would always delight her visitors from Manila with “tinuom mamakol sukol” (banana young mushroom cooked in banana leaves). Our countryside food could be tasty but funny. Fun is in the heart of the eaters.
We never run out of funny names for our ambrosial food. We have made “ginamos” (preserved anything with salt) of what we have categorized under food: ginamos-hipon, ginamos-talong, ginamos-sisi, ginamos-itlog, ginamos-baboy, ginamos-mangga, etc. We even call a well-kept secret “ginamos”.
Bicol Express is not just about a passenger railroad train, or that trip to Albay. It could be a package of what to eat at Balay Cena Una (restaurant), a traditional stone house serving best of Bicol cuisine including “bagnet,” the air-dried and deep-fried pork specialty from the far north.
Pampanga could be proud of its “paco salad” (fiddle-head fern), “pangat na ulang” (fresh water prawns in sour broth), or the institutionalized “kare-kare”.
When I was in Legazpi, I was fascinated to taste “sili” (chili) ice cream. I was so silly!
In Guimaras, one can always go gaga by eating with open eyes the sweetest mangoes in the world. (Cebu mango farmers will always protest.)
While in Dumaguete, enjoy the gustatory delight sold at the food carts. Don’t miss Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries. Try my favorite chocolate silvanas.
In Tagbilaran, one can always speculate on mystery food. Just order for “dinakdakan” and black pancit. There could be learning through experience.
Tuna could be served in different ways in Davao: “kinilaw,” grilled and “pakfried” (cooked paksiw-style, then fried). At home, I tried it with “bilong-bilong.” The taste is heavenly.
Tawi-tawi natives specialized on “kulma” (a meat dish cooked in coconut milk and curry). The name sounds like “kulam” and the taste could be bewitching.
Have you heard of “pancit batil patong”? I am not fooling you. You can find it everywhere in Tuguegarao.
Masbate has grapes! Yes, seagrapes! Just be sure that your stomach is strong for the next encounter.
Kalibo has the traditional chicken dish, “binakoe nga manok” (chicken cooked with lemon grass, ginger and spices inside a young bamboo tube).
So as not to be branded as “a fuera” in Negros, just go organic. In Silay, I go for Midori Cafe. Our Tourism Office supports it as our showcase for organic products of Ikaw-Ako. Silaynons go for fresh fruit “halo-halo,” organic coffee, “puso-saging” burger, “arroz caldo de Silay”.
Eventually, visitors go home with Mariel’s “lubid-lubid,” El Ideal’s “guapple pie”, Emma Lacson’s “pili” square, Leve Boteros “kilawin” and Sir’s “caldereta”.
To those who love seafood, Balaring shoreline restaurant could be the destination, or one could simply have a relaxing lunch at Golden Food Park.
Try our Negrosanon style of food preparation: herb chicken sandwich with pink lemonade at Fresh Start; pork chop in sweet roselle sauce, roselle green salad, roselle-pili bread from Herbanext; “adobo milyonaryo” of Monsignor GG Gaston, Mount Kanlaon brewed coffee or you can just go to the barter trade of delicacies inside Silay Public Market 1.
For more fun, try our Negros “repeat-repeat” food like baye-baye, inday-inday, bitso-bitso, puto taktak, lubid-lubid, atay-atay, pam-pam, pitsi-pitsi, tikod-tikod, fried pitik-pitik, grilled sirom-sirom, sweet butong-butong, ukoy-ukoy, ugoy-ugoy, bati-bati, and more.
Every time you eat Pinoy food, be sure you know the name and its origin. (Next time, I will tell you the legend of “dinuguan”. It is really bloody. Enjoy the food, the fun, and whatever is funny.