Quantcast
Latest Stories

Gut Feel

Pristine cuisine gets under my skin

By

When you’re served a bowl of hot bulalo at Rose and Grace in Tanauan, Batangas, your gustatory sense will tense up in anticipation of the first steaming sip. That’s clear, clean, pure, hot bulalo broth—slowly there, slurp gently, not too loud as to be heard over the next table, so it won’t scald your tongue. Ahhh…. fantastic!

Feel that robust bulalo broth on your taste buds… feel its warmth under your skin, and taste it above your mood. Stay on the real taste of beef bone with the richness of beef marrow… bite gently on the tender shank and the soft ligament with that gummy texture. Nothing complicated. No clutter. It’s pristine cuisine. It’s food declaring that the simplest is tastiest.

Batangas bulalo is best.

Pioneering Tagalogs

Batangueños are known as the most pioneering and hardworking Tagalogs, intrepid and full of sentido common. They discovered a lot of pristine cuisine. Foods relished for freshness and purity. Easy and simple to cook, to preserve the full taste of a meat, fish or vegetable, single or mixed. Basic condiments—salt, pepper and ginger—are used only when necessary, never to convolute.

Fish dishes

Some of Batangas’ pristine cuisine we enjoy are: Sinigang na maliputo (the rare and succulent flounder bred and caught only in the Pansipit river);

Sinaing na Tulingan (baby tuna boiled in sour fruit for 24 hours in palayok, simmered to softness, then sold in the Parian;

Pesang dalag at the Taal Lake Villages;

The small but terrible sardine variety that grows in the sulfuric craters of Taal Volcano: tinindag na pritong tawilis;

And the humblest of the Batangas pristine cuisine—newly picked from the backyard patch—murang paayap pinakuluan sa hugas bigas with a pinch of salt and luyang pinitpit (isawsaw sa bagoong balayan na pinigaan ng sintunis at dalawang ulo ng labuyo).

Towns along the shores of Laguna Lake have a pristine fish dish that’s truly to die for—sinigang na bagong huling kanduli, tumatalon-talon pa! It’s cooked in hugas bigas with pampaasim fruits (sampaloc, kamias, kamatis or ripe bayabas).

Bizarre cooking habit

With a maniacal hankering for freshness, fisherman folks around the lake cook their sinigang na kanduli in the most bizarre way. While fishing, they install in the banca a tungko (earthen stove) filled with a sinigang broth, bubbling and boiling under the glowing uling embers. As soon as a kanduli is caught, it goes right into the boiling pot. Nothing beats it for sumptuous lunch while afloat in Laguna Lake. It’s freshness to the max!

Kanduli is original and unique to Laguna Lake. Kanduli belongs to the shark variety but got sucked in during the high tide when fingerlings crossed the Pasig River from Manila Bay saltwater to Laguna Bay freshwater. The skin is silvery smooth and the flesh is fine and soft, a melt-in-the-mouth sensation. May lansang kanduli—an olfactory assault that’s part of its unique taste. Out of this world!

Latest fish sensation

The latest in fish sensation is the tilapiang buhay na inihaw sa bunot, a creation of barrio folks in Lake Pandin, one of San Pablo City’s enchanted lakes. The tilapia is a black and fat variety grown tastiest because it feeds on organics at the bottom of the lake. Only dry coconut husk is used for grilling for that incredible smoky taste. Eaten with fragrant jasmine rice in banana leaves and savored while lazily afloat bamboo rafts. Grilled tilapia at Pandin lake is the seventh heaven!

Farther south is the Bicol region, land of hot-blooded people, reared under the shadows of spicy volcanoes, Mayon, and Bulusan. Here, cuisine is sensuous and hot.

 

‘Laing’

It’s tinuto (ginataang laing with labuyo)! Laing is the most exotic-looking plant that grows wild on the edges of babbling brooks and criss-crossing Bicol volcanoes. The leaves are dark green, single stem, roundish and heart-shaped. Its outer skin is totally waterproof, raindrops bounce off. Its inner skin is rich with milkish dagta which, when cooked with coconut milk, creates a dark green gooey gravy that gives steaming jasmine rice the earthy flavor of wild plants and the enchantment of creamy coco milk. What a blast!

Pristine cuisine assures the role of our comfort food, served regularly by our inay and lola with care and love. Its homey taste is forever stuck in our hearts.

This Christmas season, my younger sister Nuncia, an American citizen who lived in Chicago for 45 years, will pay us a visit. I know her first words upon getting off the plane: “Kuya Minyong, may laing ba?”

“Aba meron! Recipe ni Inay.”

After American food, Nuncia goes back to our beloved laing. It’s just like being back in the motherly care and love of our late Inay Aurea.

E-mail the author at hgordonez@gmail.com.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: bulalo , Food , Laing , Sinaing na Tulingan , Sinigang , Sinigang na Kanduli



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  2. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  3. This is not just a farm
  4. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  5. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  6. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  9. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  10. The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  5. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  6. South Koreans crave Asia’s smelliest fish
  7. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Ex-Givenchy model fights for ‘Yolanda’ survivors

News

  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  • Classmates celebrating 60th birthday among missing in ferry sinking
  • Sports

  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Business

  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
    Marketplace