Something so simple turned out to be one of the yummiest meals I have had, thanks to Janet Uy who sent me Fisherfarms Tinapang Bangus to try.
It was delicate, flaky soft, moist, with hints of salt and a faint sweetness; on the finish was a mild smokiness that did not overpower the fish, but instead enhanced it. Its smokiness was unique, the kind that your palate chases after.
I was never a tinapa fan. I liked it but only as an ingredient. I never quite enjoyed it whole, to eat as a viand. But all that has changed.
“Our family loves to eat tinapa but concerns regarding food safety was always an issue for us,” Janet’s brother in law Henry Uy explained.
“We knew for a fact that most of the smoking facilities here in the Philippines use sawdust as their main source of smoking fuel. As an architect, I know that using sawdust is not safe as they are treated with chemicals, and the fumes coming from treating the sawdust could contaminate the fish which would be hazardous to our health.
“So we researched and worked with food consultants, and learned about the virgin beechwood chips from Germany.”
Henry Uy explained that the use of untreated virgin beechwood chips imported from Germany resulted in a superior, consistent taste as well as solved the problem of food safety issues from using sawdust.
He further explained that smoking with the use of regular sawdust leads to “inconsistent moisture content, and—if the sawdust is contaminated with molds—a musty smoke flavor.”
In contrast, virgin beechwood chips are made from select untreated, mold-free beechwood from German forests. “They consistently give the same quality and quantity of smoke with every use, and provide a delicious natural smoke flavor to the product over a shorter processing time,” said Uy.
Shorter smoking time also produces juicier fish meat. Products smoked with regular sawdust tend to be drier as they need to be smoked longer to achieve the sufficient smoke flavor.
Henry Uy likewise explained how Fisherfarms sources its bangus (milkfish).
“Fish grown in ponds feed on plankton and are in contact with the soil, lending a muddy taste,” he said. “Fisherfarms grows most of its milkfish in the sea fish cages in Pangasinan. Our milkfish have sweeter, more flavorful, firmer, and cleaner flesh than fish grown in ponds.”
Fisherfarms also produces its own high-quality feeds (Feed Mix) and controls the diet of its fish. “Our feeds are free from antibiotics and are formulated so as to ensure the desirable belly fat,” he said. “We can also control the level of Omega-3 in the fish.”
“Most fish sold in markets undergo a break in the cold chain. Some of them are even stored for as long as two days from harvest,” Uy further explained.
“In contrast, Fisherfarms takes every effort to maintain the quality of the fish right out of the water.”
Fisherfarms is the first Filipino food company to receive the Superior Taste Award from the International Taste Quality Institute in Belgium for its fish sausages made from 100-percent bangus.
Fisherfarms tinapa is available at Shopwise, Rustans, Alabang Supermarket, Metro Gaisano, Pioneer Centre, Puregold Duty Free Subic, Robinsons Supermarket, SM Save More, SM Hypermarket, SM Supermarket, South Supermarket, Landmark, Unimart, Cash & Carry
I was impressed by the kale grown by Gary Go. They looked and tasted fresh—green, earthy, healthy.
“We have four kinds of kale—blue curled, dwarf Siberian, premier and laciant—and we plant them in Tagaytay along with other vegetables such as lettuce, arugula, Brussels sprouts, basil, carrots, spinach, mustard, leek, beets, cilantro and parsley,” Go said.
“My cousin got me started on the paleo diet and all of the vegetables I grow are the staples for the paleo diet for your source of nutrients, minerals and protein,” he added.
Go uses earthworm castings, rice stalks and shredded coconut husks to add nutrients to the soil. Molasses, garlic, chili peppers, onions and coconut oil are stewed to make organic pesticides.
“When we couldn’t finish eating what we harvested,” said Go, “we started giving it to our friends and relatives. Right now, we are supplying kale, lettuce and arugula to high-end restaurants.
Kale is a super food, a most beneficial addition to your diet—rich in vitamins, antioxidants, calcium and fiber. Said to be anti-inflammatory and has cancer fighting properties, kale can be used for salads or cooked just as you would any green veg. You can add it to your juice or smoothie. too.
To order kale and other leafy greens, call Angel at 0917-546 3062.
In one catering service, I served a mix of baby greens, micro greens, beautiful aubergines and red ripe Roma tomatoes from Glenda’s Organic Farm.
Jason Lustestica and his wife Glenda are licensed nurses who are now hands-on farmers. The couple had dreams of leaving the Philippines for Canada. But the thought of being in a place so cold made Glenda reconsider.
One day, when they visited the farm of Glenda’s parents, they thought, why leave if we can plant? With no knowledge whatsoever of farming, the couple went through the hits and misses of learning agriculture.
They now contract grow specialty vegetables and herbs for restaurants and they deliver their produce to you, fresh.
Call Jason at 0939-9654983.
Grown in Bukidnon by Sweet Bee Farms are vegetables you never thought you’d readily find in our supermarkets and fruits stalls—celery root, kohlrabi, Swiss chard and rhubarb! They’re available at all Dizon Farm outlets.