Some people have a peculiar dislike for certain foods.
Greggy hates eggs. When he was a kid, his yaya forced him to eat eggs, leaving him traumatized to this day.
I hate paksiw na isda. Just the smell alone of the vinegar in paksiw is enough to make me retreat to another room.
As a kid, most of our help came from Samar where seafood is abundant. And one of their favorite dishes was paksiw na isda. I never learned to appreciate it.
Even when my mom put it in our Paris restaurant menu, I pretended to like it but I never really wanted to come close to it. That’s one item you won’t see in Wooden Spoon.
There are also some dishes that I grew up with that I now consider as comfort food. Eating them brings me down memory lane when life was simpler.
My dad is from Samar. Apart from the Daza clan, he also has roots from the Ortega and Rosales families. Every so often, we would get Samar-made food items.
Quisio is quesong puti, circular in form, very salty but delicious nonetheless. Fried in a little oil, it turns firm and almost crunchy or soft and chewy depending on how long you cook it.
Tamalos (or tamales to most) is wrapped in banana leaves, but unlike the Pampanga version, the Samar version is a lot tastier for me. (I’m sure my friend Claude Tayag would protest.)
The Samar version is nutty, a bit spicy and sticky, especially the melt-in-your-mouth pork liempo with fat hidden in that thick orange sauce. The problem with this—you have to eat it with rice. To me, this is an undiscovered dish in our country.
Other items from this province are Kayug, which are reddish, salted fish parts that my other kababayan love. My brother Bong is a fan but I’m not.
The other is Sisi, a dish of tiny oysters, also very salty. It is used as a side dish to ulam. Pantapik as people from Laguna would call it or pampagana to most. Again not my type.
Up to now, I still love the quisio and tamalos. You have to soak the quesong puti in warm water for a few minutes before frying it otherwise it will be too salty. It’s a blood pressure booster. I love it as a filling in warm pan de sal or pampagana with any breakfast dish like tocino, tinapa, tapa, corned beef or Spam.
The tamalos wrapped in banana leaves can be reheated as is in the microwave or steamed if you have the time. I love to eat this with plain rice.
Fried egg would also be perfect with this combination. For me and my cousins, it is like discovering gold. Tito Dodong Rosales occasionally gives me some but when his son JP is around, I have to compete with him for he loves it, too.
While scrolling through my phone recently, I came across a number that just said quisio. I called it and—lo and behold!—a lady from Samar answered and said she does make quisio and tamalos. And, yes, I can order.
The next day via JRS, I had a large jar of quisio and four frozen containers of tamalos (not tamales). I am a child again. Love it. I will call a reunion with my cousins to share my treasure find. This is something I would also like to share in our restaurant Wooden Spoon. Our motto is “familiar flavors, unusual dishes.” This certainly fits.
Want to order quisio and tamalos direct from Samar? Calling all Waray, I found “gold.” Call Marietta at 0917-5360487.
Wooden Spoon Pasig branch opened a few months ago and business has picked up. We have function rooms for private parties, and parking. Call 5321383.