Decades ago, I would have reunions in my in-laws’ place in Marikina. There, I was introduced to different versions of common dishes.
Their puchero was made the way we know it. But their sauce on the side was made with mashed and boiled saging na saba and grated garlic. Adobo was oily and “tostado.” They served good old breaded pork chops.
Consuelo Tioco Mendoza introduced two dishes to me. One was called Everlasting, embutido steamed and served in a llanera, the ones used in making leche flan.
The other I used to call “wag na toy.” I later learned from my Lifestyle Channel food program co-host that it was called “woknatoy.”
In the first week of December, we had a get together of the Lifestyle family. Present were the entire Lifestyle office staff and the hosts of the various shows. Portia Baluyot is host of “A Pinch of Portia” and chef-owner of Rustic Mornings restaurant on Isabelo Mendoza Street in Marikina.
It turns out Isabelo Mendoza was the father-in-law of Consuelo Tioco. I told Portia about wag na toy and she mentioned that her aunt makes the dish.
She had it delivered to my house and when I texted to thank her, she gave the correct name of the dish, woknatoy.
Dishes like this fall in the same category as kare-kare, adobo, callos. If you keep them a few more days in the fridge, they taste better.
After about four days, I got some and popped it in the microwave oven. Oh my, I was so shocked at how delicious this dish tasted.
The woknatoy I had tried before had Vienna sausage, hotdog, chunks of pork, liver, sweet pickles and what looked like some tomato-based sauce. It reminded me of our menudo.
Portia’s version was in a league of its own. Mas sosyal. It is mainly a pork dish served in chunks. There were mini frankfurters instead of the Vienna sausage, some chicken, and the sauce was incorporated into each piece of meat. I could imagine the liver had been mashed.
The flavorful meat was tender, the sauce tomato-rich, a bit sweet and sour from the pickles and just delicious.
I took the rest to our Daza reunion where everyone is a food critic, and all were impressed so that I had to text Portia to find out if her aunt sold the woknatoy.
The aunt has a restaurant in Marikina close to Rustic Mornings. The restaurant is called Mama Chit’s.
Mama Chit’s also makes good burgers, spaghetti and Chinese lumpia.
I was so impressed with this discovery, I will try to make my version for Wooden Spoon. This is a dish we Filipinos can be very proud of.
Happy eating! Happy new year!
(I have had a few inquiries about the Japan tour. Tentative dates are March 22 onwards. E-mail me if you are interested to join.)
Mama Chit’s is at 234 J.P. Rizal, San Roque, Marikina; call 6468547.