When one comes to the foreign country and wants to taste local cousine, almost everything sounds unknown to them. On another continent one can’t even help themselves with ingreedients, because they sound as allien to our ear as the name of the dish itself.
So i got me a nice restaurant and asked a nice girl (named Anne) there to explain me the foods. And as we stopped at tinunuang nangka she said jackfruit. OK, i know jackfruit – first word i recognised, so i tried the dish.
As i was served it didn’t look much apetizing – it is a pinkish mash with grated long white pieces of unripe jackfruit and a few red papper rings halves in it, later i also dicsovered slices of onions and ginger and im sure there was also garlic for Philippinos put it in every food. Ingreedients are cooked in coconut milk. But the taste was uneuropean intersting and not unpleasant, yet not unforgetable. Tinunuang nangka is a light dish, sweet and mildly spicey and makes a good side dish i belive – anyway as it is served in a large quantity i didnt orded anything but rice to it.
Try if you feel experimental about food. Price (tinunuang nangka only): P70 (€ 1,4 / $1,8)
I finaly got me Bangus, the Milkfish (wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milkfish) in traditional restaurant. While this fish are notoriousy bony; more than other food-fish, deboned bangus is mostly sold nowdays. Though milkfish aquaculture has more than 800 years of history it is still mosty based on natural spawning and feeding. This is an ancient fish growing up to 1,7 meters and are important source of food in SE Asia.
Anyway – i had my bangus grilled (can also be fried, panned, smoked, or dried); here i got it opened and flattened, seasoned with tamari sauce. They serve it with grated unripe papaya, and i tasted pickled ginger with it.
Bangus has a mild sweet-ish taste and tender meet. Sour taste of papaya completes it perfectly and pickled ginger is there for undertone delight.
It’s a must try. Price: P140 (€2,8 / $3,5)
It was my first free Sunday and i decided to take a trip to the sea. As i came out of dense urban area, traffic was light and there was almost no dust in the air. But it was hot as hell. There was a large open church (Marigondon Church) next to the street and service was taking place – on loud loudspeakers, so it could be heard even with the traffic raging. Next I stopped at the coconut stall and tried a local refreshing beverage – coconut meat, water and milk with cane sugar and ice. For my taste it was too sweet, but really refreshing. Price: P10 (€0,2 / $0,25).
In about and hour i came to the public beach, only to get disillusioned about my tropical paradise – this was still urban area and place was far from alluring. For someone used to Adriatic or Mediterranean sea, this place was too hot, not shaded and the water was far from clear, so i left.
On my way back i stopped again at the coconut stall and bought a coconut – stall boy chose a good one by knocking on it and then macheted it. It yielded about one litter of delicious coconut water (much better than any from the coconuts i bought at home) and about100 gram of coconut meat. Price: P25 (€0,5 / $0,65). Then i went inside the church (the service was over now). I was amazed by its simplicity yet solemnity.
If it wasnt that hot, and there would be a tracking trail it would be a great Sunday trip / exercise, but this way it was 2 hours of sweating – i drank 2,5 liters of liquids on the 12 km long way and would need another liter to sooth my thirst completely.
(this is what was rescued of this post by the autosave at the blackout – now i got my comp back from repairs, and i bought me an UPS and a surge protection sockets :)).
In my area of Lapu-Lapu City there are no regular local restaurants. We are located near an international airport, so restaurants here are also international … and expensive. The other option are roadside street food vendors, but all they sell are meat based foods (me being a vegetarian) – besides all their food is open to the dust and smog from the road – and there is a lot of both here.
Yesterday as i went out of the city, i asked my driver to take me to some nice local restaurant. We took a dirt road and apx 300 meters from the main road came to the large open tavern near the mangrove fishery. There was no sign of any kind (not on the main road exit, nor at the tavern), or at least i saw none. It makes me wander how they get costumers.
Fish was in iceboxes, looking fresh and tasted good – grilled with rice (i forgot to take a picture as it looked so good i just digged in right as it was served :). Here they dip everyting in sauce made of tamari (soy sauce), vinegar, lime juice and spiced with chilly that i didnt like too much – but also back home i didnt like much seasoning to the fish – fish has a mild flavour that is lost to strong spice. Rice was plain and without particular taste, but fish was delicious and perfectly grilled. Price: apx 200 PHP (€4 / $5).
Added 1. decmber 2012
Today i had the same fish in the fancy mall restaurant in Lapu-Lapu. At first i was surprised that the price was the same – but as i got the dish, the weight of the fish was about three times less and no rice was added … but it was nicely decorated :P.