Thursday, December 22, 2011
Marinduque Cuisine-Best in the Island
Coconut lobster with tomatoes and cucumber salad at Chateau Du Mer, Philippines.
Marinduque cuisine to me is the best in the Philippines. Four dishes that I love are describe in this article. My online friend who is a Caucasian Canadian, called MJ, is married to a Filipina, and posted on his Facebook wall that his wife’s relatives from the Ilocos region sent them fresh Lapu Lapu (Grouper fish), Prawns and kankong (a native vegetable), just recently. MJ commented that his wife is a good cook and served him chili prawns, fish sticks and kankong sautéed in oyster sauce that night for dinner. The menu made me hungry and reminded me of my wife’s recipe of prawns in garlic sauce, sweet and sour bingao and chicken cooked in coconut milk with saffron and green peppers. Bingao is an ocean fish in the red snapper family. It is more fatty than Lapu-Lapu and tastes like pork, with no fishy smell. The texture is similar to fresh water eels. It is very expensive and rare. I am sorry I cannot give you an English name, but Bingao is better tasting than Lapu Lapu.
There are four dishes that the Marinduquenos are proud to call their very own. First, they have the Adobo Sa Gata. This is usually a native chicken cooked in coconut milk with green papaya and pepper leaves, spices and dilaw (a yellow spice) also known as tumeric (a cheap imitation of saffron). The native chicken is sometimes tough but has a more sweet-tasty feel compared to the regular chicken. The native recipe does not call for green, yellow or red peppers, but my wife always instructs our cook to add these three kinds of peppers for color and texture. This is my #1 favorite dish. I could eat this every week with gusto.
The second dish is the Dinugu-an or Kari-kari. The Marinduque kari-kari has ox blood but a dryer sauce (compared to other regional blood pudding dish) and is very spicy. This is a different dish from Kare, made of tripe and ox tail in peanut butter sauce with green beans. I do not know the details of how it is cooked, but when Macrine’s aunt give us her kari-kari, it taste like heaven with rice cake (puto) or just steamed rice (I am salivating now, just thinking about it). If you hate spicy dishes, this is not the dish for you!
The third and most delicious of the native dishes is ulang-ulang. It is made from the coconut lobster and young coconut (shredded buko), coconut milk and a sprinkling of garlic pepper, unions and kalamansi juice (similar to lemon juice). It tastes heavenly with steamed rice and noodles.
The fourth dish native to the island is “laing”. It is made from taro (gabi) roots and leaves with garlic, ginger and coconut milk. Sometimes, dried fish (dilis) or tulingan is added to the dish or a tint of shrimp paste (bagoong).
Other islands and provinces in the Philippines may not agree with me that Marinduque cuisine is the best in the Philippines. However, most everybody will probably agree with me that, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”!
Bon Apetit to all!