Monday, March 19, 2012

General Santos City’s Jam’s Restaurant for Sinaing na Tuna (Slow Cooked Tuna)

Sometimes food doesn’t have to look pretty to taste great. Take sinaing na ulo ng tuna—slow cooked tuna fish heads--for example. In one of our trips to General Santos City, the southernmost port city of the country and touted as its tuna capital, this was one of the food served by our host. I ignored it at first in favor of lechon (whole roasted pig) and tuna ceviche. It looked brown and undistinguished. Big mistake! Fans of fish heads, you know what I mean—the umami goodness of fat, cartilage, and connective tissue, balanced by the zing from finger chilies, best served on top of mounds of rice. At that moment I was in food heaven.

While I was atoning for my omission, my colleague Jojo Javier described to me how the dish is cooked. Lay the tuna heads flat atop pork fat in a clay pot and boil for six to eight hours. Mix in onions, dried kamias (bilimbi, a souring agent), fish sauce, vinegar, water, ginger, pepper, and salt. Enjoy!

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