Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tagaytay’s Josephine’s Restaurant for Fried Tawilis

For many, Tagaytay City is known for two things: one, because of its cooler climate it is an accessible retreat from the capital’s sweltering heat. Two hours is all you need by car from Manila, barring heavy traffic. Two, it provides a breathtaking view of Taal Lake, the third largest lake in the Philippines, and the similarly named volcano in the middle of the lake. For me, Tagaytay City, Josephine’s Restaurant to be precise, is where I tasted my first tawilis—freshwater sardines found only in Taal Lake—which I remember as buttery, clean. I wanted to recreate this experience, so when I was assigned to the city I took some time off to go to Josephine’s. What was presented to me, pictured here, was not as I remembered (perhaps what I ate years ago was char-grilled/inihaw na tawilis), but it acquits itself on its own. The fish is crunchy, thus it can be eaten whole, bones, head and all, although I left out the tail. Best dipped in vinegar, the fish tasted sweetish—I thought this was because of the dip. Upon checking the latter turned out pungent. Another food memory comes to mind--eating dried fish in the comfort of home many years ago when I was still living in Dagupan City, but that would be for another post.

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