Thursday, May 24, 2012

Surigao City's Seafood, Freshwater Goby and Eel, Tubers, and Ricecakes

If you're wondering where I took the picture in my blog header, this post is for you. Strong community ties characterize many rural areas in the Philippines, and when they welcome guests, they do it in a big way. I was fortunate to be part of a group that was at the receiving end of such a warm welcome at various places in Surigao City, located at the north-easternmost tip of Mindanao.

When I saw the lunch spread at an island community, I felt like it was Christmas in September--fresh catch from the sea, yam and sweet potatoes, durian and papaya. It was breath-taking.
Good-bye, diet!

Here's a pic of what I ate (clockwise, from top): sea-grapes, clam meat kinilaw/cebiche (like oysters, but smoother tasting), saang/spider conch (delicately flavored), raw Pacific white clams (tastes like balut--look it up), and grilled squid. Right smack in the middle is parrot-fish. I find its blue bones interesting. 

At another dinner I ate sea-grapes, grilled prawns on a stick, the best grilled tuna panga (jaw) i ever tasted, seafood chopseuy, pandan chicken, crab laden with fat, luscious lanzones, and rice cake with choco swirls.

At yet another dinner I came across excellent grilled tuna. I also tried, on the left, boneless pidianga (goby), which is cured before being sun-dried. On the right is spicy eel, sourced from Mainit Lake, Surigao, just like pidianga.

At the hotel, we were served espasol (rice cake made from rice flour cooked in coconut milk and sweetened coconut strips), sprinkled with peanut bits, while on the left is kalamay (sticky delicacy made of coconut milk, brown sugar, and ground glutinous rice). The latter reminds me of Leyte province's moron, a type of rice cake. I just love the presentation.
It has been two years since our visit to Surigao City, but memories of the warm welcome and fabulous food remain. Can't wait to return.

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