Monday, December 31, 2012

sweet tuba

sweet tuba - (swet tu-bâ; Pangasinese sap/drink) [n.] fresh toddy of raffia palm; It is the freshly gathered toddy of buri palm (raffia).

tuba or tuba ng buri in Tagalog and Batangueño
a.k.a. tuba in Pangasinense

When freshly gathered in the morning, it can be taken as a naturally sweet refreshing drink. 

A serving of sweet tuba in a glass filled with cracked iced. It is sold by bottles (using recycled softdrink glass bottle) in Balongao, Pangasinan
Passing motorists, locals, and tourists would often come and stay for while in a cluster of roadside stalls, such as this one, along the highway in Balongao, Pangasinan to savor or try the taste of refreshing sweet tuba.  It is refreshingly tasty like coco water with distinct aftertaste closely similar to that of a ripe rambutan fruit

Sweet tuba needs to be chilled in ice or stored in freezer to extend shelf life for few more hours, or to last for at least late in the afternoon. By early evening the toddy will start to sour despite employing the chilling technique

While still fresh and sweet, the Pangasinenses would boil the sweet tuba till thick and sticky, as in the way they used it as their sticky sweetener in making the Pangasinense patupat (glutinous rice in square-woven strips of coconut palm).

In Batangas, it is made into Batangueño pakaskas (raffia sap jiggery, which is now replaced with juice extracted from sugarcane), or processed into bagkat (raffia sap taffy). Sweet tuba will not last long in a day. By afternoon, or past noon, the toddy would start to sour that by evening it becomes a lightly soured vinegar. 

A serving of sweet tuba in a glass filled with cracked iced. It is sold by bottles (using recycled softdrink glass bottle) in Balongao, Pangasinan. Bottles of sweet tuba have to stored in styrofoam box filled with water and cracked ice to chill the bottled toddy. Chilling will help extend shelf life to few more hours before it becomes sour.

In few more days, it will be a full-pledged vinegar  known in Ilocano as sukang buli (raffia palm vinegar) or tuka silag in Pangasinense

A serving of sweet tuba in a glass filled with cracked Balongao, Pangasinan

A serving of sweet tuba in a glass filled with cracked iced. It is sold by bottles (using recycled softdrink glass bottle) in Balongao, Pangasinan

Saturday, December 29, 2012


martillos (mar-til-yos; Zamboangueño [Chavacano] wafer) [n.] hammered wafer; a delicate round wafer that curled into a tube; The wafer is made of flour dough. It is flattened and pressed on wooden mold by hammering with a mallet. Thus it is called martillos from the Spanish martillo, which means  “hammer.” The wooden mold is carved with decorative design that makes the martillos look like the Capampangan pan de San Nicolas biscuit for having the embossed design on its surface. 

Some of the martillos I bought from a stall nearby the Fort Pilar in Zamboanga City

Martillos tastes much like an ice cone wafer and can be eaten as is or used to scoop ice cream or as wafer for taco or burrito. 

Most of the vendors selling martillos accross the Fort Pilar in Zamboanga City could hardly  tell how this tubular wafer was originally produced. They don't even know now that it is called martillos. They simply called it apa (wafer) and mistook it as another version of barquillos (wafer roll).

The modern process of making martillos no longer requires the tapping of mallet (wooden hammer), rather the flour dough is pressed with rolling pin into a thin sheet, then pressed on a wooden mold with the rolling pin for the embossed design, cut into disc then wrapped around on a wooden or metallic tube and deep fried in electric fryer till crisp and brown. This explains why martillos now are in uniform shape, size, and the way it is curled. It now looks closely similar to Italian pizzelle or cannoli shell, only that martillos is more than like a wafer and delicately crisp.  

Some of the martillos I bought from a stall nearby the Fort Pilar in Zamboanga City

It is so delicate that it would brittle easily and difficult to bring as pasalubong (bring home gift) without breaking few pieces of it along the way.

A pile of martillos on display along with the colored candles for sale to locals, tourists, visitors, and devotees of Fort Pilar in Zamboanga City
Some of the martillos I bought from a stall nearby the Fort Pilar in Zamboanga City
Having an embossed designed could be attributed to the shrine of Fort Pilar with an altar of embossed sculptures on the massive wall of the unique open space or alfresco church of Zamboanga City 

The roofless shrine of Fort Pilar in Zamboanga City where the Holy Mass is regularly celebrated.
My first visit to the altar of the shrine of Fort Pilar in Zamboanga City with embossed sculptures on its massive stone wall.


Thursday, December 27, 2012


daral – (da-rál; Ta’u-sug, Joloanon, Suluanon and Iranun snack) [n.] coconut sweetmeat crêpe \rolled rice crêpe filled with hinti (coconut sweetmeat); The rice grains are ground into flour then mixed with little amount of water to become rice batter.

dadal  or sulabai in Maguindanaon
dadal in Maranao

A ladle of unsweetened ground rice batter is poured in a heated pan brushed with thin layer of oil. The batter is allowed to spread itself till it becomes a thick crêpe when cooked. The produced crêpe looks similar to the fresh lumpia wrapper (spring roll crêpe)


When the bottom side is cooked, it is topped with a spoonful of hinti (grated coconut sweetmeat similar to Tagalog bukayo). The opposite edges of daral are folded and then rolled to form like a rolled hot face towel with the blister-like holes on the outer side. It is served as snack.

Daral is originally made with ground rice, but sometimes mixed or replaced with flour making it to look like closer to pancake

A daral in a food stall in Pagadian City public market, made with pure ground rice (rice flour).
Daral on display on a roadside food stall in Maharlika Village in Taguig City, made with ground rice mixed with all-purpose flour. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


kandis - (kan-dis; Palaweño seasoning) [n.] sun-dried batuan fruit \sun-dried slices of batuan fruit

also spelled as candes in Palaweño [Cuyonon]

The name kandis is derived from the name of a far-flung place called sitio Kandis of Brgy. Bacungan in Puerto Princesa City of Palawan where the process of sun-drying sliced batuan fruits originated. The fruits are sourced from the forest of Palawan, though some are grown now in the farm

Pieces of kandis from the public market of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
  In Puerto princesa City, the batuan fruits are sliced lengthwise into long strips, seeds removed, and have it dried immediately under the intense heat of the sun. 

Pieces of kandis from the public market of Roxas, Palawan.
The Cuyonons of Palawan copied the process but had the fruit sliced crosswise thinly making the sliced pieces to look as circular. 

Packs of kandis being sold in the public market of Roxas, Palawan.
Palaweños had the idea of sun-drying the batuan fruit to have a year-round supply of this popular Visayan souring agent, as batuan fruit is seasonal and is abundant only in summer. A stock of kandis has a shelf life of more than a year. 

Packs of kandis being sold in the public market of Roxas, Palawan.
 When mold appears after several months of storage, kandis can be washed clean by rubbing the pieces together in plain freshwater, rinsed then sun-dried again. Like fresh batuan fruit, kandis (or candes) is used to sour the soup of tinola (boiled fish a la sinigang), laswa, lauya, linaga, and other soupy meat and vegetable dishes 

Packs of kandis being sold in the public market of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
It is suggested to wash clean kandis before using in cooking and add it in the dish only when cooking is about to finish as it has the tendency to emit a hint of bitterness when boiled over a long time or when overcooked

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Saturday, December 22, 2012


You don't have to go to Marawi City in Mindanao to have a taste of palapa. We find these bottled palapa in one of a Muslim stalls we found in a Muslim Community of Quiapo, Manila.
palapa - (pa-lá-pa; Maranao condiment) [n.] a mixture of thinly chopped sakurab (Muslim Mindanao scallion), lots of finely sliced luya tiduk (Philippine bird’s eye chili), pounded luya pagirison (ginger), and some toasted grated niog (coconut). They are combined, pounded, and then stored in a garapon (small jar with cap).
When needed in cooking, palapa is sautéed first and added with the optional spoonful of condensed milk before palapa is used as seasoning to a particular dish.

A small bowl with a serving of sauteed palapa is a centerpiece on our lunch in a Muslim restaurant nearby the Golden Mosque in Quiapo, Manila.
Palapa is an ever-present essential ingredient in the Maranao cuisine, it would transform the Muslim dishes to become enticingly reddish in color with much piquancy in taste. If Bicolanos are known for their spicy hot dishes, the Maranaos are far more than that.

Bottled palapa prepared and sold by Maranaos in ubiquitos Muslim stalls nearby the Golden mosque in Quiapo, Manila.

If Bicolanos are known for their penchant on chili, wait till you experience how hot also is the Maranao cuisine.

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igado – (i-ga-dó; Ilocano dish) [n.] braised strips of meat, liver, and other internal organs.

a.k.a higado or dinaldalem in Ilocano

Ragout of atay ng baboy (pig’s liver), the liver is cut into strips and marinated in vinegar for a while. Other ingredients include some thin strips of sliced pork, sliced pig’s kidney, heart, lapay & isaw (intestine), strips of kamote (sweet potatoes) or patatas (potato) and thick strips of ginger. Cooking starts with sautéing of chopped onions and garlic (if there’s pork fats, fry it first then use the lard in sautéing), then all ingredients, except the liver are added into the pan. 

When the color of the ingredients turn opaque, a sign that the stuff are heated well. Then toyo (soy sauce) is added along with some vinegar, peppercorn, bayleaf, and garbanzos (chickpeas). If the soup dries out while simmering, more cups of water is added to continue simmering until the meat is tender. 

Then the liver is added along with some pieces of siling haba (finger chili). Salt and pepper maybe added to adjust the taste. The liver is the last ingredient to be cooked into the pan as it easily hardens when cooked, the longer it is heated the tougher it becomes. 

 To add a complimenting colorful garnishment, add pre-cooked green peas and sliced carrot when cooking is about to finish.
Igado being served in a roadside bulalohan in Binalonan, Pangasinan.

evergreen mango

My wife savoring a very luscious evergreen mango from Tangub City, Misamis Occidental
evergreen mango - (e-ber-gren mang-go; Misamisnon [Tangub City, Misamis occidental] fruit) [n.] a variety of mango fruit that is forever green.

a.k.a. mangga Tangub in northern Mindanao

The fruit is forever green  even when ripe, though shades and spots of yellow would appear when the fruit is very ripe or overripe. 

A slice of lusciously sweet mangga Tangub. When yellow patches appear big allover the skin would mean that the mango fruit is already overripe 

The trees of the evergreen mango variety can be found growing well and bear lusciously sweet fruits in the farmlands of Tangub City in the province of Misamis occidental (northern Mindanao). There were attempts to grow it in other provinces in Mindanao but the trees did not grow well nor produce good fruits

A basket of very ripe evergreen mango in the public market of Tangub City. Those that are already yellow allover are actually overripe
Evergreen mango on our hanging fruit tray


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