November 2, 2013


biti - (bi-tì; Bicolano [Camarines sur] preserved) [n.] dried salted swim bladder of abo fish (tiger toothed croaker), a kind of local fish found in the seas of Camarines sur in Bicol.

When dried and uncooked, biti is flat and leathery.

Biti is rare and priced expensive when available. 

Dried biti I bought from the public market of Legazpi City in 2015.

It is cooked by pan-frying on low to medium fire. It would swell and turns crisp like chicharon when cooked.

Biti would expand and swell like balloon when pan fried. 
Pan frying has to be done quickly on medium fire. Biti would easily get scorched and burned. It must be golden brown when cooked, not dark brown.

It can be served as breakfast meal with sinangag na kanin (pan-fried rice) and sunny-side-up chicken egg, or served as snack or pulutan (food served along with alcoholic drinks). 

Dried biti is very light in weight, almost like that of paper.
As of 2009, a kilo of biti is worth around P1,200.00 in Naga City.  In 2015, it is sold at P2,500.00 a kilo in Naga City and up to P3,000.00 or more in other places outside the city.

A handful of biti I found in the public market of Legazpi City in 2015.

This dried internal organ of abo fish is hardly found outside Camarines sur in Bicol or anywhere else in the country.

A sheet of dried bitiI found in People's Mall (a public market) of Naga City in 2015.
10 grams of biti is priced at PHP250 in 2015 when I found it in the People's Mall ( a public market) of Naga City in 2015. 
A handful of biti from the public market of Naga City
A pack and a handful of biti. I found this in the public market of Naga City during one of my travels in Camarines sur (Bicol) in 2009

October 13, 2013

ebun a barag

A bowl of boiled (half-cooked) ebun a barag presented during the sneak preview of MarQuee Mall's "Big Bite! The Northern Food Festival" in Angeles City last week
ebun a barag - (e-bun a ba-rág; Capampangan exotic food) [n.] monitor lizard’s egg. The egg of bayawak.
itlog ng bayawak in Tagalog
itlog sa halo in Cebuano 
itlog sa hawo or itlog sa haw in Boholano 
illuk alivo in Itawis

The pliant shell of the egg would shrunk after it is boiled (half-cooked) causing the surface to dent 
The taste of ebun a barag is agreeable.  It reminisces the taste of masabaw na balut penoy. A friend, Kenny Ngo of  Life is Kulayful gestures with approval after trying ebun a barag  
Another friend, Az Coladilla of Azrael's Merryland Blog, seems to be fascinated also by the ebun a barag. A rare exotic delicacy of Pampanga.
Its egg yolk is cream-colored and the egg-white is transparent. 

The yolk is creamy-white and does not hold any shape. When squeezed out, the yolk would flow like toothpaste. The albumen (egg-white) is transparent and coagulating like that of chicken egg and flow thin (watery) 
The Capampangans would boil the bayawak’s (monitor lizard’s) egg as malasado (half-cooked)  and eat the cooked egg by puncturing a hole on the top side of shell then squeeze the pliant shell. The egg’s content is often spread on hot, freshly cooked rice.

The pliant shell of spent egg would just deflate like a busted pingpong ball. Unlike the shell of chicken egg, the shell of ebun a barag  would not crack or brittle 

Its tastes similar to the balut penoy egg that is masabaw (moist and juicy)

RJ Ledesma, co-founder of Mercato Centrale, sips ebun a barag during the sneak preview of MarQuee Mall's "Big Bite! The Northern Food Festival" in Angeles City last week. 

betute tugac

I got this freshly fried betute tugac during the sneak preview of MarQuee Mall's 'Big Bite' The Northern Food Festival in Angeles City, Pampanga in October 2013.
etute tugac - (ba-tú-tè tu-gák; Capampangan exotic dish) [n.] fried stuffed edible frog.
a.k.a. batute or batute tugak in Capampangan 
also spelled as betute tugak in Capampangan
I found this skinned ricefield frog sold in the public market of  Cabanatuan City January last year. There are ingenious Capampangans and Novo Ecijanos who would tan the skin into leather and made into taxodermy-like coin purse with keychain holder

A fried relleno-like skinned farm frog stuffed with minced frog meat or ground pork and finely chopped fresh herbs and spices. It is an exotic dish made of whole tugac (farm frog) caught from the river or rice paddies in Pampanga.

When I came back to Cabanatuan City last June 2012, I brought home and cooked these skinned frogs.

The frog is skinned and all its entrails are removed, feet are cut off, its head decapitated and thrown away. The cleaned hollowed body is then stuffed compactly with minced meat of another frog, or ground pork, or finely chopped meat of chicken, or their combinations.

The internal organs of the frog have to be removed and the hollowed cavity has to be filled with ground meat mixed with seasonings and minced tangle leaves if you are going to make a betute tugac.

Betute tugac is deep fried till brownish red or darker and crisp. The Capampangan betute actually means butete in Tagalog or puffer fish in English.

The host was trying to impress us with a serving of betute tugac during the sneak preview of MarQuee Mall's 'Big Bite' The Northern Food Festival in Angeles City, Pampanga. 

The stuffed frog is called betute because of its bulging filled belly that makes tugac (frog) to look like a betute (puffer fish)

The stuffing of minced or ground meat is mixed with chopped leaves of tangle (fragrant premma tree) and seasoned with any locally available herbs and spices (i.e. garlic, red onions, ginger, tangle, tomatoes, kuse, kulitis, etc.) all minced or chopped into small pieces.

This one is filled with ground meat and minced vegetables. The tangle leaves in it added the aromatic flavor.

Betute tugac is eaten with a dipping of spiced up vinegar, chili sauce, or toyomansi. Without the dip, the fried frog would taste flavorless, and its two spreading legs but just a tough piece of meat.  The fillings could be tasty if it is made with ground pork or beef with all the seasonings and herbs mentioned above.   

Dipping the betute tugac in spiced up vinegar (or any Pinoy dipping sauce) would bring out the taste and enhance the flavor of this exotic dish


June 26, 2013

adobong sawa

Adobong sawa with chicharon balat ng sawa (python skin crackling) from Lamarang Steak & Seafood Restaurant in Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija province during one of my travels in central Luzon last summer of 2012
adobong sawa - (a-dó-bong sa-wá; Tagalog, Cebuano, Boholano, Bicolano, Ilocano, and Novo Ecijano exotic dish) [n.] python adobo; meat of python snake cooked adobo-style.

Adobong sawa can be prepared as masarsa (saucy) or pinatuyo (dry) kind of adobo.

I found this live sawa (python) on display at the entrance of Eagle Center in Malagos District, Davao City in April 2012
This python (actually there were several of them on display) at the Eagle Center in Malagos District, Davao City, is not for sale so you could take it home and cook into a delicacy. They are for the visiting tourists to experience how it feels to be hug by this constrictor reptile

A serving of flaked adobong sawa from the Lamarang Steak & Seafood Restaurant in Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija province during one of my travels in central Luzon last summer of 2012. This is cooked pinatuyo (dry) style.

Adobong sawa is an exotic delicacy in the Philippines and even considered by some as an aphrodisiac as it is thought to have a potent effect. There are those who experienced to feel the sensational warmness in the body after having this dish as pulutan (food served along with alcoholic drinks) in a drinking session.

June 22, 2013


This was when Compact Disc (CD) was still the popular file storage media. I found this CD-CD cracker from a stall in the Commercial Center of Tacloban City's downtown last summer of 2010.
CD-CD - (si-di si-dì; Waray [eastern Leyte] biscuit) [n.] cracker biscuit shaped like a CD or DVD disc.

At the end of baking, each piece is sprinkled with grains of brown or coarse white sugar that melted slightly and stuck on the surface of the CD-CD biscuit.
Packs of CD-CD biscuits on display for sale in the Commercial Center, downtown of Tacloban City last summer 2010. 
It can be eaten as is or paired with a cup of hot coffee, or a bottle of cold softdrink (soda)

Before, when CD was not yet invented, this cracker was just a small-sized disc and used to be called galyeta by the Warays of eastern Leyte. Yeah, it was the size of mini-disc. And yeah, it already had its donut hole then. The bakers eventually enlarged the size to match and make it to look like the real CD in the 90's till now.

orange egg barbecue

orange egg barbecue - (o-rens eg bar-bek-kyu; Ilocano [Cauayan City, Isabela] and Ibanag delicacy) [n.] hard boiled orange-colored eggs in barbecue stick

(a.k.a. egg barbecue in Ilocano [Cauayan City, Isabela])

I found this orange egg barbecue on display and ready for grilling on a roadside food stall in Cauayan, Isabela while on food hunting one evening last March 2013.

The chicken eggs or duck eggs are hard-boiled, shelled, and then soaked and boiled briefly in achuete water. If achuete water is not available, what is used is water tinted with yellow-orange food coloring.

When I passed by the public market of Alicia, Isabela I found these bags of bugok na itlog itik (rotten duck eggs). The eggs are already shelled, colored orange, hard boiled, and all ready for skewering into egg barbecue and grilling.
Grilling the orange egg barbecue on a roadside food stall in Cauayan, Isabela while food hunting one evening last March 2013

The tinted eggs are then skewered in bamboo barbecue stick and grilled till eggs are heated. Egg barbecue is served with a dipping of spiced vinegar. 

Grilling orange egg barbecue on intensely hot live charcoal in Cauayan, Isabela. This was my evening snack last March 2013
There are at least four kinds of egg barbecue depending on the kind of egg used:
  • fresh egg barbecue - using hard-boiled fresh chicken egg
  • binugok egg barbecue - using the shelled hard-boiled binugok egg or chicken egg that remained unfertilized after undergoing incubation period
  • penoy egg barbecue - using the shelled hard-boiled penoy egg (duck egg that remained unfertilized after undergoing the incubation period)
  • balut egg barbecue - using the shelled hard-boiled balut eggs

Cross section of orange egg barbecue served in sukang Iloko.  Also in the dipping bowl is pork barbecue
These pieces of egg barbecue in the public market of Alicia, Isabela are coated with breadcrumbs. They have to be deep-fried  with the bamboo stick before grilling.  The grilling is actually done to reheat the fried skewered orange eggs. Most often, grilling is skipped for those who cannot wait to bite.

June 20, 2013


A harvest of not-so-matured sawa pods being sold in the public market of Super in Cotabato City during one of my brief stay in the city in November 2010 
sawa – (sá-wà; Maguindanaon fruit/nut) [n.] lotus pod seed \lotus seed.
beno in Tagalog [Laguna Lake]  
An indigenous fruit having seeds with nutty kernels and is eaten raw as snack. Lotus plants are very much abundant in Tamontaka river, Rio Grande Mindanao river, Matampay river, and the vast swampy areas of Liguasan marsh and Libungan marsh of Maguindanao and Cotabato regions in the southswestern part of mainland Mindanao. 

The young pod of the fruit has a thick casing resembling like a halved cacao fruit or a cornocupia of protruding yellowgreen seeds. Or figure it out as a shower head.
Two Maguindanaon women in Cotabato City picking bunch of not-so-matured sawa pods for their kids

The ovaloid young lotus seeds need to be pulled out, its shell cracked open like peanut and its nutty, tender white kernel is taken out and eaten raw

The Maguindanaons would often give this to their kids and toddlers as nourishment

June 19, 2013


A serving of chopsuey at the Dwino's Grill in OzamisCity, Misamis Occidental during one of my travels in the southern part of mainland.
hopsuey – (tsàp-soy; Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilonggo dish; dw Chin. tsa-sui [various pieces]) [n.] stir-fried vegetable \stir-fried vegetables with seafood and meat.

An assortment of cut vegetables is stir-fried and mixed with seafood (shrimps, squid, fish fillet, etc.) and sliced meat (pork or chicken).

The kind of vegetables conventionally used in making this dish are wide cuts of repolyo (cabbage), widely sliced carrots, sayote (mirliton pear), cauliflower, sliced bell pepper, and sometimes with sliced tomatoes and green pods of beans, such as sitsaro (snow peas), sitaw (string beans), or Baguio beans.

A serving tray of chopsuey one summer day of May 2012 while at the beach resort of AcuaVerde in Laiya Aplaya, SanJuan, Batangas.
Its thick white sauce is made with water (or broth) stirred with some gawgaw (tapioca powder) and seasoned with patis (fish sauce) or oyster sauce.

This chopsuey seafood is of Sam's Fastfood & Bakeshop during my trip in May 2011 to Pagadian City of Zamboanga del  Sur also in the southern part of mainland Mindanao

Ocassionally, when available, chopsuey has young corncob, broccoli, mushroom, and coriander.

A Chinese-influenced dish that is now commonly found in Pinoy eateries and gatherings

June 8, 2013

lagat na puso

A serving of Aling Lucing's lagat na puso in Robinson Mall in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga.
lagat na puso – (la-gat na pú-sò; Capampangan dish; dw Capampangan lagat [sautéed] + puso [banana heart]) [n.] sautéed banana heart.

Try to cook this at home with the cooking procedure I wrote here.



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