Eating Differently/This Blog’s 6th Anniversary!

BREAKING NEWS: Just noticed today. THIS BLOG IS 6 YEARS OLD. No shit. Not my first blog, but the first one hosted and using WordPress (when everyone jumped ship from Movable Type, the de facto blog CMS before), and my own domain. See the first entry here.

Back to regular programming:

Vegetarian Barbecue (Gluten), Brown Rice, and Pickled Cucumber and Carrots

Something I read about a month ago had me shun red meat for some time. Not a complete dismissal in the normal, everyday diet, just that it won’t be cooked or served at home, nor taken to work as baon. That non-purist thinking was something I got from what Jane Goodall said recently on The Daily Show. Jon Stewart posed a question about him enjoying a good hamburger, and if it actually bothers Goodall. She said it doesn’t, and vs. the well-known PETA animal rights activism (I’m para-phrasing here) extremism is never good.

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Carnation Family Food Trip 2009, Part 1

Like last year in Baguio, I was invited to join Appetite Magazine and Carnation’s Family Food Trip last Wednesday, this time down south in Batangas.

Fried Tawilis
Fried Tawilis from Batangas

Being just a few days away from my birthday, and scheduled on my exact weekday work restdays, the promise of another food tour was very timely. Except for the part that I was deadset on my diet by that time, which involved eating a lot less red meat and processed food, adding the same amount of brown rice to white rice, and generally eating healthier than usual.

A compromise was taken without any hesitation. It’s also been too long since I took pictures.

Peanut Brittle Making at Taal
Peanut Brittle Making at Taal, Batangas

The tour’s first stop was Taal, which I didn’t know was a Heritage City, same as Vigan. The cozy provincial vibe, the narrow streets, and the old churches reminded of a town further south: I spent summer vacations as a kid in Tayabas, Quezon, and I always wax poetic about those times. The ancestral houses, however, was a different thing, as they were scattered around the town, unlike Vigan. Most were in a semi-dilapidated state, but it was still a welcome sight that they still do exist. We were informed that there was a conscious effort to keep fast-food establishments out, but I couldn’t help noticing the 7-11.

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Tatampal, or alupihang dagat, or mantis shrimp. The Chinese also call it “pissing shrimp”.

I was all wired up to go to the grocery and veer away from the processed meat section, buy more than the usual veggies, and get some brown rice. There was something I read somewhere that made me want to seriously eat healthy. I did get to do all that, but the seafood section had a more-than-pleasant surprise: there was a small bed of tatampal for sale.

Tatampal, or alupihang dagat for some, was one of my favorite things to eat growing up. Obando -in Bulacan, where I grew up- was a fishing town, and anything from oysters, crayfish (or ulong), crabs, to the now-rare tatampal, were constant fares for the family. I couldn’t really pinpoint why tatampal reigned over more decadent food -I used to hate oysters as a kid- but about the time I was in college, when we moved out of the flood-prone town, there was no trace of this old favorite anywhere anymore.

The last time I got to savor tatampal was when I still working in China (Shanghai), almost half a decade ago, and they were dry and skinny. Disappointed, I vowed to search for it when I get back home.

That vow was forgotten and/or just held back, until a fateful cab ride where the driver was chatty, and I wasn’t in my default anti-social mode. I was off to the northbound Cubao bus terminals, and he started asking from where I was. The discussion somehow got to food-talk, and I did wax poetic about my favorite edible critters. He said Malolos still had tatampal, and he almost always has some when he’s there. The immediate weekend, I found myself asking around in that big wet market in Malolos, but alas, tatampal was not to be had that day.

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Cook-Then-Shoot: Pork Binagoongan

Pork Binagoongan
Pork Binagoongan

When I was a kid, and I didn’t like the food on the table, I’d bring out the bagoong with fried pork fat that my mom makes. That love for the dish continues to this day.


pork (kasim, pata, or liempo)
bottled bagoong
diced baby talong
siling haba, or labuyo

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