Monday, September 20, 2010

A Repost From Yahoo! Southeast Asia

A taste of Albay’s unique ‘sinigang sa buko’

By Yahoo! Southeast Asia Editors – September 20th, 2010

By Marjorie Gorospe,

DARAGA, ALBAY — Who says all dishes in Bicol need to be spicy? At Gotohan sa Cagsawa, I had a taste of a somewhat unique version of a quintessential Filipino dish.

Sinigang sa buko was created by brothers Beting and Zhar Solomon as they were starting up their gotohan in 1996.

According to Michelle, Beting’s daughter, her father and uncle wanted to present something unique for the tourists in Cagsawa ruins who may not be inclined to spicy dishes the province is famous for, like the Bicol Express and laing.

I love both dishes she mentioned but I can vouch that it’s really hard to eat something spicy after walking under the heat of the sun and THEN sweat some more.

Good thing someone selling souvenirs recommended their restaurant, located on the left side of the Cagsawa ruins facing the famous Mayon Volcano.

“Not everyone who visits here wants spicy after a long walk from the ruins. We also needed to have an ‘attraction’ because of competition among neighboring small establishments,” says Michelle.

Through recommendations from customers, it has become one of their most requested dish. You can choose from blue marlin, shrimp, pork and beef for your sinigang sa buko.

I picked blue marlin and I was not disappointed. Unlike the usual sinigang, it is a bit sweet because of the buko juice that blends with the tamarind and ginger. Imagine yourself drinking buko juice with its white flesh while also enjoying the blue marlin.

Michelle shares that although Mayon is still placed under threat of eruption, tourists keep coming to see it. In 2006, she recalls, they were badly affected by typhoon Reming but life must go on for them but small businesses are able to rebuild anew.

She also shares that because it has always been recommended by other people, most neighboring food establishments also imitate their recipe but they don’t feel bothered since locals would know who made it first.

If going to Albay seems like a stretch, Michelle gladly shared this sinigang sa buko recipe.

iodized salt
buko juice (with the white flesh)
fish (beef or pork is also an option)

Boil the tomatoes with ginger and onion. When it reaches boiling point, add the buko juice and its white flesh. Add fish and enough of the tamarind to desired sour taste.

Reposted From Yahoo! Southeast Asia

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