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What to find at Dried Seafood section of the Iloilo Central Market

My recent tour had me back at the dried seafood section of the Iloilo Central Market for my groups pasalubong fix. Yes, it is not only biscocho , butterscotch and barquillos that make up the ultimate Iloilo pasalubong list but also dried lukos , fish tocino and guinamos . So what's there to find and buy at the dried seafood market? Plenty! More than enough salt and saltiness to drive our blood pressure off the charts!  But enough of this gory-ness and just live with  these words from our former Miss Universe " Everything is good but in moderation... " Let's start with balingon or dilis, and there's a lot to choose from! From the kind of " anchovy " to the size, color and the level of saltiness, it's overwhelming. There are the regular or he more familiar ones which often is a breakfast staple - whether fried or sinanlag - pan fried without oil, or how ever you define it. It is also best for this recipe
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Cassava Cake

Cassava cake is among the most popular Pinoy native delicacies. In Iloilo, one can find it in the stalls insides malls and groceries in ready to go boxes or in bite size pieces ready to satisfy one's cravings. But it is also easy to prepare as the ingredients can be mostly found in the wet market or even grocery stores. Here's a simple cassava cake recipe: Ingredients : CAKE  2 and 1/2 cups grated cassava 1 and 1/2 cups coconut milk 1 cup sugar  1 can condensed milk  TOPPINGS 1 Can Condensed Milk 1/2 cup Coconut Cream 1 Egg yolks 1/2 cup grated Cheese Procedures : Preheat the oven to around 350°F. Mix CAKE all ingredients thoroughly. Place the mixture in well-greased baking pans. Make sure the mix in the pan are just about an inch thick to ensure more even cooking. Bake from around 45 minutes to an hour. ( Or insert a toothpick in the middle, if it comes out clean, it is good to go) In a separate pan, combine TOPPINGS

All-time favorite snack: KROPECK

Probably this is among the only few surviving food items of my younger years that still is "unchanged". From the packaging to how it looks and tastes like, this is still the kropeck I grew up with.  Come to think of it, there is nothing extra ordinary about this kropeck. Got these from Iloilo Supermart, it's one of those generic snacks in the shelves that don't even a second look. Only those who grew up with it might find it interesting enough. And ceetainly  can relive the childhood memories it comes with. Up close, it looks like a miniature gulaman bar sold in the groceries. An orange and shrimp flavoured one, that is. Aside from groceries, it cam be found in stalls at the malls and some bakeries and old-world restaurants too.

Ilonggo-style Beef Tapa called "Kusahos"

Kusahos is my favorite way of enjoying beef. it is basically sun-dried beef strips marinated adobo style - that is with vinegar, garlic and soy sauce, among others. After an overnight marination, it is then sun-dried for a few days - watch for flies as this is a fly-magnet! The drier it becomes, the better tasting it will become. It is then deep fried or at time placed directly over charcoal, for a crunchy-lious local beef gastronomic experience.  Here's the recipe for Kusahos

JR Rawit's native litsong manok at the Iloilo Central Market

The Iloilo Central Market community has a lot of finds especially those in food and food ways. Turo-turo stall owners and market vendors are drawn to this showcase of Ilonggo gastronomy. Among them, an enterprising couple who don’t only sell live and dressed native chicken but also makes one delectable litson manok! BEST “SELLERS” For Jesus Janeo Jr. and wife Evangeline, their business involving Bisaya nga manok has been a way of life for almost 35 years.   Having a stall at the Iloilo Central Market, they’ve been selling live or dressed native chicken for years to bring up their five children.  “Rawit”, as Jesus is fondly referred to, is among the big suppliers of dressed Darag chicken in the market. Darag is a Philippine native chicken strain found in Iloilo and the rest of Western Visayas. Best known for its unique flavor, taste and meat texture - it has become famous as an alternative to commercial chicken, and has captivated the taste buds of both lo

Adobo nga Takway

Tak what?  Takway is what Ilonggos refer to the part of the gabi plant that grows sideways , termed as tendrils. When scraped off of its outer skin and thoroughly cleaned, takway is often a key ingredient in vegetable dishes like laswa and the  ginat-an dish consisting   of the gabi tendrils and tubers with coconut milk and local snails know as bago-ngon .  Spicy Takway Adobo It is sold in local wet markets or in groceries (like SM here in Iloilo) already cleaned, packed and ready to be cooked. And the most popular takway dish is adobo style with guinamos , the local bago-ong . Local restaurants like Bauhinia Filipino Cuisine and the buffet offering at Camiña Balay nga Bato offers inadobo nga takway . Takway sold in the groceries Cooking adobo nga takway is like cooking the usual adobo - and there are a hundred and one ways to do it. If you have an adobo recipe you are frequently using, just substitute pork/chicken or kangkong

Tino-um na Bangus Belly

Tino-um is basically a cooking technique where in the ingredients are wrapped in banana leaves then cooked. Among the most popular tino-um dishes is the tino-um nga manok of the town of Cabatuan. You can also to-um other ingredients including fishes, shrimps and vegetables, among others.  For a Bangus Belly tino-um , all you need are sliced bangus belly (bigger and thicker, of course, the yummier), tomatoes, onions, chives and some fresh banana leaves. The recipe is basic - just place the belly on the banana leaves and place all the other ingredients on top. Season with some salt and pepper, and if you want - olive oil. Then wrap it close by using some thin banana stalks as strings. Place it in a pan with just the right amount of water below it. Its for the steaming process that will eventually cook it. A good 15-20 minutes will cook the bangus belly. Or when the banana leaves themselves appear to be cooked, its time to turn off the ov

Liempo Chips from Punot

If these liempo chips, look good - they surely tasted even better! It was part of my lunch, today, at Punot Restaurant at the Riverside Boardwalk Complex beside the Iloilo River Esplanade in Mandurriao, At first glance, it may look like deep fried bacon but they are really thinly sliced pork belly and almost as thin the chips would be. If not machine cut, I would say they are sliced when the liempo is (very) frozen, to achieve the perfect cut and thinness. It is then deep-fried with maybe just a salt rub and then the excess oil made to drip. Though I think the liempo strips are sun-dried (after being sliced) to get the awesome crunchiness. A perfect appetizer, it comes with an equally appetizing dip of spiced vinegar- perfect blend of hot, sweet and spicy flavors that would surely whet your appetite. Now, what are you waiting for? Enjoy the crunch of these liempo chips from Punot!