A Fishing Village in Bacolod City

After living in the Bacolod Area for over 3 years, there are still places that I discover for the first time every week. Last Sunday, we went to a fishing village, which is located near Barangay Sum-Ag and in Punta Taytay. There is popular restaurant known as Alcala’s Higad Baybay Resto Grill located here.

Turn right at the sign in Punta Taytay Beach area and you will be taken to a fishing village and small beach resort.

Fishing Boats

The Red Boat gets attention.

Boats at Rest

Fishing Boats Going Out to Sea

Fishing Village Community

This is a great place to spend an afternoon. We rented a pavilion for P100 and it included a coin operated karaoke machine. Singing is something I really enjoy and even if you are not into today’s music scene, the karaoke machine in the pavilion included songs by Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and Bill Haley and the Comets from the 50s and 60s. The Rolling Stones and the Beatles also were included from the 60s and 70s. There were so many songs to chose from that I would say that you will find several you enjoy singing!

Darts, Anyone?

Our six year old son enjoys playing, so we took our dart board and darts along. We adults had as much fun playing as our son!

Your Throw!

A Tree House

You never know what you may see or find! A tree house on the beach.

Fisher Folk Gathering Shellfish

The “specs” in the sea are fish folk gathering shellfish at low tide. Oysters, clams and red shell mussels are what are being gathered. Right down the road from this area is a row of seafood restaurants known as the Viewing Deck.

A Row of Restaurants

Never judge a book by its cover! There are a number of these seafood restaurants that don’t look like much from first appearance but once inside, it is a different look.

Inside Restaurant

The bar is well stocked with even imported spirits available. A shot of tequila? It’s available. You can eat in or take out. There are also many vendors selling seafood that you can take home for a later meal. I enjoy all the shellfish. Oysters, clams and mussels.

As the saying goes, “different strokes for different folks,” but I am keeping myself busy by taking in the different things to see and do all around Bacolod!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Green Shell Mussels

Mussels have long been one of my favorite seafood even before I ever came to the Philippines. I am blessed here in that you can buy a kilo, or 2.2 pounds, of mussels in Bacolod City for less than $2 USD. P50-P70 is the going price at the public market where we shop, depending on what you can bargain them for. Many local people in the Bacolod Area refer to mussels as “Green Shells.”

When steamed or boiled, the green shell mussels have a nice, natural red color.

Green Shell Mussels

These mussels were prepared by boiling them in salt water, taking off the top shell, garnishing them with fried slivers of garlic and grated cheese, and then baking until the cheese melted.

WoW! Now, we are talking. I really enjoyed these mussels, as always.

Mussels and Fries

I don’t  eat much rice on a daily basis, so my wife prepared fries instead. The ketchup with the fries is mixed with wasabi, to kick them up a notch. I also like wasabi as a dip with the mussels. My lovely wife studied Culinary Science in Singapore and she also knows the gadgets to use. She has a cutter to turn out the crinkle cut or waffle style potatoes when doing the French Fries. All this was done in our home, as you just can’t get food this good in a restaurant! My wife also taught me about cooking, although, I must say that I was not a novice before. I have improved!

Mussels are very healthy, so no need to be concerned. Mussels are grittier and chewier than oysters but they are still very good  for you and they make your tum, tum, tummy very happy!

Mussels are actually low in calories and low in fat but rich in protein. Believe It… Or Not? It is true, you can believe it!

Mussels are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Vitamins B, Vitamin C, folate, iron, manganese, potassium, zinc, phosphorus and selenium. Vitamin B-12, especially! Mussels are sounding better all the time.

There are many ways to prepare mussels and you can use them to create many dishes. For me, I like them on the half shell. If I am preparing mussels only for myself, I like to steam them in beer. Beer steamed mussels. Don’t worry, the alcohol in the beer is not in the mussels. Beer is not only for drinking but good to use in steaming seafood. Beer steamed crabs also rock!

Green Shell Mussels are available very cheaply in every area of the Philippines that I have ever visited or where I have lived. Mussels are really an incredible seafood! Great taste, healthy and packed full of nutrients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food in the Philippines

Philippine Cuisine is diverse and I could write a book about it based on my experience in the country. But, I am not going to do that here!

When I first visited the Philippines and lived here as an academic in 1986-1987, I had read and was told that the Philippine food was Chinese, Spanish and Malay influenced. There was a Shakey’s Pizza on Roxas Blvd that I enjoyed very much. It had pizza, spaghetti, draft San Miguel Beer and live rock bands at night. Not exactly Chinese, Spanish and Malay! 

Ma Mon Luk in Quezon City was my favorite Chinese Restaurant. The Aristocrat Restaurant on Roxas Blvd was one of my favorite Filipino restaurants in Manila back in those days. Back to the Future!

I moved to the Bacolod area 3 years ago and the Filipino food here is a little different from the fare in Manila but it is still food. Nowadays, we have Mexican, Thai, Korean, Middle Eastern, German, American style, Italian, Mediterranean and many other locally owned cuisine restaurants. We don’t have a Chili’s Bar and Grill or a Taco Bell or a Burger King. There is McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and KFC.

My wife and I enjoy preparing food at home but we still go out to restaurants several times a week. We thank all those Boyz from Bacolod Food Hunters for telling us about new places to go and eat when dining out. Way to go guys! Two thumbs Up!

I enjoy Japanese food but some of the Japanese restaurants leave a lot to be desired in our area, however, I have not tried them all.

This past week, I took a simple can of Century Tuna in oil and turned it into a nice delight!

I put the canned Century Tuna in the freezer for about 40 minutes to chill . In the mean time, I whipped up a Japanese style Mayonnaise. I used the non-sweet mayonnaise, about two tablespoons. I added one half tablespoon of wasabi paste from the tube, one tablespoon of soy sauce and one half tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. I mixed all together and put in the ref for about 30 minutes to chill. Japanese Mayonnaise.

I don’t really like boiled eggs in tuna salad but you can do that if you like. I opened the can of chilled Century Tuna and drained it especially well in a strainer, as I don’t want oil or much liquid in the tuna when making the tuna salad since it really becomes watery. The less oil left in the tuna, the better!

Tuna Bowl

I like to do things right and be authentic as possible.

One portion of tuna

Japanese Mayonnaise

Waiting to be mixed! The Japanese Mayonnaise and the tuna. I had this last night and munched on Skyflake saltine crackers, as I enjoyed eating the tuna salad. Will this work served over rice? You betcha! If you want to go that route. It will also work on a bed of lettuce and you can add mango slices, too. Now, that is a tropical delight right from the Philippines!

Food in the Philippines can be kicked up a few notches for creative flavor and your meal is only limited by your imagination.

 

 


 

Calamansi or Kalamansi

Don’t worry, either spelling will work. For those not familiar, calamansi is the native Philippine lime and there are many uses for it.

Calamansi

We have calamansi growing in pots in our subdivision in Bacolod City. At our farm, south of Bacolod, we have calamansi growing naturally.

Calamansi Close Up

The calamansi, Philippine native limes, are smaller than limes we are accustomed to in the USA but they are still very good. Calamansi is sometimes referred to as golden limes because the flesh is golden color.

Just One More Tine!

Another calamansi growing. Calamansi is a staple in the Philippines.

Chicken inasal, the local version of BBQ chicken, always requires a dipping sauce. The customary sauce is calamansi, soy sauce and vinegar.

Many are aware of dried mango. Well, there is also dried calamansi fruit!

Calamansi is diverse and it can be used in beverages, purees, syrups, marmalade, jam and candies. It is a perfect condiment or flavoring ingredient to food, which require lime juice. Yeah, such as seafood, my favorite.

One of the first beverages I ever had in the Philippines, way back in 1986, was calamansi juice. A simple native juice drink. It can be served hot or cold.

Let’s not forget the health benefits of calamansi. It is loaded with Vitamin C and it reportedly helps with digestion and with blood circulation.

Whenever you are in the Philippines, especially in the Bacolod Area, you will see calamansi most every day. Squeeze a calamansi today!

 

 

 

 

Oysters

One of my favorite foods ever since I lived for years near Apalachicola, Florida has been oysters. The best oysters in the USA come from Apalachicola Bay in Florida, my old hometown area.

Great news! The oysters from Iloilo and Panay Island, readily available in Bacolod City, are every bit as good as the oysters from Apalachicola, Florida. On Lacson Extension, going from Alijis Road, right next to a bridge, you will see a sign that reads, “Talaba.” That is the local language for “oyster.” P150 (pesos) will buy a lot of oysters! That is less than $4 US Dollars.These oysters in Bacolod City come from Iloilo or Panay Island.

My wife, family and friends love oysters and they do not require any special preparation before eating. Steamed, boiled or grilled is fine. I enjoy oysters any way possible, even right out of the shell, but I don’t eat raw oysters any longer. I have a wife and son to think of!

Over the Easter weekend, we had oysters. My wife loves me a lot! She prepared some of the bounty of oysters we bought especially for me.

Cheese and Garlic Oysters

One of the ways I enjoy oysters is having them baked, after steaming, boiling or grilling, for a short period of time after garnishing them with cheese and fried garlic. Just long enough to melt the cheese.

Horseradish is one of my favorite condiments. I use horseradish to make my own cocktail sauce, which is great for seafood. However, with oysters, I like Wasabi, the Japanese horseradish. Louisiana style hot sauce is good, too.

Cheese and Garlic Oysters with Wasabi

For you horseradish lovers, wasabi can be purchased at SM Supermarket and they keep a large supply on hand. It seems many of the Koreans in the area also like wasabi, so no problem. Cafe Bob’s on Lacson sells horseradish from USA and from Germany in their deli grocery section.

Can I see those oysters once more?

Cheese and Garlic Oysters with Wasabi

One lone oyster without the cheese and garlic but I like oysters straight, too!

If wasabi is too sharp for you, a dash of Mama Sita’s hot sauce or Mother’s Best hot sauce will add a little spice for you. Tabasco Sauce will kick it up a few notches higher on the heat index!

No need to be concerned about eating oysters. They are healthy. Oysters have Tyrosine, which is an amino acid, the building block of all proteins that helps regulate mood and stress levels in the brain. Comfort Food! There is very little fat or cholesterol in oysters. Seriously! Oysters are also rich in Zinc, Iron, Calcium and Vitamin A. All good for men and women, too.

I don’t suggest eating raw oysters but they are great boiled, steamed, grilled, broiled and baked.

Oysters Rock!!

 

 

 


 

Sun Cooked Fish

I think most people are looking for something new and unique to eat. At least among those who enjoy eating!

No matter where you live, proper food handling is important and even more so in tropical climates, such as in the Philippines. Florida, my home State, counts, too. During my 26 year history with the Philippines, I have been ill very few times due to the food. 

I enjoy fish but I don’t enjoy bony fish. Just to keep things simple, I use boneless bangus for my sun cooked fish. The boneless bangus, aka milk fish, is butterflied already when you buy it, so it is perfect for marinating. Most everyone has their own marinating favorites. For me, I use soy sauce, vinegar, lemon or lime juice, a little brown sugar, smashed garlic cloves and grated ginger. Adding Worcestershire sauce adds to the flavor. Some like it hot, so adding peppers of choice is fine and I sometimes do. Even some of the local bell peppers in the Philippines are a little on the hot and spicy side. 

Lemon and lime, as we know it in America, is not cheap in the Philippines, so I use kalamansi, the local lime which works out perfectly well. Kalamansi is not expensive and costs less than $1 for a kilo. It is P30 per kilo in Bacolod.

After marinating the fish for one hour, it is time to let the sun do its work. Place the fish outdoors on a plate, without the marinade, where it will have direct contact with the sun for about one hour. Please make sure there are not any cats or dogs or other critters around to run off with the fish! Once the sun has done its work, it is time to deep fry the fish. It doesn’t take long because the fish is already cooked to some degree from the citrus lemon, lime or kalamansi, the vinegar and the sun. Deep fry the fish until golden brown. Now you have yourself something good to eat!

In the Philippines, most everything goes with rice. But if you want something different as a side dish, the usual favorites I learned in Florida are good, too. French fries, Cole slaw, baked beans, potato salad, are all fine. As is garlic bread or hush puppies. I never dip sun cooked fish in tartar sauce or cocktail sauce since it is not needed but if you want to try it, go ahead. Different strokes for different folks!

If you like deep fried fish with a different twist and fish that has been kicked up a notch, try the sun cooked fish. I think you will like it.