Monday, April 25, 2011

Taal Delicacies: There's more to Taal than Kapeng Barako

People thought Batangas is only known for its Kapeng Barako (robusta brewed coffee). But that’s where they went wrong. I’ve always been a food aficionado. My recent trip to Taal, Batangas had given me the opportunity to explore Taal’s gastronomic delights. There’s definitely more to Batangas than just a cup of steaming coffee.

El Pasubat Festival: Empanada, Longanisa, Panutsa, Barong, Tapa.

I grew up eating Panutsa. It is circular in shape and is made of sugar-coated peanuts. The cheapest panutsa in this side of town can be acquired in Baranggay Si-iran. Almost everyone who lives in Si-iran does panutsa for a living.
L-R: Tamales in squares, Panutsa, Dried Biya fish, sumang Taal and a bunch of Pajo.
Have you seen the smallest green mango? If you haven’t, you have to eat Pajo. It looks like a small green mango, but don’t underestimate its taste for it really had a strong flavor and aroma. It is best used in salads as side dish along with tomatoes, onions and Balayan fish bagoong (fermented fish sauce). It goes well with Taal beef or pork tapa (steak) or Batangas Tilapia (Saint Peter’s fish). Taal tapa (marinated steak) in beef and pork are sold by kilo in the local market.
 Taal Tamales may not be for everyone. But you have to try it and see if you’ll like its unique taste. When my late grandma offered tamales to me the very first time, I honestly did not like its taste. But eventually, after I had eaten a couple more tamales, I fell in love with it. I keep craving for more even when I’m in Manila. I even tried to compare it with other tamales (like those from Pampanga) but those were incomparable in taste with what we have in Taal. The Pampanga tamales were bigger but ours is tastier and more delicious. Tamales is a Taal delicacy, its got pork, eggs and nuts all together in a sticky atsuete colored cake wrapped in banana leaves.
 Taal also had its own version of suman (no need for sugar or others sauce). It had Tag-hilaw, which is made of pork innards stewed in vinegar, pepper and chilis. It’s like Taal’s take on kilawin or papaitan. Batangas favorite chicken adobo sa dilaw, which does not use soy sauce, just vinegar and turmeric.

A steaming bowl of Tag-hilaw

My nephew Kyle loves to eat the butchi-butchi, an orange colored delicacy made from cassava. It could easily be mistaken for quail eggs, especially for someone coming from Manila. But try it, you might like its sweet taste.
The butchi-butchi that Kyle loves. Often mistaken for quail eggs.

But what I love the most is the tilapia, so fresh, so sweet even without putting salt on it. And of course, sinigang na maluputo (better known as yellow fin), found only on the Taal Lake. The latter was a real treat as maliputo is a fresh water fish. The dish got more delicious when the soup began to thicken.
Truly, there are more ways to satisfy your cravings both visually and gastronomically speaking in Taal, Batangas.

Hope you can come and visit the Taal town soon and experience first hand its gastronomic delights and breathtaking sights.

The author with her beloved nephew, Kyle.

See you soon,


Post a Comment