For more than a decade of being an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), I always see to it that I go back to the Philippines at least once a year. Aside from having the time to be with my loved ones, it is also a chance for me to eat my favorite food, which often brings back childhood memories.
Talaba (oysters) is definitely one of my favorites. When we were kids, my brother and I usually spent the summer at our grandmother’s house in Iloilo, which was located a few feet away from the beach. We watched the fishermen unload their catch for the day, chased some of them, and asked for a fish or two. That is why having steamed oysters, whether at home or at the beach during my annual leave, I can’t help but reminisce the good old summer days.
Cassava Cake and Banana Cue are classic merienda. Everyone, I assume, who went to school in the Philippines, had at least experienced having these two as baon as both are readily available inside and outside of the school premises. Though the price are ten times higher now than before, it still gives the same feeling of comfort. Heck, I can even finish five sticks of banana cue in one sitting.
I thought all Halo-Halo taste good. No exemption. I cannot, and do not want to argue with my taste buds. One of my earlier halo-halo experiences was at the Central Market – a waitress started calling me guwapo and asked me if I want to try their halo-halo. I was in elementary, and thought it was true, but I found out that she was saying it to everyone who passed by the store. At least I had that halo-halo magic. Even abroad, if I saw a Filipino store or restaurant serving halo-halo, it is mandatory on my part to try.
Batchoy and Puto, to most Ilonggos, is a perfect combination. While you can eat them separately, puto is more than enough for breakfast at times, and batchoy can be a good late afternoon snack, eating them together can give you a feeling that is difficult to describe. When I was in college, there was a fast-food chain outside of the university that serves a delicious batchoy. Unfortunately, it permanently ceased its operation before I graduated. No one really knew the reason why.
Lastly, if you grew up in Bacolod City, and you moved somewhere else, you always carry the memory of inasal. It is one of the chicken recipes that I will never get tired of eating. Maybe this is the reason why I am not making any effort in learning how it is done or prepared so that the mystery of the flavor is still intact, at least to me. Eating inasal with your hands is the only acceptable way. Just kidding – of course you can use utensils but again, I highly recommend use your hands. And don’t forget to ask for the chicken oil.
All the photos above were taken during my recent vacation. And yes, I ate all of them, gaining five kilos in a month as result. Who cares, I have the next eleven months to starve myself. The countdown begins..