23 Nov2008

batitis1

Batitis?!? Huh? “M is sending over what?” When a neighbor and friend sent a text that a couple of bottles of “batitis” were on their way for us to try and taste and critique, I honestly had no idea what batitis was. Turns out they they are the meat of a baby clam or shell of some sort, and there is very little information about this food item on the internet or my reference books. Extracted from their shells, the creamy, white and opaque meat is preserved in a mild brine solution and we were instructed to add the juice of several freshly squeezed kalamansi and enjoy this as a side dish to say fried or grilled fish or meat, along with incredible amounts of rice. I am not even sure if the batitis are first cooked before going into the brine, but I would guess they are not. They have a taste of the sea, a soft silky texture (but unlike the slimy-ness of an oyster) and certainly a unique taste/texture combination. It was pretty good, and certainly paired well with a fried food, but I am curious why this is such a delicacy in Bacolod and parts yonder… So I know several readers of marketmanila.com hail from that area, and I would appreciate your thoughts on batitis… Like guinamos, bagoong, etc. which are all sea-based ingredients with salt and often in varying stages of fermentation, the sharp flavors of these condiments are a very interesting part of our pinoy culinary DNA…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. eej says:

    At first glance of the title, I thought it was a medical condition of some sort — Ba-tie-tis (i.e. Hepatitis) ;)

    Nov 23, 2008 | 8:21 am

     
  2. moni says:

    MM, from your description, batitis is processed in the same way as “sisi” in Leyte and Samar. Sisi comes from tiny “oysters” that grow on rocks and are harvested by pounding on their hard shell. These are then salted and placed in bottles. Like the instruction for batitis, to eat sisi, all one has to do is wash it to reduce the saltiness and squeeze calamansi. It is also a side dish for fried fish or steamed vegetables. I used to eat this when I was a child when pollution was non-existent and sisi was plentiful.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 8:52 am

     
  3. GJN says:

    From the photo, it looks like what you have is good quality batitis, clean and creamy. My family has always eaten our batitis as is, i.e., sans calamansi. (My father, wary of eating anything raw, preferred his sauteed, which altered the flavor and resulted in looking pathetically unappetizing.) And, yes, you do tend to consume more rice with it… sigh!

    Nov 23, 2008 | 9:41 am

     
  4. marissewalangkaparis says:

    My Dad is Illonggo..and yes moni,am familiar with “sisi”–but have not heard of Batitis. Looks so clean and delicious. May be a relative of sisi.
    With pollution now,I hesitate to eat raw shellfish(but yes I love sashimi) but this looks good…..and angelically white. hahaha. your mentioning guinamos makes me salivate.ummmmmmm Have a happy Sunday!!

    Nov 23, 2008 | 10:27 am

     
  5. anna says:

    guinamos na sisi..yum!

    Nov 23, 2008 | 11:08 am

     
  6. witsandnuts says:

    That was interesting. I thought I’ve already explored a reasonable amount of food during my stay in Bacolod. The city is really surprising. Thanks for sharing. =)

    Nov 23, 2008 | 12:19 pm

     
  7. MrsS says:

    I grew up eating batitis and we eat it as a side dish with kalamansi and vinegar. No need to cook it, just drain some of the juice which makes it too salty.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 12:42 pm

     
  8. flip4ever says:

    sorry if this is off-topic MM, but did you know that Robyn (eatingasia) has an article in the Dec 2008 issue of Saveur on Christmas in Arayat, Pampanga (think the couple was there in Dec 2007)…

    Nov 23, 2008 | 1:05 pm

     
  9. Melissa says:

    Hi MM, is this something like this shellfish called “diwal” that I had when I was last in Visayas? I wonder if anyone has heard of that as well.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 1:26 pm

     
  10. siegrez says:

    MM is it the same as the “kinilaw na sunlutan” in cebu?

    Nov 23, 2008 | 1:32 pm

     
  11. lee says:

    Batitis is impossible to eat without megamounds of rice.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 1:36 pm

     
  12. Marketman says:

    flip4ever, yes, I know of Robyn, even met her and her husband twice at Salcedo market… I heard there was an article in Saveur, but I haven’t received my subscription copy yet… Glad to see Pinoy food is getting more and more exposure. Robyn occasionally leaves comments on this blog as well…

    Nov 23, 2008 | 1:47 pm

     
  13. lee says:

    Batitis, ginamos nga sisi or small oysters, mangoes in brine are usually sourced from Valladolid, a town south of Bacolod.

    Diwal is a shellfish I have not seen in a long time. Im not quite sure but I think they are also harvested along the shoreline of Valladolid. I have read somewhere that they are a threatened species and I really hope that they make a comeback and thrive again.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 2:36 pm

     
  14. MarketFan says:

    Is it anything like uni freshly harvested from the shells?

    Nov 23, 2008 | 5:27 pm

     
  15. zena says:

    Diwal is a different bivalve. Correct me if i am wrong but I believe they are called “angel/’s wings” in english because they look like so when the shells are fully opened. Yes, they are kind of endangered and are only allowed to be harvested for a certain season. I have them when I go to Iloilo. You won’t find diwal being sold in Manila because they are prohibited from doing so due to scarcity. They are very good grilled.

    Lee, you weren’t wearing purple pants during the eyeball like you said you would.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 5:28 pm

     
  16. Lex says:

    Yes, Batitis is very Ilongo and very reminiscent of our childhood. Our mother used to buy this in jars. It was always salted/brined. From what we were told, they were baby oysters or sisi as many of your readers mentioned. Our family never ate it raw but would saute it with garlic and a bit of ginger to remove the fishy taste. It was eaten with a mountain of rice. That is how most of us ate it and cannot remember it served any other way.

    Diwal is a completely different shellfish. I know they are called angel clams and were best just grilled over charcoal or oven with lemon butter. I know this only comes from western Visayas which prides of having this incredibly delicious shellfish.

    Have you also hear of “bilong-bilong”? Yummmmmmmm!If you have Ilongo friends, try to send for some.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 6:03 pm

     
  17. Lex says:

    Sorry for the typo, should have been “Have you heard of “Bilong-Bilong”.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 6:04 pm

     
  18. RoBStaR says:

    off topic..

    MM, you’d be glad to know that thomas keller is using kalamansi as a glaze on one of the courses of the chef’s tasting menu at per se.

    Course 3- Pave of kindai bluefin tuna
    matsutake mushrooms, sunchokes and pepper cress with kalamansi glaze

    Nov 23, 2008 | 6:05 pm

     
  19. lee says:

    Lex… I just cooked bilong bilong for dinner… Paksiw and then fried to a crisp.

    hi zena…. if i wore purple pants the guests might be shocked and traumatized to see half a barney assaulting the lechons. If i had purple pants and a hanging shirt that would be a barney the pooh spectacle. :)

    Nov 23, 2008 | 6:45 pm

     
  20. Maki says:

    oh… i haven’t tasted anything like this before, i haven’t even seen one, but I guess it taste like ginamos?

    Nov 23, 2008 | 6:58 pm

     
  21. ragamuffin girl says:

    Something slightly similar here- miniscule clams in brine, it goes with fried fresh fishball, usually made of dace. Have you tasted it here MM? The best so far is from Sam Tor in Pottinger Street.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 8:48 pm

     
  22. siopao says:

    I am part Ilonggo but I haven’t encountered Batitis. I do imagine it to be like sisi.

    Diwal on the other hand used to be endangered because of pollution but as far as I know it is now being farmed. There is absolutely nothing like fresh diwal briefly cooked on charcoal. MMMMMM

    Nov 23, 2008 | 11:07 pm

     
  23. natie says:

    look at this giant of a diwal http://www.takeourword.com/images/geoduck.jpg

    i saw diwal in that restaurant at roxas blvd 3 yrs ago. also, i sometimes see it in the menu at Fresca

    Nov 24, 2008 | 2:21 am

     
  24. natie says:

    Lex,Lee: have you heard of Balisala or Balisay from kabankalan and towns nearby? these were tiny shellfish, about an inch–we enjoyed this in our childhood, blanched, sauteed (40yrs ago!!!). now it’s extinct. couldn’t be the same as batitis?

    Nov 24, 2008 | 2:29 am

     
  25. ging_la says:

    I grew up with batitis and my grandfather from Bacolod would bring bottles of it together with kalamay hati. Every summer they were fond memories. Although I was born in Manila I am an ilongga in a lot of ways. Thanks for the post as it trigerred so much joy. If only I can get batitis in Manila next month then my vacation will be so complete.

    Nov 24, 2008 | 6:22 am

     
  26. cumin says:

    Haha eej, me, too, I thought MM was writing about a Bacolod version of gastritis! :-) MM, di ba you said you’ve never been to Bacolod? Maybe it’s time to visit. Like many other readers, I have wonderful memories of food in Bacolod — so much to gorge on!

    Nov 24, 2008 | 9:12 am

     
  27. Lissa says:

    There’s a food stall in Tiendesitas that offers diwal, but I haven’t tried it myself.

    Nov 24, 2008 | 9:47 am

     
  28. kittyM says:

    My assistant is illonggo and tells me that her family eats batitis just wih salt and as ulam and not as a side dish. She lives near the water and says that it comes in tanduay bottles and sold cheap. Apparently really delicious. Interesting!

    Nov 24, 2008 | 10:16 am

     
  29. natie says:

    Lissa, try Diwal…it is deliciously rich-tasting…broil or bake it, but don’t overcook…

    Nov 24, 2008 | 11:22 am

     
  30. eric says:

    oh mu.. i missed batitis. i have not tried it for many years already. i hope i can have one this weekend when i go to iloilo

    Nov 24, 2008 | 12:48 pm

     
  31. eric says:

    oh my.. i missed batitis. i have not tried it for many years already. i hope i can have one this weekend when i go to iloilo

    Nov 24, 2008 | 12:48 pm

     
  32. Lex says:

    Natie, I have not heard Balisala or Balisay. I am sure it is very good. To all you fellow Ilongos, here are some more for memory lane…Did any of you eat adobo nga pitao/w? They are small birds slightly bigger than a maya that they make into adobo. There used to be a Mrs. Arcosa who used to make this. My mom used to buy this and then fry it again. You could eat every thing including the bones. Do you also remember the dried salted fish made out of “lison”? This was my mom’s substitute for bacalao and she swore it was better and just as meaty. They were huge slabs of dried fish that I never see anymore.

    Yes, batitis was always sold in Tanduay rum bottles. No idea why.

    Lee, there is nothing better than deep fried bilong-bilong that has been pinaksiw. I am sure all the Ilongos love pinamalhan of all sorts of fishes like gurayan wrapped in dahon ng bayabas and salmonete cooked with iba (kamias) in a Kulun (claypot). And of course, kadyos with batwan. Oh man….And nobody who grew up in Bacolod has not eaten the chorizo of Tia Pining. Her success story deserves a separate article altogether.

    Nov 24, 2008 | 2:05 pm

     
  33. greasemonkey says:

    =)

    sometimes i wish i were ilonggo. lex, they should make you the culinary ambassador or something!

    i’m a big fan of raw to raw-ish seafood (toxins and bio-accumulation be damned!) but, i don’t think i’d ever had batitis! this is another reason why i keep coming back to marketmanila, i get to see read about all the great stuff i’m missing out on!

    Nov 24, 2008 | 2:26 pm

     
  34. GJN says:

    I heard that there is a diwal festival held in Roxas City every year. I once found them in Farmers’ Market in Cubao but that could have been a fluke. I had my fill of pitaw recently at the Negros Fair in Rockwell . Namit gid! As for the cadios, I’m happy that it is now available in the palenkes of Manila. (Just have your relatives send you the batuan and freeze them.)

    (Tia Pining) Ereneta’s chorizo (recado and hamonado) is available at Rustan’s. An alternative (and slightly cheaper) is Manaloto’s.

    Ok since we’re into this anyway, another shellfish found in Silay is bay-ad. No other way to cook this but charcoal-grilled. Amazing flavor that makes your taste buds go into spasms!

    Nov 24, 2008 | 3:30 pm

     
  35. Lee says:

    Since we’re in the topic of Bacolod food, “Namets” the much awaited Negrense movie will have its premiere night tonight at SM cinemas… here in Bacolod, land of sugar and batwan.
    According to Vince Groyon the scriptwriter, “Namets! is a colorful celebration of food as well as love, and the love of food above all, which is central to being Negrosanon, and being Filipino.”

    I hope to catch the movie within the week, a lot of my Bacolod-based theatre friends have cameo roles.

    Nov 24, 2008 | 4:22 pm

     
  36. Jing says:

    Used to live in Arroyo St. in Iloilo where Bay-ad is grilled and sold in makeshift kainans (tables and chairs just sprout after 6pm ) together with bbq pork, chicken inasal, etc. We sometimes ask our suki to grill our marinated porkchops or fish for a small fee then we buy grilled bay-ad and dinner is solved. Masarap isawsaw sa chili-vinegar dip.
    Lissa, I agree with Natie. You should try diwal. The taste is sublime. Ibang-iba. After the first time, i’m sure hahanap-hanapin mo na, kasi rare na lumabas and diwal ngayon, e haha!
    Ilonggo man ko but I’ve never had batitis…looy noh? Or maybe there’s just no batitis in my hometown Roxas City. Have any of you eaten “ugpan”?

    Nov 24, 2008 | 4:46 pm

     
  37. millet says:

    batitis…funny name. but it certainly sounds delicious…am salivating at just the thought of squeezing calamansi over it, and eating with fried bilong-bilong and hot rice.

    i used to buy diwal by the basketfuls at the bacolod airport a long time ago. and then they were gone. i think they made a comeback last year, and i remember gaita fores even had a diwal festival in pepato (i think). but this year, it seems the harvest was not as bountiful. oh, for a basketful of diwal….

    Nov 24, 2008 | 6:41 pm

     
  38. thebee says:

    Yum! Batitis used to be hawked door to door by the manangs who have it in baskets along with other shellfish. We eat it as a side dish with sinugba na baboy or fish. It’s also good paired with laswa, that soupy vegetable dish similar to Cebu’s utan bisaya.

    Nov 24, 2008 | 7:37 pm

     
  39. MrsS says:

    Lex, I have childhood memories of eating adobo nga pitao at my grandma’s house. As for batitis (and sisi) being sold in Tanduay bottles, maybe it’s because Illonggo’s drink a lot of those? Just guessing…
    I used to have a boss who would ask me to buy sisi and batitis for him everytime I go to Bacolod to visit me parents. They were so cheap and so good with lots of rice and adobo!

    Nov 25, 2008 | 4:41 am

     
  40. Lee says:

    Batitis? that is not batitis.. But it is batitis!

    wala lang.. just the effect of MM’s post on binagoongang lechon kawali.

    Nov 25, 2008 | 2:07 pm

     
  41. vina says:

    MM! you should go to bacolod!!! namit gid ya! :P

    Nov 25, 2008 | 6:41 pm

     
  42. maddie says:

    haaaaaay! craving again. love batitis but prefer it a bit sauteed in garlic to remove the taste of the sea. it is from a certain kind of shellfish i am told. they used to sell bottles of this (still in the same ‘lapad’ type bottle) in every Negros Fair. i’m not sure if they still do. and they run out right away. we eat this as a side dish, best with inihaw stuff. just like bihod (fish roe). yum yum yum!

    Nov 25, 2008 | 11:53 pm

     
 

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