A very tall white brunette, who was born in Manila to a British father, who later voluntarily opted to take on Filipino citizenship because he loved the country that much, and an American mother. She attended Assumption college in the early years and spoke Filipino probably better than I did by high school, and we were classmates and good friends at the International School. She is in town to visit her mom, and we had both of them over to dinner last night. As we do for all balikbayan friends, we ask them for whatever food cravings they might need to fix, and this was the resulting meal, based on her requests…
They had already had several heavy meals rich with food and desserts and requested a “green start” — so first up, a platter of seaweed. We used to head out to their beach house in Batangas in high school and this was a trip down memory lane to a time when seaweed was abundantly available and utterly simple and delicious. We have a vinegar, lime, fish sauce dip along with the seaweed but you didn’t really need it to enjoy the pops of brine liquid in the tiny grape like sacs.
We added two other salads — first a pako or fern salad with cherry and pear tomatoes and a soy vinegar dressing, and a sigadilyas and grilled chicken salad with a coconut milk, lime and fish sauce dressing. It looks like a lot. We had to refill the platters and there were only four of us. :)
A seafood heavy dinner request almost inevitably means steamed and chilled alimasag or cross crabs in our household. These ones were particularly meaty, soft and sweet. I could have eaten 3 of these with the accompanying red vinegar and garlic dip. But I was good and had just one.
Large prawns with garlic butter is another seafood staple around these parts, and these large prawns were perfectly cooked, redolent with butter and softened fragrant garlic.
Finally, our friend requested lechon, and on short notice and for four people, we opted to re-heat a kilo pack we had in the freezer. It still provided that porky hit and surprisingly, if you watch the skin closely while it roasts in a hot oven, you can get it back to pretty darned crispy condition! You know you have hit the spot bang center, when most of the food is wiped clean off the platters, the conversation goes on and on, and you manage to have serious portions of three different desserts including sans rival, a chocolate meringue cake and a dayap pie on top of it all! We are always so happy to see old (meaning from way back when, not aged, hahaha) friends, have them over to dinner, and hopefully, satisfy most of their food cravings!