I was at the OTOP (One Town, Own Product) Luzon Fair yesterday, minutes after it opened and scoured the aisles for interesting food items. It is on-going until August 12, 2007. I love these types of fairs and I always try to get there before they run out of goodies. I am so bummed that I missed the huge food trade fair last week at the World Trade Center, I was still in Cebu… but this one at Megamall had some interesting finds… I was most excited about two dried fruit finds… first up top, Candied tomatoes from Nueva Ecija and Kasoy (Cashew) Fruit Prunes from Palawan. The Candied tomatoes were at the stall of Kababaihan Masigla ng Nueva Ecija, a cooperative of farmers’ wives who wanted to make use of abundant produce at their peak. I also bought a very interesting tomato jelly from this booth. The candied tomatoes were PHP80 for a small plastic container and the bottled tomato jelly was PHP45.
I was thrilled to come across the kasoy or cashew fruit prunes at the Turubudan stall. I have always wondered what could be done with the beautiful and abundant kasoy apple or fruit and other than feeding it to the pigs when it is abundant, this prune version is utterly brilliant, in my opinion. They do have a taste reminiscent of prunes (dried plums), but can also approximate dikiam or preserved chinese plums. I bought two plastic containers for PHP35 each, not really knowing what to do with them but determined to find them a purpose for being. I asked the vendor if they had ever baked with them and they had not… Also at this stall, was Kasoy or Cashew Butter. I have come across this abroad so I was thrilled we had a locally made, and wonderful tasting, version. I bought a couple of bottles of this for PHP100 per bottle. The flavor of cashew is very apparent and the resulting butter is more “elegant” than say a peanut butter…
Next, how could I resist moist and incredibly appetizing looking puto at Bella’s Puto Rice Cake Stall. Just brought in from Calasiao, Pangasinan, these puto were flying out of the trade hall like hotcakes, so to speak. Gosh, it didn’t help that I was food shopping at 11:45 a.m., without having eaten lunch… But I purchased containers of plain, pandan and ube puto with cheese. The prices differed by flavor but the three containers cost a total of PHP100 or so. The puto were sublime! So much fresher, moister and flavorful than some of the ones you find in the city…
I also came across some incredibly neat sounding vegetable flavored kropek, made without MSG and tinted in shades of squash, carrot and malunggay! From HealthyRich in Nueva Vizcaya, these vegetarian kropek were interesting. Crispy, attractive and without artificial color, preservative or MSG, I presume healthier for you. But they were a bit bland, lacking salt, and I suppose one could always add more salt, together with some vinegar, to taste. Also, one has to eat the contents of the little plastic packages all in one go because as soon as it is opened, it has a tendency to get makunat or softer if left out to the elements. At PHP15 for a small bag of kropek, this was well priced.
Also from Nueva Vizcaya were gorgeous satsuma oranges, I bought 3 kilos at PHP60 a kilo. These were the largest ones they had and back home, I peeled one and ate it with a touch of sea salt. They would also make a nice juice with a bit of added sugar. The oranges came from the Malabing Valley Multi-Pupose Cooperative.
Finally, I got some all cotton kitchen dish towels from Beth’s Loomweaving, from Caoayan, Ilocos Sur. At PHP45 for 3 generous sized towels, these were very well priced. Locally made by hand, all-cotton, nice non-jarring colors… I bought several.
Obviously, I had a fruitful visit to the Luzon Trade Fair. And no, I do not know any of these manufacturers, I did not receive anything from them, I paid for everything I purchased and featured here, and they have no clue who Marketman is… :) I wish them all the best, as always, I root for the smaller artisanal producers of all good things locally made…
(Candied Tomatoes and Tomato Jelly)
Kababaihan Masigla ng Nueva Ecija
Ilog Baliwag, Quezon, Nueva Ecija
(Cashew Fruit Prunes and Cashew Butter)
Turubudan Food Processor
Food Processing Center
Western Philippines University
(Plain, Pandan and Ube with Cheese Puto)
Bella’s Puto Rice Cake
91 Dinalaoan Riverside
075-517-3136 or 517-3241
(Carrot, Squash & Malunggay Kropek)
Mr. Ricardo B. Navis, Jr, Owner
MGSK Health Food Products
Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya
Malabing Valley Multi-Purpose Cooperative
Fernando D. Sison, General Manager
Brgy Quezon, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya
(Kitchen Towels & Placemats)
#3785-A Mascardo St.
Bgy. Sta. Cruz, Makati City