Dried shrimp exoskeletons, unbelievably tart bignay fruit and ginormous but rather tasteless “California” mangoes. Those were the more unusual things in my market basket(s) on Saturday, along with all the normal stuff like onions, carrots, kangkong, beans garlic (yes, the prices have FINALLY dropped a bit to PHP180 a kilo from 330!).
I thought this ambulant vendor at the market was selling dried hibe or shrimp, but on closer inspection it looked like these were tiny shrimp shells, with no meat at all. After several questions and answers that didn’t seem to compute, we figured these must be exoskeletons of molted shrimp, sometimes found en mass when huge schools of shrimp get together to spawn. I had to look that up, as I wasn’t sure if shrimp were social (turns out they aren’t, and are often solitary creatures), if a group of them was called a school (which it seems they are, though they aren’t fish) and I never got too far to find out why they get together and spawn and molt as a group (maybe protection in numbers?)… At any rate, we were told these shells were good for flavoring dishes, including them in the sauté of garlic, onion, pork and shrimp for vegetables, for example. I bought them just because I have never noticed them before. PHP50 for a small pack of shrimp shells. Oh, but isn’t it odd how their black eyes molt as well? Or are those just the covering of their eyeballs?
A huge pile of fresh bignay was on offer as well, and I wasn’t sure if I had done a post on them before, so I bought a pack for PHP25. They are almost inedible in this state, sour and mouth puckering in a seriously unpleasant kind of way. I was thinking of trying them in a cranberry type sauce with sugar and perhaps citrus juice… but I haven’t gotten around to that yet. My old post on bignay, here.
Obscenely large. Several of the crew thought it was a papaya. And even I took a second look. At PHP70 a kilo, how could I not try one, and at 1.3 kilos in weight it cost PHP90. We peeled it when still a bit firm, and the flesh was still a bit hard, but it lacked flavor… The lady selling them said they were called “California” mangoes and of course I can’t find any reference to them with simple googling. Suffice it to say they look like they are on steroids, and probably taste like something grown on steroids. I might give them one more go and let the fruit ripen a few days more… perhaps they getter better when fully ripened.