A late afternoon arrival, a trip to the local fish market, a quick stop at our host’s home to drop off our bags and freshen up, another trip to the airport to pick up Mrs. MM arriving from Cebu, a visit to The Ruins, and you can imagine we were all FAMISHED and ready for our first taste of Bacolod. And we were to be guests at our host’s Tita MM. I kid you not, those are her initials. It felt a bit like interlopers to be arriving for dinner at our host’s relatives’ home, but I can tell you that with such a warm and natural welcome, we were VERY QUICKLY AT EASE and gosh, can the locals eat or what? The first and one of the best discoveries of the trip had to be the adobong takway. Takway are the young runners or shoots/tendrils of gabi (taro) plants that look like soft pliable vines. These are stripped of their outer layer and chopped up into two inch pieces and sauteed with garlic, wonderful cane vinegar and a little soy. Some might find them a bit slimy, but I ABSOLUTELY loved this dish.
I could have dined on the adobong takway and rice alone (not to mention that brilliant garlic rice down there) but before this was even put on the table, a tray of fantastic lumpia ubod was laid out for us and I ate three pieces before I could sit down. The lumpia ubod was intensely flavored, without being excessively fatty. The garlic flavor slowly EXPLODED on your palate and I could taste it the following morning… The wraper was nice and thin and it was agreed that I just had to see how this lumpia ubod version was cooked, and a date the next day was set to meet the lady who made them…
We also had a terrific bowl of pancit molo, redolent with ham in a flavorful broth with freshly made molo wrappers that were silky and soft. But the food kept coming and coming and I gave up taking photos as I didn’t want to be rude, actually, I wanted to eat. There were several whole grilled fish, a bowl of aligue, camaron rebosado (fried battered shrimp), ukoy, red rice and several other goodies that I didn’t write down.
For dessert, we had a fantastic kalamay hati in perfectly sized single servings, some half moon cakes (something like taisan with custard on top, sinful) and salab or fried coconut meat. This was just the first meal of the trip, and I felt like I had eaten enough for the next day or two! All of this shared at a table for 8, with guests, our host and the rest of the family coursing in and through the dining room, just like any large family’s dinner time… Only later did we realize that our gracious and generous host, Tita MM, an incredibly warm soul with an obvious love for the food of Bacolod and Negros, was the wife of the Mayor of Silay! A huge thanks to Tita MM for such an endearing, honest, delicious and welcoming meal!
We would return to Tita MM’s home the next day to learn how to make bicho-bicho and lumpia ubod as well as explore some local markets as well. I have to clarify, this was our host’s tita, not ours. But by the third hour of our visit, it seemed natural to start referring to any tita as though they were our tita… :)