The day after our hotel cook, Henry, agreed to cook our talakitok, we decided to hit the market early to buy more seafood for lunch. Like the afternoon before, we hit the bounty of the sea jackpot! The selection was quite broad and the quality superb, and as usual, I bought with my eyes and stomach, not with my wallet in mind. I figured we could feed most of the hotel staff as well so I didnâ€™t hold back much. The first thrilling find? Superb and utterly fresh spiny lobsters at Â½ kilo size each for just PHP300 a kilo. I was so stunned by the price that I didnâ€™t even bother to bargain! We got just under two kilos of lobster which were simply steamed and served with melted butter and a side dish of vinegar as well. I felt a little guilty about purchasing one of the lobsters when it turned out to be filled with aligue or eggs but they all tasted delicious. This is a treat we donâ€™t indulge in too often in Manila or Batangas as the prices can be exhorbitantâ€¦
I couldnâ€™t resist a spectacular silver talakitok or jack at 3.2 kilos in weight! It just looked so fresh and visions of sinigang with the fish head said â€œBuy, buy, buy,!!!â€ so I did! The best part was it cost just PHP240 for the whole fish (about the same price as 1 kilo of talakitok in Manila!). We did, in fact make the head into a great sinigang, soured with kamias fruit. The body was sliced and fried and served with a soy chili sauce. Throw in a platter of white rice and I can tell you this was one of the best and most economical seafood meals I have had this year! We just carried the talakitok home by its tail (got kinda heavy after a few hundred meters) and dropped it off in the hotel kitchenâ€¦
But we had a myriad of choices at the market, terrific looking squid, a fresh nearly 1 kilo red lapu-lapu and I took a photo of this utterly massive 9-10 kilo brown lapu-lapu. It was a bit old (say over 8 hours as best we could guess) and had been on ice but if I had a good excuse to cook up this behemoth, I would have purchased it as well! If I were swimming over a reef and this thing came at me I would definitely swallow sea waterâ€¦ a huge thank you goes out to our hotel cook, Dennis, who was so accommodating about our bringing home all this seafood and having him prepare it for us. We only managed to eat a fraction of the bounty and shared the rest of our meal with the staff of the hotel!