Sometimes, all I need is a trip to honest-to-goodness provincial market, one abundant with local seafood and/or produce, to get the “juices” flowing again. I used to do this with far more frequency, and that’s the inspiration for the name of blog after all, but in recent years, I have been so busy that market forays have slowed. This one reminded me to get off my bum and see more markets in the years ahead. It was really nice to see that the public market in Bogo, Northern Cebu, seems to have fully recovered since the devastating effects of Typhoon Yolanda just 3 months ago. There was an abundant amount of fish on offer (despite getting there at around 9:30 which I consider late) and the prices were just amazing compared to those we have to endure in Manila.
Some fresh dilis…
…the most amazing and reef fresh alumahan I think they were… and when the vendor said PHP110 a kilo, and agreed to PHP100 a kilo if we purchased 6 kilos, we struck a deal. Just a few days before, in Manila at a weekend market, they were asking PHP250+ for the same type of fish, and they weren’t even as fresh.
Lots of seaweed on offer…
…and I was told this “second-class” isdang bato also called timbungan (Indian goatfish) made for great eating… just grill with tough scales on, brush off the scales and enjoy the nice white fleshy meat. When grilled, the scales naturally seem to raise themselves from the body/meat, making for easy removal. I have never had this fish before (and can’t recall the name even) but if we had access to a grill nearby, I would have cooked it myself!
Barracuda anyone? Needlefish or balo anyone?
Or would you rather have some cuttlefish or octopus?
Or squirming live bakasi or saltwater eels? Lee, you out there? :)
More seaweed, this time a red variety that we were warned would “melt” if we put it on ice and brought it down to the city. I actually bought PHP10 worth and did just that, but forgot to check on the condition of the seaweed in Cebu and boarded a flight for Manila that evening. Duh.
Some of the managers and crew on the trip wanted to stock up on other types of dried fish, so we hit that part of the market. Prices were higher than normal, but still better than Cebu City or Manila, for sure.
The variety was impressive, and frankly, I don’t think I have tried even half of the types of daing on offer.
But the illusive quest was for these daing na bilong-bilong, a fish we normally eat inun-unan or paksiw style, and thankfully one vendor had about a kilo of them left. Our office crew swear they are utterly delicious. Will have to buy some for myself the next time around. If you’ve been stuck in a rut, glued to your chair or city-bound, consider exploring a local market sometime soon… See what’s in season, buy what’s locally produced or enjoyed, and save some money to boot.