I always head to the Nasugbu market with high hopes. Perhaps 30% of the time, I am slightly disappointed by the lack of choice or a lackluster looking catch, but 70% of the time I find something to smile about. Like any smaller town market, it is subject to several uncontrollable variables for a weekend shopper like me. First there is the weather, lousy stormy weather the day before could affect the number of fishermen who went out that night. The currents, winds, etc. also probably affect the catch. Some nasty locals still use dynamite fishing methods which really screw up the environment and result in horrific fish at the market, with telltale signs for the frequent shopper. Even worse is the rare user of cyanide poison which you cannot see or smell in market fishâ€¦you just feel it when your guts turn inside out. I hope cyanide fishermen accidentally drink the seas they poison and dynamite fishermen blow off their own limbsâ€¦
In 6 years of patronizing the Nasugbu market, we have had only one really bad incident where I bought fish that was probably poisoned with cyanide and two of my crew ended up in the emergency room of Makati Med. My family avoided the problem by chance, a last minute dinner invitation meant we didnâ€™t taste any of the poisoned red snapper or maya-maya cooked for that evening. I went back to the vendor that sold it to me and gave her an earful. I told her if she bought from that fishing boat again she wouldnâ€™t hear the end of it. I never purchased another fish from her again. And considering how much I typically buy on a weekend spree, she probably realizes it doesnâ€™t pay to sell bad fish. Other vendors in the market have made it clear that it is known which fishermen typically engage in illegal and dangerous fishing practices.
Last weekend was a pleasant surprise. Despite the wickedly wet and windy weather on Saturday, the market was filled with reef fresh seafood. Ever wonder why they still call it seafood when a lot of it is now raised in ponds? Pond food maybe? Or worse, brackish-water food? Heehee. I got a kilo of medium sized prawns, still writhing on purchase, for PHP350 a kilo. I also got two medium sized crabs weighing just over a kilo total for PHP280. Throw in Â½ a kilo of squid at PHP100 per kilo, I needed some for a recipe but I didnâ€™t find the right size (I like smaller rather than larger), a kilo of clams for PHP25 that looked clean and supposedly came from Calatagan, 6 kilos of matangbaka at PHP100 a kilo, 6 kilos of salay-salay at PHP100 a kilo, 2 kilos of galunggong at PHP80! a kilo and 2 kilos of talakitok at PHP200 a kilo in addition to the kubal-kubal in the previous post and I was good to goâ€¦ A lot of this fish is to be frozen and consumed back in Manila, but for the other ingredients, a special dish was prepared and is coming up in the next few posts, stay tuned!