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The Foodie Goes Out of Town

9 Jun

Home-Cooked Meal: Sinugbang Isda, Tinola and Rice

My aunt (mom’s sister) passed away last May 23, 2011 and because of this we had to leave for my mom’s hometown Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur. Grieving, we headed there; but on the lighter side, it was an opportunity to get in touch with family, nature and exotic and fresh food. I stayed there for a week and enjoyed it very much. I got to bond with my two uncles and aunt whom I haven’t seen in quite a while. Although mourning for our loss, we rejoiced because we were all gathered together.

Our family gatherings won’t be complete without food. Food is always a staple for a get-together. We converse over food and I admit, these three extra kilos I gained over a week was borne out of sumptuous home cooked meals using firewood. YES! FIREWOOD and CHARCOAL. In this side of the country, they ditched their gas burners for a dirty kitchen and eat using natural fire and I tell you, the food is totally different when cooked over firewood. Their charcoals are made of madre de cacaos, ypil-ypils and lomboy trees. This was only in theory, I thought as I recalled bbq restaurants in the US using apple or cherry trees to roast their food, BUT THEY WEREN’T lying about the difference between cooking over a machine and cooking over fire.

Aurora, ZamboangApra del Sur

Aurora is situated in the mountains but I’d like to call it Little Cebu. That’s because being there feels like being in a municipality in Cebu. Most people from there live in Mandaue City or whose families originated from Mandaue. Their ancestors moved there from Mandaue during the World War and Japanese occupation. One of which was my grandfather and his siblings. He was the only one who stayed there for good and not return to Cebu. My mother and her siblings were born and raised there. She spent most of her early days there and I do admit, she’s quite a celebrity there (imagine being dragged around the whole place, she seemed to know everyone there).


Anyway, my cousins are foodies just like me. We all live for food, really good food. It runs in the blood I might say. Throughout the length of my stay, there was nothing else but good food. Fresh fruit salad: banana, watermelon, papaya and coconut, all of which did not come from a can. There was fresh catch of fish and of course, the father of all exotic food was there so expect the unexpected. The quality of the rice grain was also different from what’s available here. I couldn’t begin to describe how good the rice there is! It’s better than here in Cebu. I swear! But I still love Cebu and the barbecue places and all the restaurants there are. It’s nothing like Cebu but if you want a fresh and new food adventure, then going out of town is the best decision you will ever make.

Among the food that we had were ginamos, tinolang isda, sinugbang isda, and a WHOLE PIG’s HEAD!! On our way home from Pagadian and Molave, we stopped by a shack by the road where watermelons were sold. These watermelons are way cheap than in the city and sweet too. The owner of the store said, watermelons grow year-round but the sweetest would be in the months of January, February, March and a little bit in April. They said, it’s the sweetest during summer. I never regretted going there, I even think I’m going to have second servings in the coming days 🙂

Pig's Head: Look at the Eye!