Marag’s Gourmet Diet

Marag, Photo by Mildred Pedronan Cenal

Marag, Photo by Mildred Pedronan Cenal

I got to reading recipes from early blogs of GlobalGranary.Org.  I came across a recipe for beef tapa and got me feeling nostalgic about my life as a child back in Marag, Philippines.

The version of tapa that I grew up were usually from venison or wild boar meat.

When I was growing up in Marag, Luna, Kalinga-Apayao, Mountain Province our diet was virtually vegetarian but now and again supplemented with the fish, clams, bisukol (snails) and seaweeds (Bal-laiba and puk-puklo).

But once in a while my father with his brothers or  friends would venture in the dark forest with their shotguns (this was before Martial Law and the gun amnesty).  The next day, they would come home with fresh carcases of wild boars and wild deers.  They would clean these up and pass the meat to the women of the family, ie my mother and my aunties.  The meat were prepared, some of the meat were divided into portions and given out to relatives and close friends.

The recipe my mother made that I loved most was the ginger-stewed wild boar lauya.  She would cook it for a long time until the meat was coming away freely from the bone.  Lovely!  The ginger flavoured almost syrup-like gravy from the stew is something that I would always remember for the rest of my life.  It was so delicious that it is so hard to describe.

There were also times that we hear people using dynamite to blow up a swarm of fish of the water.  Thank goodness, it became illegal to use dynamite but now and again you hear news.

In God’s honest truth, the fish we ate in Marag was the best I have ever tasted.  Of course the fish in Manila were also good but the Marag ones are best.  It is so fresh.  From the river into a pot. The fish is so fat and so good.    I think they were called ludong or lobed river mullet.  They were plentiful in Amianan (northen) river. If you have eaten this fish, then you are lucky to have to  cross out from your bucket list of things to eat while alive.

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