Category Archives: Foods & Drinks

Sitsarong Kibit

Sitsarong kibit is my favorite local snack and pulutan. It comes in bite-size pieces and more delicious and healthy than the regular sitsarong baboy. I predict that its popularity with the locals as well as tourists will cause the extinction of Kibit in the area. The kibit supply in the Baler area are now in decline and most of the poor mollusks are now imported from the northern towns of Casiguran, Dinalungan and Dilasag.

Kibit is the local term for the chiton, a saltwater mollusk. Here’s more detail from the Marine Discovery Center website of the Woodbridge District High School of Australia: “Chitons are found very commonly on the local foreshore. These are a type of sea snail with eight parts to the shell, hence often called Eight Part Shells. They look a bit like a slater, with the muscular foot underneath tightly gripping the rocks. This makes picking them up VERY difficult. Chitons use a radula (which is stronger than your average kitchen knife) to scrape encrusting plants and animals off the rocks.”

The chiton picture and description can be found here.

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Poppo Olag's Garden

Believe it or not, these plants are in the USA. Every summer, Poppo Olag who lives in the suburbs of Washinton D.C. embarks on a gardening project that turns his backyard into a Suklayin farm look-alike. So if you live near the place and suddenly feels the urge to eat sinigang sa adwas or tinutung gabi, you know who to contact.

These are his adwas. Planted on giant pots so that Poppo can move them to the garage when winter sets in.

His kutikuts.

Hmm, the gabis are ready for a dish of tinutu, or pinangat, or just plain binagoongan with adwas.

With his ampalayas. He also has sitaw and upo. Next time he will try kidya, kabulaw and kabatiti.

Katid

While we’re still in kinunut mode, here’s anothe Baler delicacy – Katid. According to Poppo Olag, this edible worm is called “shipworm” in English. It looks like an albino earthworm that oozes milk-like secretions. Baler’s eternal Best Pulutan are mostly found on tree trunks and branches submerged under freshwater rivers. They say that the taste depends on the the type of wood where they were taken. I have never tasted a katid in my life but there were times that I was almost tempted to sample one just for research purposes. Belinda Bright, the whitest sext star in Philippine showbiz gulped a 4-incher during an Extra Challege shoot in Baler (then still known as Extra Extra). It is easier to prepare than a kinunut. Just put them raw in a bowl including their whitish secretions, squeeze in some kidya and add some siling kutikut and you have a katid special. Pwera Katid!

Kinunut

“Kinunut” is the Balerians way of turning grilled fish into a soup. It’s been years since i sampled some and the mere sight of this picture makes me want to go to the market and buy some atulay and kidya to make myself a bowlful. It’s easy to prepare even a kindergarten student can do it. Step 1: Get some fresh atulay, buraw, banak or any medium-sized freshwater or saltwater fish. Even galungong is fair game for kinunut. Other ingridients are kidya or kalamansi, asin, vetsin, five or more pieces of siling kutikut (if you like your soup to be extra hot) and boiling water (some say water boiled with a mossy stone from Dibalo is the best). Step 2: Grill the fish on charcoal. When it is cooked, prepare a bowl of hot water, squeeze-in some kidya, put some salt and vetsin and the siling kutikut. Then dunk in the grilled fish. Let the soup seep in the fish for a while. Step 3: Chow down with a newly cooked rice or sinangag.

Photo by Olin.