Archive for the ‘Filipino Restaurants’ Category

Tikod amo: A bite of a monkey’s heel

IMG_0123IT’S usually monkeys who bite people, but if you go to Surigao del Sur, you have a chance to bite a monkey—and right on its heel too.

However is not what you think. Visit Erve’s Fastfood in Lianga, Surigao del Sur and try a rare and exotic dish that has drawn thousands of visitors from different parts of the world to try it.

It was the first day of  our three-day trip to the province of Surigao del Sur and Erve’s Fastfood was our first stop for a very late breakfast.

As expected, a rich seafood feast was set for us on a long table. When we say seafood and you are in Surigao del Sur, think of the biggest crabs, lobsters, prawns, shrimps, slipper crabs, fish, seaweeds and an abundance of the rich marine treasures that only Surigao del Sur can dish out, but there was more to the feast.

At another table were two pairs of rough and spiny shells that Erve’s Fastfood owner Ivy Doguiles have set up, propped with a piece of glass to hold the covering shells in place. It was called Tikod amo, the local dialect term which literally means monkey’s heel is an edible rock oyster found in the deep waters of LianggaBay in Barobo Surigao del Sur. She said it is named Tikud amo because it closely resembles the ankle of an ape.

You cannot see Tikod amo displayed at the shelves or at the fastfood’s daily menu because they are not that easy to get. Doguiles said they are only served to a lucky few people and divers oftentimes go up empty handed because of the dwindling supply of Tikod amo.IMG_0133

Doguiles said it is also believed to be an aphrodisiac, which made the product all the more in demand.

I did not try the raw meat of the Tikod amo she prepared plain for us, but I nibbled on a small piece of the adobo version just to try..

To collect a kilo of Tikod amo meat, she said a diver has to dive at least more than five times and the task involves prying open the shell with a knife, collecting the meat inside and resurfacing before his lungs burst.

Doguiles said her grandfather Moises owned the fastfood which she inherited from her parents, and her grandpa had been preparing Tikod amo using their family recipe even before Tikud amo became popular, and very expensive, surpassing the price of all the other oyster meat available in the market.

Surigao del Sur is known as the “Shangri-La by the Pacific” for its famous attractions including the Britania Islands, Tinuy-an Falls, the ever famous Enchanted River, pristine beaches, caves, waterfalls, and other attractions both manmade and natural but don’t miss the chance to bite a monkey’s heel at Erve’s Fastfood. It might be your only chance before an ape bites you.

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Puto Maya and sikwate

  011 - Copy FOR six years, I’ve craved for puto maya and sikwate the way they cook and serve it at the public market in Bankerohan in Davao City, and the craving finally was satisfied one late night at the same place I used to have it before.*?

Puto Maya is one of the all-time Filipino favorite  delicacies made from malagkit or sweet, sticky rice soaked before being cooked with thick coconut milk and mashed roots of ginger. My favorite sidewalk restaurant used to serve it wrapped in banana leaves but banana leaves are becoming a precious commodity in the city and they now serve it on a small plate. I always dip each forkful in a bit of white sugar. Puto maya is something that you can’t have too much of, just a bit every now and then.

And who doesn’t know what sikwate or tsokolate is? It is that thick, rich hot beverage from tablea which comes out best boiled in a batirol, a cast metal shaped like an urn with a wooden stirring rod which you roll in your palms as the sikwate is boiling to get that rich consistency.

I always loved to watch the food server stirring the metal continuously with a wooden batirol, but this time, it was a teenager who served us and he did not stir the tablea the way it was supposed to be. There were no solid bits anyway and it was thick, and besides, I haven’t had a cup for over six years so I was not complainingDSC01721 - Copy.

You do not put too much sugar into the drink or you will lose the natural bitterness of the tablea.A bit of warning—if it is your first time to try tsokolate, be careful because the drink looks so cold in the cup but if you sip it, you might end up with a burned tongue. DSC01728 - Copy When I was a kid, there was this story of a man who sipped on a cup of tsokolate, not thinking that it was so hot. He tried to bear the scorching of his mouth bravely and when he saw that no one was looking, he spitted out the tsokolate right on a plant outside. The plant immediately withered and died right before his eyes.I believed that story as a kid but of course I learned later that was just to emphasize how deceivingly hot a cup of tsokolate is but I never learned that lesson. I still burned my tongue each time I drink tsokolate, and last week was no exemption.

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