Agriculture - - Try These! -

WITH MORE FILIPINOS dis­cov­er­ing carabeef dishes, the de­mand for the meat of the wa­ter buf­falo is in­creas­ing in lo­cal mar­kets and many Filipino restau­rants. Its ap­peal in­creases when peo­ple note that re­cent stud­ies have shown that buf­faloes are a bet­ter source of qual­ity meat than cat­tle due to their meat’s high palata­bil­ity, phys­io­chem­i­cal, and nu­tri­tional char­ac­ter­is­tics. It con­tains 40% less choles­terol and 55% less calo­ries than beef, while hav­ing 11% more pro­tein and 10% more min­er­als.

It has taken a long while for carabeef to be­come a top-of-mind meat for restau­ra­teurs and home cooks alike. But carabeef dishes have long been pop­u­lar across the coun­try. Here is a brief overview of pop­u­lar Filipino dishes made from carabeef and where one can find them:

Pi­gar-Pi­gar: This dish is so pop­u­lar in Dagupan City that it has its own fes­ti­val. Orig­i­nally cre­ated as part of the an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of Ban­gus Fes­ti­val, pi­gar-pi­gar is Dagupan City’s ver­sion of stir-fried beef, made of thin slices of carabaosea­soned with salt and pep­per, deep-fried, mixed with cooked cab­bage, and served with fried onion slices (and oc­ca­sion­ally, liver). The term “pi­gar-pi­gar” is Pan­gala­tok (the na­tive Pan­gasi­nan di­alect) for “turn­ing over” and this refers to con­stant turn­ing over of the meat strip­sas th­ese are be­ing sautéed in oil.

In Gal­van Street, near the pub­lic mar­ket, en­trepreneurs set up makeshift tents, ta­bles, and chairs at night to serve pi­garpi­gar. The street was the birth­place of Great Taste Pi­gar-Pi­gar Restau­rant, which was hailed on a tele­vi­sion net­workas one of the top ten restau­rants in Pan­gasi­nan. Now lo­cated on Gomez Street, it of­fers fine din­ing at a rea­son­able price, says owner Rom­mel Cerezo, adding that pi­gar-pi­gar or­ders are good for shar­ing. On reg­u­lar days, the restau­rant uses about 10 kilo­grams (kg) of carabao meat and up to 100 kilo­grams (kg) dur­ing spe­cial oc­ca­sions such as hol­i­days and the cel­e­bra­tion of the Ban­gus Fes­ti­val. “We usu­ally use the brisket, quar­ter, or rear flank since th­ese are the leaner meats of the wa­ter buf­falo, with less [fat],” says Cerezo.

At the restau­rant, the meat is cleaned by re­mov­ing the fat and lig­a­ments then thinly sliced. Cook­ing pi­gar-pi­gar takes 15 min­utes of deep-fry­ing over mod­er­ate heat, dur­ing which con­stant stir­ring is needed. The cab­bage and onion slices are added be­fore the meat is re­moved from the heat. The dish is then served with soy sauce, vine­gar, cala­mansi, and chili dips.

Cerezo plans to de­velop more carabeef dishes to add to his restau­rant’s ex­pand­ing menu. Cur­rently he main­tains three branches: at Gomez Street and Tam­bac, both in Dagupan City, and San Car­los City.

Batil Pa­tong: Tugue­garao is the cap­i­tal of the prov­ince of Ca­gayan, and a high­light of any trip there is a meal that in­cludes pancit batil pa­tong (also known as “pan­sit batil patung”).“Batil”

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