Gata: Fla­vors of Bi­colan­dia

Co­conut Cream and Spice and Ev­ery­thing Nice

Let’s Eat - - NEWS - WORDS BY SPANKY HIZON ENRQUEZ

It’s called “Kakang Gata”, the first press­ing, the first squeeze of the shred­ded co­conut meat that yields the thick­est cream. When used as an in­gre­di­ent, the re­sult­ing dish is al­most deca­dent in its rich­ness, and in Bi­col, when the gata is com­bined with more than a lit­tle heat from sil­ing labuyo? Then we have some of the most ir­re­sistible, in­tensely and in­sanely de­li­cious, ex­tra-rice-re­quired dishes in the coun­try.

But here’s the rub. It’s much eas­ier to look for a restau­rant that spe­cial­izes in Ital­ian or Korean food, than to find one that spe­cial­izes in the cui­sine of Al­bay, Ca­marines Sur and Norte, Mas­bate, Catan­d­u­anes, and Sor­so­gon. It’s odd how such won­der­fully fla­vor­ful food has yet to gain a se­cure foothold in Metro Manila. There’s a smat­ter­ing of tiny restau­rants, in Makati and Man­daluy­ong, holes in the wall, re­ally, that serve ex­cel­lent Bi­colano fare, but that’s about it in that part of Metro Manila. I have a list of sukis in the “jol­li­jeeps” of Le­gaspi and Sal­cedo Vil­lages that reg­u­larly of­fer a le­git laing or an au­then­tic stingray spe­cialty, ki­n­unot na pagi. And ev­ery cou­ple of years, to get my most com­plete food fix, I take a va­ca­tion Polan­gui, Al­bay. In the home of one of my best friends, Dr. Elmo Isip, it’s a non-stop

PHO­TOS BY GABBY CANTERO

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04 1 Laing2 Bi­col Ex­press3 Adobong Bi­colano Liempo4 Honey Glazed Bi­col Dang­git5 In­te­ri­ors6 Si­nan­tol with Kamote Chips

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