Narra, Palawan

I accompanied our host, Dan Roque, owner of Roque Resort, to the public market the other morning. Here’s what we bought.

Narra Public Market

The line above “Narra Public Market” translates to “Here is the freshest {offerings}.”

KAIMITO

Dan Roque buying Kaimito

A delicious fruit that is often overlooked, especially by visitors from temperate zones (since it’s only found in the tropics), is kaimito. It’s abundant (thus, inexpensive) and rich in Vitamin C. Also, “the fruits are delicious as a fresh dessert fruit; it is sweet and best served chilled. Infusions of the leaves have been used against diabetes and articular rheumatism. The fruit has anti-oxidant properties.” This morning, we spent all of 20 pesos (Php) for two kilos. That’s about 50 U.S. cents!

VEGETABLES

Buying Vegetables at the Narra Public Market

Buying potatoes

Dan Roque buying Radishes

SEAWEED

Lato is the Pilipino name for this edible, abundant (thus, inexpensive) seaweed. It should be washed thoroughly in order to remove its fishy taste. Our host made a delicious salad using lato, tomatoes, and radish (called “labanos” in Pilipino). The lato salad must be consumed in one sitting.

Lato & Seashells

The lato has already been segregated into portions. We bought the portion in the foreground for Php 25.

VENUS COMB MUREX

I was surprised at the variety and quantity of seashells that were harvested, sold, and obviously consumed for food.

Seashells for sale as food

Limpets

Here are some Venus Combs. We bought the shells shown for Php 15 (approximately 35 U.S. cents). To prepare, grill (or boil) them and then crack the shells to extract the mollusk. They make good pulutan. I found them less tough and rubbery than octopus.

Venus Comb

What’s pulutan? It’s a Pilipino term for finger food that goes especially well with beer. “Pulot” means so “pulutan” literally refers to something (in this case, food) that can be picked up. Here’s another definition.

Anyway, here’s how it looked being grilled and then being served with beer.

Venus Comb Murex

Grilling the Venus Combs with two Snappers

Venus Comb as Pulutan

That’s my hand holding the beer. My fingers were dripping with aligue (or crab fat). Though delicious (but that may be an acquired taste!), it’s loaded with cholesterol, at least according to this blogger.

OTHER SIGHTINGS

I was surprised at the meager amount of fish and crustaceans in the market.

Our host attributed it to the season. The Philippines experiences two prevailing wind patterns: amihan and habagat. Amihan runs from the east or northeast to the west. Habagat is the opposite; it comes from the southwest and heads to the east. Depending upon the town’s location, amihan brings feast or famine (in terms of seafood catches). Narra faces east so the prevailing amihan makes it difficult for fishermen to venture out and catch.

Balo for sale at the Narra, Palawan Public Market

As the photo indicates, whole Balo is Php 60 per kilo but when sold in cut portions, the asking price is Php 70 per kilo. Balo resembles a pike or gar. Balo is undoubtedly some type of a needlefish. My host warned me that it was “matinik” (literally, many thorns but in this case, it means that the fish has many big and small bones). Choking on fishbone can take the fun out of a tasty meal. By the way, a convenient and (frequently) effective solution is to swallow either a piece of banana or a ball of rice. Either is solid enough to dislodge most fish bones (or chicken bones).

The law of supply and demand is in plain sight in this most public of markets. We purchased the prawns shown below at the relatively expensive price of Php 350 a kilo (USD 3.50 a pound) but, according to our host, this was Php 100 more per kilo than when supplies were plentiful.

Prawns & Shrimps

Alimango (crab whose habitat is in muddy flats, like mangrove swamps)

Coral and Shallow-water Fish for sale at the Narra, Palawan Public Market

MEAT

We passed up on these:

Beef Offal

Beef Offal

According to Wikipedia, offal is a culinary term used to refer to the entrails and internal organs of a butchered animal. The word does not refer to a particular list of organs, but includes most internal organs other than muscles or bones. I prefer to avoid offal because internal organs (especially of land animals — note that I allow myself to make an exception with crabs!) have a high cholesterol content. Also, offal doesn’t keep well. It must be prepared as soon as possible. I don’t know how long ago the cow was slaughtered and this is the tropics and those offals (awful offals) were transported without refrigeration. Of course, some cuisines (French and Chinese come to mind) utilize offal creatively. While I salute that, I prefer something more straightforward. Like pork chops.

For dinner, we had pork chops.

Firing up the grill with coconut husks (that will be used as charcoal)

Our dinner of Pork before being grilled

Grilled Pork, well-done!

That beats offal, don’t you think?

TUK-O

Last night, the raucous cry of this colorful lizard, locally called “tuk-o” kept on waking me up. I don’t know the species’ name but its characteristic cry of “tuk-o” was enough for me. It’s a harmless little bugger that feeds on all kinds of insects, and that’s a good thing! If there’s anything that detracts from the paradise effect of the tropics, it has to be mosquitoes. Any animal that feeds on mosquitoes is a welcome friend.

Tuk-O

BUY AMERICAN!

Who says that America has lost its cachet? It lives on, at least as far as electrical panels are concerned.

Electrical Panel, "America" brand

Electrical Panel America inside

I’ve run out of time. I’m posting this from an Internet Cafe at my next stop: Brooke’s Point. I shall continue tomorrow.

58EARKY72MYZ

Good night!

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6 responses to “Narra, Palawan

  1. galing! nakakatawa mga post mo!

  2. very interesting. makes me want to rought it up in palawan. try to bring home some kaimito. they’re good when served cold.

  3. Sure, will do for the Kaimito.

  4. Fransel Alba-Lacandazo

    Just dropped by. Looking forward to your Brooke’s Point escapades! (Palawan Skunk pic in particular, yes?)

  5. Pingback: Tuko and Ms. Marawi Maranao | Retired? No way!

  6. Thank you for the information and the hard-work! More power to you!

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