Baler, Aurora is said to be the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines. But more than surfing, this town has a rich history, as it is also the birthplace of the “Father of the Republic of the Philippines” and rich local flavors.
Who knew they got red rice, which I like than the variety from the Cordilleras. And a lot of fermented goodness, like pineapple vinegar, banana vinegar, and bugnay vinegar. Plus the freshest seafood. Baler definitely has interesting flavors that are actually overlooked by locals. Sadly, this kind of practice is rampant in most parts of our country. Food is definitely one of the undervalued assets of the Philippines. But sometimes, all you have to do is to reintroduce a simple dish using all these ingredients for them to realize a tasteful plate their backyard finds can produce.
Now, here’s a simple poke bowl recipe by chef Grai Alvar highlighting Baler’s local finds.
Recipe Yield: 3-4 people
1 cup white rice
1 cup organic Aurora red rice
2 cups water
3-4 tbsp banana vinegar
1. Wash rice and put in a pot over medium heat.
2. Add water and let it cook till moisture is absorbed.
3. Add 3-4tbsp vinegar and mix.
Kamote Tops and Pako Salad
1 bundle kamote tops
1 bundle pako
1⁄4 cup bagoong liquid
3pcs red onions, caramelized
1 huge bowl of ice with water
1. Blanch pako and kamote tops for 8-15 seconds in boiling water and immediately put in an ice bath for a few seconds and drain.
2. Mix in pako, kamote tops and bagoong liquid.
3. Topped with caramelized onions.
500g filleted local salmon, sliced into cubes, washed
200ml coconut milk
1⁄4 cup sesame oil
8-10pcs fresh dalandan, squeezed
1pc mango, cubed
1. Put fish and dalandan juice in a bowl and mix, add everything else and mix.