Our friends from Dumaguete visited us last week. So, I decided to prepare viands that are easy to cook. Aside from Chicken Adobo, I also served them Sinigang na Baboy or Pork in a tamarind soup.
Sinigang is easy to cook and ingredients are readily available even in the supermarket. It can be enjoyed either at home or in a restaurant. It cooks fast too and best partnered with rice.
The ingredients are so easy: You can choose among pork, beef, fish, or shrimps as your main meat then add eggplants, water spinach (kang-kong), radish, finger pepper, string beans, tomato, and onions plus the soup base made from tamarinds (Sampaloc). Some use guavas, local lemons (kalamansi) and even raw or green mangoes. But the easiest way to make the sour soup base is to buy a ready mix pack made by food manufacturers at the local store or supermarket.
But while the Sinigang is a favorite in Luzon, it is not so popular in the Visayas. People who cook or order Sinigang in the Visayas are either hail from Luzon, have stayed in Luzon for a long time. People who grew up in the Visayas rarely eat this dish, though, according to my friend.
I asked my friend, who lives in Dumaguete, why and his answer was simple yet weird. According to him, it tastes sour (maasim in Tagalog, aslom in Visayan). Surprisingly, to Visayans, a sour tasting dish only means one thing: the dish is spoiled or pan-os in their language! My friend also added that Visayans don’t enjoy the fish sauce (patis) as much as Tagalogs do.
Moreover, he explains why dishes with the slightest taste of sourness is not popular in their area. Dishes like sweet and sour pork, tokwa’t baboy (tofu and pork), or anything with sour-y taste sauces isn’t welcome there.
Funny that a place an hour away by plane can be so different even in food preference.
I personally love Sinigang, so I can’t comprehend his explanation. What do you think about this? Share your thoughts below!