Adventure: Over Dinner
#1) Japanese food in the Philippines.
Biggest meal ever. Sashime, cow tongue, a HUGE hot pot with cabbage, carrots, crab, shrimp, mushrooms, fish stock, white fish, tofu, fish meatballs,… and it takes 3 rounds to eat it all. First, it’s a big soup with all of the goodies in it. Once all the veggies and such are eaten, noodles are added to the broth. Once all the noodles are eaten, rice, onions, and eggs are added. Incarnation #3 is my favorite!
#2) Locally grown foods in northern Luzon.
I’ve never eaten purple rice before. I’ve never *seen* purple rice before. It’s called Tinawon and is one of the native heirloom varieties grown in the rice terraces. Did I mention that it’s delicious? You can have any number of things served with the rice, but I enjoy it plain. For breakfast each morning, I have eggs from the chickens down the hill and locally grown & roasted coffee. With a strict diet of instant coffee in Manila, the freshly brewed Ifugao Midland Coffee felt like a gift. While perhaps not “grown” locally, sharing a couple of locally crafted San Miguel beers over some good post-hiking conversation is an absolutely ideal way to wrap up a day.
#3) Street vendors: just do it.
Commit to the experience and accept whatever condiments you’re offered. These aren’t corn-dogs and that’s not mustard, but you want to try it anyway. If you’re fortunate enough to be staying in a neighborhood (which I’d highly recommend), wander over to where other people are buying food. It’ll be tasty and sanitary-ish. Does it come with vinegar+onions+tomatoes? You just won the street vendor lottery.
#4) Dining in a waterfall: because, yes.
My first thought was, “this is a kitschy idea…” After a full day of wandering around in the 90-something degree heat, though, I stepped into the water. It’s not cold, but it whisks all of the heat away. Add rice, various meats, some plantains, and a refreshing beverage to the mix, and you just found the best seat in the house from which to watch young and old alike splash around in the water and laugh with each other. The hardest part is deciding when to leave.