Labtingaw!

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Eversince Typhoon Yolanda ravaged and destroyed our beach house in Cambalading, Albuera, Leyte and was restored to it’a former glory almost a year after, I always spend my Sundays there. We would come late in the afternoon, go to the mercado at Albuera town proper. Albuera is quite a sleepy coastal town mostly comprised of fishing villages like Brgy. Balugo.

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They enjoy fresh catches from censoros
, balingan, local small time mananagats, and what have you. So you expect their mercado quite teeming with the freshest catch. At times we also go straight to an area commonly known as Kayag-ang where at the roadside you will find a group of vendors selling the freshest catch from the nearby local fish ports and mananagats; mostly the prices here are trivial.

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Because of maybe, surplus in their daily catch and not much demand, they turn some of their fish to other products like buwad (salted dried fish)  and for those afraid of the high sodium content of the dried fish they also make labtingaw it is fish sliced padas style or slit and slice on the dorsal upto the belly part but not all the way through. Unlike buwad where they are slated rather heavily, labtingaw  is just passed through a salty brine and dried for just a couple of hours under a hot, dry sun. They say that once it gets rained on – it becomes itchy when eaten.

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The resulting fish is still a little moist compared to it’s fibrous cousin the buwad. It is also a little meaty, a little briny with hints of the taste of the sea and when flash fried in a little oil and then dipped in native vinegar with chilis and crushed garlic and then paired with rice – NIRVANA!

So packing, covering and sealing our stuff at he beach house in Cambalading, I drove a few minutes more to the public market and snatched the few groups (labtingaw is sold by the pundok) of labtingaws left at my suki’s stall, for just a couple hundred peso – a steal actually if you compare it to the prices of not-so-good labtingaw in the city market. I just have to have my labtingaw fix especially that I’m pretty sure Sunday won’t be a good time to come to the besch house what with TS Ruby tormenting us on thay day. Plus I also want to pair this with some champorado (chocolate porridge) during the coming rainy days once the bagyo enters the Philippine area of responsibility. This is also good since my lola won’t be consuming high salt buwad content with her champorado. It was our dinner’s bestseller earlier tonight.

I am contemplating on recreatong and making my own labtingaw using maybe tamarong or hasa-hasa once I chance that they are plentiful in the market.

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