Monday, August 14, 2006

Food for thought

stuffing squid

I know this probably looks gross to many other people out there, and not the least bit appetizing. But I could actually feel my salivary glands going into overdrive when I was doing this early yesterday: stuffing several large-ish squid with diced onions and tomatoes.

ulingThe next step thing to do was to get a good, hot charcoal/coconut husk fire going. Once the coals were glowing brightly red-orange underneath a layer of thin ash, it was time to put the squid on the grill.

inihaw na pusit
The aroma of squid being cooked on a barbecue grill is really something else. To me, it's reminiscent of summer... of trips to the beaches, pools, and other places -- where it seems as if every family and their neighbor and their neighbor's dog is grilling something: squid, pork, beef, chicken, fish, eggplant, among others. And what's great is that these barbecued dishes are shared among everyone; each person gets a bit of this and a slice of that and a slab of this, until everyone is as full to bursting as the one next to him or her. What fun memories some aromas can evoke!

To someone who is not accustomed to eating Filipino or other Asian cuisine, the idea of grilled squid might seem repugnant (it kind of looks like a giant insect being cooked, somebody said a long time ago; and it's true from her perspective, I suppose). But then again, I think every nation has unique dishes that people from other countries will find repulsive. I myself do not find some of my own country's specialties to my liking at all, like dinuguan (pork blood stew) and balut (boiled duckling egg...eeww, eeww, eewww), both of which are consumed in mass quantities here in the Philippines. It's a matter of personal taste, I guess. These two dishes just push my squeamishness button big time.

Some people might find that haggis in Scotland, roasted guinea pig in Peru, frogs' legs in France, and raw fish in Japan -- and countless others all over the world -- are just a tad too exotic for their taste (I, however, love sushi) and have a limit when it comes to pushing the culinary adventure envelope. That's fine; like I said earlier, it's a matter of personal preference. Nobody should have to eat anything he or she doesn't want to. If odd food like goat stew, fried bugs, or pickled herring causes you to experience the gastronomic equivalent of an orgasm, it's nobody else's business but your own. :-)

I can still taste my grilled squid, though.


Jessica said...

wow...i am a really picky eater and there is no way that i would be brave enough to taste this...but who knows i might like it.

Lizza said...

Haha, Jessica!

I think I can try anything once...well, almost anything. :-)

Photo Cache said...

that is simply yummy looking. i personally have not had a stuffed grilled squid, i had it baked, but this looks great really, i might try it one time.

Lizza said...

Hi Photo,
Make sure you marinate the squid about an hour or so in patis, soy sauce, and calamansi juice for an hour or so before you stuff them. Then rub a bit of salt on them before grilling. :-)

Yes, they were quite yummy. I brought them to a family lunch gathering; not one tentacle from the entire lot of four biggish squid remained uneaten. Haha!

Photo Cache said...

yum, i have a bbq double date this weekend, might consider this as my contribution. thanks :=)

Mike said...

heehee talking about different tastes in food made me think of a Simpsons episode where Homer is in NYC and is dying of thirst: somehow or other he is buying something to drink at a street-vending cart, and the vendor says the only drinks he has for sale are Mountain Dew and crab juice, so Homer say "Ewwwwwww!!! That's disgusting! Give me the crab juice!" lol Isn't squid the same thing as calamari? Never had either, but I'm more of a beef eater myself.

Lizza said...

Haha, Mike!
Homer is quite a character. Weird guy, but his heart's in the right place. There are some videos over at YouTube where the whole cast of the Simpsons get together onstage and do all their voices. Hilarious!

Yes, calamari = squid. It's pretty good, but it has to be cooked just right; if it's overcooked, it becomes tough and rubbery to chew.

I like beef too. Make mine well done (I can't stand pinkish liquid dripping out of my steak, lol).

Justin said...

Ahhh!!! I love squid!

I definitely want to try that!

More Cowbell

Dani said...

balut; boiled duckling egg--Yum yum yum! ;P

Lizza said...

Try it, Justin! It's lip-smackin' gooooood...

Hi Dani!
Thanks for stopping by. Do you have balut there in the UAE? The only thing I like about balut is the soup, which penoy doesn't have. Forgot to add another popular Filipino (Falapeno? lol) specialty that grosses me out: isaw! ewwww

Sony said...

When I lived in Los Angeles, my coworker used to eat balut at his desk.

Yeah... not appetizing.

He said it was an aphrodisiac -- why is it things like balut and oysters fall into that category? Why can't it be chocolate malts?

Corky said...

Balut! Dinuguan! Oh boy, you've gotten me hungry.

I imagine you avoid Pateros like the plague - its Balut Country!

The many facets of Lizza... you cook too!

Every male from Angeles City is required to know how to cook. It being my home province, I was forced at gunpoint (kidding).

I imagine you'd run from Angeles also. Frogs legs, turtle eggs, bayawak eggs (monitor lizard), adobong tipaklong (grasshopper), camaro (fried beetle), live baby sawa (reticulated python), etc. are all specialties.

Plus tocino! (sorry no translation).

Have you tried our sisig? (made of barbecued pig's ears, liver, onion & garlic) The best in the world!

Okay. Am going home now. I'm too hungry... :D

Lizza said...

Double jeopardy. If yummy things like chocolate malts were aphrodisiacs, we'd run the risk of not only STD's and unwanted pregnancy, but also weight gain, too! :-D

I lived in Angeles City for 2 years. One of the things I remember from my weekly sojourn at the Pampang market was the sight of frogs tied to a stick being hawked by the vendors (they said it was for a dish like tinola). Eww, eww, eeewww!!!

I do love the tocino in Angeles, though. And the sisig at that place near the railroad tracks (I forget the name of the place). And the large servings of dishes at Rumpa there. But I never did learn to speak Pampango. :-D

Corky said...


2 years? Wow, thats interesting.

The frogs you mentioned are green field frogs harvested from rice/sugarcane fields. They're cleaner than the usual variety. I heard that some folk actually culture them (but I've not seen any evidence of this). I'm not very fond of them myself.

The railroad tracks area that you mentioned is generally called "Riles". The most famous of all the shops there is "Lucing's".

Rumpa is still around & serving large servings for an incredibly cheap price.

Morgen said...

I've tried calimari before, so I'd actually be interested in your stuffed, grilled squid!
Your post makes our deep fried pickles pale in comparison!

Lizza said...

LOL! Deep fried pickles?!? Please tell me you're pulling my leg. I've heard of deep fried okra, deep fried eggplant...but pickles?