Cycle 5 – Item 116
1 (Thu) May 2014
in my apartment
-Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines-
Passing through the supermarket, I was inspired by the sight of enormous whole tiger prawns. Then, looking for some supporting veg and discovering that fresh basil is very cheap here – just 30 pesos (about USD 0.75) for a jumbo pack, which would cost nearly ten times as much in Korea for a similar amount – I decided to make Spaghetti Dominico (see most recently 2.341 Spaghetti Dominico Redux), this time with my preferred linguine. I was quite excited, and confident, because it’d be the first “normal” by-me/at-home meal, something that I’d cook on any day of the week back in Seoul, that I’d attempt here in Manila.
Foodwise, I seem to be spending the same amount of money in the Philippines as I do in Korea, even though Korea is a vastly more expensive place to live in general.
For one thing, I’ve been buying a lot imported products. Not that I like imported products per se, but rather that I’m still relying largely on what I know while cautiously trying out the local brands, a few at a time.
Same goes for restaurants.
And the types of fresh food that I purchase, like prawns, 880 PHP/kg (about 2000 KRW/100g or 9 USD/lb, which seem like a bargain to me, but local varieties of fish can go for as low as 50 PHP/kg.
Alas, the dish didn’t turn out so great. The main culprit was the basil, which looked and smelled perfectly normal, so I hadn’t bothered to taste it in advance, but the flavor exploded and intensified during the cooking process, and I’d used a lot because I had so much, leaving the sauce bitter. And the prawns – and I never imagined that I’d ever say this – were too big, at least for this dish. The brown mushrooms were a wise addition – shrimp and mushroom now one of my favorite combos – and should henceforth be an essential component of the Dominico.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)