What is your favorite Filipino hometown food? Food and recipes that is only available in your hometown that you miss most? In my hometown, there’s kare kare sa dugo, adobo sa dilaw, ginataang sikad sikad, mulawin berries. And a whole lot more.
But this is what I miss the most. This is a simple and delicious Filipino food that you can’t find in most other Philippine provinces or cities. In the province of Marinduque is this most wonderful seafood that I can’t find in the markets of Manila. Balakwit is a type of edible seashell (or mollusk) that can only be reliably found in the Southern Tagalog (Quezon, Mindoro, and Batangas) and Palawan. It is a big brother to Sikad, or sikad-sikad, which is a kind of seashell that is more common and easier to find. There is not much difference between balakwit and sikad except that balakwit is bigger.
In the olden days (haha) balakwit (or the sikad) used to be sold and measured in those old Caltex “tabo” but now they’re costlier and being sold per kilo! You see old women carrying pails of sikad walking and shouting Sikad Sikad much like the Irish Molly Malone song selling “cockles and mussels alive alive’ o”.
For those who have not yet tasted this seafood recipe, I can only describe the meat of sikad as sweet and chewy. You don’t exactly eat the seashell but rather, the little animals (mollusks) that live inside it, maybe a cousin of snails or coconut crabs? The seashells are usually cooked with coconut milk and sometimes, as in this case, plain niluyahan soup (cooked in ginger). It’s a soup that smells and tastes like the sea.
Niluyahang Balakwit (Seashell Soup Cooked in Ginger)
- A knob of Ginger
- Sitaw (String Beans)
- 1 kilo Balakwit Seashells (cleaned)
- Clean seashells by putting putting 1 tbsp salt and leaving it for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, massage the shells roughly to clean it and rinse quickly in running water. (at this point, they are still alive and leaving them in regular water will kill them and you would not have a very good soup.
- Saute ginger in oil, add string beans and continue sauteing until string beans has changed color.
- Add 2 cups of water and let boil. Season with salt.
- While boiling, add the sea shells. Allow to reach boiling point again, mix, then quickly turn off heat once bubbling. (or else the meat will be very hard to pry out of the shell)
- Serve with pins for prying out the sea shell meat. Enjoy!
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The Pinay Mommy Blog
Relax Lang Mom is an everyday foodie blog for the busy Pinay mom.
My name is April. I'm a raketera mom, always busy with something and I blog about the quick, the easy, the simple. I'm here to help you relax and save your sanity!
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I’m just a regular mom like you. And like you, I know, being a mom, everyday is a battle. And it’s not a job for the weary. With this blog, I want to reach out to all the moms out there, who, inundated by the perfect mom of ads, magazines, and social media, try to be all things and ends up depleted, exhausted, unhappy, depressed.
In the search of being a perfect mom, we miss the fun of watching our kids grow, leaving our marriage and relationships unattended.
And everything becomes an unending list to check off. We produce picture perfect homes, gleamingly clean kitchen, Instagram worthy food that we forget to celebrate little successes like finally cleaning that window you’ve been meaning to clean this whole summer, or getting your husband to fix the dripping sink, or your son fixing his bed on his own without nagging.
So yes, let’s all leave that perfect mom idea behind.Learn more
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