Tag Archives: lato

Eating the Philippines

17 Apr

Dish of kilawin na lato -- Filipino ceviche-style tuna with sea grapes

Kilawin na lato: ceviche-style tuna with sea-grapes

Much to both of our surprise, Z and I last night enjoyed a healthy Filipino meal. And discovered the most amazing seaweed: lato.

A type of Caulerpa which sprouts succulent, grapey, bubbles in long tendrils like fresh green peppercorns, lato has all the translucent gorgeousness of fresh salmon roe. And it’s probably the closest a vegetarian will ever get to caviar. Even better than the Mekong riverweed, served nori-style, that we ate in Luang Prabang.

Even before you get onto the fast food trail, so many iconic Filipino dishes are just plain wrong. Take halo halo. This is a “fruit” salad, made with chunks of jelly and tapioca pearls, mixed with shaved ice, ice-cream, puffed rice, soy beans and oodles of condensed milk.

Or knockout knuckle (pata), Pampanga style. An entire pig’s leg, slow-cooked until the crackling is crispy and the meat below is succulent, fatty, deep red and falling off the bone, topped with crispy, deep-fried garlic. We ate this — along with soft-shell crabs tempura style — at Bistro Remedios in Manila, and my arteries are hardening just thinking about it. Continue reading