27 July 2009


Grilling what are probably small bangus or milkfish in a Divisoria sidestreet.

Grilling, or to subject food to the great Filipino pastime of ihaw. Various skewered meats, marine animals large and small, sometimes small reptiles, and eggplants as side dishes (or ulam for vegetarians, e.g. myself). Grilling alone just isn't that much of a practical choice, so the smell of ihaw smoke makes me warm and fuzzy with thoughts about street life, eating with your hands, parties, community, those times when someone walks in then it's no problem and you just throw another one on.

And closeup.

I do appreciate that most people have their own personal recipe for marinade or sawsawan (dipping sauce). As in many cultures, men who are often, thanks to their own effort, far far away from the kitchen, may launch into a mini-sermon or two about the "right way" to grill things.

A more reinforced grilling thing in temperate Guetaria, Pais Vasco.

I like that the flavor from the wood, a direct source of cooking energy, is part of the meal. Upon the insistence of a Western, sustainable-minded host, I did try an electric grill once (not pictured anywhere on this post), and it was a strange experience. Atmospheric considerations, blah blah. If large corporations and industrial farms didn't emit so much junk into the air, no one would go pedantic on our wood-fried emissions and question our right to grill.

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