While I was in the Philippines, I did get one day off. My coworker and I decided to head over to the island of Bohol, and get a tour of the various local “things”. This started off with lunch on the Loboc River Floating Restaurant. It’s essentially a big boat with a Japanese guy with a guitar singing John Denver and Elvis songs while you slowly meander down a giant river eating local food. It was all pretty good, but the green mango with shrimp paste stole the show for me. Mangoes in the Philippines are nothing like mangoes in the United States. It’s like they’re not even the same fruit. They are *SO* much sweeter and so much better in the Philippines. In fact, Cebu is known for their dried mangoes (I brought some home for my wife. They were *gone* quicker than I could blink. They didn’t stand a chance.). The green mangoes are the very tart unripe mangoes. To contrast the tartness, they’re served with a very salty shrimp paste. The shrimp paste is… well, it’s pretty terrible.. but only if you use too much. If you use too little, you just get the mango taste – which is good – but if you get just the right amount of the shrimp paste and green mango, you’ve got something really special going. Mmmmm.
I had a jonesing for some Filipino food, but you’d be surprised how hard it is to find around here! There apparently used to be a place around 2nd and Chestnut in Philadelphia called “Cebu Philadelphia”, but it seems to have gone out of business. It looks like there’s one up in the Northeast, but that’s a pretty long hike. After a bit more digging, I found that there’s actually a Filipino restaurant not far from my house in Delaware. Who knew?