Manila weather nowadays can turn wet faster than you can dry your umbrella. And it’s not just rain anymore. For weeks now, the country has received the brunt of typhoon landfalls and LPA’s (low pressure areas). In other words, the sun could be shining one minute and then rain plus strong winds could hit the next.
Fortunately, Filipino cuisine has the perfect dish to help one cope with wet and gloomy days. We call it sinigang. But for the rest of the world, it’s fish or meat added with vegetables and stewed in sour broth. Typically, tamarind and miso are the souring agents of choice. But guava, bilimbi (kamias) and even sour apple (santol) can be used to add that acetic flavor in the soup.
Whenever I want fish sinigang on a budget, I go to this unpretentious outlet called Sizzling Seafoods and Ihaw-Ihaw. It’s not really a standalone dining place. Quite on the contrary, I don’t think it has a sit-down restaurant of its own, well at least not that I know of. This sinigang shop can be found in mall food courts. So in a way, it’s present in almost all major locations in the metro.
Today, I’m having piping hot fish head sinigang to fend off this creeping cold before it even makes me sniff and sneeze. There are two options for fish head sinigang – salmon or maya-maya (emperor snapper). I picked the latter. I like maya-maya head because it has tender meat at the cheek and big fatty eye to boot. It also doesn’t have the strong fishy odor and taste of salmon head.
Fish head sinigang is not exactly a groundbreaking pinoy dish. But it sure gives many a Filipino something to smile about even on a dark, rainy lunch hour such as this. Just don’t forget the patis (fish sauce) and sili (bird’s eye chili).
In Makati CBD, Seafood Sinigang and Ihaw-Ihaw outlets can be found at the food courts in Glorietta 4 and Landmark.