Bush Tucker, Manobo-Style


The Ata Manobos of Barangay Tapak, in the Paquibato District, treated us to a feast of traditional foods, most of them harvested from the wild. Clockwise from bottom left: rice cooked in bamboo; raw upland rice; camotes for cooking in bamboo with coconut milk; bakbak, smoked bullfrogs; and finally kumang, succulent freshwater crabs.


Our ingredients: freshwater minnows, po’it, kumang crablets, and in the background some kind of bud called apusow. They taste like a blend of okra and jackfruit pulp, with a lightly floral aroma. Wifey and I really liked them. Unfortunately for us apusow isn’t available in any market, as only the Manobos harvest them. The Manobos consider them a festive food because the apusow plant comes into bloom at the same time the rice harvest is ready.


The Manobos also have their own version of chicken cooked in bamboo. This version uses no coconut milk or turmeric, but adds a lot more ginger, and has almost no broth when done. I can imagine the amount of ginger here makes a very good defense against catching colds in the chill mountain nights!


2 thoughts on “Bush Tucker, Manobo-Style

  1. Thanks Mike! Stay tuned, if I hear about tours/accommodations for travelers in these areas I’ll blog about them. Culinary tourism is a big but unexplored possibility here.

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