Tuesday, October 16, 2012

seafood wonderland

For me, the happiest place in Puerto Princesa City is the public market. Specifically the fish section, where I saw almost every edible species that I could think of. Big fish for hotels and restaurants, or small fish for simple households-- there was something for everyone!

Besides fishies, there were other marine critters as well.

But the best thing I found? Well, near the shellfish and seaweed stations...

Tilik or sea urchin, still alive and kicking!

The gracious fishmonger grabbed one from the pile with her bare hand and chopped off its "lid". I ate the delicately sweet roe (actually, its gonads) while its spines were still waving around.

If we didn't have to fly back to Manila in a few hours, I would have stood in front of that stall and eaten the entire pile of sea urchin.

There was some other stuff I was dying to try, like the needlenose fish which my grandmother used to cook a lot in the 1970s but are so rare nowadays, and the golden tuna egg sacs that any Japanese or Chinese chef would be proud to serve in his restaurant-- and charge a fortune, I'm sure.

I had not seen this much variety of fresh seafood under one roof since I was a child. And so cheap! For example: a plate of newly-caught assorted fish, enough to feed a family of four for a day, only 40 pesos (less than US$1).

An inexpensive and expansive food supply is just one of the many reasons why I think Puerto Princesa is the most livable city in the Philippines. More to come, stay tuned.


  1. Great pictures, I was particularly intrigued by your description of the sea urchin, I have always wanted to try this seafood delicacy; last year I tried sea urchin soup at Reflexions restaurant in Bangkok and the flavour was amazing.

  2. you mean you've never had RAW sea urchin? poor you! :-) i suppose you can try some at your neighborhood sushi joint or a fancy french place like http://dbmemoirs.blogspot.com/2012/08/food-porn-robuchon-au-dome.html, but alive and kicking, still squirming and dripping with sea water is the best! we'll go to the market when you get here.