Pork Belly Cooked with Salted Shrimps
The word ‘bagoong‘ [ba-gu-ong] means the fermentation process of either fish or shrimps. Mainly for fish the by product fermentation process is called ‘patis‘ [pa-tis]. Filipinos uses many fish to ferment like anchovies, herring or perch as well as tiny shrimps. Bagoong is determined by which type with what word that comes after. For example ‘bagoong na isda’, the word ‘isda’ [es-da] meaning fish in Filipino and ‘bagoong na alamang’, the word ‘alamang’ [ah-la-mang] meaning shrimps.
Bagoong is widely used as salty ingredients in many Filipino dishes and it also use as part of delicious concoction of condiments too. One of my favourite is bagoong na isda with kalamansi and chopped chillies. This went really well with one of my favourite snack as a child. I used to visit one of our neighbor and purpose arrive on time when its ready to eat their freshly boiled unripe ‘saba’ (a type of banana like plantain). I would make up an excuse why I’m there, as typical Filipino goes, they offer their food to me and I would join them! Haha! I take one banana, peel it while it’s piping hot, dip it into the bagoong and eat it while it’s hot. When I get a banana that it slightly ripe, I feel like hit a jackpot! The unripe banana is quite plain so when you get one that is slightly ripe, you can taste a slight sweetness plus when you dip it into the bagoong, you can taste salty and sour. All those flavours mingling together creates an UNAMI explosion in your mouth. It’s prbably not everyones taste but those were great memories and food. After we have eaten, in return I would help them clean and wash the dishes so I guess there was a trade there and everyone was happy!
Binagoongang Baboy is a classic recipe that has always been a Filipino dish. We have many dishes that are borrowed from countries that colonised Philippines or neighboring countries but we have many that our own and this is one of them.
Where can I get bagoong?
For this dish I used one that is not already sauteed or cooked because I didn’t want to compromise the taste of the dish. I bought this jar of bagoong from Chinatown or you can also get them from any Filipino grocery shop. There is no particular brand but Buenas seem to be the popular brand that they stock. I haven’t tried other countries fermented shrimps yet but I guess if you already have those in your cupboard you can give it a go and let me know how it went.
Can I use other parts of the pork?
Yes, you can use pork shoulder but I haven’t tried using other boney parts of the pork yet. The best thing about Filipino food is that it’s so diverse.
Can I use other meat?
Other than pork, I only tried it with chicken and also it went very well with mixed vegetables.
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