Food for Thought

April 7, 2018
Around The Philippines In 12 Plates

Region V (Bicol): Ginataang Santol


Image by FroyAgta from / (CC BY-SA 4.0)


For the adventurous foodie with an infatuation for spicy food, head south. Every Filipino has done it before – enjoying sour fruit savory, with some chili salt or bagoong. Love santol but never had it as a main dish? Then Bicol is your go-to destination.

Plan your next getaway there and you will be served just that for your next meal – Ginataang Santol. It’s the must-try ginataan dish that you need to sample to believe the flexibility of fruit and the resourcefulness of people.

Prepared much like its langka counterpart, the cotton fruit or santol is minced and cooked in coconut cream, chilies, and balaw (the bicolano’s version of bagoong) for a long period of time. Due to the abundance of coconuts in the region, the residents decided to utilize and optimize every use of it, especially its cream – they practically cook everything in it.

Fruits are no exception to that, and who could blame them for wanting to coat everything in that velvety, savory-sweet cream mixed with just enough heat to have you clamoring for seconds. So be sure to pack your own servings of steaming hot extra rice because you’ll need it after your first bite.