Mar 14, 2006

Arranque Adventure a.k.a. Something Fishy

I like going to Arranque Market (in Sta. Cruz, Manila), and we go there every Sunday when we can. I enjoy each trip because, as Bryant puts it, "It's like being in a Hong Kong Wet Market--only that you understand what people are saying!" :P

It's like being in a Hong Kong market because Arranque is a treasure trove of chinese vegetables, fresh fruits, herbs and spices and the fish varieties one doesn't find in town markets. Finding so many food items gets me excited with the kitchen possibilities. :P

Last Sunday, as usual, I bought a week's menu -- I bought Polonchay, watercress, spinach and Kai-Lan or Gai-Lan (Chinese Broccoli) and Wan Soy (Coriander). I also bought some tofu, tokwa, tausi and ngo-hiong (Five Spice) and chinese Fish Balls for Tom Yum or Fish Ball Soup, whichever I later fancy.

And as usual, we bought some 3 kilos of sweet, juicy, creamy caimito (star apple), my summer favorite.

Something Fishy

From the fish section we bought Espada, Dapa, some giant squid and a kilo of Halaan (Clams). As we waited while the fish was cleaned and sliced, I asked aloud "Ano sa English 'yung Espada? Swordfish?"

Mike answered, "Hindi. 'Yung Swordfish, matulis at mahaba ang nguso." (I was a fish ignoramus before I met Mike, familiar only with Bangus, Tilapia, Hasa-hasa, Salay-salay, Dalagang Bukid and the lowly galunggong. It was Mike who acquainted me with the bigger varieties-- Lapu-Lapu, Labahita, Talakitok, Tanigue... so on. So I had to take his word for the Swordfish thing.)

Yet his fish familiarity aside, we were at a loss for a translation for Espada and Dapa. Writing this blog I was tempted to say "we bought Quasi-Swordfish and some Get-Down." Tee-hee-hee. :P

Uncomfortable as I am with ignorance, I researched and found that Dapa is actually the local term for all fishes that are flat, but that there are 7 families of flatfishes, with over 540 separate species. (More info: Market Manila.) I learned later that what we bought is known in English as Indian Halibut.

Then as it turns out, Mike is right about the difference between Swordfish and Espada. Espada in English is Cutlass Fish (the silvery variety) and Black Scabbard (the black variety, predominant in Madeira islands, wherever that is... ) For our education I'm posting both pics -- the Swordfish at left, and the Cutlass, at right. :)

Anyhow, I made Halaan Soup for lunch (shellfish is best cooked fresh), and we had the Dapa/Halibut for dinner. Recipes follow. :)


Marketmanila said...

Some "get-down" - I love it...was snickering for a few seconds...