Food Trip: What to Eat in Romblon

Crabs in Coconut Milk
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What to Eat in Romblon

Romblon does not only boast its marble products, Cathedral, white beaches, and other instagrammable spots. They also have their own signature delicacies that you’ll want to ask for another set of.

The islands of Romblon has rich, fertile soil and fishing ground which gives them a variety of ingredients. Some of these can be eaten even raw or ala carte. Combining their homegrown raw ingredients into one delicacy gives you a different culinary experience.

So, here, I’ve listed six food products that I believe you should look for when you visit Romblon:

1. Sarsa

One of the local delicacies usually peddled on the streets of Romblon is this, Sarsa. It is traditionally made of large freshwater shrimp, red chili peppers, and coconut. These ingredients are mixed with garlic, ginger and whole peppercorn. By using a Lusong and Lomok (a wooden mortar and pestle) they pound this mixed ingredients. These will then be filled in inside a rolled coconut or banana leaf. They will appear like an enclosed cylindrical tube. They are cooked by boiling in coconut milk which also adds flavor to the dish. After 30 minutes of boiling, the Sarsa can be served.

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Sarsa
Sarsa –
Eat in Romblon

The appearance of the Sarsa may not say much but when you take a bite, that’s where the exciting part starts. You’ll get a delightful symphony of sweet and spicy flavors with the chewy texture from the coconut. You can eat it as is or you can partner it with rice. Sarsa is available in the wet market and restaurants. Just be cautious since it gets spoiled easily since it contains coconut.

2. Balichow na Gamus

Romblon has their own version of “bagoong.” For those who are not familiar with Bagoong, it is a traditional condiment in the Philippines. Basically, it is a salted and fermented fish or alamang (krill). In Romblon, the fermented krill is sauteed with coconut milk. The coconut milk added creamy flavor and nice aroma to the “bagoong.”

Balichow sa Gamus - Eat in Romblon
Balichow sa Gamus – Eat in Romblon

Balitsaw is sold in jars for P70 to P120. They may be sold in 3 variants: Hot and Spicy, Sweet and Regular. Either which you prefer, any can add great flavor to your dishes or fruits like green mangoes and langka (jackfruit).

3. Ginataang Langka

Like I’ve already mentioned, the Filipino word ‘langka’ refers to jackfruit. For this dish, the unripe jackfruit is used. ‘Ginataan,’ on the other hand, refers to any dish cooked with coconut milk. Coconut is among the top produce in the province of Romblon. So, coconut milk is often used in Romblon as one of the main ingredients in their dishes like this Ginataang Langka.

Ginataang Langka
Ginataang Langka

Aside from the unripe jackfruit and coconut milk, Ginataang Langka also has daing (salted and dried fish) and red chili peppers. The dish has a subtle bitter taste coming from Lumbay leaves, a rare leaf that may only be found in Indonesia and Philippines. Its contrasting layers of flavors and the meat texture of the langka plus the aroma from the coconut milk are just glorious especially when served with warm rice.

4. Tinnie’s Peanut Butter

The province of Romblon is known as a producer of peanuts and, thus, producer of peanut butter. If you’re thinking of pasalubong (take home) from Romblon, a jar of peanut butter should be on your list.

Peanut Butter from Romblon
Peanut Butter from Romblon

I’d recommend “Tinnie’s Peanut Butter” manufactured by Tinnie’s Food Products. Tinnie’s Food Products is a benchmark in manufacturing and distributing of Peanut Butter in Romblon. For around P65, you can already buy a 230g of their Peanut Butter.

5. Combi – Ginger and Turmeric

I suggest you buy the locally made Ginger and Turmeric Tea in Romblon if you like a pasalubong from Romblon that has various health benefits. Among others, this tea can give health benefits to your skin, stomach, sugar level, immune system, blood pressure, heart, and brain. It may also help you control your weight.

Combi - Ginger and Turmeric
Combi – Ginger and Turmeric

You can buy Ginger and Turmeric Tea powder from Romblon for more or less P115. I’d recommend Rovilla’s Combi (Ginger and Turmeric) which is made by Rovilla’s Food Manufacturing. This manufacturing company also sells Instant Ginger Tea and Turmeric Powder in separate jars.

6. Fresh Seafood

Crabs in Coconut Milk
Crabs in Coconut Milk
Spicy Tiger Prawns
Spicy Tiger Prawns

Most of the fresh seafood served in Boracay, one of the best beaches known in the Philippines, are from Romblon. Romblon is situated on a migratory path of different marine species. This makes the Romblon an ideal fishing ground. Don’t worry, local government and private sectors in collaboration with international organizations are working on projects that will ensure the monitoring and management of this fishing ground.

In Romblon, you can easily find many gourmet restaurants that offer fresh seafood. Many gourmet restaurants are owned by foreigners. So, they offer international dishes on their menu. It may be nicer if you could find a local diner which serves local delicacies of Romblon. Experiencing the local dishes of the place you’re visiting will help you get to know more about its produce, history, and people.

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