10 June 2013

Taal Longganisa: Among Batangas’ Best Kept Secrets

What I would do to satisfy a craving for food! Like take a 50-minute trip one way to the historic municipality of Taal for its famed longganisa and tapa, quickly pay the vendor and be back on the road for the return trip to hopefully have enough time to cook the longganisa for lunch.

To be honest, it has been a six-month long craving – or thereabouts. I was just being my old procrastinating self. But having recently gone to Baguio with what was practically a spur-of-the-moment trip, suddenly a much shorter trip to Taal did not seem to be such a whim.

For those not from these parts, longganisang Taal is probably among the province of Batangas’ best kept secrets. The taste is primarily garlic-based with black pepper and vinegar along with salt and sugar to balance things out.

The amount of garlic used is liberal to say the least. In fact, if you store it inside the fridge, everything else inside is in danger of acquiring the smell. To say that it is pungent is an understatement.


Thus, the distinct sweetness of the longganisang Taal is something that my palate does not quite agree with. I do eat it but never quite get the same sort of satisfaction that I get from the longganisa.
By and large, there is really little to choose from taste-wise between the longganisas of Taal and its more famous cousins from Vigan and Lucban. The latter, as most everyone knows, is famous for its distinctive red colour.

It is probably in size that one town’s longganisa is quickly recognisable from the others’. Likened because of the shape to the ultimate symbol of male virility (looks innocent), the one made in Vigan is the unborn’s; the one from Lucban a little boy’s; and the one made in Taal an adult’s in all its pride and glory.

Siempre pa, Batangueňo. Not hung. Mayabang. Smiley.

Perhaps the longganisa in Taal is also a tad sweeter; but only just. The predominant taste is still that of garlic.

Probably best for breakfast served with fried rice and egg sunny side up. That said, I am just as likely to have this for lunch or supper. It does not really matter what time of the day it is because the longganisa is quite excellent.

If the longganisa is so good, then the puzzle obviously is why it is arguably not as known as its cousins from Lucban and Vigan. I say arguably because, elsewhere, one is more likely to find the latter two as part of the menus of diners and restaurants.

The longganisang Taal is probably more difficult to find; and, in fact, I struggle to recall having eaten in a restaurant that serves it outside of Batangas.

Why this is so, I really have no answer. Albeit, one suspects that the formula remains a tightly guarded secret of families who make the longganisa in Taal.

This explains why I had to travel all the way from Lipa just to get my longganisa. Longganisang Taal is just not the same unless it is made in where else but Taal. Who knows? Maybe it’s the air.

While I also bought a kilo of tapang Taal, truth be told, I am not as fond of it as the longganisa. Just a matter of taste, I suppose; because I know a few people who are more fond of the tapa.

It is just that I grew up loving my Mom’s own tapa which she cured with soy sauce, garlic and black pepper and then hung out to dry for a day. The taste particularly of the pork strips’ fatty parts was just heavenly.

When I am not feeling lazy – which is seldom – in fact, I can do my Mom’s tapa on my own. The problem always is in the inclination.

Thus, the distinct sweetness of the tapang Taal is something that my palate does not quite agree with. I do eat it but never quite get the same sort of satisfaction that I get from the longganisa.

The curious thing here, those who know both will immediately wish to point out, is that the formula for both the longganisa and the tapa is basically the same.

Both the longganisa and the tapa go for PHP 250 a kilo. In my case, I have to add the 80-peso roundtrip fare to and from Taal.

Not that I really mind; and especially because I did get back home in time to cook some longganisa for lunch. With what else but fried egg and rice. What can I say?

Burp! (Do you smell the garlic?)











----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
RELATED STORIES:
That Garlicky Smell
The Tail