The Town of Oas, Part 3 of 6

“Masiram” is the local’s word for delicious. And when it comes to food, this town doesn’t run out of must-eats, from pasta to pastries to veggies and meat. Oas does not have high-end restaurants where you can experience its unique cuisine. Sure, you can go to the public market, check a line of karinderia and eat with the locals. But, remember, your visit is a homecoming. And, as always, there’s no place like home. So here’s what to do: surprise a friend or a relative and head straight to their kitchen.

Oasnuns love natuk or coconut milk. Everything–pork, poultry, seafood, vegetable–can be cooked in cocounut milk. Either they swim in rich white sauce or they shine deliciously in simmered coconut oil. Of course, every dish can also get that hot buddy the Bicolanos are known for, whole red chili. In Oasnun, lada.

So what food to try while in Oas? Here are some of my favorites.

1. LAING–Don’t just watch and eat. Ask your friend to let you experience the whole process. From picking the leaves at their backyard, peeling the stems, tearing the leaves, preparing the spices and cocounut milk, and of course, cooking the gabi leaves.

2. KURAKDING–This edible fungus which is harvested from trunks of trees (so far I have only seen it grow on trunks of mangoes, but can also be cultured) can be cooked in–as usual–coconut milk until it’s tender. Vegetables or pork can be added to enhance the taste. Of course, the dish will not be perfect without chili in the scene.


Clockwise from top-left: lima beans kown as “prekules” cooked with malunggay and tinapa in coconut oil; binasuso, a rice delicacy cooked in cone shaped banana leaves; ground crabs wrapped in gabi leaves; sweet and milky rice puto; ginataang santol

–This dish is a little weird. Yes, that sour santol fruit, take the meat and have it ground, add it to meat or dilis, and cook them in coconut milk with an overload of chili.

4. BEANS + MALUNGGAY–I love the perfect combination of malunggay + something cooked in coconut milk. Healthy and yum. Of course, in hot chili heavenly taste.

5. BINASUSO–Glutinous rice is ground, sifted, and combined with sugar and coconut. It’s placed in cone-shaped banana leaves and boiled to produce the sweet ricecake.

6. PUTONG BUGAS–This is another rice delicacy loved for its sweet milky taste. Ricecake is thinly cut into moon-shaped slices and toasted in the oven to give that crunchy sweetness best for your afternoon snack.

Ready to ambush the dining table?

* Photos taken with Cherry Mobile Flare
Photo credits to Anna Bianca Obra (laing); Eladkeith (kurakding), Rea Ellorando (santol)


ArisMape is a travel insider at ABS-CBN's Choose Philippines. He loves orange, halo-halo, and PowerPoint, and hates beef, slow internet, and long taxi lines. His pastime is watching people watch other people. He swears on the power of smartphone. His half-life? Thirty.