Packed in microwave oven safe round canister. I thought it was a sweetened sampalok. You can’t blame me. The label clearly read as sweete sampalok. However, I had a feeling that it was not a sampalok. It’s color is light brown, sampalok should be brown with a shade of red.
Looking closely. It’s a rice. Seemed a spoiled rice. The light brown color, watery appearance and disagreeable odor were telling me it was indeed deteriorated. Why would my parent-in-laws from Pangasinan brought a spoiled rice. Maybe it gotten spoiled during their seven hours long trip. I opened the package and saw some fish bones. Now I got it! It was burong isda. I put the lid back and never dared tasting it.
To make things clear for both you and me:
Fermented fish – patis (fish sauce) at bagoong (fish paste). Patis is the transparent brown liquid while bagoong is the ground solid. Bagoong comes in liquid form too, the regular and the boneless.
Fermented fish and rice mixture – burong isda. Maybe it should be called “burong isda at kanin“. The image showed above and also appeared in this procedure. Perhaps the first had no angkak added – red rice mold which adds flavor and characteristic reddish color.
Fermented shrimp and rice mixture – burong hipon or balao-balao. Same as above but using shrimp instead.
Shrimp paste – bagoong alamang. The shrimp version of fish bagoong. However, it is chunky and more looks like a corned beef. It also has the liquid version of patis – not quite sure, please enlighten me!
I had the guts trying burong isda after two days. I got few rice grains. I made it sure that there were no fish bones. I was surprised. It tasted really good.
Lesson learned. Don’t judge a product by its appearance and odor.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.