July 29, 2010

Who doesn't love etag?

Growing up in the misty mountains of Mt. Province, I used to watch my father smoke meat and turn them into what we famously know as etag. My good father preferred smoking the meat than leaving it out under the sun to dry. Sun-dried etags are the work of lazy men he would always say.

So I grew up eating mostly smoked etag. There were times when we made do with sun-dried ones but they weren't that often. Smoked etag is the Muhammad Ali of all etags. Okay, that was a bit corny but you know what I mean....:) You want to make the best-tasting etag out there? Well, there ain't no other way to achieve that other than smoke the hell out of your meats. Yeah, smoke it baby, smoke it!!

Anyways, just like a typical Igorot home, the house that my father built for his rather huge family had a what we call in local dialect the dallikan which the English-speaking world call a fireplace. I'm not sure if dallikan is also the Benguet Igorot's word for it so feel free to email me or leave a comment below if you do know..:).

So we had this really crude dallikan and above it are etags hanging, soot and ash accumulating over their greasy, darkly red surfaces. And whenever we felt like eating one, all we needed to do was grab a sharp knife, head over to the dallikan and swiftly cut chunks of dark meat from the hanging etags and toss them to a boiling pot of water and black beans. That my friends is the good Igorot life. I do miss those times very much. Here in the city, it's so different. There's no dallikan to go to. Instead, there's a refrigerator and inside it are not etags but packets of jumbo hotdogs and the occasional tocino.

A good friend of mine in Saint Louis University once suggested buying etag from the Baguio Public Market. But when I went there, there were no signs of my beloved smoked etag. Everyone was selling the same sun-dried ones. It is easy to tell if an etag was smoked because they are darkly colored. Deep dark. What's worse is that there are those who think they can fool us by rubbing charcoal on dried meats and selling them as smoked etag. These people are fooling nobody but themselves.

I also found etag being sold at the stalls behind the Baguio Center Mall but no smoked ones.
So I gave up. I guess that if I ever feel like gnawing on smoked meat, I would have to take the Lizardo bus and endure 7 hours of road travel to Mt. Province just to feel that smoky taste wash over my tongue.





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3 comments:

  1. whatzup man... cool that U have a thing like this online for other people who know nothing about us... but let me comment of Ur blog "who doesnt like etag"... I was born in raised in Sumadel, Tadian Mountain Province... I never saw etag that was ever smoked... maybe U were pertainig on "Kiniing" or "inasin"... coz our etag in my place is preserved just by salting it and letting it dry under the sun... after probably a week under the sun we hang it under the shed or near the dalikan but never directly hit by the smoke... Lastly, etag never has meat... its pure fat... i might be wrong though coz distinction of people in our place is very big... just like how every tribe make their own yeast for tapey...
    http://alvinberto.blogspot.com

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  2. @Anonymous: I guess the ways we prepare our versions of etags vary from place to place. Thank you for the information though. I also see a lot of people from my place doing it the way you described it. In short, salting it, drying it under the sun or smoking it, it still ends up being an etag....:)

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