My eyes were drawn to a bagoong-filled bottle jar as it was placed beside a plateful of steaming rice. Yes, it is the same “fermented fish/shrimp paste” -a native Philippine condiment commonly used as an appetizing dip (for broiled and fried fish, raw mangoes, boiled bananas) or as main ingredient on a vegetable dish. I sat at the dining table that night with more than just a whetted appetite…
While looking closer at this bagoong jar, my imagination flew and I became small -like I was one of the casts from this movie “Honey, I shrank the kids!”. In there I saw each bit -piece by piece, strip by strip, as if they were unstrung beads inside a jewelry box. Oddly, it reminds me of those coco shell tusks and sticks. If you could look at this items than you would know what i mean.
Comparing bagoong with the tusk and stick items, I noticed how they both shared one thing -they both can easily “perk up” anything. Take for example, even a boring and commonplace bead jewelry can have a surprisingly pleasant twist with accents of these coco tusks and sticks in combination. Similarly, bagoong can instantly spice up an ordinary meal of rice and viand, taking out its bland taste.
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