Tamilok Face-off: Fresh versus Breaded

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If travelling in a different place, one must consider trying out what’s best and what’s recommended in there. Things that are not found in your place of origin and something that truly identifies the place you’re in. I think this is an unspoken golden rule to travelers alike.

That folks, is what we did when me and my office friends paid a vacation to Palawan last August 2013. While in Palawan, we never failed to try the things they are so proud of. One of which is trying out their famous delicacy: Tamilok.

Tamilok (shipworm) is actually a saltwater clam with soft, naked body that loves to bore holes on wood that is immersed in water, including docks, wooden piers, and wooden ships. No wonder why it is called shipworm. It is popular in Palawan today as a favority culinary delicacy that is enjoyed by everyone.

A dried specimen of a tamilok (shipworm). Photo from Wikipedia.

A dried specimen of a tamilok (shipworm). Photo from Wikipedia.

Palawan today offers two ways of eating the tamilok: the fresh way and the breaded way. Even before trying out the tamilok, my friends were already disgusted about the fresh tamilok, so they decided to try out the breaded one instead. But for me, I am up for the challenge of devouring the fresh. After our Underground river tour, we went straight to our accommodation, freshen up, and head our way to Kinabuch Grill and Bar, where they serve good tamilok dishes.

Kinabuch Grill and Bar, located at 369 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Kinabuch Grill and Bar, located at 369 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

So here’s the face-off: The battle between the fresh and the deep-fried!

The judges! Me in white shirt. Photo by Kaypee.

The judges! Me in white shirt. Photo by Kaypee.

Let’s go first with the fresh tamilok. When trying out the fresh tamilok, it should have a saucer of vinegar as its pair. Eating it is very simple: Dip the fresh body of the shipword into the vinegar and CHEW it, as in CHEW it, for excitement’s sake.

Fresh Tamilok. Photo by Kaypee Aton.

Fresh Tamilok. Photo by Kaypee Aton.

Breaded tamilok, at first look, is like a straight version of calamares. Packed with breadcrumbs all over its body, you can tell how much oil and fat it has! Hahaha! This dish is also go into a vinegar combo.

Breaded Tamilok. Photo by Kaypee.

Breaded Tamilok. Photo by Kaypee.

Now for the battle. I tried first the fresh tamilok because it was so near to me and almost everyone was fighting over the breaded tamilok. I first tried it without dipping into the vinegar. It tastes really like a sea clam, but with sandy particles when chewing the inners that is a bit annoying to the mouth, but its pretty much considerable since not all tamilok has it. After dipping with vinegar, I stopped for a while and asked myself if this thing right here is really a tamilok. Close your eyes and you feel like eating scallops.

Then I had the chance to try the breaded tamilok, and honestly, I felt like eating just the breadcrumbs. I really can’t feel the tamilok itself because it was overpowered by the breading. My friends say that it is really tasty, but unfortunately, we don’t have the same kind of tongue, so I failed to appreciate the taste of the breaded tamilok.

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