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Marawi market, food

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SOONER THAN – Hopefully, hopefully, the war in Marawi will end sooner than later. Too many lives have been sacrificed. The city is a ghost of its former self. Too much suffering and deprivation.

But the good news is Mindanao State University has re-opened. Some residents are starting to return to the city. A few establishments are beginning to operate. Only a few barangays are being held by ISIS bandits.

But if and when Marawi market and its eateries become alive again, then it can be said that Marawi’s on its way to full recovery. And that rehabilitation can star in earnest.

SPICY – In this regard, Highspeed came across the book “Lasa” penned in the ‘90s by Edilberto N. Alegre and Doreen G. Fernandez. It was a guide to dining in the provinces. One article is devoted to Marawi. I took the liberty of quoting some parts.

“Lake Maranaw has endowed the Muslims who live around it with its name. They are known as Maranaws, which literally means ‘people from the lake’ (ranaw-lake). The lake also defines their food preference: fresh water fish and shrimps.

They give themselves relief from the high humidity in the air of this mountain locked and elevated city, by having almost every meal a dip/sauce/relish many times more pungent than the Bikolano’s siling labuyo. This concoction called palapa is made from ginger, siling labuyo, spring onion, and garlic, freshly pounded together. It does make smoke stream out of one’s ears, and sweat bead one’s brow. One neutralizes it not with water, but with fistfuls of rice. In Marawi people believe that if the food is not spicy, ‘walang rasa.’

MARKET – More from “Lasa.”

“Go to the old market for the array of Maranaw cuisine arranged in portions on tables as any other carinderia. But remember you eat only with your right hand, left has other uses. You are given a small plastic basin with water in which to wash your hands before and after every meal, and a glass for drinking – no spoon or fork. Ask for palapa, and enjoy it with all the dishes even pansit or with sliced mango in season. Then walk to a coffee shop, for the Maranaws are avid coffee drinkers. Finally, for dessert, pick up in the alley close to the new market where some of the many sweets are being cooked.

“With Maranaw food one has a taste of the southern periphery of our country.”

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