My father always described Papaitan to us, children, with much gusto. I guess because he knew how our faces would transform from happy-shiny-people happy to just plain disgusted. He explained that farmers would gather the secret ingredient of this dish, bile, by squeezing out the half digested grass in their stomachs. Lose your appetite already? Sounds awful, doesn’t it? I swore that I would never let my palate come close to such monstrosity. Well, until I got married that is…
You see, The Husband looooooooveeessss Papaitan with a passion! The mere mention of the dish sends him to cloud 9 with his face transforming from normal to happy-shiny-people happy. The exact and complete opposite of how we, Paterno children, reacted at the mention of Papaitan. So I knew my Papaitan doomsday was coming soon.
And it did.
One fateful night, The Husband was feeling all happy-shiny-people happy excited with his Papaitan craving. He decided to cook some. If you ask me where to get bile here in Dubai, I don’t know! Thanks so the wonders of food technology, in particular, instant food mixes (Pls don’t hate me because I use instant mix!); I didn’t have to painstakingly squeeze out the bile from a cow’s stomach or intestines or whatever internal organ that is. Whew! We just had to buy a Papaitan mix from the neighborhood grocery store and we were ready to go. At least Dodong was the only one ready. I still wasn’t. Another one pot wonder, Dodong just mixed all the ingredients in a pot and waited for an hour or so. Voila! Then, there I was, Papaitan hater, forced to eat a spoonful of it.
Boy, was it potent! I could smell the sourness as the spoonful of awful approached my mouth. The hot unctuous soup tickled my tongue as it soon came into contact, then came a mild peppery spicy sting with a deadly Manny Pacquiao-like punch of acid. My disgusted face then transformed into happy-shiny-people happy face! WHOA! This isn’t awful at all! This soup is perfect on cool, and / or damp days when you need a bit of tingly warmth. I even finished a bowl! Okay, to be honest, I did finish two…
And I even cooked some today 🙂
Delirious about delicious,
P.S. I like it, but not love it, LOVE eeeeet just yet. So no, this is not part of my 30 favorite foodstuff list.