The elderly Filipinos would tell you that the food you make reflects the emotions you were carrying while you were cooking it. No, siree, Filipino dishes are not only seasoned with salt and pepper; it has to have LOVE (yes, for real). While some dishes are quick to fix (and just as quick to consume), others take time…and if you’re not patient, they say people will be able to taste that in your food. On the other hand, if you put your heart into it, the finished product will end up tasting like…a Hug: Warm, soothing and something they’ll feel deep to their bones.
Bulalo is a perfect example of a dish that could either be a Hug or Not. It’s beef bone marrow and shank stew with vegetables in the mix. The beef is put on slow simmer for 2 hours or until the fat blends into the broth, the meat is tender and the flavors are released all while being stirred and seasoned every now and then.
Tacloban has a lot of restaurants that feature good but pricey Bulalo. However, we have come across a side-of-the-road carinderia (canteen) with its own version of the dish that is both affordable and satisfying.
This rustic place located at Fatima Village beside the Philhealth building has other dishes but it was their tarpaulin for Bulalo at 95 pesos that caught our attention. We placed our order and was thrilled that from the first sip of the soup until the point where the marrow had been sucked out was an experience that earned its place in the Hug category.