Taking it from that scrambled egg with weird combination of tomato and ampalaya, I was tempted to take it a bit further. Weirder maybe.
One thing I’d never trade the Philippines for is the strength of flavor of fresh produce. I don’t know how to describe it any better, but it’s generally like garlic smells more garlicky, and unions burns the eye more when sliced (even just peeling the old layer you’ll get tears)…you get my drift? Vegetables, fruits and spices’ odors and taste are much stronger, although the sizes are noticeably smaller. Like a garlic bulb is just about 2/3 the size of those I can find in Taiwan.
Maybe it’s because of the weather and soil composition, or maybe because of the technology in farming. In my own view which I believe you’d agree, Taiwan’s is a tech hub. Farming is not immune from the impact of technology. And being a small but heavily populated country, it’s imperative to grow produce for mass and quantity. Produce were grown fast and big. My own theory is: their produce has high water content, resulting to a blander taste and odor. In the Philippines, being a dryer country and most farming are traditional, plants grow slower even with the use of fertilizers, and crops generally has lesser water content. Although produce are smaller in size, what lacks in size is made up in taste and flavor.
I miss those strong flavors sometimes. I don’t have any idea how to enhance the flavor or taste of vegetables or fruits. But when I had that weird ampalaya and tomato combination, I had this idea to make ampalaya really be bitter – what if I put many tomato in an ampalaya?
So I did. I made a dish I haven’t heard of, not even in the Philippines, but cooked Filipino style — guisado con carne. I half fried pork cubes, saute spices garlic and red union, add tomato and saute until the flesh separates from the skin, add a little water, add ampalaya then cook until half done. Salt to taste as usual.