30 November 2007

Low-Sodium Patis & Bagoong?

BatJay has cooked Sinigang na Hipon (shrimp in tamarind stew), and emailed pictures of his opus to his blogging friends, and the reaction among us was synonymous: our tummies growled and our mouths watered!

"Add patis with calamansi and piping-hot rice to this, and it's a delicious meal," was my comment.

"We have removed patis from the dining table, Doc. It's hard to resist especially with Sinigang as your main dish, but Jet (his lovely wife) and I have successfully weaned ourselves from this temptation," replied BatJay.

They have weaned themselves from the salty temptation. Now, that's a real achievement when you're a Filipino. Almost all our local food items are salty and laden with fat: adobo, kare-kare, sinigang, and lechon. Salty as they already are, I know of some people who still can't eat without a small plate or cup of patis and bagoong on the side, to make salty saltier, I guess.

With all the fat and the salt in their diets, you need not wonder why heart diseases and hypertension are the top two killers of Filipinos today.

"Hasn't anyone invented low-sodium patis yet?" asked BatJay.

There are no such items...yet.

For a long time, the health-conscious among us might certainly be wishing for such items to become available, but business-minded food manufacturers know that there is little demand for this in the Philippine market, and therefore, will not work to make such things possible.

Patis is fish sauce and is made by allowing fish to ferment. It is a staple and used as a condiment here and in countries like Thailand and Vietnam. It is perfect with calamansi when eating food items like BatJay's Sinigang na Hipon. Bagoong, on the other hand, is another salty Filipino condiment.

So, if no one will invent low-sodium versions of these condiments, what will we do?

The FNRI recommends curbing the Filipino taste by limiting salt when we shop, cook, and eat. Only God knows if this will work. Filipinos love the salty taste, and eating blandly (matabang!) is simply not an option for them. The only way is to invent low-sodium versions of both patis and bagoong.

3 reactions:

rolly said...

When I was hospitalized for kidney stones, syempre I was given a no fat, no salt diet. Hindi ako nakakain doc. Walang kalasa lasa pagkain ko.

Pero ngayon, mukhang nasasanay na rin ako sa konting alat lang.

BatJay said...

i think you're correct doc emer. there is no market for low sodium patis or bagoong in the philippines. i am sure there is here in the states but it might not be big enough to be profitable.

my doctor here told me the same thing - most of her filipino patients are either hypertensive or have heart disease and it's diet related.

we love salty and sweet food and we eat a lot of rice with it.

Anonymous said...

i love bagoong. it's an alternative to the patis sawsawan i've gotten used to. i watch my salt intake now. been hospitalized when i was in grade 4 because of too much salt in my diet.