Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Versatile Lusay

            To us Ilocanos, we never pass a day without having our meryenda or snack, may it be on the morning, afternoon, or even in the middle of the night. Some prefer eating in fastfood chains, in food stalls, in fishball carts roaming around, their street foods like isaw and lalat, some even choose local foods like our Empanada, or even noodle soups like Miki and Hi-bol, which is a favorite especially to the Tricycle drivers who needs energy for that tiring hours of work. It is evident to us how we adore eating fast and affordable dishes. Take note of the Miki which takes only about 15 minutes to cook, and Hi-bol, merely 5 minutes, just put on some fresh noodles in a bowl, pour in some pork broth and garnish with some spring onions, and your good to go. But Ilocanos seem to discover something new every second, because after Miki and Hi-bol, they now created a noodle recipe called LUSAY.

          Lusay noodles with tomatoes, spring onions and boiled eggs           
             The topic was brought up one morning while having our discussion in class and then unintentionally diverted our subject to food, which is usual for us given that we are all food lovers. Our chef/professor, Ma’am Juliet Pascual told us, along with my other classmates Rechel and Bruce, about this Lusay which was a first to me and my friend Rechel.
            Lusay is not your usual Ilocano noodle dish, because unlike the noodles used in Miki and Hi-bol, Lusay can be serve with or without a broth, you can simply season it with some fish sauce or Bagoong, add some spring onions, tomatoes, and top it off with either smoked fish or Chicharon and its good to go as a snack or meal. It is in fact a favorite side dish among guys for their merry making along with a cold bottle of beer. Lusay is thinner and tastier than the ordinary noodles bought at the Public Market. It is usually sold at a few noodle stores open in the wee hours of the morning, around 1-4 a.m and it is selling like pancakes.
Weeks after our first Lusay conversation, the topic was again brought up while taking our lunch after class. Similar with our reactions, the third year Masscomm students were also clueless with Lusay, and so my curiosity sprung up and I persistently convince Ma’am J to bring us some sample on our next class which she immediately assured.

Ma'am J preparing the dish

                True to her words, on our next meeting, it was Lusay madness. She brought one kilo of Lusay complete with tomatoes, spring onions, fish sauce, and smoke fish as its garnish. Honestly, I had doubts while looking at it because it is not that visually appetizing, adding that it was seasoned with fish sauce, which is very unlikely to put in noodle dishes. But after taking a bite into it, I immediately understood why it sells like pancake. It’s a bit dry, but with the tomatoes, spring onions and fish sauce, it gives a life to the boring Lusay. Jayvie Baligad, one of the students of Ma’am J enjoyed the Lusay saying that it is a new twist to the noodle dishes that we love.
              On that day onward, the Lusay mania began. Few weeks after, a culminating activity was planned by Masscomm students. Along with some faculties and friends, we included Lusay in the menu to let people know more about it. We weren’t disappointed when they became interested and intrigued by the dish, our professors were mostly inquiring on the Lusay. An example was an incident when Mr. Jan Rich Guira, a faculty of the Language and Literature Department mistook it as rabong (Bamboo shoots), Ma’am Lao then happily told Mr. Guira , “Han ka Ilocano no han ka nakaraman Lusay”, and that statement made me smile.

can also be garnished with smoked fish
                        Along with the creation and versatility of this dish, it is indeed a disappointment that it does not gain as much popularity as it should be, but hopefully, with more people tasting and telling their friends how great it is, sooner or later it will gain the fame nationwide.

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