Discover ‘Sinantolan,’ Bicol’s sour-salty specialty

Sinantolan is among the food discoveries over the pandemic, courtesy of the brand Que Rica.

People staying home to keep safe from Covid-19 pandemic has meant more adventures of the palate — perhaps to make up for lack or absence of travel.

Sinantolan, unique to Bicol cuisine like the popular Laing, is among the food discoveries over the pandemic, courtesy of the brand Que Rica, the brainchild of the Le Cordon Bleu Paris-trained chef Rica Buenaflor.

Made from minced cotton fruit (santol) simmered in creamy coconut milk with salted baby shrimps and aromatics, the Sinantolan is traditionally eaten as a viand on the side of grilled or fried fish.

Its light pink color (from the salted baby shrimps) gives it that nice contrast with fish or meat. While a tasty dish on its own, people have discovered more delightful ways to indulge in the

flavor-packed, sour-salty santol meat.

As a starter, the Sinantolan is great as a dip, slathered generously on crackers or dolloped on top of a crunchy crostini. Its umami flavor is front and center in each delicious bite.

Its punchy, tangy taste pairs well with a bowl of crisp greens, a refreshing take on salad dressings your guests will crave for.

Bicol specialty uplifts community women. / Photographs courtesy of Que Rica

Another way to enjoy it is to mix it into rice. You’ll experience an explosion of savory and authentic Bicolano flavor in every mouthful.

Uplifting livelihood

The Sinantolan is crafted in small batches and bottled by a community of women in the town of Gainza, Camarines Sur. Aside from the Sinantolan, Que Rica also bottles vegetarian Laing and Taba ng Talangka.

Since 2015, Buenaflor has been on a fierce mission to champion Bicolano cuisine and catapult it into the world stage. From the well-received Laing Longganisa to the premium power-packed Pili Nuts (in truffle pecorino, with Himalayan salt and Pili Coffee cluster bombs), Que Rica continues to uplift Bicol, from cuisine to community.

Take home and taste Bicol in a bottle with Que Rica’s Sinantolan. If you’re searching for a family-sized serving, look no further because you can also get this sour-salty secret in a 400g frozen tub!

Available online and in selected specialty stores.


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