garlic at the salcedo market.


although garlic (allium sativa)--bawang in tagalog--is a staple in filipino cuisine, and locally grown in the philippines (most notably in the ilocos region), production has decreased steadily in recent years. there are various reasons--from diseases, natural disasters, changing weather patterns, to shrinking acreage, shifting crops, and sadly, importation of cheaper product from other countries. garlic in the philippines is relatively expensive, but because it isn't subject to cold storage, it is far fresher and more pungent than its imported counterparts; as an ingredient, so much less of it is needed. there is a particular flavour to the local garlic that comes from the intense pungency; it is unmatched, even by adding more of an inferior product--definitely quality over quantity. hopefully, with the continually growing interest in the culinary and healing properties of truly fresh garlic, the downward trend can be stemmed, and production in the country will flourish.


hi santos, that does look incredibly, vampire-scaringly fresh. sadly, we never see the likes of garlic this beautiful in singapore. i can only imagine how fantastic aioli would be made with garlic of this quality...

nice pic! .... never seen so much garlic before altogether! :)

hi j--i'm actually quite surprised to read that you can't get garlic like this. is it all imported in? truly tragic, and this stuff can be magic. well, for me. there are some who find it beastly.

hi spots! i'm sure there are family members of mine who have used this much garlic on occasion :)

Have to agree, the local garlic is significantly better than the stuff that comes by the container load from china. And yes it can't be matched by adding more. One of the main problems is local producers can't compete. It might cost four times as much but for the amount used, and not have too be used, it's an insignificant amount for what can make a dish.

i think the biggest problem in the philippines is transportation. i think the supply is good, but as there isn't refrigerated storage from supplier to supplied, a lot of the product suffers. of course, it wouldn't be the same if shut in cold storage. but probably better than the stuff from elsewhere anyway. but still not cheap. filipinos love their garlic, so quantity is rarely the problem--it's mostly limited by budget, not by culinary need.

Our garlic cloves are smaller, but has so much flavor compared to the imported versions. Harder to peel, and has the kick to make any adobo, fried rice or saute come alive. Will garlic go through the same scenario that our local coffee is going through before someone starts crying out for its salvation?

i hope not, because that someone is me, right now....now to spread the word, and spread the garlic!

hi santos, the freshness of the garlic available here leaves much to be desired - it is more often than not the bulk-shipped stuff from china. while there's nothing amiss with garlic from china per se, the stuff we see here is probably several months old

*sigh*. same as here, then. if i didn't have such a black thumb, i'd attempt growing some.

local garlic is cheap here 3 bulbs for euro.
Every Filipina I know here who goes home ALWAYS have a a bunch of garlic in her/his balikbayan box.

They all said its very expensive in the Phils...
is it? or just the quality...

hi sha--it is a bit expensive, relatively speaking. especially since it's such an important ingredient in the pinoy kitchen :) however, you don't need that much, and the quality is really superior....