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Byline: The Research Staff
For the ordinary Pinoy tourist, a visit to another place is never complete without the customary pasalubong which, more often than not, is composed of the locality's homegrown specialties. So if one flies to Cebu, conscience dictates to bring home those luscious dried mangoes; a trek to Pangasinan means fish bagoong (fermented fish sauce), alamang (shrimp paste) or Bunoan bangus in the pasalubong basket; a trip up north in Ilocos equals bagnet, longganizang Laoag or empanadang Batac to whet one's craving.
For an itinerant journalist engaged on a five-day sojourn to Nueva Ecija, the quest for culinary treats native to the province meant dining stopovers among ambulant vendors and side street eateries in an attempt to spot cuisine foreign to the pseudo-metropolitan palate.
While the viands were more of less the same with Metro Manila's food fare, an eating spree in one of Cabanatuan City's carinderias yielded one discovery: the batutay longganiza of the Novo Ecijanos. "In trade fairs, Nueva Ecija has been known for its batutay longganiza," declared division chief Brigida T. Pili of the Department of Trade and Industry-Nueva Ecija Provincial Office (DTI-NEPO).
The name alone evokes the culinary images of a typical Novo Ecijano's breakfast of steamed rice, tomatoes and batutay longganiza. "When you say batutay, that is synonymous to Nueva Ecija," said Ms. Pili, who herself hails from Pampanga, the mecca of skinless longganiza and tocino.
She attests to the meat sausage's unique taste compared with its other regional cousins. "It is somewhat similar to the Ilocos longganiza but it has innovations already. The main difference between other longganiza and batutay is it is made from beef not pork and it has no binder or preservatives, unlike other varieties. Other varieties of longganizas considerably shrink when cooked but the batutay does not," Ms. Pili said.
Nueva Ecija's longganiza has three varieties: hamonado (made of pork and tastes sweet), recado (also of pork but garlicky in taste) and batutay (which is made from beef and is both sweet and garlicky).
This product has been finding its way to supermarket shelves, particularly …