Food and Products
The Agoncillians are indeed great chefs as they make the most out of the raw ingredients the Taal Lake and their rich agricultural farms have to offer.
Having their own spin on already existing Batangueno delicacies only adds depth and variety to the already sumptuos local cuisine.
Nilupak na Kamoteng Kahoy (Mashed Cassava) is one of the staple snacks of the Agoncillian since the olden times.
The recipe which is mainly comprised of cassava, peanut butter, ground peanuts, condensed milk, rice crispies and coconut has been passed down through generations as the heavy snack is believed to be greatly beneficial to one's health.
The sticky concoction is most of the time cooked by a group of friends as a weekend bonding experience.
Though not always available in stores, this rich, distinctively chewy Agoncillian-made Nilupak can be purchased on an per-order basis.
Itlog na Pula
The ever familiar itlog na pula/itlog na maalat (red egg/salted egg) is carving itself a niche in the local food industry of Agoncillo.
Though not really a Batangueno delicacy, salted eggs made in Agoncillo are now being patronized by nearby towns and provinces, thanks to its distinctive taste and improved shelf life.
"Hindi kasi kami gumagamit ng putik, asin lang talaga at kaunting secret ingredients (We dont use anthill mud when we cook the eggs, just salt and some secret ingredients)," explains May Ann, an Agoncillian, when she compares the salted eggs of Agoncillo to that of other places.
Different towns in Batangas have their own take on lomi—a Filipino dish made with very thick fresh egg noodles and a variety of toppings.
Triple Js Lomi House's version includes a mouthful of shrimp among other sumptuous toppings. This may be the case since said lomi house is located in Agoncillo where fresh harvests of seafood are available every day.
Lomi enthusiasts need not raise their eyebrows since the fishy smell is countered by yet another surprise ingredient—ginger!
Selling binitad na isda (fish jerky) is one of the more common livelihoods in the coastal barangays of Agoncillo.
The locals dry bangus, tilapia, and tawilis — "kung anuman ang ibigay ng lawa" (whatever the lake would give us), Christyl, a local of Brgy. Banyaga, furthers that every fish from the lake can be sliced, salted and sun-dried, and can be a good source of income.
The fish are cut into thin slices, seasoned, sun dried for four days and are sold on weekends to customers from all over Batangas and neighboring provinces.
Binitad na isda is best savored fried, dipped in vinegar with crushed garlic and chillies, along with a healthy serving of egg and fried rice for breakfast.
Tawilis / Bangus Sardines
The tawilis is a special breed of fish mostly because of its environment. It is known as the only freshwater sardine in the world and can only be found in Taal Lake.
The lake was once directly connected to the Balayan Bay, a vast sea of saltwater.
When the diminutive Taal Volcano announced itself in the 18th century, the connection from Balayan Bay closed up causing the Taal Lake to desalinate which gave way for new breeds of fish, including the tawilis, to exist.
The tawilis is best served fried to a golden crisp with atchara on the side.
The Agoncillo LGU also eyes to develop bottled tawilis and bangus for local and national distribution thru Agoncillo Rural Improvement Club Federation assisted by the Municipal Agriculture Office.
Tilapia is one of the most bred freshwater fishes in the world.
One cage in Taal Lake alone coud produce 7-8 tons of tilapia per year.
The mild-flavored fish is rich in Omega 6, protein, calcium, and selenium making it a good food for body builders and health buffs.
Aside from the regular pan-seared and grilled recipe, Tilapia can be cooked in various ways including: sweet and sour, fish tacos, ginataan (cooked with coconut milk), and sarciado (cooked with thick sauce).
Like the Tilapia, bangus (milkfish) is farmed in the freshwaters of Taal.
Bangus is a euryhaline (can live in salt and freshwaters) fish and is popular in markets and restaurants in all parts of the country. It can grow up to 14 kilograms, about a meter in length and could live up to 14 years.
The bangus is so popular in the Philippines that it has been included in silog meals--- bangsilog (bangus + sinangag + itlog)--- of carinderias everywhere.
It is also popular as relleno (stuffed), paksiw (simmered in vinegar), bistek (steak), and daing (sun-dried) dishes.
Maliputo (Giant Trevally) has one of the best meat qualities for sinigang.
It's firm and distinctly flavorful profile is also recommended for steamed, baked, and sweet and sour dishes.
Maliputo is a migratory fish that could grow up to three kilos and can thrive in both fresh and saltwater.