For very obvious reasons, most of my foreign friends, mostly Americans and few Europeans, do not like bagoong and dried fish. While Filipinos consider bagoong and dried fish to be heavenly delectable, there are many eating mortals in the planet who just dislike the food and, instead, would prefer pizzas, burgers, and pastas.
Why? Here are reasons I gathered, which include, but not limited to, the following:
1. They despise the taste of dried fish.
Salty. The fish is prepared by soaking it in brine solution and then sun dried for hours!
2. They could die by a mere smell of dried fish being fried.
Stinky, and the stinky smell sticks to anything close by, especially your clothes.
3. Bagoong is salty (just like dried fish).
Whether it is fish bagoong (fermented anchovies + salt) or shrimp bagoong (fermented shrimp + salt), oversalting and undersalting always has effect on the quality of fermentation.
4. They only eat healthy food (opps, this contradicts to their love for fastfood!)
Is eating bagoong good for the health? A study shows that the traditional fish/shrimp paste condiment, or bagoong, of the Philippines contains the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. In its analysis, it was found that among the samples of bagoong, shrimp paste has the highest omega-3 content. Read the study here.
5. Dried fish is dirty!
It always depends on the manner of how the fish was prepared. Dried salted fish is not dirty!
6. Bagoong smells like a dead mouse.
Yes, bagoong has an extremely pungent smell, and that what makes it uniquely attractive to Filipinos.
7. Dried fish is only for the third-world country.
Wrong. Dried salted fish can be found in other parts of the world too.
9. They want to die with McDonalds in their stomach!
According to Eric Schlosser, a journalist who wrote “Fast Food Nation”, every single day, a quarter of the U.S. population eat burgers, fries, and sodas at fast-food chains. Right, who needs dried fish in a fast food restaurant?
10. It is a cheap food.
So what if bagoong is cheap? It enhances the flavor of dishes, such as my favorite pinakbet. It goes well with green mangoes too.
What can you say, you, Filipino dried-fish-eating reader?