Sinigang, that fruit-soured broth filled with good things, is one of the primary comfort foods of Filipinos who have pulled up their stakes and moved abroad. There’s just something so soothing about it for them.
Some expatriate friends of mine wax poetic about their mothers’ pork sinigang, a virtuous tamarind broth made sinful by chunks of meltingly tender pork belly. (Yes, there is no substitute for liempo in pork sinigang.) Other friends both here and abroad sing the praises of a sweetish sinigang na bangus [milkfish] made with ripe guavas (the pink-centered ones, not those bland Thai imports) or of boldly-colored sinigang na sugpo [prawns] made scarlet with cooked crustaceans and sauteed tomatoes. Occasionally at our house, a highly savory sinigang made with beef kalitiran, string beans, and gabing Intsik (small, roundish taro roots) makes its appearance on our dinner table.
As far as my dad and I are concerned, though, our sinigang of choice is a tad pretentious in the sense that the protein of choice comes from beautifully pink salmon heads and bellies. As luck would have it, I chanced upon a little hole in the wall in Quezon City where the salmon head sinigang borders on the ambrosial.