Ever since bringing back a stash of Ilocano Sea Salt from a trip to the Philippines a few years ago, I've been hooked on the salty Filipino crystals. I've used Philppine sea salt in everything savory--from adobos to salads--and believe it or not, in everything sweet--like cookies and ice creams.
I'm a fiend for that Filipino flake.
And although I've since exhausted that original stash of Badoc's finest, I've been lucky enough to have a network of enablers who keep my sea salt carousel spinning. Whenever a friend or family member makes a trek to the Islands, I make damn sure they bring me back a couple bags of the white stuff to replenish my home supply. And they gladly oblige.
Speaking of mules and suckers, my mom brought me back about 2 keys of Badoc Asin on her last trip there earlier this year. And even though I lace many a dish with Philippine sea salt, it isn't likely that I'll blow through that much shake any time soon.
But now, when I do run out of my prized salt from the South China Sea, I won't have to rely on my network of mules to go to the P.I. and back. I've now discovered a local dealer that can satisfy my salty needs.
xroads Philippine Sea Salts are purveyors of, yup, premium Philippine sea salts. xroads is a small outfit run out of Northern California, importing and selling two unique types of sea salt from the Philippines. Lucky for me, xroads was kind enough to send me some salty samples.
The Goods from xroads
The first salt on offer from xroads is something they label as "Ilocano Asin", which is very similar in flavor and texture to the sea salt I've been getting from Badoc in Ilocos Norte. xroads Ilocano Asin is coarse, moist, white, and uh, salty.
The second salt xroads offers is what they label "Sugpo Asin", which literally translates to prawn salt. The Sugpo Asin are hollow crystals that are ever-so-slightly-pink due to the shrimp that live in the salt beds from which this particular salt is harvested--hence its name. I've found that the Sugpo Asin, when used as a finishing salt, remains especially crunchy even when sprinkled on wet surfaces--like a just-seared steak, or a just-sliced green mango.
Sugpo Asin: Kinda sorta pale pink-ish
I also want to note that xroads salts are all-natural, sustainable, and hand harvested from Pangasinan (the land of salt). In addition, the salts are packaged in nifty eco-friendly boxes woven from nipa palm--a familiar sight to many Pinoys.
For more information about xroads Philippine Sea Salt, visit their site here.
And if you are of the mind that there probably isn't anything special about sea salt from the Philippines, well, you're wrong. Many lar-dee-dar restaurants and ooh-lar-lar chefs use sea salt from the Philippines. In fact, Philippine sea salt is often used in the kitchen at The French Laundry.
Ooooh! Take that, you salt snobs!
UPDATE 5/26: Thanks to the kind folks at xroads, there will now be 5 boxes of Sugpo Asin available for this giveaway (instead of the original 1). So there will now be 5 people selected to each win 1 box of Sugpo Asin. Mabuhay!
And now dear readers, you can also get your Filipino salt lick on as I will be giving away FIVE (5!!!) sample boxes of xroads Sugpo Asin. The sample box xroads provides is a nipa box containing two ounces of the pink sea salt. Two ounces might not sound like a lot, but if used as a finishing salt, the Sugpo Asin will last for quite some time. And besides, you can always order more salt from xroads.
I will randomly select FIVE winners and contact them via email or Twitter Direct Message--so if you aren't already following me on twitter, you best do so now!
There are two ways to enter this giveaway:
- Leave a comment on this post
- Tweet this exact phrase and link on Twitter:
"Win Gourmet Sea Salt via @BurntLumpia: Philippine Sea Salt Giveaway http://bit.ly/mBQ10f "
All comments and tweets for this post will be accepted as entry for the giveaway and this contest will end on Monday May 30, 2011 at 11:59 PM Pacific time. I'll randomly select 5 winners, the winners must reply to email or DM within 24 hours--otherwise I'll randomly select another winner. Sorry, this contest is open to U.S. residents only.
Full Disclosure: Yes, I received the salt for free from xroads, but I was under no obligation to write about them, review the products, etc. I chose to feature the salt here because I did enjoy it, and because of the connection to Filipino farmers and Filipino products. So there.