TUGUEGARAO CITY: Once regarded as a farm pest, the rice eel, (Monopterus albus) locally known as “kiwet,” took center stage at the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 2 (DA-BFAR 2)-led Regional Fisheries Training and Fisherfolk Coordinating Division’s first Rice Eel Cooking Contest on Thursday, September 22.
The cooking competition aims to showcase various recipes that can be developed from kiwet aside from the traditional way of preparation for a wider acceptance among the non-eel-consuming population, Dr. Evelyn C. Ame, national eel coordinator, said during the cookfest.
“The Philippines is a major exporter of live eel fish including the Asian swamp eel (kiwet) in eel-consuming countries like China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. The cooking contest is just one way of encouraging Filipinos to appreciate this resource as an addition to the commercially available commodities in the market,” she said.
DA-BFAR 2 Regional Director Angel Encarnacion in his message said that the cooking contest is the way to change the misconception of consumers on rice eels as “menacing and undesirable to local markets.”
Out of the five participating entries, the Cabatuan, Isabela Rural Improvement Club bagged first place for coming up with a Chinese-inspired recipe dubbed “Golden Ingot Rice Eel.” The team received the P15,000 cash prize.
Handog Beneficiaries of Villaverde, Nueva Vizcaya got second place for their entry “Cheesy Cabbage Roll” and received a cash prize of P12,000.
The Rural Improvement Club of Liwayway, Diffun, Quirino placed third and was given P10,000 cash prize for their “Crispy Kiwet” recipe.
Consolation prizes of 5,000 each were given to the Dodan Fisherfolk Association of Aparri for their version of “Ginataang Kiwet” and to the Rural Improvement Club of Barancuag, Tuao, Cagayan for their delicious entry “Bottled Adobo Spicy Kiwet.”