Fish Flakes

Filipinos love fish. They put “patis” (fish sauce – pronounced Pah-Teese) on everything.

I’ve had to learn the Tagalog words for fish sauce (“patis”) and fermented fish sauce (“bagoong” – prounounced Bah-Go-Ong) because clever restaurants claim to serve vegetables but, as a vegan, I don’t believe it!

If you ask a server, does this have fish in it? They say NO. If you ask if it has “patis” or “bagoong” in it they say YES.

Recently, I picked up a package of Magic Flakes crackers at the grocery, briefly scanned the ingredients, and put it in my cart. When I got home and tasted them, they didn’t taste quite like crackers, so I looked again at the ingredient list while I munched.

In addition to normal crackery ingredients … flour, water, salt … the company that makes Magic Flakes uses fish oil in their crackers.

I have not seen this phenomenon in the United States. There is NO fish in our crackers! (Even “goldfish” crackers aren’t fish…!)

Funnier still, until I went back and looked at the photo I took of the Magic Flakes crackers, only then did I notice the package of Sky Flakes next to it proudly proclaiming it has Omega 3’s in it.

Fish food....

Fish food….

How is it that companies can use the cheapest ingredients to make their products (these packages of crackers are very cheap) and then put claims on them for health. I think that’s outrageous.

Grocery shopping is an interesting experience here in the Philippines. For many of the packages, the writing isn’t in English, or the product package refers to a type of food that is unfamiliar to me. (For example calling crackers “flakes.”)

Here’s the package for Ube cakes. It’s got that “luscious ube flavor” and is purple inside. Hmmm… what kind of food is purple and sweet? That was a mystery to me.

Now with that luscious ube flavor...

Now with that luscious ube flavor…

It turns out that a “ube” is a purple yam.

And on this blog, I found out that Ube flavored baked goods are extremely popular in the Philippines.

So the next time I’m in the grocery store, I may just have to go native and try some Ube cakes… but there’s no way I’m going to eat fish flakes!