Etag– is the term used by the Igorot tribes for preserving meat. Just like Ham, Pork meat or venison is salted and hanged to dry or smoke for a couple of days until its ready to be consumed. This process has been used by the Igorot tribes and has been passed down from one generation to the next. The process will have slight variations from tribe to tribe but in General its smoked or dried in the sun or both. When they smoke the meat, they will use wood or aromatic leaves to enhance the flavor and the smell of the meat. When sun-dried, etag will sometimes have maggots in the meat because when they dry it in open air.

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Etag with maggots

Flies will come in and lay their eggs. Some of the ones I’ve seen are covered in fungus.  According to the local tribes in the Benguet, Baguio and Mountain Province. Etag is more valuable if it’s preserved for a long time. The meat turns a little darker brown in color and the flavors are deeper and more subtle therefore its more expensive in the market. The meat in general is served grilled over rice or it can be accompanied in soups and other vegetable dishes.

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Etag in Chicken soup called Pinikpikan

Due to the salt on the surface of the meat. Etag is sometimes washed and soaked in water to reduces the brininess of the meat. Nowadays, Etag is sold in the markets of Manila. If the description is a little scary to you. Don’t worry. Most of the meat in Manila are done in a controlled environment. They are not made in the mountains of the Cordilleras or in the Mountain Provinces where the local tribes have to resort to what they have available to process the meat. There are some that make it in the Markets.

Grilled Etag
Grilled Etag

So when you are interested in diving in this cuisine make sure you ask questions and cook the meat well to avoid any gastric complications.



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