Tinapâté, the Filipino pâté

Some fifteen years ago, before weekend food markets were fashionable, artisanal food products could be found in the occasional stall at the shopping malls. That was how we were first acquainted with Connie’s Kitchen. Despite having the same name, I did not know the Connie that owned the business; I still don’t. What I know is that Connie’s Kitchen sold darn good tinapâté. For the uninitiated, tinapâté is a portmanteau of tinapa or smoked fish and pâté. Connie’s Kitchen’s tinapâté was a smooth creamy paste with all the flavors and aroma of smoked fish and a myriad of spices that were ground too finely into the paste to identify. But we loved it anyway. Much later, we would discover Connie’s Kitchen stalls at Tiendesitas and the Greenhills Shoppersville tiangge (that’s flea market for non-Filipino speakers).

More than a decade after our first acquaintance with tinapâté, I was introduced to a different version of this delectable treat. At Romulo’s Cafe, the tinapâté was chunkier, not as creamy, but the flavors were sharper, and it was just as good.

After years of announcing to my family that I would make tinapâté at home, it finally happened earlier this week. My version is a cross between Connie’s Kitchen’s tinapâté and Romulo Cafe’s. It is smooth and creamy, but not so thick because I wanted something that can double as a dip. I used boneless tinapang bangus (smoked milkfish) for my tinapâté; you can use any smoked fish… Continue reading »

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