Asin Tibuok, Bohol's "Dinosaur Egg" Salt
Updated: Apr 21, 2022
A taste of Philippine artisanal salt
Asin is the Tagalog word for salt and this rare artisanal salt is called "Tibuok" and can be found in Alburqurque, Bohol. It's about 30-40 minutes away from Panglao which is where the new international airport can be found. Bohol is normally famous for its chocolate hills, white sand beaches and diverse marine life which makes it excellent for scuba diving.
This dinosaur looking egg gained lots of popularity recently because of a viral post online and I'm glad we are finally taking recognition of our local ingredients. Tibuok was registered in the Ark of Taste, Slow Food Foundation back in 2016. The Ark of Taste is an international catalogue of endangered heritage foods and is designed to preserve at-risk foods that are sustainably produced, unique in taste, and part of a distinct ecoregion.
How its made is quite labor intensive. It involves soaking coconut husks in seawater for weeks, drying and burning it into ash, using that same ash and placing it in a bamboo filter and pour more sea water in it then slowly cooking that mixture in clay pots for hours until you get this solid piece of art.
It is best used as a finishing salt, grated over food using a microplane or shaving some off with a knife. It acts as a great center piece and conversation starter about Filipino heritage cuisine. Traditionally, large chunks are broken and thrown right in the stews and soups while cooking. Today, you can also choose to pulverize everything and store them in a dry airtight container to prevent moisture from collecting.
The taste is quite subtle since the texture is very fine. It's not as harsh as commercially made salt but you can still taste the essence of the sea. It has a very faint smoky aroma depending on which side of the piece you take. In my next article, I'll be making this into various fermented items just to really see the difference.
My dream is that one day, we can take pride in ALL of our artisanal salt since there are a lot more in other regional provinces. Here is a luxurious bamboo salt made in South Korea. It is even more labor intensive and is prized for its medicinal properties. With more research and innovation, we too can achieve a similar appreciation.
What other recipes would you like to use this rare salt? Share your ideas and suggestions in my facebook group and lets get cooking! https://www.facebook.com/groups/simpleeatswithcoco/
If you live in Manila and want to purchase your own, head on over to Ritual Ph's website
For those living in the United States, you can try and purchase the Tibuok at the link below.
The Grid Magazine and their detailed account of why this practice is endangered and illegal: https://www.gridmagazine.ph/story/asin-tibuok-the-price-of-salt
A simple video on how they make Asin Tibuok
A friend and chef abroad highlighting the use of Asin Tibuok in fine dining cuisine.