Calamansi Koshō

By Sean Kenniff | Jaclyn Warren


Sean Kenniff
Jaclyn Warren

Likha means “to create” in the Filipino dialect of Tagalog. Chefs Jan Dela Paz and Bobby Punla named their Emeryville pop-up Likha because, while they’re striving to cook Filipono food that their grandparents would consider “legit,” they’re pulling from all their experiences—including Michelin-star training—to create it. While the Bay Area is known for its plentiful bounty, especially citrus, turns out calamansi, which are essential in Filipino cooking, are not so plentiful. Paz and Punla are sourcing calamansi from the backyards of friends and grandmas, even putting the call out on Instagram to see who may drop off a bag. At markets, they give farmers calamansi seeds to encourage them to cultivate the fruit. To use every last bit of the precious calamansi they take the spent shells after juicing, add a bunch of Fresno chiles, and 4 percent sea salt by weight, and ferment it in 5 quart batches for 2 weeks. The calamansi koshō is blended into a condiment served with classic sisig. But the beautifully floral, tangy, tart, bitter, bright, balanced, spicy sauce could and should be eaten with anything, or just like this editor, with a spoon.               

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