I'll let you in on more juicy information about General Santos City. There is one take-home gift (pasalubong) that you might want to consider bringing home to Manila. GenSan is not just all about the Tuna now. It is home to the only salmon processing plant and first world class production facility in the Philippines starting this August 2011. The Big Glory Bay Salmon and Seafood Company Inc. is a NZ-Philippine joint venture. The Philippine company Alliance Select Foods International Inc. does canning for other fish too, brands sold in Europe actually. Companies, such as Alliance Select, are diversifying into other fish today, especially because of the fishing ban and dwindling supplies of tuna in GenSan. Now let's start the tour. Imagine smoked New Zealand King Salmon that you see in a New Zealand supermarket then it says "Processed in the Philippines" at the back.
We had to wash our own boots and hands and make sure that we are sterile.
I felt like a doctor all wrapped in full gear and treated with alcogel, especially when we were made to step into a foot bath before entry.
Oh my gosh! It was probably a little close to 0 degrees in there and I was complaining that the gear was over-the-top for me.
Brrr.. The cold pierces the bone and I was running about while waiting for others to be done with the sterilization process. Even germs will freeze here. This is where they pack the salmon.
This is where they smoke the salmon =) It was a giant sauna that smelled of fragrant wood. My head was spinning with the difference of cold-smoked salmon and hot-smoked salmon. I would later find out the difference Guiltless style. Hehehe.
This is a big room-sized blast freezer to store the salmon. I could only stare at the "fog". There was an air curtain by the entrance and it really masks the true temperature of this room.
This whole warehouse is where they stole some packed smoked salmon. Dare-devils. I was on the lookout, waiting outside while thawing. We split what they grabbed later on in the tour. Hihihi.
Even my camera was fogging up. The experts told me to just let it be.
We only entered the Cooked processing part of the facility. We didn't want to change into the Raw clothes and boots and repeat the process again. The raw New Zealand King Salmon is imported from New Zealand (where it is farmed in Big Glory Bay) by Big Glory Bay and Seafood Company Philippines. Gets? It's already cleaned and portioned when it gets here. Even the raw materials for packing are all imported. Then it is exported back to New Zealand. How cool is that. It's like an outsourcing plant (and it probably is) haha. Only in the Philippines...
Okay, now for the difference of the Hot-Smoked Salmon and the Cold-Smoked Salmon. The one above is the Cold-Smoked Salmon. From the looks of it, it looks raw period. It's smoked at a lesser time and tastes, yes, raw.
I liked the Hot-Smoked Salmon better because I don't like the thought of and eating raw food. It's flaky and is good even if it's eaten frozen like this. Put it in Skyflakes, it's really good.
Naturally, I bought some home thinking that it's funny that I came to GenSan for the Tuna and I'm bringing home some Smoked Salmon. Well, you won't find it easy in the country since it's primarily for export and that's my excuse. Plus, it doesn't spoil in the freezer, not for a long time. Haha.
I bought around 2 150g of the Cold-Smoked Salmon and 5 250g of the Hot-Smoked Salmon for P1320 and added P80 for the styro box. My advice is to take your GenSan-processed New Zealand King Salmon with you as soon as you buy it and don't rely on their delivery service. I went nuts looking for my paid package at the hotel counter and ended up picking up the box an hour before my flight because they can't make it pala and I wasn't informed earlier. Good thing I paid for quality Smoked Salmon. I used to hate smoked salmon by the way because I thought there was only one kind. Now, I'll always be at a request for Hot-Smoked Salmon! And if they don't understand, I won't take it to heart. They had probably never been to a place like Big Glory Bay Salmon and Seafood Company in GenSan... Hahaha.
If you wish to order, here's the Big Glory address and number.
Big Glory Bay Salmon and Seafood Company Inc.
Brgy. Tambler, General Santos City, Philippines
(+63) (83) 3030686