If the Cat in the Hat were a chef, he would use Pangasinan salt. Pangasinan Star sea salt (sometimes called Ilocano Asin Philippine sea salt) or Philippine sea salt, is one of my new favorites. This is a hand harvested sea salt from the Pangasinan region of the Republic of the Philippines. Pangasinans salt's crystals are an exaggerated version of fleur de sel, with lush, almost billowy crystals that goad the senses to explore beyond the safe boundaries of our accustomed salts. Following a sensuous crunch, you will discover a flavor that is rich and a body that is voluptuous. This is a sea salt that can be used virtually anywhere, and is a great replacement for anyone seeking a change from the stalwart but more sedate finishing salts such as fleur de sel.
A little more expensive than some fine salts, but worth it if you figure a medium jar will transform roughly 200 to 300 to meals from "ho hum" to "boy howdy!"
Pangasinan salt is a fleur de sel that results from many days of labor. Seawater is evaporated throughout the intensely hot day, and then raked into baskets in the afternoon sun. The actual sea salt season lasts six months, beginning in December at the end of the rainy season, and ending in May, when the rainy season resumes. Limiting availability of our fine Ilocano Asin sea salt is the fact that it is harvested only during the peak times of this period from February through May.
The name Pangasinan translates to land of salt or place where salt is made, and refers to the province at the northern end of central Luzon. The Philippine salt industry thrived until the early 1990s. With ratification of the GATT agreement, cheap imports effectively led to the collapse of the local salt industry. Pangasinan star Philippine sea salt is hand harvested by small salt farmers working in their ancestral salt fields.