Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hello Childhood!

Remember that scene in Ratatouille when Anton Ego took one bite of Remy's Ratatouille and immediately the most feared food critic remembered his mom's cooking and was immediately transported to his childhood.  This week I had a ratatouille of sorts, not from Mamu's cooking, but from all the "street food" that I had.  If you must know, like any other good intentioned parent, Mamu forbade me from eating street food with the usual reason, "you don't know how the food was prepared."

Well, I had my fair share of street food, behind Mamu's back of course.  I never got sick nor suffered from food poisoning.

First off, I had Chocnut, the quintessential Filipino candy that's part chocolate and part peanut, hence the name chocnut.  Though, not really considered as street food, this sweet treat is available in your friendly sari-sari store.  Mamu never really understood my fondness for Chocnut, which she describes as "lasang chalk".  I never tasted chalk so I really don't have a point of comparison.  One bite from this easy to shatter into powder treat and I'm transported to the days where I would play patintero, piko and jackstone with my neighborhood playmates.

I got up early one morning and heard a familiar call.  "Tahooo!  Tahooo!"  I all but ran to the gate in my not so presentable pantulog and answered "Manong Taho!"  Taho is fresh silken tofu drizzled with arnibal (dark sugar syrup) then topped with sago (tapioca balls) and peddled by ambulatory vendors with aluminum containers balanced on their shoulders.

Taho was the only street food allowed in our house and enjoyed at breakfast until Mamu heard this rumor that some vendors add plaster of paris, which I think is some sort of chemical used to the casts of fracture victims.  Since then, taho was banned from our house. 

Finally, the big kahuna of childhood street food.  I just had scramble!  I was in SM walking around when I saw a queue.  I was trying to figure out the cause of all this anticipation when lo and behold!  It was Ice Scamble.  The scramble of old but now available in a more sanitized version.  I joined the line and when finally it was my turn I told Ate Scamble, no topping (now you have a choice between rice crispies, chocolate spinkles and marshmallows), just powdered sugar.  I'm a scramble purist.  Then she poured a Brown Cow like container, I was expecting chocolate syrup but alas, it was stawberry.  Oh well, you can't have it all. to describe scramble?  It's this pink ice dessert peddled on the streets by Manong Scramble that's topped with powdered milk and Brown Cow chocolate syrup.  Come to think of it, I never really gave much thought on what goes into a cup of scramble or how it's made.  All I know is that it came from a scramble machine.  As to what a scramble machine is, I have no idea.

Scramble in all its pink glory!

One spoonful and I was in elementary again, waiting in anticipation for Manong Scramble to finish churning his machine.  I took my cup and happily walked all the home.  I stopped before the last street going to our house then threw the cup (I wasn't as environmentally conscious then) because I knew Mamu would go ballistic on me.  I knew her pet peeve when it comes to street food is scramble.  I greet Mamu and she asks me how my day went, I told her that it was a happy day.  She smiles at me, I smile back, that secret smile of knowing that I just enjoyed scramble all the way home.

It's so nice to stroll down memory lane again.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Goodies from Vigan

One of Mamu's friends who's from Vigan gave us some goodies from her recent trip home.

Chichacorn is a snack made from a special variety of corn then popped making it very crunchy.  It comes in a variety of flavors like garlic, spicy, adobo, barbecue and cheese.  I prefer the classic garlic. Believe me, once you start popping, you just can't stop.  It's that addictive!  Perfect with a glass of ice cold coke.

Ilocos Royal Bibingka is a sticky rice cake native to Ilocos Sur.  This type of bibingka is different from the simbang gabi staple which is more cake-y or breadlike.  Royal Bibingka is stickier, more like the consistency of sapin-sapin or kalamay.  This goes so well with coffee or hot chocolate. 

I saved the best for last.  Vigan longanisa is something I always ask as pasalubong whenever I hear of someone planning a trip to Vigan.  These local sausages are flavored using Ilocos' native and very potent garlic and Sukang Iloko, a local dark vinegar made from sugar cane.  Because of the presence of Vigan longanisa in our house, I've been having garlic rice these past few days.  The cholesterol laden kind, fried in the rendered longanisa fat.  Dip the longanisa in Sukang Iloko with chilies, throw in a sunny side up, over easy, please. is good.  Walang diet-diet. 

We also have a gallon of Sukang Iloko.