Monday, October 24, 2005
Lasang Pinoy 3: Streetfood in Daet
Here is a list of the favorite streetfood of a kindred spirit, a self-confessed Doreen Fernandez disciple, while growing up in Daet, Camarines Norte.
From his trips to Manila, this is standard pasalubong by my Dad who passes by Laguna together with otap, a biscuit which will cover you in crumbs and flakes when eaten. It is at its sweetest in the month of October, others say, more so when its fruiting season is about to end, like a bittersweet farewell. My sister and I and our maid used to gorge ourselves until our stomachs ache in bilaos (winnowing baskets) of this fruit, careful not to smear the sap (from the branches and in the fruit's skin) on our eyes, forewarned by the elders that we will be blinded by some poison in it. In our binges, we were joined by the black ants crawling through the mounds of fruit, their dainty bites, however, not detterring us from our enjoyment.
Since kindergarten, I have been dead curious about this forbidden refreshment of my classmates. Forbidden by my parents because it was dirty - the used glasses were just dunked in a pail of turbid water then it was ready for the next batch of users, and it was sweet and cold - bad for my tonsils. But for five centavos (there, you can guess how ancient I am!) you got about five glorious slurps from a serving and get to choose from various colors (cherry red, pink, orangey orange) and flavors. Once, I hid from my dad who fetched my sister and I after school and sneaked a glass. The ceremony of crushing the ice manually in a rotating ice scramble contraption and putting in the flavoring and a small can of alaska milk was pure fascination.
This was a treat mother used to bring from her Saturday sojourns in the market. A wild cousin of the taro, it grows in swampy shaded areas, to a height as tall as coconut trees and is so hardy, my mother told me the gatherer had to use an axe to harvest it and cut into small serving pieces. It is sold by the old women along the streets leading to the market, wrapped in banana leaf, boiled in ginger, salt and water. Because I was such a greedy child, I used to eat three pieces of this rootcrop as an aperitif for a lunch of tinolang manok with sili leaf and green papaya. The native chicken was gamy and needed hours to cook and soften. So while waiting, I munched on the galyang. Sarap!
Lasang Pinoy 3