a warm and humid summer afternoon.
not much money to spend.
three empty stomachs.
no time to change clothes. come as you are.
so, off we go to the tight streets of ormoc city.
it opened floodgates of warm and toasty memories of childhood summers in this city.
first stop was at city central school along carlos tan st.
to spear on some freshly made, fried on the spot fish ball from one of our suki since, hmmm, elementary?
Each ball costs Php0.50 cents only! it used to be just Php0.25 cents, but i guess borge (the vendor) got affected with the increasing prices of the ingredients.
So after making tusok2x the fish balls, we headed to Carmel’s bakeshoppe, an institution in itself — they’re more popularly known as “ila ka paca” since it is owned by the Paca family, also well known cooks/bakers in the city. we went to get a few pieces of meat bread or pan con carne and cheese bread. it is actually made of very soft sweet bread dough. the taste of these baked goodies tastes exactly the same back in highschool. so you will know that the same recipe was used ever since. they’re located just at the back of our school in Arradaza St. in high school we would jump over the fence to buy their bread and their fresh lumpia, risking being caught by mrs. cortes, then our highschool principal.
Then we went to the crossing of Arradaza and Cata-ag St. There we found the usual student’s merienda fare of caramelized bananas and camote (sweet potato) on a stick, turron, hot cake smothered with margarine and roll many times in white sugar, steamed/fried native chicken egg, and ice cold buko/pineapple juice.
we also got some indian mango and spicybagoong/hipon/uyap (fermented and salted shrimp fry)
right beside we saw a cart selling freshly sliced queen pineapple.
then, we went to the city plaza to buy some siomai and eat our loot there…on our way, we saw this manong selling fried peanuts, either regular, hot and spicy or sugar coated.
Then we had siomai. Php 20-30 pesos for a serving consisting of 3 pieces of these yummy dumplings. i’m so fascinated that this revered dimsum fare have made it’s way into the philippine streets, thus becoming a street food. it is gaining much popularity. and of late, they have the fried variety. i want my siomai
served with the chili sauce, soy sauce and a squeeze of calamansi – then eaten with the toothpick. on a hungry day – i can cinsume up to twelve dumplings with lots of puso (hanging rice). and for some reason, street food is best eaten with sparkle – either because it is the only available soft-drink most of the time or because sparkle is much cheaper. but they’re a perfect pair, really.
at the imelda blvd/inaki larrazabal ave/the city plaza promenade covet a wide array of street food, ready to feed any hungry person making llamerda. you get to eat while enjoying the panoramic view of ormoc bay or while people watching . we chanced up on a lady balut vendor, you don’t get to see one often. we asked if she had “likos” or 17-18 days balut, but she only had the 16 days balut. it was joel’s favorite. although balut is best eaten during nighttime, joel insisted he wanted to try one since it was fresh and still very hot.
balut is a fertilized duck egg, so it has a duck embryo inside it. It is commonly eaten with salt with spicy native vinegar. traditionally it is usually sold and best eaten after dark, maybe so you can’t see how “luod” or gross it is. but to the expert, any time is a good time!
then right next to the siomai cart we saw another manong selling boiled peanuts. we wanted to buy, but we might look for beer! and it was just 4:00 PM. Beer + boiled peanuts, they’re yet another great love team.
then we also chanced up on this lady selling grilled/broiled bananas on a stick. they call it nilangkay. back in a day, good friend angelo kangleon and i would comb the streets looking for nilangkay, this was one of his favorite.
So for less than Php 150.00 we were able to enjoy and took care of of hunger. if we opted to go to a fast food, we could have blown Php 500 easy…plus it was a great bonding experience.
There are tons of philippine street food that i have yet to feature – i haven’t scratched the surface yet. there’s the isaw, barbecue sa eskina, salvaro, bibingka, dirty ice cream, ice drop, kab kab, a plethora of native delicacies and a whole lot more — they should be in my next subsequent entries about pinoy street food.
food is the unifying factor of the philippines. it is our common denominator. we love to eat when we’re happy, sad, angry, bored and even on the rare occasions that we’re hungry. and part of that is pinoy street food.
pinoy street food reflects the filipino culture of ingenuity – to create something special, edible, delicious, nutritious and cost-effective out of something that is seemingly useless, plain or mediocre. that is why when americans get the hunger pangs, they rush to the nearest fastfood, while pinoys rush to the street to eat their favorite street food that is enough to satisfy one’s hunger and soul. philippine street food is soul food. it feeds the masses. Readily available, good tasting and cheap and not to mention the seemingly endless choices.
although street foods have gone to the malls too, to satiate the cravings of the well-heeled who are also into this kind of food. Even 5-star hotels feature street food in their menus once in a while (here), a testament that indeed philippine street food is a big part of philippine culture. it is always a part of the urban landscape. also, if you get to explore pinoy street food, then you will understand why we have high levels of sugar, salt and cholesterol.
We love street food, probably of the total experience in itself. The joy that goes with getting cheap, quick, tasty and delicious food all at the same time. And It doesn’t get any better than that, because when I say cheap, it has got to be really cheap, and tasty and delicious.
the locations where these street food carts are located is a microcosm of a typical philippine community. it is here that you see the natural convergence of people from all walks of life.
although normally viewed as dirty. times have changed now, the government has even stepped in and regulated this trade to make sure proper hygiene is followed. but as they say, once you get to build relationship to your suki – you are sure that they serve you clean food, they treat you like family, and of course they don’t want family to get sick.
now if you’ll excuse me. after eating all those street food for research purposes (to photograph them), now i really need to go to the: