> Kain Tayo!

Burp! I’m full! I have large Fiesta Bowl and Root Beer in front of me and I just ate Hotshots and French Fries. What a very good start for a tiring day.

I was about to order Pasta Alfredo earlier when the corn of the Fiesta Bowl caught my fancy. I missed the times when we [with my siblings] would usually eat sweet corn every afternoon on a summer season. Those were the times when we would hide from our Mama what we were eating.

I have a very weak set of digestive system. Street food was officially off-limits to me as a kid. I can still remember my Mama putting “bigkis” [binder] around my stomach because I can easily get LBM from eating oily, salty and even creamy foods. Between typhoid, cholera and intestinal parasites [just some of the supposed evils associated with street food at the time and, perhaps, still today], I was not allowed to buy anything from a street vendor, not even dirty ice cream. I can actually recall that the vast majority of street food offered when I was a kid was not hot, fried [or grilled] and oily. There were several barbeque, fish ball and other ambulant vendors, but I remember mostly the fruit and snack vendors – street food was predominantly snack food back then. Outside Baste [our school] are vendors who would always be persuasive to kids like us. Without a doubt, my favorite street food is a crunchy sour green mango, sold with bagoong or shrimp paste. Despite the ban on anything streetside, I used to occasionally buy some green mango. I never did get sick but the dire warnings of the plague usually meant I enjoyed this snack at home in more hygienic conditions. The sourness of the mango and the jolting saltiness of the bagoong are a match made in heaven. I also liked the sweeter and less acidic indian mangoes with salt…

Corn was also a popular street food option as well. Sold from carts that also ply busy intersections, hot boiled or steamed corn was, and still is, a favorite. While on self-packaged fruits that are then steamed to kill all the cooties, how about steamed or boiled peanuts that are also sold streetside? Yum. Even better are their greasy version – fried peanuts with lots of garlic. Finally, my all time favorite cooked fruit is saba bananas and as street food they were sold as turon, banana-que or maruya… I thinks it’s Ron’s [our trainer] favorite also. You would even hear him saying these lines ala Mahal…

Saging na Saba, Masarap Kainin

Saging na Senorita, Itapon na natin? [tama ba Ron?]

 The smell that comes from a boiling vat of fat with caramelizing sugar is burned into my memory banks forever… blindfolded, I would know if you walked me past a banana-que vendor!

Nowadays, these ambulant vendors can be seen almost everywhere. Even from corporate areas like Ortigas. Everything you want from dimsuns, sisigs, crepes and my new favorite – Hongkong Style Noodles will be there to put your senses in frenzy. Friday nights will never be the same without our Banchetto. And yeah the UP isaws – di rin papatalo.


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