Filipino Street Foods: A Review

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Filipino Street Foods is the perfect storm of the traditional values of cheapness, empowerment, and playing chicken with Death himself, just because. Street food was life's answer to what probably was a common question for every kid like me who did not bring lunch to school: "How do I enable myself to spend money to buy usless shit like cheapass plastic figurines and fake trading cards AND not starve to death in the long run?" Thanks to street foods, I managed to complete my childhood, indulging in child-versions of adult gambling problems, and still survive on my meager allowance for almost 10 years. If I could account for how much streetfood I ate back then, I suppose it'd be around 30% of my bodymass. That said, I suppose I have enough experience and expertise to do this review, because if I ate more than I probably have, I'd be dead from dysentery already.


Scramble - Scramble is one of the more fancy dessert-drinks of my childhood, just above "iron-enriched" icetubig (a.k.a refrigerated rustwater) and slightly below the level of Sago-gulaman-ipis (which is usually a few pesos more expensive). It's the Zagu before people knew Zagu, and it went for cheap. Back in 1991 it was 1 peso for the sachet size, 2 pesos for the cup, which is often reserved for elitist asshole kids who'd grow up ordering Starbucks Macchiato Aformente Venti to compensate for their shirveled gonads. I never really knew what made them pink, which kind of reminded me of eggs laid by snails. Not that I'm suggesting anything. I'm just saying. Scramble is awesome, specially with brown cow. But it's like sex with a snowman (or woman, depending on whether you are sexually confident enough to not mind) - twenty seconds after you stick your straw in, you realize you're just fucking with nothing but lots of ice.

Fishballs - Fishballs are like the staple food when it comes to "tusok-tusok" (in english "fuck utensils"). Whether or not fishballs actually contain fish has been an enduring question over the centuries, as the constitution of the average fishball is 40% air, 50% oil (that will be drained the moment you dip it in the sauce) and 10% lardy substance of ailen origin. Sauces come in three different flavours: sweet, spicy, and sweaty, the availabilty of the last one depending on whether or not it's been a terribly hot day for the vendor.

As a matter of trivia that is of no value to me or you or the enrichment of this article, cholera, hepatitis, amoebiasis and typhoid (in the order that my friends acquired the disease over the years) are often acquired not through the fishball itself but in the dipping bottle of the sauces, because sometimes the water used for the sauces is no different from the water that gets stuck in the gutter after raining for a while, also some assholes dip their fishballs again after taking a bite. Assholes.

Dirty delicious - honestly, I still don't know what they are called. Dirty delicious are like the poor man's meatballs, with barely a hint of meat. They're supposedly ground up meat, some veggies, and lots of flour then deep fried. Dirty Delicious is here for the sole fact that it actually manged to outcheapen the fishballs. At the time fishballs were 25 cents a pop, dirty delicious was 8 pieces a PESO. It's that fucking cheap. Like, when was the last time you actually were able to get anything more than 5 pieces for a peso? I can't even buy that much bond paper on the same coin. Anyway, don't get wrong. It's here because it's also delicious. I don't know what they put in the balls. I'd say cocaine, but the pricetag suggests some cheaper alternative, like paint thinner.

Bopis - Bopis is supposedly cow/pig innards. The most awesome thing about bopis is that unlike Fishballs and dirty delicious, it's actually meat youre eating - although the low price makes you think twice about what what kind you're eating. None the matter, bopis is likewise addicting, and practically dangerous since animal innards aren't served often on the menu for a reason - they're hard to clean properly and even harder to sterilize for human consumption. Nonetheless, fuck yeah. Note that the bopis you eat as a meal, the ground up kind that looks like half cooked sisig, is not the same bopis that gets fried with the stick. The latter, though cheaper, is infinitely more delicious. There are two kinds of bopis on a stick. The first kind is the short stick type, which comes cheaper but with smaller pieces of meat, and then the longer stick type which costs three times more but has more meat, and presumably, less dubiousness. I like surprises though, so personally I prefer the short stick.

Kikiam/Squidball - I'm grouping these two together because they're almost always sold in the same stall. Nowadays though, they're also sold with fishballs. Anyway Kikiam and squidballs are like signature brands for street foods, because they're more expensive than the usual and *gasp* the squidball sometimes remotely tastes like actual squid. (I swear, there was this one time, I took a bit and actually tasted a piece of squid. It was either that or my gums were falling off). What kikiam is made of is also a big mystery for me, and even the Chinese who supposedly introduced us to the turd-shaped snack hundreds of years ago, along with Taho and counterfeit DVDs.


Closing remarks:

I won't cover ihaw-ihaw foods here anymore since they're already an article on their own. Maybe some other time.
As a word of caution, I'd like to say that these foods are eaten with a good dose of risk - kind of like playing hopscotch with Death and Hepatitis. If you eat them with abandon, it's only a matter of time before something fucks up your digestive system and force it to shoot vomit out of your mouth at highway speeds and make you shit half of your intestinal track in 3 seconds flat. The reason why I was able to endure eating these things is that I've always been a dirty kid, and I was constantly exposed to dirty food. Let's just say my tolerance for these things are higher than average. If possible, stay away. But then again, it's not like we Filipinos ever let trivial things like amoebiasis get the better of our stubborn recklessness now, do we?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You asshole you still have it, man. Keep more coming. I honestly wish you get yourself sponsored not just by googledads so you can get inspired to make more kickass posts and you can inspire more bloggers, too. Not that you're not inspired enough.

Leo said...

nowadays, the staple food around my area is siomai.

good stuff! :)

Anonymous said...

You forgot the kwek-kwek (quail eggs with the orange batter)

Anonymous said...

Uhm does agno like uhm count as street food?

 

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