Saturday, September 17, 2005

Chicharon days

I went to the market to browse, and bought a freshly cut hydrangea for my new vase, some pre-packed chinese food, and chicharon (2 bags!). Also dropped by the juice stand for a large order of Rainy Day Juice (papaya-watermelon-and two other fruits), and then my last stop was the indian food stall to get some samosas.

All of this was meant for the office, to have something to eat for lunch while at work. But I was tempted by the sun, so sorely missed this last week, found an empty bench where I drank up my juice, chomped on the samosas and then tore open one bag of chicharon. Luckily I stopped myself from eating the entire bag, but made a definite dent.

I remember my first samosa, it was in the fourth grade and a Pakistani classmate brought in her mom's cooking for one of our never ending food or bake sales. I don't know if it was for an South Asian food fest, but we all brought something to share with the rest of the folks who wanted non-canteen food, and Maryam brought a tray filled with these deep fried dumplings. She warned me they were spicy, and luckily I was never a picky eater, so I bit into it and was hooked. I've always thought of samosas as my first edible cross-cultural experience. How can you make enemies when you savor another culture's food?

As for chicharon, my favorite is still the Lapid's chicharon, when it's fresh and hot. The ones I bought today weren't bad, but nothing spectacular. I was hoping for more laman, instead the bits were mostly skin.

At lunch yesterday, the restaurant had an item with chicken chicharon on rice. That reminded me of the days in school when someone used to sell bags of chicken chicharon in the canteen. I loved those, salty and crunchy. Not too big like pork chicharon bits and had a really savory taste that pork chicharon doesn't always have. Didn't need to dip it into vinegar or add anything as it was redolent of fat and salt.

As for the packed chinese food, it was ho-hum. There was a definite MSG taste to the sauces, and a lack of spice. Don't think I'll be buying from that vendor any more.

Staring at the bag of supersize chocolate covered malt balls, I think it's no contest... there goes one! and soon the rest!

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