23 Nov2006


Kruk-kruk “was a term my mother used to describe something gaudy, baduy, boring, tacky… I thought it might only be a word she invented and only those in our immediate family shell3would understand what it meant. I bought these shell adorned toothpicks for appetizers several years ago at Tesoro’s for just PHP65 per package. I stuck them in a drawer at the beach and left them there to ages, untouched. I just never got around to using them and as packaged, they actually kind of struck me as being somewhat “kruk-kruk”. The large clam shell holding the tightly wrapped toothpicks made me think of soap dishes in an outrageously overdone little bano in that bizarre house you happened to be a guest at one evening… Heehee, I now realize my mom used to use those shells as soap dishes, yipes! But last weekend I decided to open up a pack of toothpicks and see if they could be made to look useful and more attractive. You can tell I had had my dip in the water, read several back issues of food magazines, munched on several types of fruit, took a short nap, had no internet access and was on my way to getting bored…


I tried several different vessels/dishes and was pleasantly surprised with the results. The small brown ceramic flower vase is Japanese. The intentionally “crushed” white porcelain shell4espresso cup is French. The little glass votive candle holder is from Divisoria and probably China before that. All seem to make the toothpicks look better than they did when I purchased them. What’s my favorite? I think the glass container because it is clear what the item is and what it is to be used for. I will bring these aged toothpicks back to Manila and use them with shrimp cocktail, baked mussels or clams or blocks of tuna sashimi…



  1. Maricris says:

    Great and useful idea. I hope to be in Manila and get some of those shells. Thanks! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

    Nov 23, 2006 | 3:47 am


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  3. MRJP says:

    I like the first photo, the toothpicks in the japanese vase.

    Nov 23, 2006 | 7:12 am

  4. linda says:

    How about some crumpled smoked salmon with thinly sliced and rolled up cucumber or diced mango with lychees on your kruk-kruk,etc.etc….

    Nov 23, 2006 | 8:33 am

  5. nikka says:

    It makes me think that they are a bit of a waste. Would you actually re-use these toothpicks after they’ve been used?

    Nov 23, 2006 | 8:54 am

  6. Marketman says:

    nikka, they are cocktail picks, so NO, I wouldn’t use them again. If you look at it another way, it is employment generation as some unfortunate soul had to individually stick a shell to a toothpick and was hopefully paid to do it… now the question is, was his or her hands clean… :(

    Nov 23, 2006 | 9:04 am

  7. joey says:

    Hi MM! I have a bunch of these I stole from my parent’s house when I got married :) But instead of wooden toothpicks, they are made of steel so you can reuse them…sometimes I do think they are a bit kruk-kruk (or as my mom would say cursi) but spin kruk-kruk the right way and suddenly it’s “retro”! ;)

    Great idea with the votive candle holder! Thanks for the ideas! I usually spread out mine in a white ceramic sauce dish…

    My mom also had those shell soap dishes…heehee :)

    Nov 23, 2006 | 11:26 am

  8. millet says:

    kawawa naman all the hermit crabs that lost their houses….joke,joke!

    Nov 23, 2006 | 12:20 pm

  9. Lei says:

    Now that you’ve mentioned the term kruk kruk, I was also caught unawares when they were using the term ‘krung krung’ to a local female artist that was untalented so to speak and a bit on the weird side. So now I at least can get the drift…

    Nov 23, 2006 | 12:52 pm

  10. goodtimer says:

    Lei, wasn’t it “kring kring”? LOL

    Nov 23, 2006 | 2:46 pm

  11. Mandy says:

    good timer: that was another one naman! more than a decade ago. heehee.

    Nov 23, 2006 | 6:04 pm

  12. Cai- cupcakediva says:

    I don’t those toothpicks are baduy. I actually find them nice..does that mean I have bad taste?! =)

    Goodtimer, Lei was referring to Sandara…

    Nov 23, 2006 | 11:12 pm

  13. Cai- cupcakediva says:

    (TYPO)I don’t think those toothpicks are baduy…

    Nov 23, 2006 | 11:15 pm

  14. renee says:

    I was thinking along the same line as goodtimer … oh dear i suppose it hints at our age….

    Nov 23, 2006 | 11:35 pm

  15. Lei says:

    renee and goodtimer, nope, it is not kring kring and cai is right, it was sandara they were referring to as krung krung! =)

    Nov 24, 2006 | 9:46 am

  16. wil-b cariaga says:

    nice. . . its not baduy. its actually great, we use a more baduy toothpick here in Four Seasons Resort, it has a colorful fishy top, yuck. . . sometimes when my chef is not around I don’t put it in the sandwiches it really destroys “the look” . . . hmmm. . . I wish they still have that in Tesoro’s, its good for beach coctails etc.

    Nov 24, 2006 | 10:32 pm

  17. stef says:

    LOL, joey, steel toothpicks? i remember seeing that in a catalog once (one of those filled with impractical stuff that you wouldn’t buy unless you had money to burn) — and couldn’t help wondering how those would actually feel like on one’s teeth…. yikes!

    Nov 27, 2006 | 5:58 am

  18. Katrina says:

    Hey, Joey, my mom used to say “cursi” too — it was actually what first came to mind when MM said his mom said “kruk-kruk.” Maybe 30 years from now, no one will understand the word “baduy” either…

    Nov 27, 2006 | 1:29 pm

  19. joey says:

    Hi Stef! Feels like you’re at the dentist’s! Nah…just kidding :) We just use them for spearing pica pica and not really for, um, what you would normally use toothpicks for ;)

    Katrina! I laughed out loud!!! :) So true…

    Nov 28, 2006 | 12:07 am

  20. maria says:

    Those toothpicks are not at all baduy. It’s actually my first time to encounter such a marriage of shell and stick. They look really cool as bookmarkers or signage holders for cakes and pastries on display…i think i’ll buy some and use them as place card holders for an upcoming wedding at the beach.

    Nov 30, 2006 | 1:14 pm

  21. dhayL says:

    Oh they’re so adorable, really cute and what a unique find!

    May 31, 2007 | 6:12 am


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