27 Oct2005

Street food was officially off-limits to me as a kid. street1Between 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 purchase anything from a street vendor, not even dirty ice cream. I may be just a bit older than most of my readers as I actually recall that the vast majority of street food on offer 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. Without a doubt, my favorite street food is a crunchy sour green mango, sold with bagoong or shrimp paste. I went to grade school in Quezon City and right outside my school there were several vendors and 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…

Other fruits or veggies on offer included peeled santol that bobbed in street2acidulated water until customers purchased them. They used to sell santol with some rock salt with little cuts into the fruit so you could easily take the rind off and get to the seeds inside. If one’s allowance was running low, then a single singakamas or jicama with salt was another snack alternative, though I have to admit I have never purchased this off of the street. Other totally clean, nutritious and delicious (though not to a 10 year old) snacks were senorita bananas (fantastic packaging), lanzones or any other fruit in season which the buyer peeled themselves. At the height of the season, one could also purchase carefully peeled pinya or pineapple sold by the slice or wedges of bright red pakwan or watermelon. How can I not mention fresh buko or coconut and cantaloupe juices that were stored in tall plastic containers that they would stick a ladle into to fill your plastic cup with?

Corn was also a popular street food option as well. street3For some reason, most Filipinos subscribed to the “you must cook corn for hours school of thought” so the corn sold was always way overcooked. 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… 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!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. stefoodie says:

    we were wondering where you were:D
    didn’t get to enjoy much streetfood growing up either — when i’d ask for some my mom’s usual response was “let’s prepare it at home” — which now that i think about it probably fueled much of my drive to create/recreate in the kitchen. hmmm… did the “forbidden” factor perhaps contribute to your foodieness as well? thanks for joining us for LP3!

    Oct 27, 2005 | 11:41 pm

     
  2. Kai says:

    Thanks for the fruity LP3 entry, MarketMan! Very educational, I had a grand time reading back to your previous posts.

    Oct 28, 2005 | 10:15 am

     
  3. Mila says:

    My salivary glands went into overdrive looking at the mangang hilaw with bagoong. Definitely a topper on my comfort food list.
    When my dad would come from downtown (chinatown), he’d bring home a brown bag full of boiled peanuts. He’d eat some but usually pass the bag to me, and I’d eat the whole bag in one sitting (half a kilo? maybe a kilo of those babies). I found out that it’s only in the Southern States, Louisiana et al, that boiled peanuts were as familiar to street eaters. Never could get them in Los Angeles and San Francisco, except in Asian food stores. Made up for their absence after college.
    However, boiled peanuts should be eaten right away, as they begin to develop this fungus after sitting around for awhile. I found that out when I saw a small container of leftover boiled peanuts that my dad didn’t tell me about until the next day.
    And those carts that sell boiled peanuts are suspect for using dirty water to cook the legumes so typhoid, cholera, etc are still a problem when eating boiled peanuts. Probably the same thing with corn; I’d rather cook it myself, then slather it with butter or just a sprinkling of kosher salt. Lovely kernels on the picture MM!

    Oct 28, 2005 | 10:55 am

     
  4. acidboy says:

    running the risk of sounding like a “those were the days” old fogie, the street food nowadays are crap compared to what we had back in the day. hilaw na manga, tubo (sugar cane), taho with homemade anibal(?), lugaw, skrambol, fishballs that are more than an inch in diameter, isaw, iud…. now all i see are corporate-type food stalls like KISS-King of Balls??!!!

    Oct 28, 2005 | 12:23 pm

     
  5. dodi says:

    Oh my God! Just the picture of that mango sends me drooling!Got to buy a mango mamaya! In my part of the country, it is paired with soy sauce with or without sugar!

    Oct 28, 2005 | 2:22 pm

     
  6. celiaK says:

    That mango with bagoong made my salivary gland go into overdrive. :lol:
    Oh and thanks for the memories your post evoked – indian mangoes, iskrambol (from acidboy), singkamas (which I sliced paper thin then marinate in lip-puckering vinegar and salt), nilagang mani, and like you, give me the great turon/bananacue anytime!

    Oct 28, 2005 | 10:46 pm

     
  7. Alicia says:

    Do you recall ever sampling sugar cane from the street? When I was in high school there was a cart that sold this. You bit off from the cane, sucked the sugar and juices right out of it, then what was left in mouth you would spit back into a plastic bag! Have not seen that in years.. boy, this entry certainly brings back memories!

    Oct 29, 2005 | 7:39 am

     
  8. aleth says:

    that nilagang mani is what we don’t have here in the desert…miss the guy shouting (or singing?) …”MA-neh..nilagang MA-neeeh..” :(

    Oct 29, 2005 | 3:41 pm

     
  9. mang_mike says:

    hi MM! your entry reminds me of the the other “home-cooked versions” of street food my parents would do, as we were not really allowed to buy everything when we were kids. nangangasim tuloy ako by just looking at the mango and bagoong photo! it also reminds me of our mango trees we used to climb as kids and pick the fruits na “bubot”. love your site! am a big fan!

    Oct 29, 2005 | 5:04 pm

     
  10. Ivan M. says:

    Speaking of street food, our school even went to as far as giving us punishments (the dreaded conduct C for kids caught cheating, lying and,horrors of horrors, buying fishballs on the street!) Yikes.

    I guess you can tell my age when fishballs cost a measly 10 cents (10-12 pcs in a stick for P1.00!) as opposed to 50 cents today.

    Sigh. The sign of times.

    Oct 31, 2005 | 11:43 am

     
  11. Lani says:

    We all have in common here. Our parents didn’t allow us to buy street foods but some of us (me included) disobeyed our parents (he,he,he).

    I’m always telling my son not to buy foods from the street. I make it a point to cook it in the house for sanitary purposes.

    Oct 31, 2005 | 6:31 pm

     
  12. Marketman says:

    Stefoodie and Kai, better late than never… just got caught up in lots of other stuff… Mila, green mango is an all time favorite… my parents used to love the boiled peanuts but I thought peeling them was a bit of a bother… fried ones seemed easier to consume! acidboy, I have to agree, everything seems more greasy these days… Dodi, soy sauce and green mango? Hmmm, I guess that’s not far from kiamoy and a cold coke… CeliaK, funny how I could be away from home for 10-15 years and not think of some of these foods, but now I think more and more about what I ate or didn’t eat as a kid… Alicia, one of the vendors at market!market! has fresh sugar cane…you can relive memories and be hygeinic by peeling it yourself at home. Aleth, the mud/sand is too dry to grow peanuts maybe… mangmike, we used to have this enormous bangkok santol tree in our front yard… the fruits were so big that once a single fruit fell and broke the glass on a garden table! Ivan, did they actually fail anyone for overdosing on streetfood??! Lani, I think most of us wished we could eat it but generally followed instructions for fear of some weird stomach issues…

    Oct 31, 2005 | 8:33 pm

     
  13. Ana says:

    Hello MM. I just found your site yesterday and am thoroughly enjoying the read. This entry in particular has brought back soooo many memories! :)
    My parents weren’t averse to street food, but they were particular as to which vendors they bought from. My personal favourites were bbq, ‘dirty’ ice cream, taho and fish balls. And lansones are my absolute favourite fruit.
    Just a few more things that weren’t mentioned that I remember from childhood… kulangot ng intsik (I was always a bit suspicious of this one-lol), bituka ng manok, binatog, and there was a sweet sticky thing pressed flat between two banana leaves. Never could remember what that was called, but it was very nice.

    Dec 13, 2005 | 7:14 pm

     
  14. nestle mae goad says:

    why don’t you try to add some information about the harmful effects of streetfoods to human health for them to be aware…thanks for the information!

    Jan 7, 2009 | 8:31 am

     
 

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