What the heck is plum powder? A year or two ago some friends suggested that I try some “plum powder” from DEC, this Chinese grocery in Virra Mall. Never a big fan of things that come unlabelled, I hesitated for the longest time until finally my curiosity was piqued. I brought home a little plastic container of the stuff with no ingredients listed (and cost a whopping P200 or so) and opened it up. It looked a bit like the salt/pepper mixture that is served with fried chicken in some Chinese restaurants, but its aroma is a little different. What is it? I don’t really know for sure but it seems like all that great dried sweet/salty plum (champoy) powder that flakes off of the champoy. I was told to try it with some pomelo or green mango and while I found it rather interesting, I was not immediately hooked.
Growing up, I was a HUGE fan of champoy or dried plums with sugar and salt. I used to eat the bright red variety and they were best consumed with a regular coke as the salt/sweet extremes were really mouth puckering. Despite my parents attempts to convince me that champoy was made in some sweaty-worker’s armpit (hence the saltiness), they were a personal favorite. Well, guess what the plum powder tastes like? A whole bunch of powdered champoy. It adds a nice salty counterpoint to whatever you dip into it and despite the price…a little goes a very long way. I only fret that it is likely laced with MSG and I am not thrilled by the thought. The other flavor components are probably star anise. At any rate, the stuff is available at chinese groceries and is worth a try…particularly if you like champoy. The little bottle here was PHP150 and it gave no clue to what ingredients went into the concoction.