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15 May, 2006

Weird Snacking

You know how when you're sick your taste buds are just out of whack?

For the last two weeks, I was sick with bronchitis. I didn't feel like eating anything, except for chicken soup and crackers, o.j. and water which made me lose eight pounds. Thank goodness for small mercies.

I'm all but recovered now, and though everything still tastes like cardboard, I've had enough of my chicken soup diet. My appetite is back, and in spite of the lingering congestion, my taste buds are screaming for intense flavors.

Rummaging through my pantry, I found some strange snacks that Mom bought from an asian grocery store. I don't normally eat these odd treats, but they fit the bill perfectly.

The blue packet in the middle contained tiny anchovies. You read that right, anchovies. They're dry roasted in sugar, spices and cayenne pepper. Sounds odd, but the flavor is reminiscent of food sold by street vendors in my native Philippines, meat and seafood skewers bathed in sweet and spicy marinades and grilled over hot coals. These little suckers were a bit stinky (it's fish after all) but very crunchy and addictive.

The red packet on the left contained dry roasted pusit (squid) with the same kind of flavor, except this one's chewy and studded with sesame seeds. Skewered grilled squid is another favorite street food, often eaten as snacks or pulutan (appetizers) with ice cold San Miguel beer. This wasn't bad, but a little too chewy for me. I liked the crispy dilis (anchovies) better.

The red packet on the right contained roasted chestnuts. These weren't strange at all, very much like the roasted chestnuts you can buy during winter in New York or year round at the Fairfax Farmer's Market here in L.A. (except the Chinese vendor who used to sell them closed up shop years ago). Though not warm and toasty and wrapped in newspaper, these meaty little morsels were just as good. Best of all, they're already peeled and ready to eat.

Lest I get a serious tummy ache, I snacked on a handful here and there to jolt my taste buds awake instead of eating them all at once. And since I don't drink beer and don't like soda just yet, I usually chased them down with some mango nectar juice.

By now you're probably saying, "girl, you eat some weird crap" but hey, I can always claim my bronchial fever made me delirious!

posted at 11:50 PM by City Muse


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