Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Lasang Pinoy 3: Pinoy Street Food

Filipinos are fond of street food. Kai who happens to be the host of Lasang Pinoy for the month of October has actually given a total picture of what street food means to every Filipino. Way back in high school, my friends and I frequented this corner along General Luna Road in Baguio City which sells fishballs. As far as I can remember, it is the only one I bought fishballs from. Not that I was very fuzzy or what but since my mother was a health worker, it's an exageration to say that since birth, she never failed to remind us of the dangers of buying from unsanitary places.

The corner called "Hang-out" was owned by a doctor, so we expected that he would have taken extra measures to keep his space clean otherwise he will see the end of his career. Hang-out was not an ordinary place. It was actually a casual place to dine-in but just before you enter the place, there was this teenie corner where fishballs were cooked. I think I always had fishballs for lunch because for 1 Peso, I had 20 fishballs. Back then, they were being sold for 5 pieces for 25 cents. Hmm, don't ask me what year it was, because I am not ready to tell you.

Hang-out had a simple recipe for its sauce: Soy sauce, vinegar, onions, sugar and garlic. Back then, Hepa-B was not yet a big concern but mother was already concerned about me dipping my fishballs in one big jar where others dip theirs as well. She suggested that instead of me buying from the corner, I should just buy the uncooked one from the market and cook them at home. Yes, it was such a bright idea.


Having fishballs at home is definitely a two-thumbs up for my kids, nieces and nephews. It's one of the things my kids look forward to everytime we go home to the Philippines. It's at the toppest part of our "To eat list". There's so much involved in cooking fishballs for a bunch of kids...emotionally, that is. By the time one kilo is gone, someone would be crying for not having his equal share of the fun. Another one would be crying for stolen pieces he's left in the bowl (to absorb more sauce); or someone else has picked someone else's skewer. I personally think that there's more to than just having fun when I see them rush to the bowl to dip theirs in. It's a priceless moment to see everyone bonding just because of fishballs.

Just before I bring out the skewers I never fail to lay out my only simple rule: NO DOUBLE-DIPPING. ATTACCKKKKK!!!!

27 comments:

celia kusinera said...

Oh my, I also loved fishballs and had the same aversion because of the multiple dipping of diff people in the sauce. But they are truly yummy!
I think I'll try this at home I seem to spy some fishballs in our chinese grocer. Paano ang proportion mo ng toyo-suka-asukal?

ladycharlie said...

uy! parang kilala ko yung fishball vendor na ito ah...when i was there studying in UP, we always hang out by the gate with "manang mani" and "manong fishball" !!

bugsybee said...

Ting, my father (a doctor) prohibited us from buying fishballs from the street vendor because of his concern about hepa, etc. But that didn't stop us from making "nakaw". Ha! In the end, he caught us because first, a brother bought and went straight to the UP infirmary. Then I was already reviewing at CPAR, bili din ako - direcho din sa hospital. Then a younger sister bought in her school, ha ha! Well, you know where she ended too.
But here in Bacolod, they have the dip that's kinda thick, yung parang brown ang kulay. Do they put flour? Naku, napansin ko, kakagat muna yung student and isa-sawsaw uli doon. Eeeek! But they all look like they're biting into a piece of heaven. LOL
Ang saya ng post na 'to!

grace said...

ohhh.. I am a fishball lover as well... I tried making some coz i cant find packs of fishballs in the grocery store here in Luanda, Well, i wasnt successful coz i run out of cornstarch, I added more flour, but wasnt that tasty... once i succeed, I'll blog it, promise.

stefoodie said...

LOL!!! ganyan din dito, agawan sa fishball. you can't ever make enough. but here at home since it's just us family, double-dipping is accepted and even encouraged hahaha!

ting-aling said...

There's no guarantee CeliaK because I don't measure sometimes but try this:

1/4 cup of soy sauce
1/8 cup of vinegar
a load of chopped onions
1 clove of finely chopped garlic
4 tbsps of sugar (or more)

try to blend the ingredients to make a sweet-soury taste..adjust it according to your taste

ting-aling said...

Ladycharlie..I remember the joke about a kid who was selling peanuts near pcibank "uy huwag ka, ang tatay niyan taga UP"..

ting-aling said...

Heaven talaga Bugsybee if you eat fishballs. The thing is, yon nga, kakagat muna yung mama tapos isasawsaw uli. When I was young, I found nothing wrong with that but with the advent of SARS, Hepatitis, Dysentery, I'm a little careful now.

ting-aling said...

Grace, I think fishballs is actually made out of flour more than corn starch. Let me know how your experiment turns out, okey?

ting-aling said...

Stef, shhh, we do that at home too but it's nice to teach them that double-dipping is not acceptable in public..just in case they forget.

dexiejane said...

i've been thinking about this eversince I read Kai's post :). this brings back memories.

ting-aling said...

Dexie..ha..everytime I hear "street food", fishballs is the first thing that comes to mind.

eye said...

no double attacks hahaha! pero parang mas sumasarap ata pag ganun ang ginagawa hehe!

nung huli kong daan sa peyups eh encased with glass na yung mga fishball at isaw stands, tapos yung sauce eh binibigay na kasama ng bibilhin mong sticks. wala ng agawan sa pagtusok at pagsawsaw :D

ting-aling said...

Hi Eye. I heard vendors who were more health conscious have started investing in fixtures that could make their product look clean. mabuti naman.

Pero oo nga, it is in the double dipping yata that really makes eating fishballs fun, or is it watching the buyers having fun that really makes you want to try too?

Kai said...

Fun post! During my first days in my job, I was brought by my officemates to the manong fishball in front of the office building. I went down with LBM for the next three days. It's advised now that either you pour the sauce on the fishballs, or dip it in only once. the safest is the vinegar.

And there was this joke naman sa UP, that the best fishball vendor there has his sons in Ateneo....selling fishballs, of course, not studying there.

Thanks for a fun LP3 entry!

ting-aling said...

Kai, I remember that joke.."uy, huwag mong lolokohin yang si Manong. May anak yan sa UP at Ateneo!"..hehe.

I'm glad they're doing that now but I will still be paranoid and cook my own.

JMom said...

Uy, Ting, nasan yung recipe ng fish ball? :-( Unfortunately, I never did experience fish ball mania. I didn't ever get a chance to sneak out for some ;-) drat!

ting-aling said...

LOL JMom. I didn't make the fishballs. It was actually timely that I found out they were being sold in Filipino stores now.

You don't know what it's like then to have fishballs for breakfast, lunch and dinner (although you get tired of it naman). I think they started appearing sa streets in the early 1980s. Wala ka na siguro sa Philippines at that time.

aleth said...

"agawan ng tusok"! i think this was the reason that made me eat these fishballs in the first place! agawan, unahan sa pagtusok sa unang fishball na maluluto.. they usually have 2 kinds of dips di ba? yung garlicky soy sauce then the other one is yung parang gravy, na medyo maanghang.. hmmmm 'kaka miss naman :( makadaan nga sa supermarket later n buy a packet of fishballs n squidballs.. yap we have them in dubai! some are imported from pinas n the other one is locally made by, of course, a pinay!! and it's really goodah too ..

Lani said...

My mom also prohibited us from buying fishballs from the street vendor, I'm also doing that to my son and hubby (lol). Well, it's better to be safe than sorry. I usually buy uncooked fishballs from the supermarket then cook it in the house. I use thai sweet chili sauce for dipping.

Pero when you go to the mall, dami na rin nagtitinda ng mga fishballs/kikiam/squid balls doon at hygienic na talaga. Di na uso double sawsaw.

Isa sa pinakamasarap na fishballs ay iyong nabibili sa Ongpin, pure fishballs talaga. Bumibili ako noon sa Eng Bee Tin sa tabi ng Binondo Church, expensive nga lang.

Karen said...

Uy! Something I can't resist. Ironically, I only got to eat fishballs in college. Stef did an experiment to make homemade fishballs taste street-bought. It's somewhere in her archives, am just too hungry to search for it now. Hahaha!

Fantastic entry, Tingsky!

mike mina said...

i've never had fishballs before. i only got to try them when i arrived here in brunei in '92 - they were being sold frozen [in packets] in the supermarket along with prawn and squid balls. my favourite dip - suka with a dash of salt, crushed garlic, black pepper and chilies! yum, yum! this is making me hungry even though i've had lunch na . . .

ting-aling said...

Oh Tagadubai, I am glad to hear they have them in Dubai. Sa amin, lately lang na may nakita akong import. Hindi pa masyadong nadidiskubre, otherwise, mauubusan kami.

Hey Karen, i'd better go and visit Stef for the recipe. Baka I might not need to buy anymore pag natutunan ko na.

Ha? Mike, you missed 1/3 of your life then, haha. Eh yan ang buhay ng istudyante noon eh.

vim said...

i was contemplating on going home to the philippines this june (2006) and i only have two weeks vacation,some friends say i'm crazy to go home if i'm only gonna stay for two weeks...but i bet it would be so worth it... the real reason why i'm itching to go home is because i miss filipino food so @#$%^! much! hehehehe... when i read about this fishball article, i totally craved for it as if i'm going into wittdrawal! (addict kasi ako sa fishball eh) i really miss home and the pinoy food that we have back there nothing would compare to it , though we have chinese stores which might have them here in U.S. nothing tastes like the real thing ... i'm so glad i found your website at least now i know hindi ako nagiisa hehehhe and i'm not the only pinoy "in withdrawal" for pinoy foods =) God Bless!

ting-aling said...

vim, you will feel more homesicked if I told you I was just to the Phils..but hey, it's alright. It should be a reason for you to look forward to going home to the Phils.

steff said...

i've had my share of delightful filipino street food only the versions i've had were a bit posh found mostly along the streets of makati if not in my school. oh yes kiddies, there IS a major difference. see here, the stuff i've mostly had were skewered balls (or whatever) alright but they were in a paperplate sort of thingamajiggy wherein the sauce was poured onto the balls/qwek2/proben & my favorite of them all, the unbeatable baga. but yes now the diference: the gross ones wherein one shares a dipping jug with just about the rest of manila is still yummier! now,i've never come across a home-cooked street food that has that unexplainable decadence. now i shall stop & get myself a ticket back home! :)

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