22 September 2005

Street balls and pares

It was already past 7 when I was still in the office, and my stomach was growling impatiently. I asked some of my colleagues if they wanted to eat something before returning to work. A couple said sure, and they suggested the pares stall at Makati Avenue.

Now, I am known to be somebody who does not eat in street stalls. I don’t know who spread that rumor, but I do eat street food too. Especially squid balls. Well, okay, the pares thing is relatively new to me.

So off we went to Makati Av. Wow, there are two vendors side-by-side selling the same type of food but they both have more than their fair share of customers. People in shirts and shorts, others in office attire, some in police and parcel service uniform... quite a good mix. This must be a popular food stop at night; they’re nonexistent here at daytime. There were no ladies around, though, unlike with squid ball stalls.

The stall had two large caldero (cauldrons?) at the center. One had brown-colored rice in it, and the other had a brownish soupy thing. We ordered pares, and we were promptly given two bowls: one with rice, the other with this soupy mixture. The taste is not that bad, I guess, especially since we were all able to consume two orders of rice each. Perfect with soda.

The last time I ate at the streets was in a lugawan (I ordered arroz caldo, which is rice broth with chicken in it) and and I was sitting comfortably then. This time, you eat standing. Talk about faster than fastfood.

Speaking of street food, here are a couple of photos:
These are chicken balls. We were supposed to order squid balls, but they ran out of stock.

And this, my friends, is the new thing in balut (boiled, fertilized duck egg). This is not being served in the streets, however. This version is being sold in the restaurant row of the 6th floor of The Pacific Star Building at Makati Avenue.

The balut less the shell is dipped in an orange batter and is deep fried. Same goes for quail eggs (the small ones which you see here). I also eat balut but not 100% of it. I do not like the partially-developed duck at all. So when I see that portion, I give it to my balut-eating companion.

Which was the same case here. We used a fork to poke at the balut and get certain portions which we dip in vinegar. But when what remained was the baby duck, I gave it to my friend, who willingly gobbled it up but not before giving me a curious stare. But I don't like that part, so why eat it? Dare me with a minimum of 1,000 pesos and I just might try. :-)

This is nice if you have a craving for balut but you do not have the luxury of time to crack open the egg and mess with the juice.
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