22 October 2005

My streetfood heritage (A Lasang Pinoy III entry)

Street food ... something that the young and old alike share in the Philippines. In Baguio where I grew up, we loved having Snow Cream, a crushed ice concoction with milk and pineapple juice. Perfect cooler after running around in Burnham Park in the breezy afternoon! When at home, we would hear the shrill echo of "tahooooo!" in the neighborhood streets. We would run off to the kitchen, get our bowls and tall glasses, and line up for the Taho vendor to scoop up our share of the soybean curd, sweeten it up with arnibal (sugar syrup), and mix in sago (gelatinous balls) for good measure. And off to the front stairs we seat to enjoy our taho! And then there's the puto and kutsinta (rice cakes) vendor and his horn, his two cylindrical metal containers with domed covers tied at each end of a pliant bamboo pole, and balanced over one shoulder. And who wouldn't love halo-halo on a hot summer afternoon? Yep, even in Baguio, halo-halo is widely appreciated.

I miss the Snow Cream most especially. Their carts used to be abundant in Burnham Park, but I have seen no trace of them in years. They have been replaced by the stationary binatog vendors, with their vats of steamed corn and shredded coconut wafting lazily through the air.


Here in Manila, I got a taste of street fare the city has to offer. Most recently is this thing called Pares (pronounced as is). I can count with one hand the number of times I have eaten in a pares stall, particularly because ... well, I do not like eating out alone. Only when somebody invites me to eat in a pares stall do i get to do so. I have mentioned such a story in a previous post but did not come accompanied with photos. Here are some I took a couple of nights back.
A Pares stall in Makati Avenue
One order coming right up! (You're given a bowel of brownish rice and a soupy dish)
Nearby is a squidball vendor. Strange, after eating two orders of rice at the Pares store, one of my colleagues headed off to the squidballs and munched some more. Can't get enough of street food, eh?

And then there are the "processed" fruit vendors, with pineapples conveniently sliced for you (add a dash of salt and you're ready for a mouth-watering treat!). They also have skewered mangoes dipped in vinegar, and sliced seasonal fruits such as watermelons.

While Pares and the fruit stall produce is not part of my regular diet, Jollijeep offerings has definitely become one. Jollijeep is a fun Filipino term for those roadside stalls that offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and merienda in-between. These stalls were originally modified jeepneys, with their wide window openings retrofitted with ledges to display the meals available for the day. Some have already been sized up in cellophane for take-out, while dine-in customers can have their order served on plates. You have to eat standing, though.

These jeepneys would position themselves on a strategic parking slot in Makati and pay for the entire day's parking fee. Business caught on, and soon these mobile food vendors sprouted everywhere. The local government caught on and offered stationary stalls with a fixed monthly rent instead. But the name Jollijeep (derived from the fastfood store Jollibee stuck. Street food on a "professional" level!

These stalls have even produced specialties. Like, the best place to get your laing fix is in Aguirre Street. And if you like lumpiang shanghai, you can get it near Salcedo Place. But if you're in a hurry, simply head off to the nearest Jollijeep store for a truly fastfood fare.

Still, I truly miss that cold, sweet concoction from my childhood years: the Snow Cream. Wish I could have a taste of that one more time ...

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  1. Anonymous12:35 am

    watson, wow, ang daming choices! i just realized the burger machine i loved as a teen was what you call street food on a pro level LOL. that snow cream you describe sounds lovely. maybe in the summer i'll try to make one up. thanks for sharing your street food stories! very educational:) and nostalgic:(

  2. hi watson, YUMMY!!! pero kelan mo ko dalhin sa baguio?? inggit ako..dami nyo pinuntahan na di ko alam...

  3. Hi, Watson, is the snow cream the ice scramble, or entirely different?

    Those are great photos of the streetfood scene in Makati!

    Thank you for joining LP3!

  4. Hi Stef! Oo nga ano? Burger Machine is also professional street food!

    Princess Em! Hanggang Baguio lang naman ... sige abisuhan kita next time ...

    Hello Kai! I think the scramble is similar in concept, although we have a lovelier name for it. Haven't tried scramble yet though. I haven't seen anyone selling this so far.

  5. kaka miss tuloy sa makati at kaka-gutom din.
    suki din kami ng banana q sa may dela costa tuwing break time.

  6. Anonymous8:42 pm

    uy alam ko yang jollijeep! we used to work there in makati & buy our lunch from them. we may even be talking about the same jollijeep in aguirre st....

  7. With a now watering mouth, I am counting the days until Christmas.

  8. Nasa dela Costa ako Tanggers! Malamang may common jollijeep nga tayong pinupuntahan.

    Hi Iska! Ang galing talaga ng Entrepinoy ano? Uy dalawin ko rin blog mo...

    Mr. Abbey! Hope we get to meet in Baguio!

  9. thanks for such an informative post, wish i could taste them all. never had pares and want to taste the jollijeep offerings...and i understand what you mean about eating alone.

  10. lucky me i can still have my snow cream everytime i want to.... its good to know how to prepare your favorite street food, because one day they be gone, like the binatog, that is what im craving for all the time....

  11. Thanks for this post. Very informational. I used to work at Makati (Ayala) in the late 80s. Wala pang mga stalls nuon. This is very interesting.

  12. Hello drstel ... so we have something in common ...

    G, binatog is all over Baguio

    Hello niceheart! I started working in Makati in 1994, and they have started appearing then. They are simple food stalls, really. I love the convenience though. Thanks for visiting!

  13. Anonymous1:16 pm

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