Remember that scene in Ratatouille when Anton Ego took one bite of Remy's Ratatouille and immediately the most feared food critic remembered his mom's cooking and was immediately transported to his childhood. This week I had a ratatouille of sorts, not from Mamu's cooking, but from all the "street food" that I had. If you must know, like any other good intentioned parent, Mamu forbade me from eating street food with the usual reason, "you don't know how the food was prepared."
Well, I had my fair share of street food, behind Mamu's back of course. I never got sick nor suffered from food poisoning.
First off, I had Chocnut, the quintessential Filipino candy that's part chocolate and part peanut, hence the name chocnut. Though, not really considered as street food, this sweet treat is available in your friendly sari-sari store. Mamu never really understood my fondness for Chocnut, which she describes as "lasang chalk". I never tasted chalk so I really don't have a point of comparison. One bite from this easy to shatter into powder treat and I'm transported to the days where I would play patintero, piko and jackstone with my neighborhood playmates.
I got up early one morning and heard a familiar call. "Tahooo! Tahooo!" I all but ran to the gate in my not so presentable pantulog and answered "Manong Taho!" Taho is fresh silken tofu drizzled with arnibal (dark sugar syrup) then topped with sago (tapioca balls) and peddled by ambulatory vendors with aluminum containers balanced on their shoulders.
Taho was the only street food allowed in our house and enjoyed at breakfast until Mamu heard this rumor that some vendors add plaster of paris, which I think is some sort of chemical used to the casts of fracture victims. Since then, taho was banned from our house.
Finally, the big kahuna of childhood street food. I just had scramble! I was in SM walking around when I saw a queue. I was trying to figure out the cause of all this anticipation when lo and behold! It was Ice Scamble. The scramble of old but now available in a more sanitized version. I joined the line and when finally it was my turn I told Ate Scamble, no topping (now you have a choice between rice crispies, chocolate spinkles and marshmallows), just powdered sugar. I'm a scramble purist. Then she poured a Brown Cow like container, I was expecting chocolate syrup but alas, it was stawberry. Oh well, you can't have it all.
Hmmm...how to describe scramble? It's this pink ice dessert peddled on the streets by Manong Scramble that's topped with powdered milk and Brown Cow chocolate syrup. Come to think of it, I never really gave much thought on what goes into a cup of scramble or how it's made. All I know is that it came from a scramble machine. As to what a scramble machine is, I have no idea.
|Scramble in all its pink glory!|
One spoonful and I was in elementary again, waiting in anticipation for Manong Scramble to finish churning his machine. I took my cup and happily walked all the home. I stopped before the last street going to our house then threw the cup (I wasn't as environmentally conscious then) because I knew Mamu would go ballistic on me. I knew her pet peeve when it comes to street food is scramble. I greet Mamu and she asks me how my day went, I told her that it was a happy day. She smiles at me, I smile back, that secret smile of knowing that I just enjoyed scramble all the way home.
It's so nice to stroll down memory lane again.