The joy of street food
VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Perez (The Freeman) - May 7, 2019 - 12:00am

When I was young, my mother used to tell me that street food is dirty, and that I should stay away from it. Growing up, I became curious how they tasted. The smell of tempura from the stalls outside our school would sometimes waft into our classrooms when I was in pre-school. I knew it was tasty, I just did. So when my mother wasn't there to pick me up, I slipped two P5 coins to the man frying the tempura. He gave me a barbecue stick to get three pieces and opened the sweet sticky sauce for me to dip in. I loved every piece of it.

Since then I understood that street food wasn't anything to be feared. I loved eating at the sidewalks of the Abellana National School for the classic "ginabot" and "ngohiong". There were no plates, just plastic wraps laid on the table to eat with your own bare hands. I'd always crave fried peanuts that come in good-smelling brown pouches and the green mango with shrimp paste. Back in Bantayan Island where I just took a quick vacation, I'd wait by the shore for the man selling bags of cooked scallops just because I wanted to munch on them. They weren't as bad as I thought they would be.

So with the discussion about street food as featured by an online streaming site, I couldn't help but scoff at the idea of a renowned director giving rude comments about how the episode was produced. Of course, he would protest, he isn't from Cebu, but I didn't see anything wrong with the fried lumpia and the bakasi from Cordova. The show creators simply saw it as something new, rare, and would entice the audience to leave their usual comfort zone in street food to find new ones. I didn't even know that bakasi was in demand, the look of the eel scares me. I think I'll give it a go now.

Here, we see how Imperial Manila tries to manipulate their influence over the regions. They think they should always be right and consulted. Yet what I have learned in the course of my work is that there is beauty in the regions. The most unknown and unexplored turn out to be the most beautiful of all. I have developed a liking for places and food that have yet to be discovered, case in point falling in love with our other islands with white sand and blue waters (rather than mainstream Boracay). So for director Erik Matti to give such comments is an indication that he has yet to see a lot and explore in this beautiful country we live in.

Do you ever wonder why vloggers such as becomingfilpino and bisayanghilaw are most watched, especially by millennials and those abroad? It is because they go to places that have not been hyped or isn’t crowded by mainstream tourists. Today is all about adventure, making new steps and taking leaps. Why should we restrict ourselves with what is already known when there is so much to see? Like the youth of today would say, YOLO (you only live once).

I hope this food issue is laid to rest once and for all. We need to unite and stop making little criticisms about what the different regions have to offer. Love yourself, they said. It's the best favor we can do for ourselves.

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