2.50 Hotcakes in Laoag

Hotcake Vendor

“Now you see them, now you don’t” hotcakes on the streets of Laoag, flipping all day in front of the Laoag Central Elementary School, at least for now. See them too sometimes at the night market.

Grilled to a sunshiney yellow and then dipped in sugar is a dollop of batter made with flour, evaporated milk, a driblet of egg (according to manong), margarine and heaven knows. At 2 pesos and 50 centavos a piece, no one buys just one piece. Cheap thrill, yum-yum!

HotcakesStreet HotcakesPalamigLaoag Calesa

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Quik-Snack: Street to Table

Goto Vendor

Here’s a quick photo walk from the apartment to Quick-Snack inside the narrow Carvajal St. within the Philippines’ center of commerce — the Manila Chinatown — otherwise known as Binondo.

TsinoyMobile PizzaPedicabFlower StandFruit VendorGalaponPickled Loquats[Pickled loquats from China]Gulay at PayongBok ChoyCarvajal Street

Find Quik-Snack inside this bustling alleyway. True to its name, the not so secret hole-in-the-wall can cook up a spread at the snap of a finger. From the greasy kitchenette to boardrooms, to office tables, to classroom chairs, to escoltas, to hospital rooms, to ballrooms (a reliable someone told me they catered a 1000 Php/head ball dinner with the who’s who in the guest list) — nothing fairytalish really, it’s a way of life in this Tsinoy district.

In nothing flat, I got hot off the pan diok pit he (stuffed shrimps or camaron relleno) and cua chai. I ate two of the pretty large diok pit he in one sitting. You won’t be disappointed with the chunky shrimp meat inside it. I have a ritual with fried food, I mix Jufran banana ketchup with Mother’s Best chili sauce, better than anything!

Quik-Snack Diok Pit HeQuik-Snack Cuachai

Similar to empanadas or pies, cua chai are stuffed with pork and vegetables. The inside of the pastry is a little slimy, yet so yummy! One piece can send you to limbo. Sheesh, I know it’s unhealthy, but best followed with a can of Pepsi. Food-crazy? You’ve got to check out this place.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Tayamen’s: Street food outside of the streets

Street food can be found all over the world. New York wouldn’t be New York without hotdog and pretzel stands. Can you imagine the Arab countries without the ubiquitous shawarma stalls? Or  Japan without the curb-side ramen and soba places? What if Hong Kong’s popular Mong Kok area lost all the dimsum and Peking duck food-booths? And what if esoteric isaw, quec-quec, betamax, helmet, tokneneng and adidas could no longer be found in the streets of Manila? Most definitely, a  bland world for someone who wants to have a taste of  the culture of a particular country or region he, or she, gets to visit.

There are fish ball vendors roaming the streets of  Laoag — the capital city of the northernmost province in the Philippines. But there is also Tayamen’s, which started as a makeshift  food stand in front of the owners’ home. In 1997, the owners receptively opened their home to  their regular habitués, who have become accustomed to calling them “tiyong” and “tiyang”, uncle and auntie in the vernacular.

No risky business when it comes to common Filipino street food — that is what Tayamen’s is all about. Freshness and safety is their foremost concern. Plus, its homey feel makes the place a magnet for school kids and young professionals, who want to let loose and enjoy  their food.

Fish Balls, fish nuggets, kikiam, chicken feet, isaw and  barbecue are the bestsellers of Taya, short for Tayamen’s, and a term popularized by their regular patrons. They also make the best take-out Ilocos longaniza which is sold by the kilo.

Isaw (pig intestines)

Fish nuggets and kikiam with sweet dipping sauce and the ever-present suka ken sili (vinegar and chili)

Once in a while, drinking ice-cold soda, especially after having fried food, won’t hurt *burps*

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Tayamen’s Don E. Ruiz St. Laoag Ilocos Norte Philippines

Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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