Ok, do you ever have or hear about Pili nuts and Malunggay Seeds? I myself have not a clue. In fact, I promised I will get into it from my last post “Clock, Time, Girl Gone Wild, Wicked Decadent Valentine “Quickie”: 30 second Guilt Free Divine “Low Fat” Dark Chocolate Ganache “serverable” on lips or fingers pt 2” https://mabel8ble.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/clock-time-girl-gone-wild-wicked-decadent-valentine-quickie-30-second-guilt-free-divine-low-fat-dark-chocolate-ganache-serverable-on-lips-or-f/
I usually don’t care much about dry goods like such from Thailand, Singapore or Philippines…, after I tried all of the “gifts/souvenirs” from time to time. You don’t know what’s really inside on some processed snacks. A lot of them had very familiar smell that bring back to my childhood, the pre-teen years…
That was the era without any concept of home phone, any appliances, no such thing as snacks or desert even fruits… in a remote South China “concentration camp” – a prison guard compound in the middle of no where. We basically not only had to shop and cook everyday for every single meal, we had to build brand new fire to cook for every single dish including rice because you had to kill the fire for the first dish to avoid burning it before you started the next dish. Yes, I started cooking on a stool when I was 5. I was really exited to learn. It was quite an accomplishment for a 5yo to cook a pot of edible rice for a family of 5. Even adult today can’t make it without serious “training” as to how to start and control the wood fire without any starter, and the timing and the temperature. The kitchen esp. the oven looked exactly like this, without the “fancy” red finish and 2 cylinder “ovens?” and the pressure cooker on top of one of them. http://www.flickr.com/photos/chanmelmel/5820192227/
Village Kitchen 農家廚房. Looks like the picture was taken from my hometown province. God, I am so exited to find something like that still existed, and photographed!!!!
To go to the nearest town is simply a huge operation. We had to get up at 4-5 am, walked in the dark for about1- 1.5 hours until we reached to the nearest train station so we wouldn’t miss the train. Seeing a train was indeed something exiting. Then we had to catch a bus. By the time we arrived in the crowded noisy dusty town with shops, grocery stores, restaurants, weather beaten faced farmers all in same style grayish worn out Cotton-padded jacket with round big bamboo woven buckets full of fresh and dried produce or knick knacks…., it was usually already past noon. We had to rush in to do our deeds and rushed back home. By the time we were home, it was usually 8,9 o’clock in the evening. Today, I was told that it was a mere 30 minute drive on the freeway.
I couldn’t believe my luck. I found both the town Lishi 犁市and our little “camp/village”Chashan 茶山 (meaning Tea Hill) in Google map!!! — The town Lishi 犁市(广东韶关浈江区犁市镇, Lishi Zhen, Zhenjiang, Shaoguan, Guangdong, China) and our Chashan 茶山, (广东韶关浈江区茶山, Chashan, Zhenjiang, Shaoguan, Guangdong, China). Too bad I can’t copy nor link the google map here. You have to copy “Chashan 广东韶关浈江区犁市镇” and paste on Google map to directly pull it out. You can see our “camp”Chashan 茶山 and the railway are 2 points apart north of the town Lishi 犁市forming a upside down triangle if you connect the 3 dots on the map.
My luck ran out for any pictures of either places in the 70s, well, I can’t find any pictures of our little “village” Chashan in any time frame. I was told that they demolished those brick bungalow apartments already. Found few pics of the town Lishi with newer concrete buildings that are nothing like what I saw in the 70’s. If everything in this picture is in foggy grey color and everyone in worn out thick grey cloth and looks stupid, carrying lots of stuff with chicken, shady dogs and dirty kids running around, and more structures like this house around, that’d be the picture.
Although we never had the money to sit down in any restaurant in the town, it was such a treat for our kids. We were s—o— exited seeing so many people with so many things happening around. We always got a few penny to 10 cents treats like popsicle, (oh mine, mouthwatering) and home made sesame, peanut… candies chipped down from a huge 3 ft plate. We usually visited the photo portrait store to have our pictures taken, clothing store to buy clothes, mostly fabrics, needles, threads, grocery store to get some food like sweet rice, rock sugar, salty (dried preserved) fish, lup cheong,
bean paste seasoning … that we usually don’t have in our “compound”- scattered brick dorm apartments in a tiny village setting, with 1 tiny 1-doc-later-2 clinic where my uncle was the head “doctor” He was actually an “associate doctor” He’s such a wise man better than many doctors and highly respected in the compound as one of the “pillars” there.
I still remember that for one of birthdays, my uncles and aunty decided to make a new shirt for me. Wow, new dress!!! We all went to the town. My aunty picked out some fashionable fabrics (polyester was trendy that time) in my then favorite cherry blossom pink color. My uncle never made any dress before. They got some paper patterns, started to take my measurements. I still remember my uncle telling me that my arms are longer than other people’s. Then he’d do something to the paper patterns. My uncle and aunty also wanted to make it special for me with some flair. The only place you can do it is the collars, as there’s no such thing as Fashion magazine or fashion anything. All we heard or read were all propagandas nothing else. We were programed to think that the most beautiful dress would be the worn out old dress with holes on it. Isn’t it freaking stupid? But we thought that’s the “politically” right thing to wear. However, human nature is human nature. Any way we chose the pear shape collar together, and, insert some lace to outline it!!! It took my uncles quite many Sundays to made the pretty pink shirt. I was over the moon. Words couldn’t describe how happy I felt when they put it on me. My uncle and aunty were naturally very pleased and proud of what they did too. No matter how many more cute and beautiful shirt/dress I got later in life, they all paled with that laced pear shape collar pink shirt. I could see my 2 boy cousins grumbled on the side that they never got that much for their birthday. He he he, too bad boys. Those years living in the remote countryside with my uncle and aunty’s family were the most normal and happiest days of my childhood. We didn’t have much, but life was secured, stable, adults came home everyday. My uncle and aunty, even my cousins whom I fought a lot with, did give a dame if I was upset, cold, hungry, sick, scared, in pain.. which actually didn’t happen much at all any way.
We did have a grocery store where we could find soy sauce, oil, salt, sugar and starch, and some cookies and chemical colored and tasted candy. Oh, there’s one that is unbelievably good, and that’s coconut candy. That is caramelized sugar and grated coconut. I guessed they were not able to make fake coconut flavor then. Thank god. The inside looks exactly like these cylinder shape ones, the outside pack is exactly same red and white design of the container ones. They still are selling those candies today. Prove that good things always last. Today, I can actually make the candy myself, with Mabel’s twist, as always. Will blog about it after I clean out my palates with lots of bitter green leaves before I have the sweet mood again. I am chocolate out now kinda sick of any sweet desert and candy. Yum yum yum.
Anyway, we rarely go to the village store. Stores and markets are adults’ territory cause we kids didn’t have any money. In rare occasions, when the adults gave us 1 or 2 pennies, normally 1 penny, we got to have 1 or 2 candies. We’d crushed the candy (ies) into smaller pieces to share with the gang. We felt like we own the world. Otherwise, we got to chew on the tenter part of the bamboo leaves, or, the very tart green peaches we sneakingly snap from the trees outlining the fish ponds. Mostly we did the bamboo leaves as stealing was a big crime. We would be in big trouble if the adults found out. So we really dared not do the peach much at all. You can guess that the sugar for cooking is locked.
Of course, our bungalow apartment is not fancy like this picture at all. Every apartment has 2 rooms , live room and 1 bedroom with doors in each, front door and back door. that’s it, no matter how many people you have in your family. We all sleep in 1 big bed. The kitchen is another bungalow apartment structure 10 steps away from the house.
The grocery store are always dark with no window carried a very strong musty and stale smell mixed that of the soy sauce. Every dried good smelled and tasted like that, even in big city where I finally moved back into. To us, it was supposed to be as we didn’t know any better until I came to the States. I realized how fresh cookies, breads, candies, flowers, rice, smell like. My god, I was so amazed to see s—o—- much food in such beautiful color in the store.
Once you are spoiled, you can’t go back to the stale dry goods any more. I tend to think buying dried food from places aboard mentioned above is simply waste of money. Even those from Japan are with lots of chemicals. That doesn’t mean I throw the the food away. I don’t ever throw away edible food. I simply make fruit compose using liqueur out of the stale dried fruit, except that super sewage stench of durian that reek so bad it was banned in public places in Thailand. Well, they went to feed my plants. Sorry stinky. I would swallow 1 or 2 “chemical cookies”.
I also don’t care for Filipino dishes. I guess it’s unappealing dark mushy color and texture. But, this time this whole patch of Filipino dried goods are welcomingly fresh. The dry mango, is naturally sweet has so much flavor, although it can never hold a candle to the gigantic half foot long mango. I don’t even know what kind. Not sure whether it’s the Guimaras mangoes — the sweetest mango in the world.
I really wish I have chance to sink my teeth in those God sent fruit again.
It’s the heavenly fruit, the best I have ever smell, touch and taste in this whole wide world. It’s so juicy, has s—o— much flavor, the sweet tropical flavor. My other uncle, a foodie, carried a few all the way from Hongkong to our place. I could smell the mouth watering tropical sweet aroma way before I stepped into the house. Mine, it’s better than any perfume in the world.
The banana chips, also naturally sweet, are crispy and crunchy, with lots of flavor as well. Obviously, the bananas are very sweet and ripe before the chips are made, way yellower than their American counterparts. Both the dried mango and bananas are all long gone now. Oops.
Out of the five snacks, there’s only one I felt the urge to spit out to feed the lawn. They were 2″ long half inch diameter tasted like gasoline mixed with lowest grade condensed milk soggy mushy gooey rolls in butter color. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you if you get in hold of such snacks. I was told it was ox milk. I didn’t recognize the word in the ingredient list. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture. Soon as I mentioned that I’d give my my plants and potential earth worms a treat, the rolls were confiscated. U–n—f–a–ir—, to my plants, and the worms. Oh , I found something that look exactly like it. Now you don’t have any excuse to torture yourself. But then you don’t know whether it’s the brand or the food itself is the problem. the one I got was in plastic bag. It’s called “Pastilles De Leche”? The website listed where the picture is pulled has the recipe. It’s pretty much what I taste, sugar, milk power and condensed milk. I guess the taste is something to do with the ingredients. I’ll make some and let you know. Have lots of condensed milk at hand now, with Costco coupon.
Alright, it’s the Pili Nut and the Malunggay seeds cacao I am curious about, need to research and blog about! Gosh, side tracked thousand miles away. Sorry, looks like I need to do part 2. Promise will come back with interesting stuff for you soon.