Top 5 Foods in Our Town Fiesta’s Street Market
Being a Catholic country, every town and barrio in the Philippines has its own fiesta to honor a saints’ date of death, or birth into heaven. Our town’s patron saint is St. Thomas Aquinas and we celebrate our fiesta every March. But, sometimes, fiestas are not celebrated on the actual commemorative dates of a saint. Instead, the community designates a date when to celebrate the fiesta. Maybe they select a date to coincide with the seasons’ harvest, or to make the day convenient to most of the people. I’m not sure, though.
A few weeks before the annual feast, one of the town’s main streets is transformed to a mini-market called “Sedera.” Many vendors set up their tents and stalls along the street to display their various wares from food and kitchenware to clothing and cheap souvenirs. On the day before and during the actual fiesta, this street it closed to vehicles to accommodate additional vendors, visitors, and buyers. Aside from eating at your friends and relatives’ homes in town, the town fiesta experience is not complete without buying and having a taste of these foods:
This is a sweet and sticky delicacy made of coconut milk, sugar, and glutinous rice. Every region in the country has its own version of Kalamay; and during our town fiesta, this is a regular item sold in Sedera. Kalamay is cut into triangles, like pizza slices, and wrapped in cling film. It’s available in two colors: dark brown and yellowish brown due to the food coloring used. When you come home and see this kalamay on the dining table, you’ll know that the town fiesta is near.
Several mobile carts of popcorn makers are seen on every street corner. Popcorn vendors sell two types of popcorn: regular and with cheese. The popcorn is cooked on the spot and packed in thin, clear plastics sealed with the flame from the kerosene stove. For a few coins, you can munch on popcorn while strolling the street market.
3. Adobong mani (Fried peanuts)
If you see a popcorn cart, a peanut cart will not be far behind. Like the popcorn vendor, a peanut vendor cooks peanuts on his makeshift kitchen. The oil where the peanut is cooked will make the food police disgusted, but hey, maybe that’s what makes the fried peanuts delicious! Adobong mani is available salted or with chilies, my favorite. The peanuts come with or without skins.
4. Peanut roll and Puffed rice roll
These are my go-to buy whenever I’m in Sedera. My food trip is not complete without these. Looking like thick fingers, these sweet rolls are hollow inside but the shells are covered with crushed peanuts or puffed rice. Prepare a bib, as crumbs will definitely cover you after eating these rolls.
5. Balut (Boiled fertilized duck egg)
Once featured in Fear Factor, balut is a common street food in the country. It’s a developing embryo of a duck boiled in its shell. Balut is eaten with salt or spiced vinegar. You can ask the balut vendor if the balut has a small chick, if you prefer that. It’s not for the faint-hearted and queasy eaters.
Now, the town fiesta is done, the stalls are closed and the vendors already left town. I’ll be waiting when they come back in next year’s fiesta.
About the Author
Joyce Dimaculangan is a freelance writer who has written articles on a wide range of topics from information technology to lifestyle and wellness. She enjoys eating local foods, trying new dishes, and buying organic produce as much as possible. You can follow her on Twitter @joysi_writer