Monday, January 18, 2010
Yo homes, how do you eat your tapioca? I've decided that my preferred method of ingestion is in beverage form. That mango stuff was great, but the Philippines is not going to be outdone by some Hong Kong chain. Or more likely, the Philippines doesn't give a flip about what's going on in Hong Kong, they just want to have a good time.
And goddamn if they aren't, because they are all drinking Sago't gulaman, also sometimes called samalamig. Sago't gulaman ingeniously combines giant tapioca pearls, ice, carmalized sugar water (sometimes flavored with pandan leaves) and red gulaman, or agar jelly (think Asia's answer to Jello) and on occasion, a dollop of banana extract. The recipes are flexible, and every glass of the stuff is slightly different.
Although a beverage, the agar agar and sago give the imbiber a mouthful of chewy goodness. This is a great street food afternoon snack. There's the fancy 70 peso version served in a tall, icy glass, but there are 10 peso versions you can get on the street that come in a plastic bag with a straw. Both are equally, chewily, gratifying although taking a picture of one as opposed to the other is a less risky proposition. I'll leave you to guess which is the one above and ponder why I have so few pictures of Manila street food.