Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Taste of Evil

(The following excerpt was taken from the, as of yet, unpublished journal entry: ‘The Philippine File - Part 3’) dated October 30th, 2010.

It has been said that Filipino’s never pass on two things: prayer and food. There is always time for prayer as there is always time for a quick snack or meal. Personally, and judging by the looks of some of their favorite menu options, I too would be drawn more frequently to get on all fours and beg for a safe outcome from my god before eating any of it as well.

Just saying…

On literally every corner there is something being grilled. Hell, you’re as likely to find charred frog nipples on a stick as you are to find a plate of BBQ-ed pork bits (Lechon). You just name the particular animal and random body part and I’m confident that you’ll find not only find it on a menu somewhere, but also a dedicated group of enthusiasts for it.

I learned this after a midnight excursion to Banchetto, an open-air food festival held in the City of Ortigas (Manila) every Friday night beginning at midnight. Once the clock strikes 12:00am, the entire street closes down and it transforms into a veritable smorgasbord of culinary mysteries and delights. I have never seen so many skewers of random raw organ meat in all my life; breast, butts, livers, faces, feet, ears, intestines - you name it – it was available.

Is it happened on this particular occasion, I was coerced into trying chicken “Isaw”, or chicken intestines. I’m not sure why I ever allowed myself to try this nasty-looking street meat in the first place, much less even consider trying it. Maybe it was the result of some macho instinct that kicked in at having been dared by giggling local females; maybe it’s a primal man thing that when meat is cooked over an open fire it needs to be consumed; or, maybe I just have a deep-rooted death wish, whatever, but I did it and it tasted exactly what you would expect a vessel whose primary purpose it to carry waste (ie. feces) to the outside world to taste like…like shit, of course.

And while I’m on the subject of shitty food, I also had the misfortune of eating at a “Racks Rib” joint in the ‘Pueblo de la Manila’ complex where, seriously, I had the worst meal of my life. Surely this is what evil tastes like. I’d rather eat a steeping bowl of dog vomit (which, it should be pointed out, was what the baked beans side dish could have been passed off as) than the order of Texas-style beef ribs that was placed in front of me. It is very doubtful to me that what I ate on this night in question was actually ribs at all…much less “beef” ribs…alley cay, maybe…rat, possibly…but beef?


The first sign that things were not exactly going to go well was when the food actually appeared in front of me in, exactly, 3 nanoseconds after my having ordered it. Hello? How is this possible? Do they have some amazing alien technology that enables them to scan my brain upon entering the restaurant and then have it prepared quicker than it takes me to order it? That suggests to me that my puny order of ribs had been well prepared hours in advance in anticipation of some hapless sucker like myself actually wandering in to eat. I’m sure Vietnam POW’s ate better than this slop.

In my opinion, the chef of Racks should be taken out into the streets at Banchetto and flogged by it’s patrons as a warning to others or, worse yet, subject to eat their own food.

Suddenly BBQ-ed chicken intestines doesn't sound bad, does it?


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