Feasting on native delicacies

FOR countless decades, native delicacies have been counted among the island favorites by children and adults alike.

Too laborious to make, people would rather have the easy way out and buy these native delicacies from those engaged in the business and have mastered the preparation.

From time to time, one gets a craving for native delicacies, or foods on the go. These are mouthwatering favorites that you can munch on while walking, sitting or have with a cup of coffee, soda or your favorite beverage.

Leading the list among the favorite of many is the apigigi, a soft, sticky and lightly sweet local specialty made from tapioca flour and freshly grated coconut, grilled in banana leaves. You can buy apigigi and eat it hot —straight from the grill over live coals at the street market every Tuesday evening at the Fishing Base across from Kristo Rai Church in Garapan, at the Sabalu market in Susupe every Saturday morning, and at the street market in Garapan every Thursday evening. If the craving hits you on a regular day, you can drive all the way up to Capital Hill and get it from Tun Goru fastfood.

Another favorite is the fried banana turon or fried banana rolls, a popular snack of rolled sliced bananas sprinkled with brown sugar and topped with jackfruit strips in lumpia, or spring roll, wrapper.

Empanada, a stuffed baked or fried bread or pastry is another favorite among locals and tourists. Available empanadas at the street market are chicken or beef stuffing with vegetables.

Suman, a rice cake originating from the Philippines, comes in two versions — one made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, wrapped and steamed in banana leaves, and made from grated cassava. Customers at the street markets often buy both kinds for variety.

Then there are the not-to-be-missed cassava cakes in various sizes and shapes: coconut pies brimming with juicy coconut   strips; “ginataan” or food cooked in coconut milk; “chicharon,” a seasoned and deep fried favorite made from beef, chicken or pork rinds; “buñelos” or fritters, a wheat-based dough shaped into a ball with filling or topping and fried; the “bucayo” or soft coconut balls made with coconut, sugar and sesame seeds and wrapped in transparent packs;  “biko,” a rice cake Filipino delicacy with caramel topping or “latik”; “puto” or steamed rice cake and the list can go on.

“Titiyas” is another delicacy that is never absent from the street markets, and even in some stores. This is a tasty Chamorro delicacy which a lot of local individuals make by batches and deliver fresh to local stores. Resembling a pancake, Titiyas is made of corn flour, not so sweet and perfect to eat on its own.A big hit for the kids (and some adults, too) is the cotton candy, a confectionery spun on a stick and comes in different colors.

Many consider these native delicacies as comfort foods. Luckily, they are always available and you don’t have to go through the tedious hours of preparing them or spend a lot before you can feast on the native delicacies which you can have for a dollar or two.

Check out the street markets for your favorite delicacies, and at the Taste of the Marianas Food and Beer Garden Festival at American Memorial Park on Saturday.

Feasting on native delicacies | out-to-eat.

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