17 July 2008


A bad one.

The carioca: a fried piece of rice flour that is sweet.

If you're lucky, it's made with glutinous rice flour with just the right sweetness. If you're unlucky, it's got slightly tough whole undercooked grains of rice, and has faint hints of other deep-fried street food (care of recycled oil). It would also have some kind of sugar armor enveloping it.

I have no recollection of seeing carioca (or karyoka or karioka) until around five years ago, leading me to believe that it was a modern invention to maximize cheap ingredients and an asset (deep-fryer) probably already used to make other snacks (turon, etc.). In Ilocos, they've improved on it by making a variation with purple glutinous rice (ballatinaw) flour.

But come to think of it, it's pretty similar to present-day Ilonggo bitso-bitso (which was originally a Chinese fried thing eaten with honey). It's almost exactly like what others call cascarone or kaskarol (from cascaron, the Spanish word for eggshell), except that was usually fried in sugar syrup.

I still don't have answers about this one. So if anyone knows where the name carioca came from, email me please!

Ah, the evolution and idea osmosis of rice snacks.

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