08 April 2011

The Lost Vegetable Siding

Diced cucumber beside deep-fried eggs.

One thing that amazed us about Thailand was the constant small "salads" that accompanied oily, cheap, fried street meat. In the Philippines, we still experience this sporadically: the achara relish or vinegared radish alongside grilled chicken, the raw mustasa leaves with deep-fried fish, and so on. We've seen it more in the province and in mid-sized Filipino chains than on the street, where costs are kept low.

Seaweed, cucumber, egg.

In Davao, where the wet markets are vibrant, huge, and relatively cheap (with a bulk of Manila's vegetables coming from Mindanao), there are vegetable sidings served with those balls of deep-fried eggs in orange batter. Cucumber, either alone or with guso, an edible seaweed, can be placed on your paper plate, and the available vinegar may be poured over to make a flavor we are all familliar with.

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