Friday, May 20, 2011

Oh, Seafood City!

I was craving soul food today so we decided to drive to Seafood City. I didn't have breakfast in anticipation of Max's crispy fried chicken for lunch. Well, when we got to Max, I ended up ordering bangsilog instead because my craving for garlic fried rice, crispy bangus, achara, fried egg took over. I also ordered lumpiang shanghai because I wanted that crunchy morsel dipped in sweet and sour sauce.

When my order arrived, I got steamed rice instead; the egg was half-cooked, the bangus was cold and tasted "maumuk" -- I don't know the direct translation of this word in English but it means that the fish isn't fresh and leaves that taste in your mouth that makes you want to burn your taste buds with something sweet to mask the fish taste. The lumpiang shanghai would have been okay were it not for the watered-down sauce. There was no achara on the side.

I don't know what I was thinking. I knew that the bangus won't be fresh. I knew that the food is never as good as I make it at home. Blame nostalgia.

At Valerio's I bought hopia mongo and whole wheat pandesal. I was tempted by the kakanins but I resisted. At the supermarket, I walked each aisle looking at all the familiar stuff from childhood - Skyflakes, otap, butul pakwan, polvoron, chicharon, sardines, spam - and I caved in and bought one of each. A part of me was overwhelmed by all the packaging, the processing, the thousands of miles these items have travelled to get on the shelf.

The meat and seafood section had selections that my local supermarket doesn't have. Good price on shrimp so I bought two lbs and had them put in an ice bag (it takes an hour to get home). I bought tilapia that's been cleaned. I wish I lived nearby so I could get my fish fried there. No need to do it at home.

Because I've been trying to change our consuming and eating habits (eat local, minimize packaging, buy fresh), I felt like apologizing for today's excursion. Too much plastic. Overpackaging. Overprocessed food to make it last. Oversalted. MSG-saturated.

What to do when the craving for tastes and memories of home kick in? I know that it's better to satisfy these cravings at home but why didn't I? Well, maybe I just wanted to breathe the air of Seafood City, like a whiff of the open wet markets of my childhood treks with my mother.

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