October 26, 2006
sweet potato in skewers ( camote cue )
I may be away from Manila but just thinking about life there instantly brings me back and reminds me of the many things I miss about it. The small towns where I was born and raised are both in the outskirts of busy downtown Manila. Growing up in a quiet town, I was never exposed to city life. I experienced it only when I went to a university in the heart of downtown Manila. The sights and sounds of Manila will stay with me forever. Who can resist and forget the sweet aromas coming from the countless corner snack stands? Manila streets are incomplete without two of these most popular sweet snacks. Banana and camote cues are usually made fresh on the spot and sold in makeshift stands by hardworking vendors almost everywhere. Turon or those crispy sweet bananas I discussed in an earlier post, is also a favorite. And these are just the sweet stuff. There's a long list but some are for the more adventurous. Deep fried in oil, these sweet snacks may not be too good for our health, but these days almost everything is bad for us anyway. I tried to make this snack with the sweet potato variety available in groceries here. Compared to the kind we have in Manila, the most common sweet potato here is best for sweet potato pie but not as firm for deep frying. I learned from this link that there are several kinds available here in the US but so far I have no luck finding the rest. And so my quest continues and I will be on the lookout for the white or yellow variety ( described as waxy ) since this is the best kind to use for making camote cue. However, the flavor of the orange variety was exceptional combined with the caramelized brown sugar. For my next attempt, I will try to make turon with some boiled and mashed sweet potato, another version we also used to make.