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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Breakfast Cereal

"What's your favorite breakfast cereal?"

That's one of those common questions that make up online surveys, and comprise these "listicle" articles online to stir up discussion among the fooderati. After all, it's a safe thing, to wax nostalgic about perhaps the earliest act of childhood independence - having a choice at the table, and the perhaps even the act of putting the dish together.

My favorite breakfast cereal? Rice. Because it comes in so many myriad forms. But for breakfast, it shines.

In Dumaguete City, freshly cooked glutinous rice (and let me reiterate - there is no gluten in glutinous rice) is served alongside some hot cocoa. The cocoa here is made from cacao harvested nearby, cooked simply with sugar and water. The two (called potomayo) are eaten together, making a satisfying and filling breakfast. The leftover rice, incidentally, is wrapped in banana leaves, with a shot of chocolate, to make portable, fragrant, temperature stable snack packets for later. 
But odes could be written about the joys of breakfast nasi (rice) in Malaysia.

The king of breakfast is the packet of nasi lemak - rice cooked in the rich and aromatic mix of coconut milk and pandan. Healthy lumps of the stuff is served with various viands, here, an egg, fried fish, some cucumber, chicken rendang, peanuts and ikan bilis (small fried anchovies).  

This version of nasi lemak incorporates goat and squid. The ever present sambal - a chile paste  redolent with lemongrass and dried fish - rounds out the meal, providing foil with the sweet milky tea served alongside. 

But perhaps the most curious thing I encountered was nasi biru - literally, blue rice. Although you may guess that a Smurf may have been cooked in it, this rice is colored by the juice from the flowers of the bunga telang plant (Clitoria ternatea).; one of the rare times of a true blue food. Heck, blue is usually considered unappetizing, yet, here it is. Incidentally, the bunga telang only conveys color - it still tastes like regular rice. 

1 comment:

  1. Jasmine rice with some sort of meat in it is my favorite weekday breakfast. Both are leftovers from the night before.