Wednesday, May 6, 2009


If there is one thing I craved while in Sanlågu, it was Chamoru-style empanåda. I had grown up only knowing these kinds (on the rare trips that my grandmother made to Sanlågu, carrying bags of frozen ones in her suitcase), so it was quite a shock when I got to Los Angeles and had my first taste of Filipino empanadas.

For those of you who have never tried the ones available in Los Angeles, Filipino empanadas are filled with chicken or pork and baked in a slightly sweet bready dough. I assume that variations include baking the fillings in flaky pastry dough and frying the things, but I never had any prepared that way in L.A.

had tried some empanadas from some South American countries (I can't remember which ones now because it was more than a year ago) at Empanada Mama in New York: cheesy and tasty. You can also find recipes for nouveau varieties --like those for fillings with goat cheese and dandelion greens in the Los Angeles Times, which, frankly, sound sort of silly.

And so, the first morning I awoke in Guåhan, the first thing I did was get myself over to the Aguon store in Barigåda and get me two empanåda and a King Carr ice tea...

... and promptly, a little heartburn, too, because I wasn't exactly used to eating a spicy deep-fried something at 6:30 a.m.

But i kirason-hu, a little more clogged for the wear, nonetheless appreciates the goodness that is a Chamoru empanåda. As you can see, it's 1) deep-fried, 2) consists of a corn-based dough as opposed to all the other wheat-based ones I've tried in Sanlågu, and 3) orange, courtesy of the ubiquitous Chamoru spice, achiote seed. From the picture, you can't see that 1) it's got perfectly crunchy edges, and 2) it's warm, having been fried probably not less than an hour before, but probably less than even that.

And on the inside?

That's either toasted and ground rice or toasted cream of rice boiled with chicken stock and enhanced with bacon (or chicken), lots of pepper, and more achiote seed. Also notice that the outer dough has broken into individual crispy flakes courtesy of a deep fry job well done.

Simple breakfast bought for about $1 each from the Aguon store. But of course if you're not here, you can always try making them yourself (look under "Meat").

Monday, May 4, 2009

I palabrå-ña i gereru 2 ("Them's fightin' words 2," or a summary of Terminator 2)

In the spirit of continuing to evolve the Chamoru language, as per i ga'chong-hu si Miget, a continuation from the previous post... Given his propensities for things sci-fi, I think he'll appreciate my efforts.

I sindålu siha mañadalu unu na taotao ni' pumarehu yan umali'e' i mimu na tano'. I litratu kahon humihot i matå-ña i taotao. Ilek-ña si Sarah:
"A man is saluted by his soldiers as he crosses a destroyed hallway and starts to inspect the battlefield from a safe distance. The camera [no Chamoru word for camera, from here out I use "picture box"] zooms in on his scarred face as Sarahs voice-over continues:"

"'Si Skynet, i Dangkolu na Måkina ni mumanea i dikike' na måkina siha, numå'i dos lulok na pekno' siha gi i tiempo; i hangai-ñiha: dåñu i maga'låhi di mata'pang na taotao siha: si John Connor, iyo-ku na låhi. I mina'hacha Lulok na Pekno' ha na'espånta yu' gi 1984, åntes mafañagu si John. Ti siña gui'. I mina'hugua Lulok na Pekno' ha na'espånta i patgon si John.'"
"Skynet, the computer that controlled the machines, sent two terminators [literally, we're going to go with "Steel Killer"] back through time; their mission: to destroy the leader of the human resistance: John Connor, my son. The first Terminator was programmed to strike at me in the year 1984, before John was born. It failed. The second was set to strike at John himself when he was just a child."

Taigue i matå-ña si John Connor gi i guaifi, ilek-ña si Sarah: "I Taotao na Sindålu Siha kenå'i i hacha na gereru ha' ni prumatehi si John. Håyi humånao si John?"
The close-up of John Connor dissolves into a blaze of inferno, as Sarah continues: "As before, the Resistance was able to send a lone warrior as a protector for John. It was just a question of which one would reach him first." [I have no idea how to write that, so let's go with a rhetorical question.]