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Uhm... Hawot... Your Neighbors All Know You're Frying It!

Last night, I felt my previous status had become passé, so I dutifully answered Facebook’s query “What’s on your mind?” with “Hawot, pritong itlog at sinangag.”

I was, actually, thinking of what to have for breakfast this morning. Saturday, at the supermarket, I actually gave the hawot more than just a bit of thought. The plastic packs that hung from the racks, if I’m being honest, did not look too inviting.

Had I gone to the isdaan inside the palengke – which I have not done for a few years – I would have had a glut of choices. Not so in the supermarket, where the hawot had been sorted according to sizes and neatly packed.

I was finding myself in a bit of a dilemma! I had been meaning to get some hawot for a while, but those on sale at the supermarket looked like prisoners-of-war stuck for three years in a concentration camp. Aba’y walang kalaman-laman…

Now I, for one, like a bit of flesh on my hawot. I hate it when it’s so emaciated it becomes hard to pry the flesh off the tinik. I know some people either stuff the whole hawot into their mouths – tinik and all – or let it soak in a bit of sukâ to soften it up. Neither way has really worked for me…

Consider me fussy, but I really had to dig inside the hanging racks to find hawot that did not look like it had been fasting before it was caught, salted and dried. In time, I found a pack with hawot of reasonable health inside. It was like finding gold!

It’s almost nine in the morning and, of course, I have had my breakfast – dighay! I was surprised when I opened my Facebook account earlier to see how many people were amused by my hawot status.

Truth be told, when I was growing up, eating hawot was just something one did not talk about openly. I know there was a bit of snobbery somewhere, but it was just way too plebian.

If, say, a fishbone got caught in one’s throat and one had to go to the doctor to have it plucked out, one said it was from tilapia or some other fish. Not hawot, por Dios!

Or, when the hawot was being fried, one wondered if the neighbors were smirking. Ewan ko, but the smell of hawot frying is always unmistakable and, therefore, undeniable. At amoy na amoy sa kapitbahayan…

Of course, it is that very smell that sends the acids dancing inside one’s stomach, instantly inciting gutom! One does not throw away the oil on which the hawot is fried. The sinangag is fried on that as well.

When done, you can do it my way – which, I think, is the only way! Basagin ang itlog and mix it into the sinangag… Brew your barakong kape

Plebian? What plebian? Breakfast made in heaven a meal fit for patricians!

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