They've been everywhere, those "fried quail eggs wrapped in dough with orange food coloring", as defined in the Jologs Dictionary. Even I have succumbed to eating them at least once a month. Just recently, my dad bought us about thirty pieces of those and I ended up taking a nap afetrwards. Note to self: Having more than five fried quail eggs is more than your frail body can handle. They're quail eggs, they're fried, they're sold on the streets — it's not really very health-friendly. So why do Filipinos enjoy eating them so much?
You got me there. Sure, the orange coating is nice. (I heard that color is supposed to stimulate appetite.) It's even cute. But what else is there? Basically, fried quail eggs or kwek-kwek as we call it in this side of the globe (pronounced the way it's read — quick "e", the way you say it in "let") is dipped in vinegar, plain or hot. And it looks like this:
On my way home from school, I've noticed that there were more vendors lining up along the sidewalks of main streets and yes — they were seling kwek-kwek. And people were actually surrounding their carts. Like sugar to a fly, one poetically-inclined person might say. And that's when it hit me — really sank in: Kwek-kwek isn't just a fad. It is here to stay. Part of the culture of the Philippines.
It's this distinct penchant for fried orange quail eggs that makes me ponder on the hows and whys. And that is like, wow — I actually took the time to ponder over something. The popularity of this delicacy rivals that of, say, Bamboo (a local rock band). Or, even better, the PC game "DOTA." Seriously. They are that popular. They are so popular that even little kids at the age of four or five would know what kwek-kwek is. It's fascinating. I mean, I eat it but I still don't know exactly why. I have a sneaking suspicion it's in the flavor — that salty and sour combination that one could only get from spoiled milk (or snot, if you're really gross). Suffice to say that kwek-kwek is here to stay the same way Paris Hilton is there to stay in headlines and the television and even the radio.
Don't even get me started yapping about isaw, which is actually chicken or pig intestine. Or maybe even balut, which is a duck days away from hatching. The last time I ate balut was when I was around 7 or 8 (Jurassic years!) and that was because I questioned the hair inside the egg. My mother was kind and sweet enough to tell me point-blank, "That's a baby duck you're eating." Needless to say, I spit it out and swore never to eat that again.