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Guam - Cooking and Food
Overview of Guamanian Cuisine History
The local islanders from the Pacific island of Guam are proud of their cultural heritage and traditions as well as their rich history. Nowadays, Guam is a cosmopolitan society that reflects the cultures of its original Chamorro ancestors who were influenced by the Spanish, Portuguese, European, American, Malaysian and Micronesian cultures.
The most popular Guamanian dishes are: Chicken Kelaguen or chopped barbecued or grilled Chicken flavored with lemon juice, chopped onions, chopped (spicy) boonie peppers, chopped green onions, grated fresh coconut and salt; and Chamorro Red Rice or glutinous short grain rice cooked with onions, green peas, salt and achiote water or water soaked in annato seeds.
In addition, other Guam delicacies include: morcizas or Chicken neck stuffed with Chicken meat, pepper leaves, garlic, and Onion; Kadon Octopus or Octopus stewed in coconut milk with sweet peppers and onions; Eskabeche or freshly fried fish adorned in a soy sauce and vinegar and local vegetable mixture and; Shrimp Kelaguen which means chopped uncooked shrimp cooked with lemon juice and mixed with chopped onions, shredded fresh coconut and chopped (spicy) boonie peppers.
Finadene is the Chamorro sauce used to complement fish, beef, chicken or pork. It is made with either a soy sauce, vinegar or lemon base and uses chopped (spicy) boonie peppers, sliced onions, dash of salt and chopped cherry tomatoes if desired.
Guamanian cuisine seems to be a real art. One of the oldest delicacies from Guam, which is no longer available nowadays, was fruit bat soup with a strong aroma and flavor. In Guamanian cuisine people prove their skills in preparing different kinds of food, from making coconut candies, baking bread, to cooking a wide variety of rice and meat dishes. Obviously, in Guamanian cuisine there can be found lots of traditional foods, such as ahu or grated coconut boiled in Sugar water; sweet tuba which is a drink prepared from the first sap of the young coconut tree; lumpia which consists of vegetable egg roll dipped in garlic sauce. Some Guamanian meat dishes include short ribs and Chicken kebabs. For breakfast, Guamanian people usually eat fresh fruit, especially mango.
Preparation Methods for Guamanian Cooking
Guamanian cuisine uses elements from various cooking traditions borrowed from their neighbours and developed from their own traditional dishes. While there are no specific or unique preparation methods for Guamanian cooking, we should point out that attention to detail is important in the Guamanian cuisine. Using the right amount of spices for example is essential - either for spicing up the taste or for coloring the dish. The diversity of vegetables and cereals found in Guam is also noticed in the delicious dishes belonging to their cuisine. The visual attractiveness of the dish is also important, and a balance between colors and proportion differentiates. Each traditional dish has a special cooking method, which is more or less general in all of Guam's regions. Meat is one of the main elements of most Guamanian dishes and cured and smoked hams are often parts of delicious dishes.
Special Equipment for Guamanian Cooking
Ranging from cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers & portioners, food pans & food containers to other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets & accessories, the Guamanian cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated Guamanian dishes. You should consider insulated food carriers if you are transporting the food and a full set of kitchen linens and uniforms if you wish to look like a pro. Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Guamanian food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers. Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should also be part of your cooking "arsenal".
Guamanian Food Traditions and Festivals
One of the most important days of the year is represented by New Year’s Day itself which is transformed into a great celebration. All around the island of Guam, families use to gather and share in foods, a fact that symbolises prosperity, health, and good fortune. Among traditional holiday foods one can choose from sweet porridge or pongal, kulfi ice cream, or gulab jamun which is a dessert dumpling. Moreover, some people are offered free sweets on special occasions. Concerning the ingredients used in preparing pongal, these are rice and lentils sweetened with hard rock candy made from brown sugar. Even the process of making ice cream proves to be complex; it might consist of fresh cream, rose syrup made with rose petals and honey or Sugar, that gives it an irresistible aroma. (This is COMPLETELY incorrect!!!! I am from guam and yes we do celebrate New Year's Day but that is about the only thing true in this paragraph)
People in Guamanian Food
- Are you into Guamanian Cooking and would like to be interviewed?
There are many chefs who creatively use the basic ingredients and cooking method for traditional Guamanian dishes and create original and delicious food variations. Guamanian chefs are passionate about their traditional dishes and they enjoy presenting them to foreigners who have never tasted them before. Whether they are cooking dishes that go back in time for centuries or brand new, modern dishes, Guamanian chefs take pride in what they do, and this is readily noticeable in the unforgettable taste of their cooking.