Mercado: Azusena, exotic dish

AFTER the war we saw the prettiest teenage beauties and young adult women in bloom.

Many native dalagas married American soldiers while the loose "dalana" shacked with her darling Joe, who sired a blond bambino or two until the sailor or airman flew back home to Alabama or Arizona and to where he heard Indian love calls across the ocean.

Our postwar maidens were marred by large ugly scar in one or both legs. Scarcity of protein in the diet caused the bad sores called tropical ulcers, the endemic disease among subjugated and malnourished people. The "peklat" is the legacy mark of the war.

Since the Occupation, the Japs had commandeered poultry and piggeries, and sequestered grain storehouse to feed their troops. When a raid was conducted a parallel activity was getting all the pet pigs and chicken available. Carabaos and cattle were the prized loot.

And the pillage starved people, especially scarring women’s legs with unsightly keloid marks.

Dog meat saved the day from protein-deficient diet. Pet dogs scampered as soon as Jap soldiers raided a neighborhood.

When fish from the rice field, snails and shrimps from streams were hard to be found, a convenient though unwilling food source was the family dog. In the village celebrating the feast of Nino Inocentes dog meat was the principal dish.

On the dawn of the fiesta in December, the air was filled with howling dogs being slaughtered, reminiscent of Herod who ordered all children below age two to be killed.

Certainly, the practice of dog meat eating tribes had its origin in Kapampangan region. Pampangos pride in their culinary skills and their self proclaimed Culinary Capital of the country.

We are proud of our ‘buru’ and scam tourists with the rotten and foul smelling side dish as well as the balut embryo.

The "azusena", a generic K-9 specialty, is top of the Pampangos’ exotic and unspoken delicacy. If the lifestyle and foodie writer Andrew Zimmern can delight in eating fried chipmunks, surely he will have his oohs and ahs in feasting on ‘kubang aso’. Dugung aso started with a communal meal of dogeaters.

The domestic dog saved the Pinoys from death by starvation. Yes, sir, if the creature is man’s best friend, he is also his best food.
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