Childhood memories rushed in when I saw this sorbetero near Quirino Grandstand a few weeks ago. A sorbetero was a street fixture of my childhood, a street vendor who sold home-made ice cream we call sorbetes. He would announce his presence by ringing a handheld bell that usually roused us from our afternoon siesta. We rushed to the ice cream cart like children from the desert.
Sorbetes is a traditional variation of ice cream in the Philippines. It is now more popularly known as "dirty ice cream". Peddled by street hawkers (or sorbeteros), it is usually served with small wafer or sugar cones, and more recently, bread buns. Sorbetes is uniquely made from coconut milk and cassava flour. Flavors vary from the usual natural fruits such as mango, jack fruit, avocado, melon, coconut and strawberry to flavors imitating commercial ice cream such as chocolate, cheese, vanilla, mocha and ube (purple yam). Source: Wiki
My mother predicted trips to the emergency room every time my siblings and I ate dirty ice cream. It was frowned upon by our elders as the sorbetero was himself purportedly not exactly a model of hygiene. What water was used? And why did he not wash his hands after he handled our peso coins? I even taunted my little sister that the sorbetero didn't wash his hands after using the bathroom---it was after she ate the sugar cone! Sorbetes became a guilty pleasure we devoured behind our mother's back.
Sorbetes is peddled in colorful carts which usually can accommodate three flavors, each in large tin canisters. The cart is stuffed with crushed ice sprinkled with salt to produce a lower temperature around the tin canisters and keep the ice cream frozen.
Sorbeteros walk the streets the whole day, or they're parked near schools, parks and churches, calling customers by ringing a small handheld bell. Children gathered around the ice cream cart in the middle of the street is a common sight especially in the summer.
The sorbetes industry competes with commercially available ice cream from giant companies such as Nestle, Magnolia and Selecta which have also started peddling their frozen products in the streets in more sanitized carts.
Dirty or not, ice cream remains my ultimate comfort food.
Linking to Our World-Tuesday