“This is a sweet potato; my home state of North Carolina grows more of these than any other US state”, I proudly state picking up what looked just like the sweet potatoes I know well. My wife injects, “that is not what you think it is.” I ripe the skin off the spud and it is white, not the orange I was expecting. I bite and am at first disappointed. The potato is not sweet at all; it is starchy. After a few more bites I begin to appreciate the potato for what it is a replacement for rice as a starch. My wife educates me, “this is kamote.”
My first experience with kamote came on a beach trip to Dumaluan Beach on Panglao Island. Our Filipino family had boiled the potatoes and brought them on the jeepney we had rented. My next experience came back in the USA. My wife bought some kamote. When I saw the kamote, I was expecting the same boiled kamote I had in the Philippines. My wife said she was going to make kamoteque. This intrigued me. I had enjoyed eating bananaque and was curious what the kamote version would taste like. My wife peeled the kamote and cut it into maybe ¼ inch thick disk. She then fried the kamote in a pan with brown sugar and cooking oil. The result was nothing short of delicious. The combination and contrast of the sweet brown sugar and the starchy kamote tasted incredibly good. To my surprise I actually like kamoteque even better than bananaque.
I am not a Filipino street food aficionado, but in my research I found that kamoteque is a very popular street food sold on a stick. The only thing I have eaten bought on the street in the Philippines was a weird alien-looking, but delicious fruit called rambutan. I don’t think the stick would change the flavor of kamoteque just make it more convenient to eat. It is possible that the street version may taste difference, because of the way it is prepared or the oil that is used. If so some reader who knows please educate me in the comments section.
Kamoteque may be my favorite Filipino dessert. Have you tried kamoteque? Which do you like better bananaque or kamoteque? What is your favorite Filipino dessert?