Labor Day is finally upon us! I'm so excited. We don't have any plans; we're just excited for the extra day off.
I've always had a fondness for Labor Day ever since we lived on Guam many moons ago. It seemed like the entire island would have a major fiesta down at Ypao Beach Park every year. All the picnic tables by the beach would be filled with food from different labor organizations. Anyone and everyone were always welcomed. Then we would conclude the fiesta with huge fireworks in the evening.
The first year that we arrived on Guam we were invited to a labor day fiesta at Ypao Beach by one of my dad's co-workers. We looked and looked for him but couldn't find him because it was so crowded. We're getting ready to just leave when a stranger and his family invited us to join them in their fiesta. My dad kindly declined, but they insisted so my dad finally relented. I was glad that he did because the food looked so good! Not only did they feed us, they also insisted that we take several additional plates home so we can have it for tomorrow. We had such a good experience that it became an annual tradition for us when we used to live on Guam. That first year we were guests, but subsequent years we became participants, and my dad would always bring different dishes every year from sushi to seaweed salad.
The food at these fiestas are simply to die for. The food ranges from roasted pig, BBQ, noodles, salads, red rice, fried rice, sushi, chicken kelaguen, fried chicken, pies, cakes, and much more. This was where I first fell in love with chicken kelaguen. It's a little bit like a chicken salad except it has coconut, green onions, lemons, hot peppers, and onions in it. I thought it was the best dish that I've ever tasted.
Many years later after we had left Guam, I still ask about the fiestas and this dish in particular whenever I encounter people who used to live there. At first, people would look at me like I'm nuts, but eventually they'll end up chatting with me about Guam. Most people I've talked to enjoyed reminiscing about the fiestas, but I haven't met one person who liked chicken kelaguen as much as I do. I guess it's just an acquired taste. I've even made it for my family on occasion, but they aren't as fond of it as well so it is usually a meal for one, me.
The photo below is the chicken kelaguen dish that I made for myself recently. It takes me back to the beaches on Guam where I used to go swimming, reef walking, fishing, and snorkeling with my dad. Oh how I long to be back again...
|chicken kelaguen and tortilla|