The tastes of my nostalgia are disappearing

2014-05-27 00.41.16Clockwise from the left: Star Bakehouse Ticoy from Davao, Espasol from Kidapawan, and Rose-flavoured Turkish delight from Singapore.

These three soft, powdery sweets each represent poignant periods in my life.

I grew up eating the espasol in Kidapawan. It seems the matriarch of the Burgos family, our neighbors in Rizal street (my childhood neighborhood and where my father’s family has lived for generations) is the only one who makes espasol in Kidapawan. Lightly sweet and really not that memorable, the stuff nevertheless grows on you, and like Kidapawan you miss it when you haven’t had it for a long time.

I also grew up eating Star Bakehouse Ticoy, which I would get to taste whenever someone in the family goes to Davao and brings some back. Among all the tikoy brands available in Davao this is the only one without any filling, just the way I like it. it has a faint vanilla-banana flavour, mellowed by the powder.

My current box of Turkish delight I bought from Singapore in 2013. The strong rose-flavour faintly reminds me of Bandung, which I loved drinking when I was there. Intensely sweet, Turkish delight is definitely one of the tastes of my Singapore summer.

I eat these three sweets together on special occasions with tea, often Earl Grey. Eat them together in one mouthful and you get a taste of my life.

But increasingly that has become more and more difficult to do. Burgos, I hear, rarely makes espasol these days because it is such a labour-intensive product. Whenever I go home to Kidapawan it’s never available in Mega Market, the only place where one can buy it. Similarly Star Bakehouse Ticoy is getting ridiculously difficult to find in Davao. It’s usually displayed on the hopia section of most convenience stores and groceries, but it’s becoming rarer and rarer. And my box of Turkish delight is down to just three slices, with no prospect of buying a new box. This photo was taken in 2014, the last time I had this combination.

Why are memories so difficult to keep?

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