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When “Sarap!” is All I Know


By Emily Nepomuceno

A Filipino breakfast, with
Kamatis, tomatoes, chopped
and swimming in
Suka, vinegar
A perfect match for my
Bangsilog, it’s
Milkfish, rice, and eggs. It’s
One bite and I'm

Adobo, lumpia, pansit palabok, dinuguan, pinakbet
Let me give you the grand tour of my mother's kitchen
Leche flan, brazo de Mercedes, polvoron, champorado
A true melting pot of food, borrowing Spanish names

The Tagalog words that roll off my tongue as if I'm fluent
Are everything that has touched my taste buds
That demanded itself to be named
And remembered.

Although the words of my parents' country feel
Unfamiliar to my palate
When instead I struggle to find the right translation
Unable to form

This is still my food
My culture
My home
And my soul remains hungry for