6.278 Chicken Kelaguen


10 (Sat) October 2015

Chicken Kelaguen


at Chamoru-Tei (Oceanview Hotel)

-Tumon Bay, Guam-


From my temporary accommodations, tonight only, at the Bay View Hotel, overlooking Tumon Bay; in the distance, to the left, Hyatt Regency Guam, where I’ll be staying from tomorrow on.

Mission to the United States, Day 1.

In Guam.  Arrived very early this morning.  Here to attend WPRO’s annual RCM — hottest event of the year — Monday through Thursday.  Flying back next Saturday.

If I hadn’t been staying at Bay View next door, I wouldn’t have seen this sign.
Located in Oceanview Hotel…
…Chamoru-Tei is a Guamanian restaurant, specializing in chamoru “cusine.”

Chamoru/Chamorro is the indigenous culture of the Mariana Islands, now comprising the United States Territory of Guam and the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  The term refers to the people, the language, the cuisine, and any aspect of the culture.

As the menu would suggest, Japanese is the controlling language here, with so many Japanese tourists.


Kelaguen is a Chamoru cooking technique.  Minced meat (e.g., chicken, but also beef or beef) or seafood (e.g., octopus, but also fish or shrimp), “cooked” in citric acid (e.g., lemon juice) — like Peruvian ceviche or Filipino kilawin — seasoned with aromatics (e.g., garlic, scallion, chilies, coconut).  Typically served with flatbread.  The Chamoru nation’s proudest culinary item.

MGD on tap — which I’ve never missed about the States.
Bistek Chamoru (2.0) — beef and onions braised in soy sauce, exactly like bistek tagalog (see for example 6.161 Manggang Hilaw…).
Red Rice (3.0) — colored-seasoned with annatto oil, exactly like java rice (see for example 4.264 An Aristocratic Feast…).

Turns out — much to my disappointed surprise, although it makes obvious sense upon reflection — that Chamoru food in its current form is essentially the same thing as Filipino food.  As the two archipelagoes have shared similar Austronesian roots, with comparable migration patterns, followed by identical colonial histories, the cuisines both represent a blend of Pacific+Chinese+Spanish+American traditions.  Even the names of dishes (e.g., bistek, manok, pancit, kelaguen/kilawin, Chamoru/Bicol Express) are the same/similar.

After checking in to the hotel, venturing out in search of a convenience store to purchase water and other sundries, I came upon Circle K.
Within, a shining/rotating example of modernization at its worst.

My second trip to Guam, previously back in 2006.

My first trip to the United States since 2008.

Welcome back to America.

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