SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

Hello everybody! Welcome to the new SnackTAYku International Edition!, the triple one was not enough for my foodie adventures. I'll be your host and tour guide in this new iteration. In this section I'll be talking about the plates I grew up eating and maybe getting sick too. You see Venezuela has an interesting mixture of flavours and styles, well maybe not where I live because we consider ourselves different from the rest of the country. Maracaibo is a city that until the 1960s was not linked to the rest of the country.

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

Not Pictured: Trinidad

If you see on this map there's a teeny weenie gap between one coast and the other, So we used to have a group of boats that would traverse this body of water, but it would take you around 45 minutes to get to the city, it wasn't enough that we were the city furthest from the capital, but we had the geography to blame for our dissociation. That rendered us and our food different, sure we share some plates with the rest of the country, but the way we eat them varies a little.

So I started my adventures one Wednesday morning at 7AM, I have a good friend of mine, I shall call him my partner in crime, with whom I go to almost every pig-out spot in the city, our adventure started because he wanted to eat some Yo-Yos in that place along the coastal avenue.

We set course to the east, and lo and behold the Yo-yo place was closed! He thought "where can we eat something similar..." I replied "well we could go and eat some Teque-Yo-Yos, you know in that place near your house". Now you people may be wondering what is a Teque-Yo-yo? Well hold on to yer trousers cause this is going to be a sweet ride.

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

Awkward handling is awkward!

We arrived to this place next to a small street called McGordo, which can be roughly translated to McFat, it was one of my favourite places to eat while in Uni, every Thursday after our morning classes we came her to nourish ourselves in the delicacy of saturated fat and street dust. These guys have a variety of plates, from Empanadas (different to the Argentinean ones, ours are made with Cornmeal instead of flour), to Pasteles (pastries filled with different ingredients), Tequeños (pretty much like a cheesestick), Mandocas (yep that thing I gave step by step a few months ago) and obviously, what I came here for... The Teque-Yo-Yo!

The Teque-Yo-Yo is a variation of the standard Yo-Yo, a bit less damaging to your health too! See this baby instead of being covered in deep fried batter, is protected by a thin layer of dough, similar to a tequeño, but with the insides of a basic yo-yo: cheese, ham and fried sweet plantain, (this is for you Morie) a silky and delicious mixture of flavours and textures having a party with the slight crispiness that fried dough gives, an amazing but not as marvelous experience like the one from the original Yo-Yo.

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

My body is ready!

But going out for this wasn't enough for me I went and added a meat empanada, and a mandoca. My friend went for this thing...

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

Not legendary material...

Now... umm you see this one is not the legendary one, this is a Pabellón empanada (seriously don't try to translate that name, it won't make much sense), but the legends mention that it should be in a cornmeal dough, not in this. I needed the real deal... So I decided to embark on to a second adventure... the one that would cross my path with this legend of the west.

I arrived at the place and it was deserted, I hesitated to exit my car, cause this wasn't located near a residential zone, nope this was right next to an expressway, and to the other side was a shady part of the town, hence why the next picture was taken from the driver's point of view (I also stood in the middle of the street for a minute or so, trying to get my phone ready for the picture and then hiding it under the rug).

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

Wrong neighborhood...

When I asked for the empanada they guy behind the counter told me that there were none, that they ran out of them earlier in the day, but added that if I could wait around 15 minutes he could get me one. So the radio conversation between him and the kitchen started... and there I was, standing in the middle of nowhere, terrified, so I told the guy... "here's my pay let me go and fetch something else around here!" (LIES! I was a sitting duck there! I needed to get my arse moving or I would get mugged!).

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

Oh hi! I'm just a silly boy, in the wrong place, I have a camera, a phone and some money in my pocket! Oh that over there? Yes, that's my car, why don't you take it... Pl-Please spare my life!

When I returned there were some other clients around so I took the chance and got some pictures off my phone, Et Voila! here's the menu!

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

Choices...

We have, Cheese, Shredded meat, Ground Meat, Chicken, Mojito (which is fish), Pork chops, Lomo Negro (which is just another name for a prepared meat), Shrimp, Rompe Colchón...

Now... you see the humour of the people around here is a bit grotesque, this could be translated into something like Mattress Wrecker. It's an empanada filled with Shrimp, Octopus and Calamari, honestly don't ask me about that name... just let your imagination flow (if you're having trouble picturing it just ask Habboi, he might be able to help).

Now the last item in that menu is what I was looking for, and 5 minutes later the guy gave me my to-go bag. To finish this adventure and share it with you I got my bag and went back home, an environment where I could take as many pictures as I wanted of this sexy beast.

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

For Science!

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THIS IS THE SECOND AND FINAL PART OF MY ADVENTURE

So I got back home, got my camera ready, washed my hands and... wait! how do I hold this thing?

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

Awkward handling is awkward! Part Deux.

Just look at the size of that thing, weighting around half pound it's a huge beast! My phone looks small next to the Empanada, Oh... this is not going to end well...

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

A fine use of the Wii U controller...

So far I have avoided talking about what's inside, but umm... let's see there is a full lunch inside this, you see the real name of this baby is Pabellón Criollo, which is a typical dish from Venezuela, someone just had the crazy idea of stuffing an empanada with four different ingredients...

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

You cannot see it, but there is a flurry of flavour inside.

So what do we have inside of this? I made an autopsy...

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

The insides of the belly of the beast!

Well so far I've found, Black beans, Sweet Plantain, Cheese....

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

Umm... sir? There is a full lunch inside my breakfast!

And Shredded meat! So it has all the ingredients of the typical plate, sans the rice, because you know rice is lame against these other ingredients, "we cannot put the healthy ingredient of the plate inside this empanada!"

SnackTAYku International: The Journey for the Legendary Empanada.

Not pictured: Health

Well... it tasted great... it took a year away from my life expectancy, but it was worthy, the beans were smooth, with a hint of spicy peppers, the meat was tender and full of flavour, the cheese added the salt to accentuate the tones of the other ingredients...

And the plantain... oh sweet plantain... how i love thee! I want to marry you .

Again... Just like I said with the yo-yo, no one in their sane mind should ever try eating one of these, it will give you a horrible sensation in your belly for the rest of the day, it was a stupid idea for me to risk my life twice in the search for this legend...

But goddammit! You have to try it at least once in your life! By the end of this photo shoot I lost all my progress in becoming a healthier person and washed my hands six times. I may need some digestives! to survive this ordeal.

Zarnyx believes she can win in this round of SnackTAYku International, go check her take on a Champion's breakfast in Trinidad! She claims it's the first thing you have to do once you take a step into the island.

For any other musings about food, and games, and just about anything check TAY Classic! Eat healthy, don't be a fool like me!