Women Who Travel Podcast: Eating Champorado in the Philippines

Like, I’m like, “Oh, I don’t know. It could be many, uh, number of things. But let’s go check it out.” And we walked over to where this cauldron was. And, of course, in it was this breakfast dish that I’d waited 20 years to eat. And it’s called champorado. And it’s, um, it roughly translates a chocolate rice porridge. But, um, it’s kind of stickier, but also goopier than porridge. And, and it’s not quite chocolate like you would get from a candy store. It’s made of tablea, which are, you know, just blocks of chocolate nibs, basically. But we peered in-

LA: It sounds amazing.

Sinel: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But it was, it’s like dessert for breakfast, after you’ve already had like four courses for breakfast.

LA: And so, God, it must have felt quite emotional to suddenly have those flavors on your tongue. I mean, did it taste like you remembered it? Because sometimes I think that there’s foods from like my childhood that I remember as being one thing, and then you revisit it, and you realize it’s something different. Not as, even a good or a bad thing, it’s just different.

Sinel: I would say it was exactly what I had waited 20 years for it to be. And it brought me back to mornings at school, which a little background [laughs] is that, you know, the reason for my teenage adoption was that my birth parents could no longer take care of me. Um, specifically, my mother, at some point, could no longer feed me. And there were stretches of time when we lived in her van. And, you know, it’s needless to say that there were days that we didn’t have food. She was able to enroll me and keep me enrolled in this exclusive, private school that was just really, really competitive and that we couldn’t afford.

But, um, I was able to keep my lot there, secure my lot there through writing and representing the school through writing contests, and debates, and all sorts of things that just, like, let me earn my keep there. Part of my keep there was that they would feed me breakfast. So my mother, out of shame, you know, would drop me off at school, before anyone else was there, really early in the morning, before the sun even was up. And she would leave me, she would, you know, leave me for the day. And I would be in the care of whoever was working at the school at the time.

And early in the mornings, they were be the lunch ladies doing prep work for lunch. And they would have their breakfast in the kitchen, and they would invite me in. And they would serve me this very dish called champorado. And that was the memory I came back to at this four star resort after my fourth round of breakfast. It brought me back to a very kind and loving memory, which was a great entry point after 20 years of being away. And, and I think the way I savored that bowl of, um, chocolaty good- goodness it all made it evident to my daughter what it was I was bringing her home to.