I like to go into candy store Aji Ichiban because they have free samples of candied and preserved fruits, which I gobble right after I've had a sumptuous Chinese meal and my gut is about to explode, like that guy's in The Meaning of Life.
So I'm there, speaking in Spanish, explaining that in Mexico we have something similar called chamoy, and the employees brighten up at the name and point me to two samples of preserved plums: the real Chinese chamoy, one version sweet, and the other sweet and salty.
|Original Chinese Chamoy|
Now, I love Mexican chamoy faithfully, as any true Mexican should, but I have to say that our version is chazerai* compared to the Chinese one. I'm not talking about powdered Chamoy, which I think would make Chairman Mao spin in his grave, and which Mexicans are starting to put on everything, but about the dried plums. In Mexico, the dried plums are super salty and tart, and they are actually apricots. There are red apricots in red brine that make your soul pucker, and give you instant high blood pressure, they are so salty and acid. Mexicans add chili powder to chamoy, making it sweet, salty, acid and spicy. We all know it's the best kind of junk candy there is.
|Mexican powdered Chamoy, now in several artificial flavors.|
|Google image search of chamoy.|
Alas, I could not find a picture of the preserved fruit chamoys. I'm afraid they may have disappeared from the Mexican candy repertoire, which would be tragic.
The Japanese have a version of preserved plum paste called umeboshi, which is supposed to be a digestive. I love it too.
And because it is supposed to be a digestive I just gobbled an entire bag of the two Chinese chamoys as I wrote this post.