Saladitos, Food of the Playground

Before Flaming Hot Cheetos, Eastside kids coveted these – especially the saladitos with chile. They were sometimes eaten a little at a time and some of the macho kids bravely managed to consume them whole. I’m sure you can still find these all over the place but this package was bought at one of the last Japanese-American markets in the South San Gabriel area, Tozai Foods.

21 thoughts on “Saladitos, Food of the Playground

  1. The chile ones are especially good if you shove one into half an orange. I had a neighbor that would sell candy from the kitchen and you could also buy Saladitos already in an orange. Yum!

  2. I think it *is* the last one. Thanks for supporting.

    What’s with only three in the pack? When I was a child, it was five to a pack.

  3. And they never rot or go bad, I once found one in an old jacket that I hadn’t used in 8 or ten years.
    It tasted just like they all do, makes me want to pucker up and get a cold beer.

  4. “I think it *is* the last one. Thanks for supporting.”

    I figured it was the last one but I didn’t want to make a definitive statement without knowing for sure. 🙂
    I’ve been going to that market since I was a little kid. There was a very good fast food Japanese restaurant next door called Midori. Anyways, I discovered Tozai is the only place in the area (besides Wal-Mart) where you can buy fresh vegetables on a Sunday. The place was packed when I went.
    I was thinking they came more to a pack than just the three. I guess they kept the price the same though.

  5. saladitos – the best companion for almost any light cevezita. Drop one inside a botella of any nasty, not so great tasting, not so well brewed cerveza like say BudLight, Miller High Life or even in some Tecates or Coronas bien frias and it does wonders.

    I must agree the orange with the saladito in the middle – yum

    the saladitos in vinagre son a toda madre tambien

  6. Most girls I knew growing up in East Los would stick them in half a lemon.
    Hey DQ Cochino! What are you doing eating something you found in an old jacket after 10 years?

  7. Salt and fruit, a match made in heaven or was that Mexico? 😉

    I’ve been reading this book on culture in DF and it had this bit on sex and said something like: just the way Mexicans think all food can be enhanced with a little chile, they think sex can be made better with a dash of sin!

  8. Chiles are an aphrodisiac – I wouldn’t doubt si los Dioses ate chiles.

    El chile generates physiological responses in our bodies. Hence we sometimes sweat, our heart rate increases as well as our circulation when we eat spicy food. These “feelings” or “sensations” are very similar or equivalent to those experienced with sex. The capsaicin found in chiles is responsible for the effects.

    Another reported effect of eating chiles is cuando se come un chingo de chiles you get an irritation of the genitals and urinary tract that could feel similar to sexual excitement. ajuuuaaaa….where’s the Tapatio?

    oh and Chimatli – Mexico is Heaven

  9. I would sneak them into other things and wait and watch friends eat them and make sour faces hahahah Probably explains why I don’t have anymore friends 🙁

  10. “Hey DQ Cochino! What are you doing eating something you found in an old jacket after 10 years?”

    Yo Se Al, but I was conducting a scientific experiment on foods that would survive a nuclear winter or some other Armageddon, all for humanity’s sake of course.
    And I can now say with certainty, that after conducting my experiment with foods found stashed in my old Members Only jacket, that saladitos, slim jims, and old juicy fruit gum, will in fact remain edible for as long as ten years.

    PS, And I had a cold bironga in my grip that just begged for something sour and salty, hooray for saladitos.

    PPS, As a teenager on the Eastside I always thought there was nothing more erotic than a fine Chicanita eating a lemon and salt, it would make their lips all puffy and red, Valga Dios!

  11. When I was a kid, it was always Persian kids who brought these to school. I didn’t know until I was in high school and had a chola girlfriend that these were popular with Latinos as well.

  12. DQ, I’d suggest you put that Members Only jacket back in storage.

    There’s a myth about TWINKIES having a shelf life of 75 years.
    Here’s a quote from Associated Press:
    “The cakes’ sturdiness and longevity have led to the myth, say Hostess officials, that Twinkies have a shelf life measured in years, even decades. Roger Bennatti, a science teacher at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, Maine, kept one perched atop his chalkboard for 30 years. “It’s rather brittle, but if you dusted it off, it’s probably still edible,” he told the Associated Press when he retired last year.”

  13. Isn’t there a Japanese version of saladitos? I remember the Japanese-American kids at my elementary school in MPK eating a smaller version. I think they were a little sweeter too. I figured that’s why they still sold the Mexican kind at Tozai.

  14. Yeah all my japanese co-workers snack on those too. Just another odd mexico-japanese connection, LOL.

  15. The Japanese version is umeboshi, or pickled plum, which comes in a host of varieties, including a dried, salty version, similar to a saladitos.

    There’s a candy that is clear with a little nub of umeboshi at the center that was hugely popular at all the schools I went to growing up – almost as popular as Japanese candy juggernaut Super Lemon was. My favourite umeboshi item is umeboshi onigiri, seaweed-wrapped rice balls with umeboshi at the center.

  16. You might be thinking of crack seed, which is a Hawaiian thing. There are a lot of JAs who got to California via Hawaii. The snacks are Chinese in origin though. I think they’re called li hing mui.

    There is a dried umeboshi, and it’s pretty much a saladito but it has red shiso coloring it. I believe the plum is the same – an ume, which is a kind of apricot. I don’t think it’s common to use it dried, though. You generally eat umeboshi wet, and after it’s aged a long time.

    Tozai probably carry the saladitos because everyone eats them. I ate them growing up. I had no idea they were Mexican at the time.


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