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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Conway

Guam - Tånó y CHamoru

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Nickname: Land of the CHamoru

Two Truths and a Lie

The Recipe - Spiced "Guyuria"

   Guam is the largest island in Micronesia, a subregion of Oceania that confusingly also includes an island chain called the Federated States of Micronesia. Micronesia has less land and fewer people than neighboring Polynesia and Melanesia. Early settlers had to eke out a living on a few hilly islands and several coral atolls that barely rose above sea level. Inter-island trade prospered between Micronesians who relied on each other before the arrival of European colonizers. 

   Guam is also part of the same archipelago as the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI), which will get its own post. The islands shared a cultural history until they were politically separated between the U.S. and Germany at the beginning of the 20th Century. The culture shared between them is called Chamoru on Guam and Chamorro in the NMI. At least that’s what the NYT said in a fascinating article on the U.S. presence in the Pacific.

   The Chamoru have a rich culinary history with many delicious dishes like a spicy chicken stew called kadon pika, red rice called eneksa agaga and a shrimp ceviche called kelaguan uhang. A popular cookie is called guyuria. These cookies involve a simple dough made with flour, sugar, and coconut milk that is twisted and deep-fried. They are coated with a syrup that hardens giving them their English nickname, jawbreakers. 

   I found a few guyuria recipes online and tried to stay true. I wanted a small twist so I spiked my syrup with ginger and cinnamon. The recipes seemed straightforward so I charged forth with an abundance of false confidence. 

   I nearly gave up in the middle, nothing seemed to work. I underworked my dough, supersized the cookies, and failed to achieve the traditional shape. I also crystallized my syrup and made a huge mess. Luckily for me, it is hard to make fried, glazed dough taste anything besides delicious so these were still a hit. If anyone from Guam is reading this and wishes to guide me through the proper technique, I would love to hear from you.

Time for the whole truth

The Bikini Atoll belongs to the Marshall Islands, but all the rest is true.

(By the way, you can click on any of the 2 truths and a lie statements to visit the source of the trivia)

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