An appetizer that consists of shrimp and vegetables; it is deep fried and very similar to a corn fritter.
Chamorro shrimp patties (buñelos uhang) may be an offshoot of the American fritter. The American fritter consists of a deep-fried batter and can be sweet or savory: if it is served as a dessert, fruits are added to the batter; if it is savory, pork or fish may be the main ingredient.
The introduction of American food to the Chamorro diet took place in the early 20th century during the US Naval administration of the island. As the naval population settled on the island, non-perishable foods such as canned meat, fish, and milk were imported to provide familiar foods for the newcomers.
The dissemination of recipes for American dishes can be traced to The Guam Recorder, a monthly publication that began in 1924. Its intent, as printed on its front page, was “For Progress, Education, and Development in this island; and, was “Devoted to the best interests of the Naval Government, and dedicated to Advancement, Betterment and Efficiency.”
A regular column in the publication included “Tested Recipes and Domestic Science Hints.” These included recipes tested by Mrs. Henry Nagle, a graduate of Mrs. Rohrer’s Cooking School in Philadelphia and a domestic science instructor for the Guam Department of Education.
The recipes that Nagle provided were clearly those that pleased the palate of the American naval population. Recipes for main dishes such as beef medallions as well as desserts such as chocolate cake were included in the column.
Recipes for a variation of the Chamorro shrimp patty can be found in several editions of the The Guam Recorder to include corn fritters (1926), a basic fritter batter (1927) that was combined with fruits to make a dessert as well as fish fritter recipe (1926). As Nagle was an instructor for the Guam Department of Education, it is feasible that she could have shared these recipes with her students and fellow teachers. The substitution of shrimp for fish and the addition of mixed vegetables could have easily taken place in a Chamorro kitchen. Therefore, the introduced American fritters evolved into the “Chamorro shrimp patties.”
Today, shrimp patties are common on the fiesta table, with each chef adding her (or his) preferred, and sometimes closely guarded, ingredients. Some chefs use ready-made pancake batter and even beer can be added into the mix.
Placement on table
Shrimp patties placement on the table is adjacent to the kelaguen section, which is after the starch (åggon) and meat (totche) selections that are at the head of the table, respectively.
Buñelos Uhang: Chamorro Shrimp Patties
4 packages small shrimp
3 packages frozen mixed vegetables
1 medium-sized onion
2 garlic cloves
1 dozen medium eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups salad oil
Crush shrimp and place in large bowl. Thaw, wash and drain vegetables. Add them to the bowl of shrimp. Chop onions and garlic very fine and add to the shrimp mixture. Beat eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Add flour and milk, and mix thoroughly. Add black pepper, salt and baking powder. Heat oil and maintain at medium heat. Drop mixture by the spoonful into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown.
* Recipe by Betty Ann Onedera from Lepblon Fina’tinas Para Guam: Guam Cookbook, 1985.
Buñelos Uhang: Chamorro Shrimp Patties Video Demonstration
Featuring Estephany Salas of Dededo