A common sight in Divisoria and along China Town. A vendor roasting kastanyas. However, I am at SM Mall exit and there was a kastanyas vendor near the exit door. Beside his boot was a roasting machine. A tulyasi with a built-in paddle operated by an AC motor. A cylinder was holding the cooking vessel and preventing heat loss. The paddle was mixing a combination of chesnut and black sand, sand of uniform sizes about as big as mongo beans. The vendor said the black sand were live stones.
Live stones are what we call “batong buhay” in Tagalog term. It actually grow like a live organism when near a water body. Go on stagnant state on dry conditions. Perhaps those sands were dead due to extreme heat exposure.
Why include sand in kastanyas roasting?
Kastanyas, about as big as marble with an internal cotyledon 2 mm offset from shell. It could be roasted without sand but the heat travel from tulyasi metal to kastanyas shell to cotyledon would be very slow. Air conveys heat but it is also very slow. Covering the tulyasi will greatly help in heat build-up but will defy the purpose of exhibition roasting. The sand bridge this gap and make the heat travel faster, making the roasting more efficient and even.
I never love eating kastansyas. Eating it is like eating butong pakwan and butong kalabasa. You have to patiently thinker with the shell before enjoying the flesh. Kastanyas, however, is more rewarding for its bigger edible portion. It is good for passing time. I bought it for my son and daughter.
According to television news. Chesnuts in our country were Chinese and European origin. We were able to grow our very own way back year 2009. Growing areas are in Quezon province.