In Japanese cuisine, there is a flavor component called umami.

It's highly desirable when the savory umami joins forces with sweet, sour, salty and bitterness for a "Guardians of the Galaxy"'s taste sensation.

When we walked into El Chamoy, Weekender taste testers discover that owner Veronica Limon was experimenting with a sixth spoke in the ol' flavor wheel for her south-of-the-border smoothie creations

Specifically, she was adding plenty of chili powder into El Chamoy's sweet, summertime treats.

Wait, you think chili-infused smoothies are sorta weird? So did we. At least, that's what we thought before sampling Limon's most popular items.

Limon's 2310 Dakota Ave. El Chamoy restaurant takes its name from chamoy -- a Mexican condiment and sauce that uses apricot, plums or mango as a fruit base. 

Salt is frequently used as a way to brine the fruit and chile powder is added to give the salted fruit brine zip.

That's why many of El Chamoy's smoothies are spiked with a zesty and flavorful chamoy.

A Jalisco, Mexico native who graduated from Sioux City's North High School in 2006, Limon said chamoy stands are very common south of the border.

"Kids love chamoy because they're festive and taste so good," she said. "Parents love them because they are healthier than other desserts."

Indeed, El Chamoy's most popular drink is also a favorite of Limon.

The Mangonada is made with mangoes, chamoy sauce, lime juice and chili powder. To give it a bigger punch of flavor, Limon decorates it with a tamarind-infused straw.

"People can't get enough of our Mangonada," she said.

Well, neither could we.

El Chamoy's Mangonada took us by surprise. We took, perhaps, a careless sip from the smoothies' tamarind straw. The spiciness of the concoction was strong enough to make us sneeze and tear up.

But the second sip was smooth, flavorful and completely satisfying. Yum!

In addition, Limon made us a Fresas Con Crema, which was a smoothie made with fresh strawberries, cream and sweet condensed milk.

It is amazing that Limon can bring out a volcano of taste with just a handful of ingredients. El Chamoy's Strawberry and Cream truly hit the spot on a warm afternoon. 

Remember when we said Limon's recipes were simple? That's certainly isn't the case with El Chamoy's Dorilocos, a crazy concoction that combines Doritos tortilla chips with stuff like jicama, pickled pork rinds, peanuts and, believe it or not, Gummi Bears.

Even more decadent is El Chamoy's Sandia Loca, which translates roughly to "crazy watermelon."

Which is exactly what you get after Limon's get a scooped-out watermelon, adding tons of fruits, sauces and chiles.

Essentially, it is a fruit salad that's gone loco from the heat.

This is exactly how we feel about Limon's unusual creations.

Can a dessert be sweet, sour and spicy all at the same time? They are when you go to El Chamoy's. 


Food and Lifestyles reporter

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