General Food News

Pamana

Sitting quietly along the National Highway, one would mistake Pamana as one of those boutique hotels or motels where one can stop over and rest to enjoy the cool air and awesome view of the Taal Lake. A quick little getaway from the city’s hustle and bustle. Upon entering the front doors, one is pleasantly greeted by a receptionist who will sit you according to the number of people in your party.

Pamana is an Ongpauco venture, particularly Happy Ongpauco. It was apparently an old summer home which she turned into a tiny 3 floor restaurant. The food fare is similar to Barrio Fiesta, but of course more dressed up a bit.

The ambiance echoes of the spanish design with wrought iron railing along the brick staircase to the beautifully ornate little decors one can find either hung on the walls. An entire wall is covered with the old pictures of the Ongpauco family and one can see how “Tita Chit” started Barrio Fiesta. It gave a cozy little feel.

We quickly ordered a few fares as this was just a stop over on our way to Punta Fuego.

On the menu today was:

Binagoongang Bagnet

3-Way Adobo

Prawns in Aligue


Admittedly, after tasting Ilocos/Vigan Bagnet it is quite hard to find something I could compare it with. This was quite a surprise. Melding together the unique taste of bagoong with the tenderness and succulent taste of bagnet. If you are a fan of pork as well as binagoongan, this is a definite must-try.

3-Way Adobo. This was pretty unique. I was expecting a big pot of Adobo with 3 kinds of meat in it. But out came a platter which had Chicken Adobo, Adobo Flakes, and Spareribs. This was one of my favorites as I am a huge fan of Adobo.

Prawn in aligue was the surprise of the meal. The prawns were excellently cooked; tender to the bite and yet still remain juicy and firm. The aligue added the surprise kick after the initial taste of the prawns subsided. It was a seafood party to be enjoyed by your tastebuds.

The dining area overlooked the taal lake which I thought was an excellent bonus. The view was perfect. The ambiance was great. It would have been a perfect date place.

Kuala Lumpur: 2 Day Tryst

Kuala Lumpur by Night: The City Sleeps

Kuala Lumpur by Night: The City Sleeps

It was nothing but a fling. Something more than a one night stand but not quite enough to be called acquaintances. This was my relationship with KL. It was such a short stay, but I got real intimate with the place. Thanks to Tim. That in the very short and quick 2 days, he managed to show me the potential that KL had. On our last day, we ate at Xiao Fei Yang. (It means Little Fat Kid). Upon entering the restaurant the strong scent of chili and curry in the made sure to every patron what they were getting into. We occupied 2 tables. It was our last day. I noticed that the utensils where all in plastic and wrapped in a shrink wrap plastic. I found it quite odd but did not say anything. Nic ordered in chinese. The lady who took my order for drinks also tried speaking to me in chinese. I had to say I didn’t understand (which was the only thing I know to say in mandarin) and she spoke to me in broken english. We had idle conversation. It was nice getting to know our MY counterparts. Actually I quite enjoyed the conversation.

Xiao Fei Yang

Xiao Fei Yang

The drinks were HUGE.

The drinks were HUGE.

Coconut Drink

Coconut Drink

Our drinks came and I was shocked at the enormity of the glasses. Watermelon shakes and Orange shakes. I ordered some coconut juice, but that was gone quickly. Xiao Fei Yang was actually a “steam boat” place. Similar to our shabu-shabu the steamboat was divided into two. One was regular soup. The other was excruciatingly spicy. I find myself drawn to the spicy. Just the smell alone made my eyes water. I dared not try it yet. But since it was my last night in KL I threw caution to the wind. I dipped my ladel and scooped out a bowl full of red awesomeness.

Steam Boat

Steam Boat

What you put in the steamboat

What you put in the steamboat

Ingridients

Ingridients

Steam Boat

Steam Boat

I had 3 layers of clothes on. (I like layering. I’m weird that way.) I had on my Adidas jacket, a long sleeved black shirt, and a white cotton undershirt underneath it all. The meal consisted of 3 servings or rather Nic divided it into 3 parts. After the 1st meal which was basically your typical shabu shabu with those balls of flour and some veggies. I had taken off my jacket and was mildly sweating.

2nd serving consisted of fried bean curd skin and frogs legs as well as pork and lamb. My black long sleeved shirt was still on but I was sweating profusely. People on my table started to laugh.

By the 3rd serving I looked like I just stepped out of the shower. My mouth was literally on fire and I was down to my white cotton undershirt. It was almost like eating pure chili soup. It looked like it was a mixture of water and chili oil! But I kept eating because it was so damn good. The rich flavors really brought out the best in each other. The chili made me feel so alive. Forget the lack of sleep, for this brief time, I was alive. I am not a big fan of spicy food. I like mildly spicy but I feel that spicier it gets, the flavor tends to get lost. I was mistaken. The spiciness only made the flavors taste even better. To a sensitive palette like mine, I thought the strong chilis would numb my tastebuds but on the contrary it brought out the scintillating flavors that usually are missed because one gulps down the food to quickly. I am now a convert. Place a bowl of chili near me and you see me grabbing it right away. Till our next meeting KL. I promise to be more adventurous the next time around.

Some head shots of people in my table:

Jestina Goon finally decided to join us!

Jestina Goon finally decided to join us!

David: Still the #1 Sales Guy according to MY Nuffies

David: Still the #1 Sales Guy according to MY Nuffies

Patty caught trying to steal a glimpse of something

Patty caught trying to steal a glimpse of something

Duck King on Jaya One

Our gracious host and leader Mr. Timothy Tiah (one of the founders of Nuffnang) took us all out for dinner at Duck King located at Jaya One just outside Kuala Lumpur. It would be a chinese dinner. And it would be one of the best. First to arrive would be the mapo tofu steak with seaweed or nori on top. The tofu was one of the best I’ve tasted. Nice and firm when you scoop it up but literally turns into liquid when you start munching. It was beautiful example of perfect chinese cooking. And then the main course started flowing in.

We had some deep fried Kang Kong which tasted alot like junk food snacks. That was gone quite quickly. The Peking Duck, Pork Belly, and Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet were all incomparable to anything I’ve tasted here in the Philippines. This was simply a divine meal. I didn’t know when to stop. With the absence of water or any soft drink to fill myself up, I just kept eating. It was beautiful. I am a big fan of duck. This meal was something. It was both unforgettable. We got to see the regular side of Tim Tiah. I admit I am a big fan of him and princess. (Audrey but no one calls her that anymore!) Thank you Tim for the food. It was one of the best I’ve had in a long time.

Singapore Hawker

So Foodie Manila goes international. I was a bit hesitant to try a Hawker center since it was compared to our carinderia in the philippines. But then again this is Singapore. Their hawker center was the highlight of my trip. Can you say P90 for rice, soup, and duck?? Singapore food was awesome! (but KL food was even better!) Here are some shots of the food I ate!

Sesame Seed Chicken Rice

Sesame Seed Chicken Rice

Duck Rice

Duck Rice

Ramen ordered by Judd

Ramen ordered by Judd

The Best find in SG! .80 cup of Soy Milk!!!!

The Best find in SG! .80 cup of Soy Milk!!!!

BK Sundae!

BK Sundae!

The Pride of Gen San (3 of 3)

I was already starting to feel full. Full from the food but also from the stories and memories the food brought. Chef Kring truly kept her word. She has transformed the dishes General Santos had to offer and yet still maintained that which was so uniquely Gen San. It was wonderful combination of simplicity and exquisite flavor, all jiving to create beautiful symphony of taste and aesthetics. Dessert was no different. A fruit shot, which tasted sweet, but more of a fruit sweet and not sugar sweet. As well as the Buko Pandan which had strands of Buko Meat making each bite a pleasant bite. A variety of cakes as well as conventional and continental desserts were available during the buffet. What a wonderful way to end the meal. And just like when I left Gen San, I felt a bit sad leaving. But Gen San left me with a pleasant feeling, a wonderful taste, a delightful after-taste was left lingering. Just like Chef Kring’s cooking.

Buko Pandan; Fruit Sampler

Buko Pandan; Fruit Sampler

Cheesy Cheesecake

Cheesy Cheesecake

Strawberry Cheesecake

Strawberry Cheesecake

The Pride of General Santos (2 of 3)

I ended the last post with the journey to my memories of General Santos. The beautiful coastline that is Saranggani Bay reminds me of the LA coastline. (FACT: It was built by the US to mimic indeed the LA coastline) For a place stricken with so much conflict and strife, where war and holy battles be it justified or not is present, General Santos is beautiful place.

Just in time the 4 main courses were served.

Sinigang na Tuna

Sinigang na Tuna

Sinigang na Tuna or Soured Tuna Fish Soup. This dish was great. It reminded me a lot of Sinigang na Salmon. In contrast to Salmon, the meat of the tuna is firmer. I really liked this dish probably because of my preference of Tuna.

Fish Roulade w/ Garlic

Fish Roulade w/ Garlic

The word Roulade originates from the French word “rouler” meaning “to roll”. Typically , a roulade is a European dish consisting of a slice of meat rolled around a filling, such as cheese, vegetables, or other meats. A roulade, like a braised dish, is often browned then covered with wine or stock and cooked. Such a roulade is commonly secured with a toothpick or metal skewer, piece of string or spinach. The roulade is then sliced into rounds and served.

Pork Binagoongan

Pork Binagoongan

Although Pork Binagoongan is not a well known General Santos specialty the way the pork was cooked was just perfect. Tender and juicy while remaining succulent. The binagoong used also was a specialty of Chef Kring.

Tuna Panga

Tuna Panga

The Tuna Panga was one of the best I’ve ever tasted. Really fresh and the meat was tender and juicy. Chef Kring reveals her secret when I poked and prodded her for the secret to having my tuna taste this way. Ready for the secret?

Never scrimp on the ingredients. If you can get the freshest, albeit the cost being a bit higher do so. In the end the taste will be the ultimate judge.

The Pride of General Santos City (1 of 3)

DSC_0004

General Santos City is well known for being the home of the People’s Champ, Manny Pacquiao. But for foodie’s like me, General Santos City means so much more. Bordering the line between Saranggani Province and South Cotabato, here lies a burgeoning city where rural life meets urban life. GenSan as it is more commonly referred to is a sort of melting pot of Luzon and the Visasayas. I was in GenSan only last May and let me tell you I enjoyed the food so much that I wanted to return purely for the food if not for the view. General Santos had indeed the freshest seafood you could want. Straight from Saranggani Bay, the Tuna is absolutely divine to be eaten with fresh fruit shakes. I am getting hungry just writing and recounting my visit. Chef Chriselda “Kring” Macion of Marasa Grill promised to take me back via the food she had prepared for us. I told her she had a tall task indeed!

Chef Kring w/ her Sous Chefs

Chef Kring w/ her Sous Chefs

A little background about our Chef today. Chef Chriselda Macion, Kring as she is fondly called by her friends and peers, is from Marasa Grill right at the heart of GenSan.(Marasa means masarap or delicious in english) She holds a B.S. Hotel and Restaurant Management degree from St.Paul’s College, Quezon City. Right after graduation she wanted to come back to her hometown and be of service to her community. She spent 8 long years working in the hotel industry, and after learning the ropes decided to open her own little restaurant right in her family’s garage. From a small 24-seating restaurant it grew in to a 60-seating restaurant not to mention the airconditioned function room which can hold 50 people in the adjacent area. She then decided to finally continue her studies and studied under TESDA to get the title Chef. She is a definite authority figure when it comes to General Santos cuisine.

Now Unto The Food:

First up appetizers:

Kinilaw na Tuna (Tuna soaked in Strong Vinegar and allowed to “cook”)

Kilawin na Tuna

Kilawin na Tuna

Not to be biased, but I love this dish. I am a big fan of making dishes in Kilawin and this is definitely on the top of list. The juicy-ness of sashimi as well as the freshness of the fish is complimented with the strong taste of vinegar. How can you say stop after a couple of spoonfulls??

Kinilaw na Dilis sa Gata (Long Jawed Anchovy “cooked” in vinegar and coconut milk)

Kinilaw na Dilis sa Gata

Kinilaw na Dilis sa Gata

I also am a big fan of this fish. But if you are not a fan of anchovies in the first place better to steer clear of this dish.Last up for the appetizers straight from GenSan is:

Eggplant Salad

Eggplant Salad
Eggplant Salad

I am not a big fan of eggplant. So I did not try this. But based on how it looks, I think its quite good. Reminds me of ensalada. After tasting the appetizers, I knew the journey had begun. Memories from my General Santos trip slowly came back. It seemed like it was such a long time ago. And here I am again eating the same food. This was a good start. Chef Kring certainly is living up to her promise. I was excited as the waiters brought more and more food out. I knew it was going to be a tiring trip down memory lane.

And I was ready.
Cafe Jeepney offers a FREE buffet meal for a fifth person for every group of four buffet-paying adults. Diners get a chance to participate in the hotel’s 40th Anniversary Grand Raffle for every P4000 in a single recipet at the restaurant. Prizes at stake are a Princess Cruise for two to Alaska or the Mexican Riviera or the Caribbean and two round trip tickets from Manila to any European destination c/o KLM airlines.

Aside from the appetizers mentioned above Cafe Jeepney offers some unique concoctions of their own.

Shrimp Shot Pasta

Shrimp Shot Pasta

Carbonara Shot

Carbonara Shot

Can I just say that the bacon bits here were cooked to perfection! This is how bacon should taste like. Both crunchy and salty at the same time. Bacon in its perfect form.

3 Cheese and Crackers

3 Cheese and Crackers

You may call Cafe Jeepney at 793-7000 for reservations

Cookies: Chewy Batch

Chocolate Chip Cookie Delight

Chocolate Chip Cookie Delight

I’ve already mentioned that baking cookies has always been a family thing. So during this time of crisis where all forms of communication was lost, the best we could to do to comfort each other was to go baking. And so we baked cookies.

People have been asking me what is the secret to our awesome cookies. Do we add some magic ingredient? Is the butter? The quality of flour? The chips? And I always end up answering them that we use regular ingredients as well as average butter. (But I do admit that using Magnolia Butter Gold will make your cookies richer and creamier!) It all lies in the preparation and the technique. The butter must be creamed instead of melted. The number of folds the batter gets also is very crucial.

In baking everything is very exact. The measurements, the technique, the precision, every little thing is important. Unlike in cooking, you can freestyle. Adjust salt and pepper and other flavors according to one’s palette. That is why I love cooking more than baking.

The cookies we made ended up being chewy and so far the best batch we’ve made. Just a little something to warm the heart.

Tin Can full of Choco-Chip Delight!

Tin Can full of Choco-Chip Delight!

Pringles Krrruuuunnccchhh

I always try to feature restos or some new cooking technique I learned for those who don’t really cook here on this site. But of course, sometimes, my laziness gets the best of me. There are just those times where you want to lie down and curl in bed with a good book and read read read, or watch movies. Of course what goes good with movies or books are, chips!

Once you POP!

Once you POP!

When one mentions chips, you usually go for the common name brands like Lays, Ruffles, but I for one grab for the nearest Pringles bottle. I love the saltiness that these chips have as well as the crispy-ness. I usually eat them with chocolate to get that sweet and salty flavor exploding in my mouth at the same time.

Anyway, Pringles with Nuffnang are launching this contest. All you gotta do is make a post for Pringles and you get a chance to go to the Nuffnang blog awards in SG!

Know how to join here:

http://awards.nuffnang.com/wininvites.php

Krrrrunncchh

Krrrrunncchh

All you need to do is write TWO blog posts entitled

  1. “Its Krrunch Time, Get Playful”

    Blog Contest
    Contest Opens: 17th September 2009
    Contest Ends : 3rd October 2009, 1200 hours

    Video Contest
    Contest Opens: 17th September 2009
    Contest Ends: 10th October 2009, 1200 hours

  2. “Indulge in the Uniquely Singapore experience”

    Contest Opens:  27th September 2009
    Contest Ends: 10th October 2009, 1200 hours

Do take note of the blog contest dates!

The best and most creative blog entries would stand a chance to glitz your way down the red carpets along with 60 of the regions’ top bloggers. This is definitely a golden opportunity NOT to be MISSED!

Asian Food Expo


Food Expo is coming up guys. So all you foodies out there make sure you’re free! Its at the World Trade Center. From September 23-26, 2009.

Check it out.
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