General Food News

Christmas and Cookies

It started about 3 years ago. My family or even just my mother and I would start baking cookies. I would measure because she hated that aspect of baking, the measuring of ingredients, as well as my eagerness to learn worked well for both of us. We were a good tandem. Working all those late nights to push out close to 50-100 cookies for our family gatherings. Cookies then came to be associated with family. We made it for family gatherings, as well as we did it as a family.

Fast forward 3 years ahead. I now can bake on my own as well as cook pretty tasty dishes. I still attribute everything I know to my mother. Not so much as the technique, nor is it about the secret family recipes, but rather for continuously cooking good food. Both my girth and weight can attribute to that fact. I developed a taste for good food. Take note, GOOD FOOD, not mediocre cooking that can pass of for a generic run-of-the-mill cooking, but actual food that after eating it the past 23 years, I would still gladly eat for another 23 years. It all boils down to palette. I always tell people who refer to me as a foodie that one needs to develop a palette to identify what good food is really. I am proud to say, I can tell good food from ordinary food thanks to my mom.

These cookies are not ordinary food. They are extraordinary. I’ve tasted cookies over the past 3 years and I must say this batch is the best. I’ve tasted burnt cookies, cookies which didn’t rise, and just downright nasty cookies. (Mistakenly, put salt instead of sugar. Hey I had to start somewhere!) I’ve always been asked to sell my cookies, but I always say I’ll think about it. Deep down, I think I would never sell my cookies. I give them to friends because I find that special cookies that one cannot obtain anywhere else no matter how good they are, and that rareness adds to how special the cookies are. I think I’ll continue to give them to friends still.

FoodieManila and Its Secrets

I don’t usually buy food books, especially about cooking or baking, but this foodie book I just couldn’t pass up. I saw it only in passing while GF was paying at the cashier for the stuff that she bought. I quickly glanced over the featured books and saw it standing over there. (Those actually work!) I’ve actually heard about this book from either a relative or a friend who knew I blogged about food. They would always say “hey there’s this book about restos and you should check it out!” or it could be “dapat mabasa mo ung book about restos! napuntahan mo na ba lahat yun?”

You see, people have this often mistaken view of a food blogger that one has a vast majority of knowledge of restos and/or food. That a food blogger is an authority of taste and food. I would like to take this time to debunk this myth. Food bloggers, or at least for my case, are not authorities on a particular kind of food. I do not claim to know all and would actually say a resto is not worth going to. Everything is worth a try once. If I mention a restaurant is good, you should try it to know why I say it is good. If I say a resto is bad, you should also try to know why I think it is bad. As with everything else, taste is a very subjective topic. It really differs from one person to another. The best I, as a food blogger, can aspire to is to be able to share those places or recipes or dishes that do make me go “mmmmmm….” Do not mistake my articles to be gospel truth. I find pleasure in eating at a fast food joint as much as a 5-star restaurant. As long as it’s good food, I write about it. But I digress.

I saw the book and immediately found an opened copy. (Yes I know how evil of me.) I quickly flipped through the pages and I was really engrossed. I seemed to know a vast majority of the restos there or at least in one form of another swore to visit some of the featured ones. It cost me about Php 1,599.20 @ Fully Booked. For a hard bound, coffee table type book, it was ok. I didn’t feel cheated. All in all I think the knowledge, not only about the places to eat at, but also from the food photography and as well as writing style will definitely make the book a worthwhile buy, even if it is just for my blogging. I will definitely read through the entire book more than once!

Malcolm’s @ The Fort

Every so often there pops out a restaurant which at first glance is full of promise. You see the eye catching buntings, streamers, and flyers, promoting the latest dishes or specialties. Your expectations are set and mind you are set high. Upon ordering the prices seem reasonable and the food looks promising as well. (thanks to a great photographer and food stylist!) This was not the case with Malcolms.

Tucked away in a condo building in the middle of the Fort, this little unassuming restaurant promises nothing, guarantees nothing and yet delivers everything. From their LOCAL wagyu beef to the pasta and sausages, this small and cozy restaurant provides one the best worldly experiences I’ve ever taken. I came at 10 in the morning and had brewed coffee. The coffee was excellent. I will let the pictures do the talking for this one.

I have to note though that they served us Wagyu Tapa and Wagyu Burgers.

Cooking/Baking Classes Schedule: Heny Sison Culinary School

A lot of friends ask me where I learned to cook. It is quite unusual for a guy my age to be actually cooking some of these great meals for my friends especially since I never took up culinary skills. You see, you can only learn so much on your own. There are just some things that someone has to teach you. Luckily, I have Heny Sison’s culinary school. They offer short courses as well as half day classes on particular subjects such as rice toppings, cup cakes. So I thought I’d help everyone out by posting their schedule for December. Do something special for your family/loved one/ friends this holiday season. Take a break and learn to cook something. I tell you these classes are worth it!

(This post was made after attending one of her classes.)

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Click Here to Download The Entire Schedule

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.

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