General Food News

Ensaymada @ Diamond Hotel Bakery

Well its around that time again where the air is significantly cooler, the foot traffic is a little bit more thicker, and everyone has a spring in their step. Yes it is Christmas season again. And since Christmas is just a few days away in the Palma family we have traditional food always present. For our family it is most definitely Excellente Ham, Tablea Tsokolate, Marca Pato or Marca Pina Edam Cheese, Ensaymada, and Pandesal. You will always find this spread on our long family table.

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Philippine Street Food Series (Part 2)

What started out as an interesting feature on Philippine Street Food has now become a quest, a pilgrimage if you will, in featuring some of the most authentic Philippine Street Food. For this feature, Isaw and the infamous Balut are on the menu. This may not be for the faint of heart. (pun intended)

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Philippine Street Food Series

On a warm sunny day, a few food trips back and a few calories and pounds gone, you would find me playing in the street with the neighbors. After running around for hours without a care in the world, one does work up an appetite. I was lucky. Just around the corner you would find the neighborhood entrepreneur grilling some stuff on sticks. Or maybe the ambulant vendor pushing around a wooden cart with a gas stove and pan frying some Fish Balls. Yes I am talking about Philippine Street Food. I grew up to these delicacies and am quite fond at how unique and interesting each one tastes like.

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Tsumura @ Makati CBD

I’ve always been asked about those special niche places where dining is at its best and not everyone frequents it. I have an aversion towards restos in Malls because they tend to go for the generic taste which drives traffic rather than the authenticity and of the meal. Don’t get me wrong, I know quite a few restos in malls which do offer quite good cuisine, but I am more inclined towards those hidden gems scattered all over the metro.

Tsumura is definitely one of them. Hidden in the heart of the Makati CBD, lies one of the most authentic Japanese restos. Being heralded and a nominee for one of Manila’s Best Kept Secrets for Japanese cuisine, Tsumura actually is a place you must check out at least once in your life.

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Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

Nobody doesn’t like chocolate. I know of exactly just one person who doesn’t like chocolate. (Yes Richard, I am talking about you) Chocolate is one of the first things you start eating as a kid. When you break up with someone you turn to chocolate. When your sad you got chocolate. Chocolate both comforts and is an aphrodisiac. So when Max Brenner opened here in the Philippines, I promised myself that once I have enough money I will definitely have to check this place out.

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Damaso at Greenbelt 5

Named after the main antagonist in Dr. Jose Rizal’s novel the restaurant sits adjacent to Fely J’s another well known Filipino Restaurant. Damaso offers Filipino fares with a slight twist and hint of history. From drinks named Tubig ni Maria Clara (Maria Clara’s water) to Crispin and Basilio, the restaurant has themed a mix of Filipino and spanish influences. The place was quite small, but with an outside dining area which it share’s with Fely J’s it becomes quite spacious.

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Clay Pot Noodles @ Jalan Alor

I have a soft spot for hole-in-wall type of restaurants. Add a bit of history and nostalgia and you’ve got the making of an excellent hidden food spots that all foodies troop off to, something like a pilgrimage to the best food spot. My trip to KL was not going to be complete without this. So on my last day, Nicholas Chay, Nuffnang Malaysia’s Country Manager asked me out to lunch and couldn’t say no or rather wouldn’t say no.

We drove to Jalan Alor on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The best place is eating in Jalan Alor. Formerly known as the Red light district of KL, this place has undergone quite a few changes. The street is literally peppered (pun intended) with little restaurants offering everything from Satti to Char siew. I was actually looking forward to getting some Char Siew, but we stopped at a childhood favorite of Nicholas’.

It was called Charn Kee Tasty Corner. They basically served Clay Pot noodles.

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A Quick Thank You and more…

Its been awhile since I last posted an entry here and a lot has happened. Work has suddenly caught with me (so has a depletion of funds), thus making my blogging a little but more sporadic. Just a quick update on the things that happened to Foodie Manila during the break.

Big News Number 1: I won as part of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2010. I’ve been receiving votes all throughout the past 12 weeks and after all the dust has settled Foodie Manila emerged victorious. Thank you for everyone who voted. Although I have yet to feel nor exercise any influence over my niche, or the blogosphere for that matter, I am truly thankful that all my efforts are appreciated by so many. When people ask me how I take photos of food so “effortlessly” (mind you it doesn’t mean that I didn’t work up a sweat getting the shot!) I always answer that it starts with the food. So again thank you to everyone and to all those who would’ve voted and for all those who think that I shouldn’t have won, don’t worry you are not alone. *wink* Check out other winners here.

Big News Number 2: I was invited to contribute to one of the best magazines out there. I personally have read one of their articles turn book, and is one of my inspirations for my blog. I don’t want to jinx it, but I really do want to share it with you guys. Well here goes, I was invited by one of the Managing Editors to contribute to, are you ready? The Philippine Tattler. Yeap. The premiere magazine for the high class peeps. Ok so they really are not my demographic but hey who am I to say no right?

To be completely honest, I am terrified of this latter news. But hey, good luck right? Rise to the occasion. If and when I get published on this magazine, I will definitely be giving away copies. Not that they are giving me some free copies, but I’ll personally buy and distribute!

Well that’s it for now. (Unless I edit later and talk about more news!)
Cheers,
The Chubby Chef aka. Carlos

PS.

Thanks to everyone who replied to my plurk! This is definitely one EPIC plurk thread!

Ramen Bar in Manila

I previously posted on Ukkokei Ramen in Makati, which I dubbed as one of the authentic ramen experiences in Manila. But although the entire experience wasn’t pleasant, at least the food was. Fast forward a few weeks later, I get an email from Ramen Bar’s owner in eastwood inviting me to try out their version of Ramen. I quickly obliged as I was doing the research for the Ukkokei article, I chanced upon several blogs extolling this particular resto. I certainly didn’t want to pass that up!

After a quick battle with some food poisoning (ironically! ok so I don’t really think I used irony properly here), I trotted off to Ramen Bar in Eastwood with a fellow blogger named Elyoo. Elyoo being a fashion blogger, was dressed quite awesomely.

We quickly placed our orders in and started chatting amongst ourselves.

On the table:

  • R.B.S #1
  • Sapporo Miso Ramen
  • Chicken Karaage
  • Yakiniku Beef
  • Kakuni Buns

R.B.S. #1 is  Soy infused Tonkotsu Ramen topped with tamago, naruto, nori, negi, chasyu, and Kakuni. Tonkotsu is basically pork bones stewed as compared to the Miso base which is lighter version of Ramen. The reasoning behind the Tonkotsu base is because this is favored by Japanese consumers in Japan because of the climate. Due to the colder climate experienced in Japan, the heavier soup is supposed to keep them warm during winter. According to the owner, (who SMS’ed me all the way from the UK!) since the climate in the Philippines is warmer, the lighter soup is more appealing to us. (Just like Ukkokei’s!) But Ramen Bar will be coming up with their own version of a lighter soup base not to mention a few more side dishes and he promises to have me over once these dishes are on the menu again. I can’t wait!

I’ll be leaving the Sapporo Miso Ramen for Elyoo to review because I didn’t really try out her meal.

Check her out she was wearing something similar:

  • Tamago is soft boiled eggs marinated for 48 hours
  • Tonkotsu is pork bone soup boiled for 20 hours
  • Chasyu is Sliced Pork
  • Kakuni is Braised Pork Belly
  • Naruto are FIsh Sticks
  • Nori is Dried Seaweed
  • Negi are spring onions

Sapporo Miso Ramen is Miso infused Tonkotsu Ramen topped with Tamago, Naruto Negi Chasyu, Butter and Corn.

The Chasyu was absolutely divine. And the Kakuni? Perfection. They were so tender and soft that the meat was literally melting inside my mouth. They were definitely worth whatever I was paying for it.

The Chicken Karaage was definitely a surprise! It was really good! It comes with a plate of salt and pepper but didn’t need anything. What I particularly like about it was that it was boneless. It made for eating it easier.

Highlight of the night was the Beef Yakiniku (焼き肉 or 焼肉) meaning “grilled meat”, is a Japanese term which, in its broadest sense, refers to grilled meat dishes.

Today, it commonly refers to a Japanese style of cooking bite-sized meat (usually beef and offal) and vegetables on gridirons or griddles over flame of wood charcoals carbonized by dry distillation (sumibi, 炭火) or gas/electric grill.

The beef was tender and sweet and for the price was actually quite a lot. I would definitely order this again and again. I think this would go well with some Yakimeshi.

For dessert we ordered Tempura Ice Cream. It was basically vanilla ice cream, deep fried in batter. Its usually eaten in one big bite topped with some chocolate syrup. The medley of flavors of both hot and cold were simply great. I liked in particular the complex flavor of the ice cream and the egg based batter they used for the coating.

All meals come with either hot or cold tea. For the cold tea, they basically add ice cubes and makes for washing down the ramen and other fairs quite enjoyable.

Overall the food was quality. I could see that it was trying to bring the most authentic experience possible to ramen dining. To the communal table sharing, to the look and feel of the restaurant, you could see that great thought and care was put in setting this restaurant up. Food quality was excellent. Service was top notch. The food came out so fast that I was really pleased. In my book, excellent service means that the restaurant cares for the customer. Some people might find the price a bit too steep, but you can’t pay for quality. I on the other hand found the price to be just right. Php 380 for a HUGE bowl of ramen is already ok. If you don’t have a big appetite I recommend sharing one bowl and trying out the Kakuni Buns too. In terms of Ramen, you can’t really compare Ramen Bar and Ukkokei. But in terms of experience, Ramen Bar is a place I will be coming back to whenever I am near the Eastwood area.

*side note: To the bloggers out there, the management allows for you to take pictures!

Ramen Bar
G/F Eastwood Mall
Libis, Quezon City
570-9457

Cajun Red Rock by Chef Tony

I usually don’t blog family gatherings. Its not because I don’t eat out with my family, but its more likely because there is just so much chaos and so many things happening at once, its usually pandemonium during meal time. Imagine, holding up the eating because I need to take pictures of the food while 5 of your cousins nag you to death about hurrying up? Absolutely the worse condition for blogging I must say.

But this time it was different. Gone were the petty arguments over dinner table and light jabs. Gone are the teasing and taunting, in its stead conversations about my blog, work, fashion, and girls take its place. I remember thinking when did we grow up? My cousin was in 4th year high school already about to enter college and my other cousins are about to enter the “real world”. And here we are celebrating yet another birthday of our Amma and another dinner together as a family.

They picked Cajun Red Rock at Retiro because it was something different. No chinese food this time. (My Amma living in Banawe would usually pick some chinese resto for our get together.) I have heard about this place at the restaurant that spurred the creation of Chef Tony’s Popcorn. (which I have yet to try.)

My aunties ordered for the entire group and being on the other end of the table, we got 3 fares.

We got a plate of ribs with 2 sides: of slaw and mashed potatoes. The ribs were well cooked although a bit more tenderness was something I desired. I wanted the meat to literally fall of the bone.

We also got some Fish and Chips for starters. The fish was well cooked and was tender while the skin was crispy and tasty. I’ve always liked fish and chips and this was no exception.

Lastly, we ordered Creole Chicken which was both creamy and tasty. The dish was quite unique as it did remind me of carbonara and yet, it had a very smokey taste to it. The creaminess and smokiness melded together very well in my opinion.

These were all the dishes that we ordered that night. I realized how different in terms of culinary exploration I am from my family. They ordered very conservatively which left the foodie in me wanting more. I guess for our family, food isn’t actually why we get together but rather the conversation and convention of eating together as a tradition.

Cajun Red Rock
108 NS Amoranto St. (Retiro St.), Quezon City
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