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2009 Travelogue--Food in the Philippines


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I'm enjoying this travelogue! my only experience with Filipino food is a care packae sent by jumanggy and a fast food joint in San Fran. The fast food joint was really, rather disgusting, I think because of how it was prepared, so I'm glad to see food that looks tasty instead of plastic.

I noticed that the empanada is in a fluffier pastry than what we normally see in the US and the Americas. It looks very good that way - not dry like ours often are.

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Day 7

I spent another slightly less fitful night, so I gave up on having my favourite pork-based Filipino breakfast for some oatmeal. It was going to be a big eating day for us, and I needed to save my strength. I felt better, but I was still concerned so I had an Imodium chaser before we left. My mother started the day with suman (sticky rice) and mango, though. Or maybe this was tamales. I can't remember now.

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My mother’s friend, S, and his wife, H, picked us up bright and early (Filipino-style—we left at 9:30am) to go to Pampanga! Pampanga is famous for its food, and its people are known foodies. S is a Kapampangan (I’m not sure if I spelled that correctly, but it means “someone from Pamapanga”), so he was going to be the perfect guide for us. Eve of Eve’s Garden, the restaurant we had lunch at in Baguio, was also from Pampanga, and her husband used that as the main reason she wanted to open the restaurant (“She’s from Pampanga, and you know, they like their food,” is what he said). Pampanga was also featured in the No Reservations: Philippines episode. We had planned to lunch at Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung (which means “House of Food” in the local language), which is where Anthony Bourdain had dinner, but there were some hitches (the main one being that no one knew where it was, and we later found out from S’s sister-in-law, a relative of Claude Tayag’s, that it’s open by reservation only), so we went to Everybody’s Café instead.

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Everybody’s Café is famous for being one of the oldest restaurants in the Pampanga area. It started as a tiny eatery and then expanded into a very large restaurant with two branches. The original branch is still doing very well, though the smaller branch is suffering a bit. It’s sort of like a cafeteria, in that you order at a counter where the food is held (like buffet-style), but it’s served to you at the table. We let S do the ordering, since we didn’t know much about specialties from the area. Here’s a sampling of what they had on offer that day. I can’t remember what everything is, but the second picture has crickets cooked adobo-style (in a magazine it was called “mole crickets”), and the fourth and fifth pictures are different frog dishes.

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You could also buy pasalubong at the restaurant from various Pampanga-based companies (and others).

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Way too many pics in this post, so I'll continue in a new post.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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Here’s a bit of what we had. The huge shrimp in the middle were just steamed or boiled. Nothing special about them, though you could get them in soup or any other way you wanted.

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Pork lengua (tongue). It’s cooked in tomato sauce with spices, and it’s delicious! Sometimes tongue has some hard bits running through it, but this one had no such bits. It was tender through and through. This one wasn’t a Kapampangan specialty, but was Spanish-influenced, but it was a request of my mother’s.

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This was sort of like an oyster ceviche. I think the very tiny oysters are marinated in vinegar, onions, and maybe some calamansi juice (calamansi are little tart citrus fruits—like limes, but better).

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Crickets adobo-style. My mom’s friend really attacked this plate when it arrived. I tried to find the least offensive looking piece to take a picture of. I did eat one and as a matter of fact, I think I ate this particular piece (least offensive looking, remember). It was OK. Tasted kind of fatty, I thought. I probably won’t be craving it in the future.

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Sizzling sisig is another dish Pampanga is very well known for. If you watched No Reservations, you saw AB eat it with gusto. It’s pig cheek and snout that’s grilled, then chopped to bits with some chicken liver, onions, calamansi, and a bit of chile. Delicious, but much too rich for us (if that’s possible).

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I also had my coconut. They cut it differently here, so it kind of reminded me of that scene in one of the Indiana Jones movies where they cut the skull off a monkey and eat the brains. Not so appetizing a thought, but the coconut was good!

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Oh, and fresh lumpia. I can’t remember what this had in it, because I didn’t eat much of it. I’ve never cared for Filipino-style fresh lumpia, and this was no exception. The wrapper was dry, as was the filling (I only remember shrimp and green papaya in there, but there was other stuff, too).

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We also had Sylvana for dessert. Sylvana is similar to Sans Rival which is layers of cashew meringue and buttercream. Sylvana is often made with scraps of meringue and cakes which are held together with buttercream. I made sure this was made with real butter before buying it. It was soooo delicious! We ended up buying a couple more—they were only P12! That’s just 25 cents! Above the Sylvanas is turrones de casoy, or cashew torrone. It’s similar to the French or Italian-style torrone, but different. The candy is not quite as chewy as the Italian/French-style, and in this case, it was brown not white. The actual candy is quite tiny, while the rice paper is wrapped quite thickly around the candy. You really need to eat a lot before you feel satisfied (or at least we do), so I think we finished off the package while we were sitting around and talking.

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There were also mangos, which were perfectly ripe, and paksiw, which is a very delicious tart fish soup. I don’t know why I don’t have a picture of that one, because it was my second favourite dish (the tongue was first, and the sigsig was third).

After Everybody’s Café, we made a stop for pasalubong at Susie’s. Susie’s is another Pampanga institution, this one known for its kakanin (rice-based desserts). They have an assortment of both sweet and savoury goods, and also a lot of pasalubong from companies in the area.

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We really only came here for one thing, the tibok-tibok. This was the carbao milk “candy” or “pudding” I mentioned in an earlier post, and it’s also called “maja blanca”. I did some research, and it’s more like a pudding, often compared to panna cotta. We ended up with much more, however.

On the left is the tibok-tibok. In the little bag is latik, which is sweetened fried coconut. You sprinkle some of the latik on the tibok-tibok when you eat it. Same with the ube macapuno next to it. Ube is a purple yam, and macapuno is a type of coconut.

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Once the plastic has been removed, you can see how creamy the tibok-tibok looks, compared to the denseness of the ube macapuno.

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We also got, from left to right, pandan-flavoured pastillas de leche (a kind of candy, often made with carabao milk, but I think this one was made with cow’s milk), pili boat tarts, puto pao (I’m not sure what this one is, yet, but puto is a steamed rice cake), and an assortment of pastillas.

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This is what the tibok-tibok and ube macapuno look like with the latik. I really liked the latik, but fried sweetened coconut is definitely not something for daily consumption. I loved the tibok-tibok, but could do with out the ube macapuno (I’ve never cared for ube). I was expecting something really different from carabao’s milk, but it tasted like a very rich cow’s milk dessert.

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No dinner for me that night. I was plain tuckered out from all that eating!

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Shoot Rona, I am definitely craving that oyster dish. That would go well with that crunchy hunk of pork (golden brown and oh so crunchy).

My brother makes a mean plate of sisig - the only thing different that he adds is brain. It makes it really creamy and decadent. That's why some restaurants have started to add mayonnaise instead of brain, to substitute for the creaminess. Definitely not one who's on a diet or has high blood pressure.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Day 8

I’m starting to wear out. My tummy was better, but I stuck with oatmeal that morning with no Imodium. But then the longganisa my mother was eating looked so delicious, I just had to have a couple of links! And then there was mangosteen! Who doesn’t love mangosteen? It looks a bit dry in the picture, but I assure you it wasn't.

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Yet another busy eating day. Earlier this month while browsing blogs for eating advice, I saw an entry on Our Awesome Planet advertising a special reservation-only lechon lunch at Sylvia Miguel’s Garden. Lechon, or roast pig, is one of my favourite foods in the world, so of course I had to go. After e-mailing and texting the organizers back and forth, I was finally able to transfer the payment (this was our most expensive meal at P1500 per person), and we were all set! My Tita Lita (Mom’s cousin—“tita” means “aunt”, but it’s basically used for any relative in about the age group of your parents, or for close family friends about that age) was coming with us, too, and she’s a foodie extraordinaire!

The meeting place was at 10 am at a Starbuck’s at a highway rest stop somewhere along the Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEX). We got there about an hour early, so what could we do but have some cake while we waited? We also made the mistake of getting some coffee. While Starbuck’s food items are adapted to suit local tastes, the coffee is the same everywhere. Interpret that as you wish.

I had heard raves about the chocolate cake at Starbuck’s in Manila, so I wanted to try it, but they had so many! I ended up getting the Roca, thinking it would be something like Almond Roca. It wasn’t, but it was still delicious! It was surprisingly light and not too sweet. I would have preferred less chocolate ganache, and I didn’t care for the thick chocolate surrounding the cake, but my mom and Tita gobbled those parts up.

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Everyone finally showed up, and we left caravan-style for Tagaytay. Tagaytay is a rural area about an hour or so from Manila. The drive was quite beautiful, and many of the wealthy have built their retirement homes or second homes in the area because of the lush greenery and the clean air. It was much like La Trinidad where Eve’s Garden was. We were at the tail-end of the caravan, and our driver, not familiar with Manila or the surrounding rural areas, got left behind, so we missed the turn off. Oops. It took a bit of work to catch up with the others—the roads are narrow and confusing, and signage is not a priority is this particular country (plus our driver, not Tita’s usual driver, kind of sucked).

Oh well. We made it, and it was well worth the wait! The Rodriguez family built their house just a few years ago, and it’s absolutely beautiful. They really gave a lot of thought to how they wanted to use the property. They’ve got 2 ½ hectares, and part has already been developed as a farm where they grow vegetables (and maybe raise some animals).

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They’re still thinking about what to do with the rest of the property, but for their house, rather than rooms they’ve got separate buildings for each section, joined by covered walkways. I don’t have pictures of the buildings because I wanted to respect their privacy, but it was really something else. The smokehouse where the lechon was cooked was another little tiny building uphill from the living room (living house?), and I thought I had a picture of it, but no such luck

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Sylvia Rodriguez loves to cook, and she comes from a long line of food-lovers. Her maternal grandfather was the first Spanish pastry chef in the Philippines, and her father came from a family that insisted on eight dishes at every meal (plus four desserts). Both of her sons are chefs (one in Australia, and the other in Manila) who worked their way up in the kitchen by staging across Europe. Our meal was held on the patio of the living room building. Like Eve’s Garden, Sylvia Rodriguez’s Garden is a private restaurant. Sylvia only does this as a hobby, and only when she feels like it.

We started with a fish spread, and a duck and chicken pâté. Everyone loved the fish spread, because it’s not commonly found, and it's difficult to do well. I can’t remember the name of the fish, but they’re small and the word starts with “d” (any help out there?). It’s not easy to get fresh ones at the market (which is why the dish isn't commonly found), and Sylvia will only make this when the fish are absolutely fresh—she said they have to be really white. She adds chile, rosemary, parsley, and I can’t remember what else. It was delicious.

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The pâté was equally delicious. She uses 75% duck liver and 25% chicken, because if you use all duck it’s too rich, she said. It was so smooth and although you knew you were eating hundreds of calories with each schmear, it didn’t seem heavy at all. My mother, Tita, and I each bought a crock to take home. :smile: It was only P395 (it would go for 4-5 times that much in Japan, I’m sure) and came in a reusable crock! How could we resist?

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It was an hour or so before the main guest arrived from his private quarters. A month before our party, he was sequestered and fed only organic grains, which would supposedly give his meat a cleaner flavour. I don’t know much about raising pigs, but I can tell you he was delicious! Sometimes lechon can be dry, but not a single part of him (that any of my group tried) was.

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This was the rest of the menu.

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Bagoong like I’ve never seen before. It’s made with dried shrimp, and Sylvia adds tomatoes, pork, and other things to hers. I’ve never liked bagoong, but I really liked this. It was served as a condiment to the kare kare vegetables, but I could have eaten it all by itself on some crackers.

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The kare kare vegetables were eggplant, green beans, and either spinach or kangkong (swamp cabbage?) or some other leafy green. They’re covered with the sauce from the kare kare. Unlike most vegetables in the Philippines, these were not overcooked at all.

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Kare kare is a kind of stewed beef dish. It’s a little like Massaman curry because it uses peanuts, and it tends to be a good introduction to Filipino food for foreigners. I don’t know any non-Filipino who doesn’t like kare kare. We weren’t sure if this was beef or ox-tail, but the meat was so tender I could cut it with a spoon (Filipinos eat with forks and spoons, much like Thais do).

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This was tilapia wrapped in banana leaves and grilled. I’ve got a close-up later on.

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Filipino-style paella. They often use achiote or turmeric instead of saffron for the colour. I didn’t try any of this, but my mother and Tita said it was really good.

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Grilled shrimp. I didn’t have this, either, but it looked good. My mother said it was dry.

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And the lechon! Look at that skin! And that fatty porky goodness! There wasn’t a lot of fat on this pig, and the meat was juicy and flavourful.

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“Oh no! My foot fell off!”

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This was my plate. Pitiful, isn’t it? But I wasn’t feeling that well by this time. Too much pâté I guess. I could have eaten more if I had tried, but it was going to be a 2-hour (minimum) trip back home, so it was best not to risk it. Plus the rice was crappy, and I tend to eat less when the rice isn’t good.

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Does the skin look crispy to you? I assure you, it was.

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Here’s the tilapia. To my mother’s surprise, it was also stuffed! And although she was already stuffed, she ate every last morsel of it (except the head, which I know she really wanted to gnaw on).

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Dessert was turon (a special banana wrapped in lumpia wrappers, then fried and coated in caramel) and a very non-Filipino dessert. It was sort of like tiramisu, but the flavour was more like mocha. It was very rich. I’d have liked to have eaten more turon, but the whipped cream from the cake-thing did me in.

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Almost everyone had left already, but some of us hung around a little longer. My group sat at a great table (there were three tables of about 10 people each) and talked about food the whole time with our tablemates. The two people on the left of the table are ethnic Chinese Filipinos, so they knew a lot about Chinese food (and history) in the Philippines, and they also gave us some travel advice (I think it’ll be Taiwan and Shanghai in December!). The husband-half of the owners, Carlos Rodriguez, is standing on the far right of the picture, and his wife, Sylvia, is sitting just off to the right of him.

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What a great time, but I really suffered after that lunch, and dinner ended up

being ginger tea. :sad: Today I think I’ll be having Cipro. Yum!

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Nice looking lechon. Did you get some skin?

I had something similar in Cuba a while back and it's the sweet crunchy skin that I remember most.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Rona, that stuffed tilapia reminds me of the grilled stuffed bangus (milkfish) wrapped in banana leaves that I always make. The stuffing is usually minced ginger with diced onions and tomatoes + salt and pepper. Aaaah, I really miss that now plus authentic calamansi lemons. Lemon juice just doesn't quite cut it.

Sorry to hear that you're under the weather. Maybe somebody can fix a soothing bowl of arroz caldo (chicken porridge rice) for you? The ginger in it can really help your upset tummy.

Edited by Domestic Goddess (log)

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Day 9

I ended up having nothing for breakfast, and nothing for lunch. I curse you Peter Green!

But we had a long drive ahead of us. We were going out to S's farm for a visit, so we dropped by the pharmacy to get some Cipro for me to snack on. :wacko:

S's farm is only about 30 miles from Manila, but it seems like a world away. There's a swinery, a chicken farm, mango groves, etc. His primary business, however, is raising cocks for cock fighting. :sad:

Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera along, but if anyone decides to go to the Philippines, I would suggest getting out of the city as quickly as possible, and spending as much time as possible in the countryside. It's like a completely different country.

On the way back, we stopped by Antipolo, a small town where cashews are grown. I've seen pictures of how cashews are harvested, and I really wanted to see a real cashew tree. But it was dark by now, and we couldn't find any cashews at all--not even at the market!

Dinner was at Max's. Jaymes may know it--it's a fried chicken joint that opened in 1945, and is now a chain. It's not fried chicken like KFC, but they just season chickens and fry them whole. I only had a little of the skin off my mom's chicken, and I had beef (with three little granules of ground beef in it) and cabbage soup. Max's seems to be a place for the up-and-comers to go out and have a "fancy meal" (a lot of graduation dinners were being held there that night), but I wouldn't suggest it unless there's absolutely nothing else around.

And now I'm all caught up! We'll see what today brings--hopefully a better stomach and therefore better food!

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Oops I forgot, is the small fish that starts with a "D" dilis? Dilis is anchovy and is hard to find fresh. That's my parents' favorite cerviche fish.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Oops I forgot, is the small fish that starts with a "D" dilis? Dilis is anchovy and is hard to find fresh. That's my parents' favorite cerviche fish.

Hi Doddie!

No, it's not dilis. We've been wracking our brains over it. It sounded like dalang or diwang or. . .

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Nice looking lechon. Did you get some skin?

I had something similar in Cuba a while back and it's the sweet crunchy skin that I remember most.

Of course I had skin! Just a little, though. I didn't want to eat anything to rich, because I knew the ride back to Manila would be long.

You need to try a fresh Filipino lechon. I'm sure it will out-class any Cuban roast pig! :biggrin:

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What an awesome food blog! I am a total ignoramus on Filipino food and this has been most helpful (complete with gorgeous photos.) Especially liking the looks of the bangus and that glorious looking lechon. Know any good Filipino cookbooks by chance?

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You need to try a fresh Filipino lechon.  I'm sure it will out-class any Cuban roast pig!  :biggrin:

You're probably right, but there's something special about devouring a communist pig.

Filipino lechon is world-famous. Would you say it's worthy of being the National Dish?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Oops I forgot, is the small fish that starts with a "D" dilis? Dilis is anchovy and is hard to find fresh. That's my parents' favorite cerviche fish.

Hi Doddie!

No, it's not dilis. We've been wracking our brains over it. It sounded like dalang or diwang or. . .

Rona,

I figured it out. You were served Dulong. Marketman blogged about this at Dulong Patties.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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This was the rest of the menu.[...]

That whole meal looks delicious!

The kare kare vegetables were eggplant, green beans, and either spinach or kangkong (swamp cabbage?) or some other leafy green.  They’re covered with the sauce from the kare kare.  Unlike most vegetables in the Philippines, these were not overcooked at all. 

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But none of those vegetables look like kangkung to me. What I know as kangkung (aka kangkong - the old Malay spelling and the way the word is pronounced in Malaysia [or at least most of it], too) is usually called "water spinach" or "hollow vegetable" here. The Cantonese name for it is ong choy (I've also heard "kong choy").

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Pan/Rona - the leafy green veggie up there is Pechay or chinese white cabbage. The Philippine Pechay differs from other chinese cabbage from China and other countries since it is usually small and has bright green leaves with little on no veins on it. It is usually tasteless when harvested young but sometimes a bit bitter if it is a bit old.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Doddie--I was just about to post the name! We were at Unimart (grocery store) yesterday and we found a jar of the fish in olive oil made by "Connie's Gourmet Kitchen" or something like that. It was relatively expensive--P180 for maybe 300mL?

Pan--I asked my mother and she said it was pechay, as Doddie said. Kare kare is usually served with banana blossoms, but no banana blossoms right now, I guess.

Faine--Filipino cookbooks are a difficult lot. Many of them were written by homecooks and suffer from poor editing/proofreading, so the recipes sometimes don't turn out, even if you follow the recipes exactly. My aunt was telling me that she just uses them as a guideline. That being said, she recommended a cookbook to me, but I've forgotten the name. I think it might be this one. I'm going to a bookstore today, and will do some research (and hopefully not walk out with too many books, because I'm only allowed 20kg!).

PtE--Every Filipino loves a good lechon (even people from Mindanao, the predominantly Muslim area!), but I'm not sure it could be considered the national dish. That was one of the difficulties mentioned on NR: Philippines--because the regions are so diverse, it's difficult to pin down a national dish. Personally, I'd go with adobo. And I haven't even had it, yet!

Before I forget, a much better write-up of my lunch on Sunday can be found on Our Awesome Planet. Really great pictures, too (if there are any discrepencies between what Anton wrote and what I wrote, you should believe Anton :smile:).

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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Rona - dulong is getting to be hard to find in the Philippines. Most water areas where dulong is harvested is getting too polluted or too populated with other fish introduced there. That's the reason why it is quite expensive.

Banana blossoms - that's what I really miss right now. I wish I could get a banana heart so I can make banana blossom salad (with coconut milk) and kare-kare.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Day 10

I’d been limiting my food intake to test things out. Breakfast was pan de sal (used to be just a simple roll made with flour, yeast, and salt, but is now more like a sweet butter roll—I prefer the old-style) and Cipro. I was a little more adventurous for lunch, and I had tasteless stewed beef with Chinese cabbage. By dinner, I was really hungry!

Dinner tonight was with Mom’s friends S & H again. S’s cousin, T, and his wife also joined us. T was supposedly interested in my mother at one time, and when he first met me, his handshake was a little limp, but when he realized who I was, his grip tightened and his smile grew wider. It was funny (for me).

Quezon City Sports Club was another one of those members’ only places. It was not terribly posh, but it was a nice casual place to dine and the food was better than I had expected. Too bad I couldn’t eat much of it.

The others ordered pinakbet which is an Ilocano (province in the northern part of Luzon) dish with mixed vegetables (eggplant, green beans, okra, squash, bagoong (that condiment thing I showed in an earlier dish)) and shrimp. It usually has slices of pork in it, but in this case, it was topped with lechon kawali (fried lechon, as opposed to roasted, I think). My mother thought it was the best version she had tried, but later someone told her it wasn’t actually a very good example of the dish.

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They also had grilled liempo (pork belly with the skin). It’s the same type I had at my Tiay Tita’s, but marinated in different things. I asked my mother if she liked it, and she said, “Oh yeah.” She said usually it’s just marinated in calamansi, soy sauce, and garlic, but this version had a sweetness to it—maybe orange juice or honey or both.

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For dessert my mother had a mango crepe. It took forever, and we joked that they had sent the workers out to climb a tree to get the mangos. I tried a little, and thought the mango was not quite ripe enough, but I’d have ordered it again if I were to go back (with a healthy stomach). Mom enjoyed it. She said the crepe was really tender, and not tough like hers (few people can make crepes as tough as hers, though).

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What did I have? I ordered wonton soup, but was unceremoniously corrected. It’s “wan-TON soup,” said the waiter. It reminded me of when my sister corrected her 6th grade English teacher in Bacolod (“It’s ae-pple!” “No, it’s not. It’s a-pple!”). It turned out to be wonton mee. The soup itself was fine, but the wontons (excuse me, wan-TON) tasted funny. At first I thought the meat was spoiled, but I think maybe it just had more non-shrimp seafood in it than I was used to. No picture of the soup, but I do have a picture of the spelling! I wonder if you really are what you eat. . .

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Day 11

I’m inching my way forward, and I had butter with my pan de sal today! How exciting! I also had some papaya, because I just couldn’t resist.

No pictures of lunch because it was unexciting. Another cousin picked us up and took us to Makati for lunch. I was supposed to visit his wife’s yoga shala (she teaches the style of yoga I do), but we ended up just having lunch—Italian today. I’m getting tired of having Filipino food at every meal, and just wanted something simple. We went to a restaurant called Italianni’s at Greenbelt 3 (or 4—Greenbelt is a large shopping complex in Makati—very nice place). It was OK, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it again unless I could just have another mango shake. The mango used was perfectly ripe, and the shake (just ice and mango blended) was so cool and refreshing. Hopefully my stomach won’t argue with it later.

Dinner was more interesting. We went to S and H’s house to have a cooking lesson! My mother loves a Spanish-influenced dish called “callos”. It’s a tomato-based stew with sausage (real Spanish chorizo), pork, tendon (maybe), garbanzo beans, and she’s not sure what else. Too bad we got stuck in traffic, and missed the actual cooking part!

We had spaghetti with clam sauce (the clam sauce was from Costco), clam chowder (not from Costco, but Campbell’s), and the callos. All the American stuff was a little on the salty side, but it was fine.

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The callos was exactly what my mother wanted. H boils pork, pata (thigh of the pig), tripe, and sometimes tendon for a long time. Then she stir fries garlic, onions, and the meat plus chorizo bilbao (?). She adds the tomato sauce, some spices, and her secret ingredient (habanero sauce from Louisiana). I’m not a big fan of tripe, but I liked it enough. It was a little rich for my stomach. My mother really loved it, though, and she ate two or three servings, plus got a container to take back to Bacolod!

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H had ordered a special dessert for us, but it hadn’t arrived, so we settled for macapuno ice cream. Mmmmmm. . . I couldn’t help myself, and I ate half my bowl! I might be paying for it later, but I’m hoping not.

Finally, shortly before we left for home, our special dessert came! H gave us the entire box! Betty’s Sans Rival is famous in Manila, having been around since the 1950’s. Sans Rival is layers of cashew (or some other nut) meringue with buttercream, and it’s one of my favourite Filipino desserts! We took it home, then quickly cut it into pieces, wrapped them, and put them in the freezer. That way we both get to take some to our respective homes! (That's my shadow in the first picture :rolleyes:)

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We also got three tins of leche flan, but we insisted they take one, so we only took home two. I think my mother is going to take them back to Bacolod, though I’m not sure how she’s going to do it (since puddings over 100mL in size aren’t allowed in carry-ons). T’s wife (whom we had dinner with the previous night) owns a catering company and we had talked about leche flan at dinner, so she had them made for us. It looks so non-descript, and perhaps even yucky, but it’s not. You can’t see it, but there’s some beautiful caramelized sugar under there. That’s the best part! Aside from the rich creamy goodness of the flan, that is. Maybe I’ll sneak some for breakfast tomorrow, so you can have a better picture of it! The things I do for y’all!

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Day 12

Another pictureless food day.

Today's only interesting adventure was lunch. We went to the echo store to look at their offerings. It's a store that specializes in Fair Trade goods, and also handicrafts made by disadvantaged women (including those in prison). Their prices are a little high by Philippine standards, but still very reasonable by Western standards, plus it supports a good cause. I ended up with some native chocolate, native coffee, and something else. . . but I can't remember what.

Then I met up with an old classmate while my mother and Tita Lita went off for lunch on their own. I mentioned earlier that I had lived in Bacolod when I was 10, and I went to school there. I had a miserable time, and after I left, A was the only classmate with whom I kept in touch. We lost touch more than 20 years, and only reconnected just before (literally) my trip here. Our meeting was so strange--I never thought I'd see her again, but yet it was completely comfortable.

We had Brazilian for lunch. It was one of those all-you-can eat places with meat on skewers. The meat was actually really good. It was much more flavourful than the same type of meal I had in BKK, and for a non-Filipino meal, it's the only place I would (so far) recommend.

After lunch A went back to work, and I went over to Market! Market! The actual mall is rather boring, but what's nice about Market! Market! is that there are kiosks representing areas from all over the Philippines, so you can buy food-products that are specialties of those area.

I just got some carabao cheese--a feta style and a fresh (mozzarella) style. I'll see how it is when I return to Japan. Just two more days here--time has flown so quickly!

Dinner at home, nothing interesting to report.

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You need to try a fresh Filipino lechon.  I'm sure it will out-class any Cuban roast pig!   :biggrin:

You're probably right, but there's something special about devouring a communist pig.

Filipino lechon is world-famous. Would you say it's worthy of being the National Dish?

Now I feel bad about not eating any capitalist running dogs in South Korea! :sad:

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Now I feel bad about not eating any capitalist running dogs in South Korea!   :sad:

They eat dog in the Baguio area, too. I'm not sure of their political affiliations, though. :biggrin:

I'd have tried it had I been offered some (and probably would have enjoyed it more than I enjoyed that little tiny cricket). One of my mother's cousins is married to an Igorot (native from that area), so they eat dog relatively often.

I'm just organizing my pictures from my last couple of days, and I'll finish up my posts and be done! Be afraid, be very afraid, Peter!

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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