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2009 Travelogue--Food in the Philippines

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Rona, I am looking forward to the upcoming posts and pics. My cousins and uncles also eat dog, as "pulutan" (pulutan means beer food or food you eat when drinking). They usually serve it as adobo or caldereta (tomato-based stew).

I've never tried it but I do relish Goat caldereta whenever I have a chance to eat it.

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 13

My second last day!

I was getting tired of Filipino food and my mother wanted to try something different, so we went to Bizu, a French place near where we were staying.

I started with the soup of the day, pumpkin. It was simple, but tasty.


My mother had the osso buco. OMG this was good! The meat was so tender, and the sauce was perfectly seasoned. The potatoes were a little boxed-tasting, but I'm sure they weren't. The asparagus was just lightly cooked, so it was crisp.


Then my croque monsieur came. I'm always wary of ordering cm anywhere except Burdigala Cafe, but the menu made it sound so good--it had meuniere! But I should have listened to my instincts. It was made with supermarket-type black forest ham and the bread was very Filipino (slightly sweet and too soft to stand up to the ham, sauce and cheese). My fries were good, though! I love Filipino potatoes!


I also got two macarons to go. Mango on the left, butterscotch on the right. I didn't want to try their macarons because they looked a bit dry, but the waiter gave us one to try and it was really good (even though it was chocolate, and I don't even like chocolate macaron). The shells were fine, not coarse, and the amount of filling was perfectly balanced with the shell. The butterscotch one was really awesome. I'd have bought more, but the one I bought was the last one. It was filled with salted caramel--my favourite! I never got to try the mango one. :sad:


Immediately after lunch, my mother went to mass (they have mass at almost every single mall in Manila!) and I went to Cafe Xocolat.


It's known for their hot chocolate, most of which are french variations, but they also have native tsokolate. I ordered the native. It was probably my second favourite tsokolate--my favourite was the one from Choco-late de Batirol in Baguio. The little cookie was really good, too.


After meeting up with my mother, we went to buy some goodies at a supermarket. I got dried mangos--lots of them! They won't last long, I'm sure! Then her cousin picked us up and we went to another mall/market-type place called Tiendesitas for more food shopping. Like at Market! Market!, they have stalls representing different areas in the Philippines, and they sell goods from those areas, but it's a rather sad mall, and they don't have too many stalls anymore. Oh well.

I came for tsokolate de tablea and some pastillas de leche in a jar! Pastillas de Leche is usually a candy, but you can also get a version similar to dulce de leche, except it's white and not as sticky as dulce de leche. I'm going to put mine in brownies or something. I haven't decided, yet.

Since we were there, my mom's cousin and his wife decided we should have merienda. We readily agreed. I had a mango shake (in the Philippines, a fruit shake is just fruit, simple syrup, and ice blended), and half my mother's suman with mango. Suman is just sweetened sticky rice. This was nice and warm, and the mango was perfectly ripe. It was my last mango during this trip. :sad:


My mother's suman also came with tsokolate. One can never have too much tsokolate! Well, maybe you can, because this version wasn't that great. It wasn't bad, but it was too watery. I liked the cup though!


My last dinner in the Philippines was horrible! For some reason, Filipinos have a tendency to believe anything "stateside" is good. I can understand why people who have had limited access to foreign goods might think so, but my great-aunt's husband was a diplomat based in Washington, DC for many years. It's not like she's never tried the stuff before, so shouldn't she know better?

We were served "American food" for dinner--quite an honour, it seems. What did we have? One of those chicken seasoning things in a packet that comes with a plastic bag, and you put everything in the plastic bag and bake it. It was so awful!

But at least I had bought some ensaimada for dessert! I wanted to do an ensaimada taste test, but for some reason, we didn't get to try many types. I bought two of the supposedly best commercial ensaimadas around--Mary Grace and Hizon's. YUCK!! They both tasted artificial, and there was no substance to the bread--it was like air. The cheese on the Hizon's (on the far right) tasted artificial, and the Mary Grace cheese (middle) was strangely sharp. I think it might have been Kraft Parmesan. On the far left is mamon, which is a type of sponge cake. It was from Hizon's, too, and it was also pretty bad. What a lousy end to a lousy meal! Talk about going out with a whimper!


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I don't have much room left in ImageGullet, and am too poor to become a donor, so I'll put up as many pics as I can, but my picture days are coming to an end!

Day 14

My last day! After my disappointing dinner the night before, I was hoping to leave Manila on a positive note. It was Saturday, so we were going to drop by Salcedo Market on our way to the airport. We left my great-aunt's house bright and early (around 7:30), and after getting just a little lost, we found it!

Salcedo Market is a weekend market held only on Saturdays, and it's like an American or Canadian-style farmer's market, but even better because of the food!

I wanted to make sure to post a picture of one of my ensaimada taste test winners. This HUGE ensaimada (the equivalent to 3 or 4 regular-sized ones) was from the Pamangan stall and made by the Des Torres family. It was more like a new-style ensaimada--sweet and rich--so it wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but as a sweet bread, it was very very good. When I arrived home in Japan, I ended up eating half of it before going to bed. Then the next morning, I awoke looking forward to eating the other half, only to find that I had actually eaten 2/3 of it the night before! Poor me!


In its moist and tender goodness. I couldn't believe it was still so moist the next day--I had expected it to dry out. And you can see the layers of the bread--yum!


The Des Torres family ensaimada tied for first place. The one from Star Cafe in Baguio was the other winner. Star Cafe's was more like the traditional ensaimada I was looking for, and it probably would have won had it had real butter and more sugar. But the Des Torres one was very good. The SC one was only P10, though, and the DT one was a whopping P180!!! (or around that price)

Other stuff:

French stall selling crepes and galettes. I had a galette with gruyere. It was buttery cheesy goodness. My mother had a butter and sugar crepe, but now that I think about it, she didn't share any with me! :angry:



The first lechon stall I came across. I think this must have been the most popular stall--it was only 8:30 when we arrived, and there was none left!


The second lechon stall. Poor little baby has no butt!


These people were selling Thai food, and it actually looked really good!


Fish and stuff.


Another French stall. This guy had all sorts of sweet and savoury goodies. Had I been staying longer, I'd have bought quite a bit, I'm sure. I think he mentioned most of the dishes were from Alsace, but I could be wrong.


These are the famous Medina Family ensaimada. They were featured in an article in Saveur that featured Pampanga (the author is/was an eG member). I really wanted one for my taste test, but it was P195 and my carry-on bags were already stuffed.


I bought a homemade spicy sausage. It was perfect. I miss non-Japanese sausages.


Cotton candy!! I stopped to take a picture, but I wasn't going to buy any. It was only P20, though, so how could I resist! It was my favourite kind--not too poofy, but a little hard and more caramelized. It was so perfect I didn't need to use my patented cotton candy eating method.


Duck innards and unfertilized eggs. I'm sure I could have done something interesting with these. Or at least the maid could have. . .


They sell the ducks with the heads still on here. Poor ducky. I bet he'd have given some really crispy skin, though!


I have so many more pictures, but that's all that will fit (I'm at 49.99MB and 100% of storage used!). I may upload the rest to Flickr one day. . . or not.

I mentioned before that I'd had bad experiences in the Philippines in the past. I'd never really been interested in the country since then, but I felt it necessary to return. The night before I left, my aunt (real aunt) called and asked if I'd ever recommend the Philippines to people, and I said, "Yes, definitely, but I'd tell them to get out of Manila as fast as possible."

Manila is great for food, but to get any of it, you'll have to sit in traffic for a minimum of half an hour, more likely more. And the city is like many other big cities--crowded, polluted, and dirty (I can't even count the number of men I saw peeing on the side of the street--they outnumbered the stray dogs). But once you go outside Manila, or any other city in the Philippines, you see a completely different country. It's so lush and the air is crisper (though not always cleaner), and you can get good food outside of Manila, too.

So yes, I'd recommend the Philippines as a destination. I had a great time, though being there with my mother and meeting people from her past made it even more meaningful for me. If you go, make sure you hire a car and driver, though. I'd not drive through Manila on my own, that's for sure!

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Victory is yours!

I think your comment is true for many of the South East Asian cities. While the major city will have the best selection of food and drink, it is always another world from the rest of the country.

Still, the pictures and descriptions are so good that I may someday get over my phobia of travel to Manila.

Now, I only have a few more weeks of vacation left.


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