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eG Foodblog: Mooshmouse - Back-to-school Dining on the Left Coast


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Ah Joie, thank god you weren't blogging on Saturday night. What happens at Chez Moosh stays at Chez Moosh. :wink:

Nice Seb's photos - I should print these out and carry them in my wallet, since I'm always blabbing on about how awesome that place is. Maybe they'll give me some sort of evangelist's discount.

Jenn

"She's not that kind of a girl, Booger!"

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Up next:  a few thoughts on Filipino eating habits, or "Cultural Justification For Eating 6 Times A Day."

:wink:

I LOVE that, and am looking forward so much to it!

Milagai

(who needs no justification whatsoever to eat 6 times a day

but would love to have one handy....)

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I'll shed some light in Joie's absence.

The Philippines was a Spanish colony for close to four centuries so some of their eating habits rubbed off on us.

Traditionally, we have something like five to six meals a day: breakfast, second breakfast (almuerzo segundo), lunch, merienda (mid-afternoon snack or tea), dinner and a late-night snack, although this varies from household to household, and among social classes.

More information can be found here, for instance. (you may have to scroll down a ways to get to the food content)

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:unsure:

So much for insomnia... I fell asleep on the sofa last night before I had time to make this post...

I was born in the Philippines and lived there for the first 5 years of my life before my Mom and I immigrated to Canada. As with most Filipino families, mealtimes always meant more than just a means of obtaining nourishment: they were a social event, a way of welcoming people into your house, a way of expressing affection, a forum for some of the best conversations I've ever had.

Some of my earliest memories are of food. Standing outside the kitchen door of my grandparents' house as a four-year-old, holding a mango pit in both of my tiny hands, feeling the juice drip down my chin and my forearms as I bit into the succulent flesh. The way the house smelled whenever my Lola (Grandmother) made a batch of guava jam or jelly. The excitement of going to a Magnolia House ice cream parlour with my Mom and spooning into my own half-pint of Super Mocha ice cream. Smelling the fragrant aroma of roasting corn on an early evening pedicab ride through the city streets.

This early love for food stayed with me even after we left the Philippines. Not that it manifested itself right away; as a child, I was the pickiest eater imaginable. I could have easily lived on spaghetti bolognese, red delicious apples and Campbell's chicken noodle soup for days on end despite my Mom's valiant efforts to have me try something new. Nonetheless, my selective eating habits eventually started to wane in my teenage years, much to my Mom's relief. Soon, I was eating everything from raw oysters to curry, baking biscuits from scratch and making my first forays into Filipino cooking.

The heart of every Filipino home is its kitchen. In Ian's words, "There's always more." Food, that is. When visting a Filipino household, you're invariably offered something to eat; to refuse the offer is a snub to your host. And there's always ample opportunity to eat since the dining pattern of an average family in the Philippines goes something like this.

  • Early breakfast, a huge one at that, to fuel your morning commute. Rice, first and foremost, steamed or garlic fried. Eggs, fried or scrambled. Meat of some sort, perhaps tocino or longanisa or chorizo. Bread, particularly pan de sal, served with butter and jam (coconut jam, guava jam, you name it). Dried fish, quick fried until crispy. Rice porridge, either savoury (arroz caldo) or sweet (champorado). Fresh seasonal fruit such as mangoes or bananas (of which there are an endless number of varieties), guavas or papayas, pineapple or jackfruit. Staggering, but true.
  • Mid-morning merienda or snack. Lighter than its afternoon counterpart, this can be as simple as hot chocolate and ensaymada (a sweet buttered bread topped with grated cheese) or bibingka (a rice-flour cake baked in a pan lined with fragrant banana leaves).
  • Lunch, details of which you’ll soon see.
  • Mid-afternoon merienda… yes, again, and usually more substantial than the mid-morning snack. Perhaps a noodle dish such as pancit palabok or pancit luglug. Maybe something sweet like the ginataang bilo bilo that’ll be pictured with my lunch or halo-halothis link tells you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about halo-halo and then some.
  • After all that, there’s still dinner.
  • Last, but certainly not least, a late-night snack if there’s any space left.

No, I’m not making that up. We really do eat that much. Even Soba says so. :wink:

Edited by Mooshmouse (log)

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Vancouver's group of eGulleters are quite socially active, due in large part to the "Waiting For Bourdain Big Night" dinner that brought us all together in November (menu details here). Since then, we've been meeting fairly regularly at various food related events, formal or informal. As the de facto den mother of the 'Lunch Mafia' and the 'Party Table' (I've been dubbed "Mama Joie" by snacky_cat), I usually arrange a weekly meeting of the minds and stomachs over a midday meal. Yesterday, I was joined by BCinBC and PeppermintTea for lunch at Josephine's. And boy, did we eat.

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Filipino food is customarily served family style... the more, the better. The steam table pictured above is what's most commonly found in casual Filipino restaurants: turo-turo, literally "point-point", is what we call it as you can point to the food items that you'd like to order. Utensils of choice are fork and spoon since many of our dishes are sauce-based and are often spooned directly over rice. Cutting meat is not an issue as it's rather tender from braising or cut into small enough chunks to be sectioned without a knife.

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First up: a palate-awakening Sinigang. A sour tamarind-based soup (there you go Smithy!) with either meat or fish, kangkong or water spinach, tomatoes, kamote (sweet potato) tops, onions, garlic, green chili and ginger. Click here for a recipe.

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Then there's Ginisang Munggo. This version simmers mung beans with chicken stock, tomatoes and prawns. And garlic. Can't ever forget the garlic in Filipino cuisine.

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Next is something recognizable: Barbecued Chicken and Bistek (Filipino beef steak). The latter is thinly sliced beef (sirloin, top or bottom round, tenderloin) marinated in soy sauce and kalamansi or lemon juice before sauteeing with onions. Marinade for the chicken is usually quite sweet; Josephine's version has added either sriracha or sweet chili sauce to spice it up a bit. Two of my favourite dishes as a kid.

Edited to correct a Tagalog spelling error that only Soba or I might have noticed :rolleyes:

Edited by Mooshmouse (log)

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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gallery_28661_3_5683.jpg

Moving right along, we have Kalderetang Baka, which is a tomato-based beef stew with potatoes, and vegetarian Lumpiang Prito or deep-fried spring roll. In the upper right-hand corner is a dish with coconut vinegar that has been infused with garlic and chili peppers, a condiment commonly used for dipping. Ian's especially fond of it with chicken or fish.

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Here's the inside of the lumpia showing julienned carrots, green beans, onions, bean sprouts and shredded scrambled egg.

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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gallery_28661_3_8716.jpg

This is Pinakbet, a rather strongly flavoured dish due to the use of bagoong alamang or salted shrimp paste. The primary ingredient is ampalaya or bitter melon in addition to yellow squash, long beans, okra, eggplant, tomatoes and prawns.

gallery_28661_3_9085.jpg

Last up on the savoury side is a Chinese-inspired noodle dish called Pancit Guisado. It's basically "Everything But The Kitchen Sink" noodles; here you can see a mixture of egg noodles and transparent rice noodles, shredded cabbage, sliced celery, julienned carrots, sliced chicken, shredded bok choy and green onions. Also hiding inside are sliced fish balls, and sliced pork. When I cook this at home, I also like to use shiitake mushrooms and shrimp. Clearly, a labour-intensive dish... thank goodness Ian's a great prep cook and helps me with all the chopping.

Break time. Step away from the computer. My eyeballs are now rectangular. Off I go to forage for food.

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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I am really enjoying the blog!  The photos are making me really homesick :rolleyes:

Me too...especially the picture of the ramen from Ezogiku. I did manage to come close to the same flavour in some homemade ramen last year but that still doesn't provide the atmosphere.

*Sigh*

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Hah.... I knew it would be you blogging this week (okay, you or Brian that is  :biggrin: )

That’s flattering Sarah, but there’s no way I could match 1. the energy or 2. the educational content or 3. the eloquence that Moosh brings to the table. In fact I’m in disbelief that anyone can blog in any given week, but appreciative nonetheless that they do.

Moosh, I didn't know you lived on Cylon Occupied Caprica. Isn't the sky supposed to be red?

I had to drag my husband away from what he was doing to read this post.  He laughed a lot.  He keeps telling me that I have to watch the new Battlestar Galactica.

Holy did I ever get sucked in – Space channel is rerunning the original series, I just saw the first episode again, where poor old Jane Seymour gets bombed to all heck. Ah, memories of a misspent yout’. Is the new series any good?

gallery_28661_3_61190.jpg

Next is something recognizable:  Barbecued Chicken and Bistek (Filipino beef steak).  The latter is thinly sliced beef (sirloin, top or bottom round, tenderloin) marinated in soy sauce and kalamansi or lemon juice before sauteeing with onions.  Marinade for the chicken is usually quite sweet; Josephine's version has added either sriracha or sweet chili sauce to spice it up a bit.  Two of my favourite dishes as a kid.

Back to food: Thanks Moosh for the Filipino food intro, very educational (even if we didn’t try the menudo :wink: ). I think of Filipino food (and Caribean for that matter) as a melange of various cultures, whether neighboring or from previous occupation (not mutually exclusive). But they have taken all these influences and created something new. Perhaps this is true of most culinary cultures?

Anyway, I really liked the bistek, a very simple preparation but very flavourful as well. In fact the flavours reminded me a lot of gnow nam (Chinese braised beef), perhaps there was some 5-spice or anise in there??

No photos yet of the desserts (purple stuff!), but my second favourite dish was the banana and jack fruit spring roll. Mmm, fried fruit...

Great job so far!

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Suitably fortified by my pineapple custard bun and glass of 1% milk, I'm ready for another blogging stint. Fortunately, Ian was heading in the direction of Noah's school on his way to a meeting, so he was in charge of the Mouse family school bus this morning.

Back to dessert.

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Here we have a slice of Cassava Cake made from grated cassava, condensed and evaporated milk, coconut milk and cream, eggs and macapuno or young coconut. Smooth, sweet, rich and wonderful.

gallery_28661_3_24137.jpg

No, this is not something from Barney's refrigerator (Barney is so banned from our household, by the way). It's Ginataang Bilo Bilo, a warm coconut-milk based dessert soup/stew, and the purple colour comes from ube or purple yam. Other ingredients include langka (jackfruit), camote (sweet potato), saba (plantain banana) and sago (tapioca) pearls.

gallery_28661_3_13768.jpg

Last but not least, here's a piece of Turon, a fried dessert spring roll filled with ripe bananas and jackfruit, then drizzled with caramelized sugar.

The dessert case held even more tantalizing treats.

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Jewel-like Halo-Halo waiting for toppings of shaved ice, evaporated milk and ice cream.

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Rows of Leche Flan, similar to crème caramel but a bit thicker and creamier in texture. Some of the best leche flan I've ever tasted is made by my Uncle... who happens to be German. Go figure.

Whew! That was enough food for 2 1/2 meals! Typical of a Filipino, however, to cook or order waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than necessary. God forbid that there not be enough food. :rolleyes:

Edited by Mooshmouse (log)

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Cassava cake - yum! All time fav kuih. The ones I get from the only place I know in NYC are sweetened with palm sugar, and palm sugar is one of those tastes that you grow tired of after a while.

I gotta get myself a taste of Filipino cake. It looks baked - would make a nice change from steamed kuih. I wonder if Soba knows where in NYC may have some.

BTW, Ginataang bilo bilo looks suspiciously like bubur chacha.

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Your photos of the food and the buildings are beautiful! Yum! (the food, not the buildings) :rolleyes:

It's funny, one of my college friends was a Filipina who loved to cook and who frequently had a bunch of us over for dinner. She generally did Oriental foods - stir fries, things like that - or Mexican dishes like chorizo con juevos. I don't recognize a thing you've discussed in her cooking. She grew up in Manila. Would that make a difference as to the food she'd have grown up with?

Sinigang looks like a promising recipe...I'm glad they suggested substitutes for some of those ingredients, though, because I'm not likely to find those greens around here. Talk about a whole new cuisine!

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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This is Pinakbet, a rather strongly flavoured dish due to the use of bagoong alamang or salted shrimp paste.  The primary ingredient is ampalaya or bitter melon in addition to yellow squash, long beans, okra, eggplant, tomatoes and prawns.

That's interesting. Pinakbet is also called pakbet, at least where I come from in the Philippines. (I was born in Mandaluyong, my family comes from Manila, and I have an uncle in Bagiuo.)

Mom makes her version with garlic, and leaves the okra pods whole. I think she also uses patis (fish sauce), but I have to ask her.

Soba

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Moosh, really enjoying your blog. Today at lunchtime my SO and I were out doing errands when we ran across a Philipine restaurant. Neither of us is at all familiar, and the owner and his wife were great. It was set up as a steam table and they insisted we try little bits of everything before we decided. We had regular spring rolls and tiny thin ones that were filled with pork. We had pancit. We had diced pork with lots of red chillies in a spicy sort of sour sauce and another dish with bits of pork, green leaves (taro I think he said???) and garlic and a sort of sweetish taste I cannot identify, and steamed rice. It was absolutely delicious and we will definitely be returning. I should have paid more attention to what he called the dishes.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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First up:  a palate-awakening Sinigang.  A sour tamarind-based soup (there you go Smithy!) with either meat or fish, kangkong or water spinach, tomatoes, kamote (sweet potato) tops, onions, garlic, green chili and ginger.  Click here for a recipe.

Oh yes, sinigang.

One of my childhood favorites, right up there with paksiw (boiled pickled meat or fish and vegetables). There are many varieties of paksiw, from paksiw na isda (fish with vegetables) to paksiw na pata (pig's knuckles) to paksiw na lechon (roast pork butt). Trust me, it tastes better than it sounds. Click here for a recipe.

Was this made with milkfish?

Soba

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No, this is not something from Barney's refrigerator (Barney is so banned from our household, by the way).  It's Ginataang Bilo Bilo, a warm coconut-milk based dessert soup/stew, and the purple colour comes from ube or purple yam.  Other ingredients include langka (jackfruit), camote (sweet potato), saba (plantain banana) and sago (tapioca) pearls.

Whoops. One ingredient that I inadvertently omitted is the bilo bilo: dumplings made from glutinous rice flour.

BTW, Ginataang bilo bilo looks suspiciously like bubur chacha.

Right you are Laksa. I believe they're virtually identical dishes. It's one of my favourite merienda foods on a chilly winter afternoon.

That's interesting.  Pinakbet is also called pakbet, at least where I come from in the Philippines.  (I was born in Mandaluyong, my family comes from Manila, and I have an uncle in Bagiuo.)

Mom makes her version with garlic, and leaves the okra pods whole.  I think she also uses patis (fish sauce), but I have to ask her.

Yes, Soba, Pakbet is the Ilocano name for this dish. Use of patis is also a regional variant, and garlic is definitely on the ingredient list. The okra pods have always been whole in any version I've ever eaten. It can also be made as a strictly vegetarian dish without any pork or, in this case, shrimp.

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Moosh, really enjoying your blog.  Today at lunchtime my SO and I were out doing errands when we ran across a Philipine restaurant.  Neither of us is at all familiar, and the owner and his wife were great.  It was set up as a steam table and they insisted we try little bits of everything before we decided.  We had regular spring rolls and tiny thin ones that were filled with pork.  We had pancit.  We had diced pork with lots of red chillies in a spicy sort of sour sauce and another dish with bits of pork, green leaves (taro I think he said???) and garlic and a sort of sweetish taste I cannot identify, and steamed rice.  It was absolutely delicious and we will definitely be returning.  I should have paid more attention to what he called the dishes.

:biggrin: Thanks Jake! I'll help you out by putting names to those dishes once I'm back from lunch.

Oh yes, sinigang. 

One of my childhood favorites, right up there with paksiw (boiled pickled fish and vegetables).  Trust me, it tastes better than it sounds.  Click here for a recipe.

Was this made with milkfish?

There was, indeed, bangus in the sinigang. It's one of my childhood favourites too... my mouth is watering right now just thinking about its tartness. :wub:

Time to pry my fingers off the keyboard and get me some sunshine and sustenance. More later!

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Glad I checked eGullet today. I enjoyed the entire blog. I don't leave Coquitlam much aside from job interviews, and it sometimes feels more like I'm somewhere in Asia rather than Canada. Is Josephine's somewhere on Fraser? I think we've ordered a whole lechon from them before. I really liked the food at the old Galing-Galing (attached to Goldilocks) and when the cooks there opened up a place further east on Broadway. No point in eating Filipino food at a restaurant in my case since I have my own personal Filipino chef, aka Mom.

What's your least favourite Filipino dish? Of the ones I've had in my life, I would have to say it's a tie between pinangat or paksiw na isda. I love fish, but the smell of cooking fish in lots of vinegar or tomatoes turns my stomach. And I've never understood how cooking fish in vinegar ends up making the fish taste even more fishy.

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I'm perplexed.  Talk about Language Puzzles 101.

After consulting the highest authority I know on all things Filipino -- namely, my Mother -- and extensive Googling, we are still perplexed.

Laksa, you're right on the meaning of 'manok' as chicken.  Googling the name of this dish comes up with the translation "Curry Chicken with Eggplant".

From what I've found, the words 'iba' and 'talum' are from the Hiligaynon dialect, a dialect similar to Ilonggo.  As I type this, my Mom is phoning a friend of hers who happens to be Hiligaynon in the hopes that some light can be shed on this mystery.

The literal translation of the word 'iban' is "other, another, some, the rest".  The literal translation of the word 'talum' is "sharp", differentiated from the Tagalog word for eggplant which is "talong".  What this has to do with "Curry Chicken with Eggplant"?  I have no idea.

:blink:

I'll report back if we get any linguistic assistance.  Any Hiligaynons out there?

My mother's dialect is Hiligaynon, so I asked her. She says:

Iban (Ang insik iban sa hapones) is different; talum is sharp as in Ang kutsilio indi matalum (The knife is not sharp), or Katalum sang dila mo (You have a sharp tongue.)  The phrase you wrote is not a sentence, and translated, it says, curry chicken is different sharp.  does not make sense! unless it is a new hiligaynon expression, meaning curry chicken is great!

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Back to dessert.

gallery_28661_3_30982.jpg

Here we have a slice of Cassava Cake made from grated cassava, condensed and evaporated milk, coconut milk and cream, eggs and macapuno or young coconut.  Smooth, sweet, rich and wonderful.

Cassava cake is one of my favourites!

gallery_28661_3_13768.jpg

Last but not least, here's a piece of Turon, a fried dessert spring roll filled with ripe bananas and jackfruit, then drizzled with caramelized sugar.

Why does that look so much better than any other Turon I've seen in Winnipeg? The turon in YWG always looks like it's been fried in old oil, and is somewhat anemic loooking

I've never particularly cared for Filipino food, possibly because my mother couldn't cook it very well (for example, her adobo, while good in its own right, is a far cry from good Filipino adobo). But I've always loved Filipino desserts and snacks. Did you happen to find any carioca? It's my all-time favourite, especially when fresh out of the fryer/syrup. But it's getting harder and harder to find in Winnipeg.

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OMG! Cassava cake!!! I have been drolling all day long.

Just wanna express how much I appreciate your blog and your fantastic talents with words and pics.

I am constantly in awe, realizing how lucky we are to have slice of our world in the presence of your greatness.

I LOVE THE MOUSE FAMILY!!!!!!

Big hug,

JEBB

Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world's perfect food. --Michael Levine, nutrition researcher

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:blush::wub:

An enormous thank you to everyone who has offered their kind words of encouragement. It's a huge relief to know that my ramblings on Filipino food and life in general aren't falling on deaf ears... or perhaps that should be blind eyes. At any rate, I'm grateful for all your comments.

Would love also to hear recommendations of some Filipino restaurants. Not a cuisine I'm really familiar with either. I think, like lotsa other cuisines, it's better cooked at home? Having been born and raised here (with a one-year stint on Saltspring but, alas, as a mere babe), I can't ever recall seeing a Filipino restaurant in Vancouver.

Is Josephine's somewhere on Fraser? I think we've ordered a whole lechon from them before. I really liked the food at the old Galing-Galing (attached to Goldilocks) and when the cooks there opened up a place further east on Broadway. No point in eating Filipino food at a restaurant in my case since I have my own personal Filipino chef, aka Mom.

What's your least favourite Filipino dish? Of the ones I've had in my life, I would have to say it's a tie between pinangat or paksiw na isda. I love fish, but the smell of cooking fish in lots of vinegar or tomatoes turns my stomach. And I've never understood how cooking fish in vinegar ends up making the fish taste even more fishy.

There are Filipino restaurants in Vancouver, most of them small cafeteria-style eateries. It's all a matter of knowing where to look. Josephine's is located on the east side of Main Street between East 10th and 11th. And there's Galing-Galing on the north side of West Broadway, a few storefronts east of Fir Street (same block as Bin 942). Though Galing-Galing is no longer attached to Goldilocks on the southwest corner of Broadway and Fir, Goldilocks still does serve Filipino food in addition to selling a huge variety of baked goods; however, I do find them to be somewhat overpriced relative to their portion sizes. And Rhea, the restaurant you're thinking of on Fraser Street is Aling Ening (4245 Fraser Street, to be precise). You should come into town one day and we can eat like Filipina rock stars! :wink:

As for a Filipino dish I don't like? My knee-jerk reaction would be Goto Lugaw or beef tripe congee. There's something about the texture of tripe that I absolutely cannot handle. :blink:

Oh yes. Balut. But that almost goes without saying.

Did you happen to find any carioca?  It's my all-time favourite, especially when fresh out of the fryer/syrup.  But it's getting harder and harder to find in Winnipeg.

Good question Rona. Though I've had carioca before (rice balls fried in syrup), it was home cooked and not from a restaurant. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it in any of my Filipino restaurant dining experiences. :sad:

Edited by Mooshmouse (log)

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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        Of course! How could I forget about the sacred Italian siesta?
        A siesta or riposo, as most Italians call it, is a time of rest. This time is usually around midday, or the hottest part of the day (very inconvenient if you're craving a bowl of pasta.) No one can really say where the tradition of the siesta originates, but many say it's all about food (no surprises there really).
        For many Italian families the main meal of the day is lunch. This heavy meal in the middle of the day is attributed to the standard Mediterranean diet: A minuscule breakfast of a coffee and pastry , a heavy lunch and an evening meal around 10 o'clock. The logic is that after such a heavy meal one would surely be drowsy and need to rest, no one can work efficiently on a full stomach!
        Post offices, car rentals, supermarkets and even coffee shops (in some smaller towns police stations too) all close their doors for a riposo. Everything comes to a standstill as every Italian goes home to kick of their shoes, enjoy a homemade lunch with family and bask in the Italian sunshine for three to four hours. This is serious business. One would not dare work for 8 hours straight. After their riposo most businesses open again around 4 o'clock and stay open till 7pm. Its the perfect balance between work and play and does wonders for your digestive system!
        "Grazie!" I thanked her for the reminder. The midday sun started to become unbearable. The streets had cleared with only a few tourists braving the midday heat still around. I thought about the strawberries I bought from the market earlier that week. Strawberries for lunch on my shaded balcony and maybe a nap afterwards sounded like my perfect riposo. The pasta will have to wait till 4.
               
           
    • By KennethT
      OK.... here we go again!!!  While this post is a bit premature (we don't take off until around 1:30AM tonight), I am extremely excited so I figured I'd just set up the topic now.  As in previous foodblogs, I may post a bit from time to time while we're there, depending on how good my internet connection is, and how much free time I have... but the bulk of posting will really get started around July 9th - the day after we get home (hopefully without too much jetlag!!!)
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