Sunday, December 30, 2007

Here's to Ears

Boiled pigs' ears tossed with olive oil, lemon, cilantro, and salt. Enjoyed at O' Santos, Taipa Village, Macau.
Original post (11/25/07):

I don't remember exactly when I fell in love with with the cartilage crunch of pigs' ears. What I do remember is where I had my first taste of what is now one of my favorite parts of the piggy. It was at an isawan somewhere in the kilikili of Makati. Barbecued, the ears were good - sticky and crunchy at the same time. If I were to have barbecued tenga now, I would probably head over to Countryside along Katipunan Avenue.

I also enjoy pigs' ears deep fried - aka crispy tenga. I think pretty much any of the ubiquitous grills will be able to prepare this dish competently. But I never thought I would enjoy pigs ears that weren't either fried of flamed. The pictured dish, which we tried in a small dumpling restaurant in Hongkong, contains slivers of steamed/boiled(?) pigs' ears, garlic, cucumber, and oil. Served cold, it was very simple and very good.

Let us know where you enjoy your tenga.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

where to get taho by the bowl

Apart from pets, bicycles, shoes, magazine back issues, PX goods and winterwear, add soy products to Cartimar's, er, varied, list of finds.

Cartimar isn't exactly a stone's throw away, but if you happen to be in the area, save some space in your tummy for a very filling bowl of taho. It's the perfect pre- or post-shopping protein fix.

You get a hefty bowl (your choice if you prefer hot or cold), and you can choose if you want it plain or with toppings. You have red bean, lotus seeds, mango, sago or peanuts as options. Plain taho is at 25pesos a bowl. ( I had mine at 4pm and was full til dinner.) Add 15 per topping.
This one's lotus seeds (aka garbanzos) and the one at the top's red bean.

I found the red bean the tastiest. Sago with syrup is classic, of course. And here, you get a finer quality and bigger serving than what you get from the manong taho. I have yet to try peanut, but I think I'll save that for when I'm craving an improbable meal of crunchy and soft.

The Tiong Hwa foodstore gets brisk business from people dropping by for their freshly bottled soy milk (it's really good, sweetened or otherwise), red bean-, peanut- or lotus-filled mochi (have yet to try this), and a wide variety of frozen specialty foods (dumplings, fish steaks, furais, chinese rice meals). And with the tables and seats inside, I'm glad they've created a clean, quiet place to take a break from walking around.

Tiong Hwa food products store is in Cartimar Shopping plaza, along the row of Japanese groceries.

Oishi Pods

Geek that I am, the product name sends my mind in sci fi directions. I almost didn't buy it. But anyway, this yummy potater alternative's been hard to find, so when you see a bag, grab it!
The clean, crisp package design drew my eye. And I was pleased with the crunchy contents. Don't expect actual peas though. As the copy on the bag stays vague, I assume it's some recombined pea material instead, haha.

It's baked not fried, and fortified with vitamins. So it's an inexpensive, very tasty and somewhat healthy (on the most babaw level) snack. In a cursory comparison with other chips in the shopping bag, it did have less fats and calories and more protein. It seems a bit high on sodium though.

Still, I like it. And at 11php in MiniStop, I'm grabbing the next bag I see.

(On a sort of related note, have you been to Oishi Land? There are cute games and everything! And, I didn't realize they had such a wide product line up na. What's your favorite Oishi snack?)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Good Origin

According to karabau, this place has closed down. Sad siya. (updated 12/30/07)

Riding around Makati late one night, I came across Good Origin Bento along Pasay Road. It looked new and cheap - how could I resist. I ordered the niku curry soba udon, which wasn't too yummy. But then it cost only P75 so I shouldn't be complaining. Also on the menu are your usual rice toppings, gyoza, and some salads.

Good Origin Bento supposedly closes at 5am. Seems like a decent place to fill your stomach after a long night of partying, when hot and cheap *almost* make up for taste.

Along Pasay Road, between the corners of Amorsolo and Paseo de Roxas. You can't miss the huge neon sign.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Suzukin, at the corner of cheap and tasty

Well actually, it's at the corner of Kamagong St. & Sampaloc st. But yes, it IS cheap and tasty, and quite filling too. So after a sulit saturday, hungry and beat, I declared I wanted cheap japanese. Noone else had an opinion, so we piled into the car and headed for San Antonio village.

As we were all too tired to read the menu off the walls, we settled for the laziest choice and also the most sulit item - the set meal. For php123, you get 2 ebi tempura pieces, tuna steak, chicken furai, tai kimiyaki (fish fillet), squid balls, pork kushiyaki, rice and miso soup. Yes, aaalll of that for 123pesos. On a little steel serving platter.

It's almost like a menu sampler. And as you can glean from this selection, you shouldn't expect anything sophisticated in Suzu Kin. Their cook's imagination stops at frying. But he does it well, haha! And it lets them deliver big on taste and value despite the small price.

Take the free miso soup, I find it tastier and more savory than a lot of the miso soups I have to pay for in other, higher-end japanese restaurants. They put little bits of fried batter to add to the tastiness. And the broth is opaque from all the miso, tofu and veggies.

Everything on the set is yummy, each in its simple, fried way. I like too the uniqueness of going through little bite size meats prepared in different ways. It's a mini buffet! For me though, the tuna steak is a stand-out. (A lighter, tuna version of bistek. Garlicky and dark with toyo, but still retaining the taste of tuna.) I just keep forgetting to order it on its own, instead of succumbing to viand polygamy. You can get tuna steak a la carte at php120. Mmm-mmm. The chicken furai is great too, juicy and memorable thanks to its dark but tangy sauce. The tai kimiyaki is tender and packed with taste.

Their menu has all the japanese fastfood basics: donburi from php109 (Oyakodon) to php129 (Gyudon), teppanyaki from php157 (squid,chicken) to php202 (shrimp), tempura (6-8 little pieces of shrimp for php155), sobas, udons, sashimis and makis. If you're a raw fish connoiseur though, I wouldn't reccomend ordering here as these really aren't their specialty.

What I appreciate most about Suzukin is that they know their target market. The average salaryman who just wants a good, no frills, inexpensive meal at the end of a tiring day. I want to commend them for turning out solid, filling meals at low prices, WITHOUT scrimping on their ingredients.
Plus, i mean, they're basically a carinderia. They serve their water in thick glasses and their food in steel plates. The staff hardly smile. They have no ambience at all. But I think they get by on inadvertent charm. Their menu's hand-pentel penned on cartolina. There are japanese-y curtains above the doorway. And they all scream "arrashaimase" when you go through the door. These make me fond of Suzu Kin - the little japanese carinderia that tries.

Going down Metropolitan ave. towards Quirino ave., turn left at Caltex. It's right on the corner - facing the dress shop and lying tangent to Metrobank. You can park along Sampaloc st., right by SuzuKin itself. At lunch, there's an old man who watches your car while you eat fried meats.

Snackaroo, yahoo!

Somewhere in the lower-middle class suburban jungles of QC is a steak joint where the staff is overworked and surly, and where the tables are wet, and the utensils greasy. So, come prepared with a very good sense of humor about these things, because Snackaroo is worth the trouble.

For P130 bucks, you get an excellent t-bone slathered with wonderfully unhealthy gravy.

Photo actually shows two orders of well-done t-bone steak… I was really hungry.

Snackaroo is located on Judge Jimenez Street. Coming from T. Morato, get on Kamuning, and you'll find J. Jimenez on your right.

Friday, November 16, 2007

spreadable chocnut

In an informal taste test, 3 out of 5 people found that Candyline Co. had succesfully duplicated the ChocNut taste. I guess it depends which ChocNut taste you remember - the sweet&nutty earlier formula OR the more recent too-sweet version. For me, ChocoMani captured ChocNut at its best and upped the ante by playing with the consistency. There's a good balance of the swetness and nuttiness (insert crazy joke here). You can taste each distinctly but appreciate their mingling together too. Plus, the change of texture from crumbly to buttery made a 'classic na pinagsawaan na', suddenly fresh.

At Php56 (at 7-11) for a 40gram jar, it comes to php1.40 per gram (WHO calculates cost like that?). But the experience of spooning the chocolatey peanut butter, licking it off and letting it melt in your mouth is priceless. Besides, the alternative - stuffing actual ChocNut in your pan de sal - sounds a bit weird.

On a vaguely related note, I appreciate 7-11's adding single Dole bananas by their check-out counter. Tells me they support my wanting to eat healthier. AND gives me a great idea for dessert. Anyone for ChocoMaNana?
(Wait, does that sound right?)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kikufuji Updates

Taped onto the back cover of Kikufuji's regular menu is their specials menu. It changes every couple of months and contains items that give me temporary kuripot amnesia.

Right now, I find guilty pleasure in the fresh oysters sunomono (P250+). Around four pieces of oysters off the shell are served in a vinegar bath and sprinkled with chopped spring onions. Ultimate pulutan, I think.

Friday, November 09, 2007

not another Greenhills Chinese resto review

First off, shout out to YUMMY for being crazy enough to feature a delinquent blog like ours. Now we feel the pressure to keep this place up.

Anyway, back to my Greenhills-based Chinese restos. While Greenhills on weekends is such a chore, Greenhills on weekday mornings isn’t so bad. When I have the time, I make sure to work out at the gym early so that I can get a big lunch at Le Ching Too (the second one, orange interiors, not the first one, green interiors, food is the same though).

Le Ching Too is my mother’s worst resto nightmare. She questions the restaurant’s hygiene and food preparation techniques. Personally, I turn a blind eye. You do that for love.

Le Ching is best at what it does. It doesn’t have an extensive menu. And from that short menu, stick to what you know. You either get a rice topping, or noodles. A lot of people like the Beef Brisket Rice, I’m not a big fan though. I like the Chicken and Black Mushroom Rice a lot. But what I really love is their Spareribs Rice. It’s a load of tender, tasty pork ribs on top of steamed rice. Served in a steel bowl. I wonder if the steel bowl is for making me feel that eating at Le Ching is an authentic Chinese peasant/proletariat dining experience. I’m not quite sure.

When I was there last, I sort of veered off the tried and tested path. I tried their Shrimp Cheongfan. Not so good. The flour-y(?) wrap was too thick, and sort of overwhelmed the pitiful shrimp stuffings.

Next time, I’m sticking to the rice toppings. Or I’ll finally try their noodles. Like I said, I’m not a big noodle fan, but I’ve been… growing up. I saw someone order the Stewed Beef Brisket Noodles. The noodles get served with a hearty amount of brisket on top, and the soup is served separately. I’m looking forward to that.

It has to be said that a large part of Le Ching’s success are the little things that come with the food. Like their famous chili garlic. I want to know how they make it. Or at least where they make it. I want to raid the place, and steal a whole vat. That ought to give me half a lifetime’s worth of chili garlic. While I was there, there was a guy at the next table who raved that he takes his sinigang with Le Ching’s chili garlic. Weirdo. But hey, I want to know where he gets his stash. No local Chinese resto has duplicated the truly garlic-flavored Le Ching mix.

And so as not to be overpowered by the wonderfully spicy chili garlic, order their cold soya milk too. It’s not too sweet, and it retains the subtle flavor of soy, unlike the over-flavored, commercial variants.

Le Ching’s been around for years. I started eating there in high school. It’s not really a secret, given by the large lunch and dinner crowds at both Greenhills branches. But I haven’t seen anyone write about the place. Lately, at least. So I’m giving it my stamp of approval: It’s the only place where I’m happy to pay to eat out of a steel bowl.

Le Ching and Le Ching Too are both located in the basement level of Shoppesville, Greenhillls Shopping Center. Le Ching (green interiors) is across McDonalds, Le Ching Too (orange interiors) is closer to the tiangge, the row of Ricky Reyes. I hear there’s a branch at Trinoma, but I haven’t been. Dishes are large single servings, and are mostly in the P70-100 range.

Monday, November 05, 2007

pancit nanaman!

On most Sundays, I avoid Greenhills like the plague. The whole shopping center may be undergoing a facelift, but the place is still an urban planning nightmare. Traffic and parking sucks on weekends, and especially now that we’re heading into the freakin’ holidays.

So I was sort of pissed that our mother wanted to eat lunch at Casa Reyes, another offshoot from the Aristocrat family of restos (by my count, there’s Alex III, Serye, and Reyes BBQ). I was hungry, in no mood to argue, and even more ticked off to find the resto full.

That turned out to be a blessing in the sky(!) because I suddenly remembered that we hadn’t eaten at Sun Moon Garden in the longest time.

Sun Moon Garden has been in Greenhills since… forever. We used to eat there almost every Sunday when our church was actually in the shopping center. And Sun Moon isn’t actually a garden. It’s really in the basement of Shoppesville, right behind the row of ID photo booths, where I used to get my ID photos done back in the pre-digital age. (Nowadays, I just shoot myself.)

Anyway, Sun Moon is known for its pancit canton and that’s because it has the best pancit canton. Ever. And that’s coming from the guy who’s not very fond of noodles and pasta. Hold on, I’m not sure if it’s actually listed as Sun Moon Pancit Canton on the menu. Basta. It’s the one with tender noodles that’s not so thin, yet not so thick (medium?). It’s got this tasty brownish sauce that’s not too gooey. Also it’s got a mound of vegetables and seafood on it. Like a lot of the Chinese dishes that have come our way, it’s a meal in itself. The small-sized order was just right for the three of us.

For nostalgia’s sake, we also ordered my favorite Fried Shrimp Balls. It was deep fried to a golden, crispy outside, nice and soft inside finish. It’s served with a more-sweet-than-sour sauce, and should be eaten with that.

Our only mistake was ordering the Deep Fried Lapu Lapu with Oyster Sauce. The fish wasn’t fresh at all. It was also an expensive mistake, being the priciest dish among our orders. We should have gone with the Oriental Sizzling Beef (something like that) that every table except ours seemed to have.

Since it's located in the basement, and because it's a Chinese resto, don’t expect much ambiance. Here’s a photo of the interiors, in all its fluorescent-lit glory.

Small-sized orders are good for three, or a hungry two, and average around P200. Except for that lame Lapu Lapu dish which set us back around 400 bucks. Sun Moon Garden is located at the basement level of Shoppesville, Greenhills Shopping Center. Tel. no 721-0856.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Frisspoint literal hole in the wall

For all its hoity-toity weekend market for expats reputation, Salcedo Village still has a humble panaderia sa kanto like any Philippine neighborhood.

Turning left into Herrera st., coming from Leviste, you may miss the piles of pan de sal peeping out the window. That would be Frisspoint, your 24-hour basic food source – pan, lugaw and Ricoa Flat Tops by the tingi. Syempre, there’s cellphone load too.

My favorite neighbors go there to fill their late-night crusty & crumbly pan de sal cravings. But as I like my pan de sal chewy & heavy, I find myself there to fill hankerings for lugaw instead.

Frisspoint’s lugaw is one of the best cheap, non-resto porridges I’ve tried – savory from chicken stock and generous with the ginger. A truly comforting and full-flavored lugaw, not some half-hearted attempt to squeeze out a quick buck from left-over rice.
Lugaw is 15pesos with a whole boiled egg, 10pesos without. Arroz Caldo is 25 with egg, 20 without. I usually go for the lugaw, as paltry chicken pieces in arroz caldo depress me.

Apart from the pan de sal and lugaw, the staples on their whiteboard menu are simple breads like monay and pan de coco. They also offer a variety of siomais for four pieces at 40pesos. At 10pesos for each average dumpling though, parang it’s not worth it. You might also chance upon their chocolate chip banana muffin. It used to be a real treat at 9pesos. But they upped the price to 18 (Hello!), suddenly making it not sulit for the size. Sayang.

This morning, they had taho. So I had a nostalgic 10peso breakfast on the go. I love panaderias sa kanto.

(The Frisspoint window peeps out of Makati Executive Tower, Herrera cor. Leviste Strts. Or the corner tangent to the Leviste KFC. Or in front of the building with a 711/Gloria Jean’s/BDO. And oh, don’t mistake it for Frisspoint restaurant.)

Mochi Mochi

It doesn't look like much. But Magnolia's sesame ice cream mochi can do great things. Like cure PMS. Significantly promoting world peace.

It's made up of refreshing black sesame ice cream wrapped in translucent glutinous goo. Kaladkarin says it tastes like espasol.

It's good, really. I just can't seem to describe it appetizingly. Maybe I don't want to. Because I want it all to myself.

Magnolia Mochi is also available in ube flavor. But the sesame is much much better. P12 at Rustan's Supermarket, P15 at Mini Stop.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Yogurt Yum. Lets eat and be friends forever.

That's what I would expect to read on a Korean yogurt label. Instead, it says "La Ciel." Made in the Philippines but managed by Koreans. Which still doesn't explain the European sounding brand name. But who cares. Their yogurt is unarguably yummy and creamy. 2 flavors so far--strawberry and blueberry. P100 for a 500g bottle. Bit pricy pero sulit sizewise. Thank you Sandaraland!

Available at Kang's grocery, in front of Salcedo Park, and Happy Kitchen (or something). Basta yung 24-hour Korean convenience store along the road behind Caltex J.Vargas, Ortigas. Run and catch it for happy tummy love.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Try Marby's Dice Hopia, available at Mini Stop in packs of 6 for P32 (I think). Soft, moist and filling. Heads up though, the word is spreading and isa or dalawang packs na lang usually yung naaabutan ko. Goes well with Mini Stop's Nescafe Freeze (better when not yet frozen, with a little added low fat milk) and Chow King's milk tea (without the nata de coco-esque jelly).

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

early morning delight

I looooove hotel breakfast buffets. But not because of the fresh-from-the-oven buttery croissants, rich but fluffy omelets or endless assortment of ham and sausages. I've learned that focus is key. Especially if the company outing tour bus is leaving in 15mins.

The Marco Polo Hotel in Beijing has yummy yogurt. Rich, creamy and not funky-tasting. Alas, I don't remember what brand it was. I'm not even sure if the label was in English. But it was good enough for my roommate and I to risk lactose-intolerant repercussions in the land of squatty-potties. (By the way, the yogurt in Vietnam is also very good. At may caramel flavor! Gasp! Yummm.)

I like to embellish my yogurt with chunks of mango and honeydew melon. Then I generously sprinkle cornflakes and rice crispies, drizzle a little syrup, and dig in. Mmmmm.

Back home, I make do with Nestle's Mango Yogurt (Not the 0% fat one. Bring on the fat! In yogurt, at least.). Mini-buhos ng plain cornflakes, and solb na me.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Just because you appreciate fine (read: "expensive") Japanese food doesn't mean that hearty rice meals no longer hold any appeal. Just a few meters away from Seryna is Yamazaki, a grocery cum diner where you can find Japanese folks hunched over a bowl of ramen chopsticks in one hand and some manga in the other. This place is relatively cheap, fast, and quite satisfying. There's no sashimi on the menu but if you insist on ordering some, they'll source it from Kikufuji just around the corner. We've tried the gyoza, the katsu curry rice, and the saba rice - all under Php 180.00. Draft beer is pretty cheap, at around Php 30.00 a mug. And for dessert, just cross over to the grocery and get some yummy mochi ice cream balls.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Super Seryna

I think I'm getting more and more picky when it comes to Japanese food. It used to be that I could eat just any old piece of raw fish. I still can, actually but I've learned to appreciate the finer stuff.

What's great about Seryna is that each piece of sashimi I've tried so far has been fresh beyond reproach. I also enjoyed the Tako-su (octopus and seaweed in vinegar), sushi platter, assorted yakimono, and the kaizen. Sitting at the sushi bar, I could see that there were many dishes that I didn't recognize, and that got me really excited. And if there's an item that you don't see on the menu, just ask for it and they'll probably whip it up. Oh, and I heard they have fresh wasabi.

Seryna is located along the outside perimeter of Little Tokyo. It's clean, nicely decorated, and a bit expensive. A meal for one can cost around Php 1,200.00. But if you go lunchtime, you can get these really filling rice or noodle meals for just Php 250.00.

Tel.: 894-3855. It's right across Plaza Fair/McDonalds.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

best thing since sliced bread

If a flavored potato chip got together with french bread and had a child, it would taste like Oishi's Bread Pan. Mmmmm... sarap! Comes in two flavors-- Toasted Garlic and Cheese & Onion. Seriously addicting. Also good to use in salads in lieu of croutons.

Available at 7eleven and Mini Stop at P8 for a 50g pack.