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We are still eating!

Hey all, this quick post is to just let you know that we are still eating! I have many photos to share and many adventures, but life is kind of pushing back at me right now. I have not found the time to upload my photos and not even to compose posts, but rest assured I will get to them soon.

Coming up on the blog: Two restaurant reviews and 2-3 weeks worth of baon diaries.

Let me just leave you with this picture of the first use of my totoro bento box.

Top tier: Vegetable salad
Bottom tier: from top, caesar salad dressing, plain egg omelette, hotdogs, bacon fried rice

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2012 in Blog

 

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Unboxing Totoro Bento Box

My friend Seth went on a glorious trip to Japan, and brought me back this wonderful wonderful Totoro bento box (Thank you!). It came with a nice plastic wrap that even had its own buttons!

Here it is without the plastic.

Opened up and contents laid out. From top going clockwise: Bottom tier with divider and rice mould, brown seal for the bottom tier, elastic band, cover, top tier with divider.

Here’s a closer look at both dividers and the rice mould.

And finally, a close up of the Totoro cover.

I haven’t started using it yet, but I would definitely be reserving it for an extra special bento. Thanks again Seth!

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2012 in Blog

 

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Ode to Chili-Garlic Sauce

I fell in love with this little bottle.

It’s the Chili-Garlic Sauce from Lee Kum Kee (about Php50 I think), and this wonderful little bottle can do amazing things. Added to tomato ketchup, it spices up and adds body to baked porkchops. Sprinkled over steamed fish, it adds that extra umph to make a great dish even more special. A dab of it is enough for that kick, but for spice-lovers a whole spoonful is probably more like it.

I’m running out! I have to go get some more!

Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion. I am in no way connected with Lee Kum Kee.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in Blog

 

Hawker food trip at Megamall

You’d probably ask, how can you have hawker food at a mall? Isn’t hawker food the type of food you find at an open air establishment? To me and my husband, hawker food is basically food you can purchase at a stall in a place where there are lots of stalls, and maybe eat as you walk. In the Manila there are probably some open air places that would qualify as hawker centers, but in this scorching weather it’s rather impractical. We decided to try this in Megamall, one of the largest (airconditioned!) malls in the country.

We have just finished a clothes-shopping run while our daughter was off playing, and we were all pretty much famished. We started off with bottled water (Php20) and a small cup of corn kernels slathered with butter and cheese powder (Php30) from King Corn.

Next, we headed for Spam Jam on the other side of the mall and ordered a spam musubi (Php48) and lemonade (Php10 if you bought a spam item). Spam musubi is basically a giant sushi made with a slice of fried spam. T- finished up the corn, and went on to work on the lemonade. She didn’t like the flavored rice with the musubi, unfortunately, so she just nibbled on the spam which she likes very much. C- and I liked the musubi just fine.

We moved on to the nearby Empanada King stall and ordered a couple of super empanadas (Php49 each). This, in my opinion, is the absolute highlight of the experience. Empanadas are essentially baked pastries usually filled with meat. Super empanadas are filled with steak (!!) and is injected with gravy. Check out their banner.

You’d think that a hawker stall like this would just give you some inferior cut of beef, or something that isn’t beef at all. But let me tell you, this is some prime steak meat! And the gravy that comes with it is wonderfully made as well. Everyone liked it so much that we felt that two empanadas for the three of us weren’t really enough.

We also got a large cup of mixed berry tea with extra pearls at BubbaTeaLicious for Php60 near Empanada King. I realized just now that I forgot to take pictures of all the drinks from this point on. Here’s the best one I have of the tea. Note the supremely bored expression on T-‘s face, but actually she was just chewing on the empanada.

We actually didn’t eat the empanadas until we got to the food court, where there are some great free seating. Since we were already there, and there are also several other hawker stalls in the area, we decided to get some more stuff. We got a three-piece takoyaki (Php27) at a stall unsurprisingly named Takuyaki; a shawarma with extra meat (Php60) at Fireshack Shawarma; a big cup of calamansi juice (Php25) at a stall that sells only calamansi juice, Green Fresh; a small order of nachos (Php45) at a stall whose name I forgot; and a stick of Purefoods Tender Juicy jumbo hotdog at the similarly named stall for Php40.

The only fail among the orders was the nachos – it didn’t taste that good and was pretty much forgettable. Otherwise everything was tasty and nice.  T- ate most of one of the empanadas, and about a third of the hotdog. C- and I more or less split the rest. My favorite was of course the steak empanada, so much that we went back to get one more before we went home. Pretty good stuff!

Total expenses for the hawker food trip: Php512 including the take home empanada

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Blog, reviews

 

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My first foray into cooking fish

First, a little back story. My parents recently received a bunch of seafood from an old family friend who is based in Palawan. One of the things they received was a huge whole fish, which my dad thinks is probably deepsea fish because it had little or no scales. It was about 1.5-2 feet in length, and about 3 kg in weight. Now my mom is currently out on vacation, and would not be able to cook this fish for my dad. Naturally she assigned me the task of making this fish edible.

Since it would be mostly my dad who will be eating this fish, frying it would be out of question since he cannot eat very oily food. Baking would have been an option, except that their house does not have a working oven. The only methods left are steaming or stewing, and for whole fish it is probably better to go the way of the steam. I have never cooked fish prior to this since I’ve never learned the proper way to buy fish. It’s off to the internet for resources.

I found two recipes from Casa Veneracion that seemed interesting: Steamed Fish with Oyster Sauce and Spicy Steamed Fish (which incidentally also had oyster sauce). Since I had a huge fish, I figured I could do both if I cut the fish in half. That’s what I proceeded to do. With the help from my dad, who gutted the fish (it’s his first time gutting a fish too!) and sawed it in half, and my brother, who sliced up some of the vegetables, I proceeded to cook two versions of steamed fish using my mom’s shiny new steamer. I had to adjust since the recipes instructed to steam using the oven. Essentially, I steamed the two halves of the fish at the same time since there are two levels to the steamer. I put the spicy one at the bottom and the non spicy one at the top so that the non spicy one will remain not spicy. I also lined the two levels with aluminum foil to prevent the juices from spilling. I started counting the minutes once I saw steam coming out of the exhaust hole in the lid, and I let the fish steam for about 20 minutes.

Here’s the non-spicy half (tail part):

And here’s the spicy half (head part):

Not bad, if I say so myself. The only thing I wanted to improve on was the spicy half, since it wasn’t really spicy enough to be noticed. We ended up just slathering more chili garlic sauce on our fish as we ate it. On the whole, I was just very relieved that it came out edible and not a disaster.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Blog, Random Cooking

 

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This week in food (photos)

I would like to share some photos of the food we ate this week. First up, I ate this (huge!) plate of beef omurice at Kim&chi food stall in Glorietta 4’s Food Choices last Wednesday. There’s a huge mound of rice inside the delicately cooked omelette, and it was accompanied with what is basically chap chae topped with beef. It was an awesome dish for only Php 120.

In the following weekend we ate at a restaurant at Little Tokyo called Yamazaki. It’s a pretty busy place, and it has a connected Japanese grocery. My husband ordered a katsudon, Php 195.

I had an order of beef curry (Php 215), and it was one of the best curry I tasted! I found myself wanting more rice because of it!

We also ordered a pair of onigiri on the side (Php 165), an ume onigiri for me and a salmon flakes onigiri for him. It came with a piece of rather dry fried chicken.

Lastly, we split an order of yasai itame (sauteed vegetables) with our friend Ruben.

Finally, after a late night at the office we decided to eat at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants, Causeway at Libis. Since it was late night, their dimsum are at a reduced price (Php 52, I think?). Our first order was off the dimsum cart, some asado siopao and sharksfin siomai, plus our drinks.

We waited quite a bit for the rest of the dimsum, since it was already on an order-basis instead of having it in the cart. Here we had some kutchay, chicken feet, and beancurd rolls (my favorite!).

And also some sesame shrimp rolls. Goes really well with mayonnaise!

And there you have it! I hope you liked the photos, they were taken by my phone’s camera only, so the resolution isn’t all that great.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Blog

 

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Lunch at home: Japanese!

Where have I been? There’s been an upgrade in my status at work recently, and I have been very busy with adjusting and keeping up with the tasks that naturally my hobbies are the first to go. Including cooking. I’ve been able to catch up though, and perhaps I can go back to this hobby which is dear to me.

What I’m excited about is my purchase of umeboshi. I’ve been looking for this for a long time, and I was finally able to eat some at a Japanese restaurant at Little Tokyo in Makati. Of course I immediately wanted to buy some, to make into onigiri. I was able to find it in a Japanese grocery also at Little Tokyo. At first I only saw the big jars, which costs Php560 each, but I doubted that I can finish such a huge amount even though I really like ume. Luckily, there were smaller jars which costs only Php140. Here’s my beloved jar, along with a bottle of soy sesame dressing (Php150?).

Today was my chance to make onigiri, and I decided to make a themed lunch out of it. I made ume onigiri for myself, spicy tuna onigiri for The Man, some takuan, and an egg drop soup with wakame seaweed.

Bits of the spicy tuna onigiri kinda fell apart a little at the plating. The spicy tuna is from a can of 555 Hot and Spicy tuna. There were quite a bit of it, and the left overs are in that small red square bowl at the bottom. Here’s a close up of the not-yet-wrapped-with-nori ume onigiri, which of course at this stage is not distinguishable from the spicy tuna onigiri.

The takuan came from a long solid piece that I bought from Landmark Supermarket. It costs about Php200+, but it’s a pretty big piece so this will last a long time. You only ever eat so many slices at a time anyway. Here I used three slices halved, served with a small dipping sauce of Kikkoman soy sauce.

Lastly, I made an egg drop soup made from this gem.

It’s really pretty easy to prepare. Just boil two cups of water, pour in the whole packet, and simmer for about a few minutes until all the powder has dissolved. Then I slowly poured in a lightly beaten egg while stirring the soup, to make the egg come out in strands. As a last minute inspiration, I decided to drop in about three pinches of dried wakame seaweed (bought from the Japanese grocery, Php 140 a small pack). It re-hydrated pretty well in the hot soup. After removing from heat, I put in a half teaspoon of sesame oil for added flavor.

Not bad for a homemade lunch!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Blog

 

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