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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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Gift Series Part 2: Gifts for cooks and cook apprentices

Gifts!

Photo credit: Stephanie Kilgast

As promised, here’s part 2 of the gift series. This time, we will be focusing on the little things that your friends or family who are cooks (or even just cook apprentices) will appreciate receiving. Again, I will be focusing on “affordable” gifts, costing Php500 (~$11.41) and less.

Pots

Photo credit: Japan Home

Small sauce pans – Many home cooks have a set of pots and pans sized for an entire family. However, sometimes they will need smaller-sized pans for cooking sauces and glazes or even meals for only one or two people. From experience, you can really never have too many sauce pans! Saizen and Japan Home both offer their signature-priced pans, although they are not really very sturdy. Department stores offer better quality pans for around three times the price.

Places to buy: Saizen, Japan Home, home and garden section of various department stores

A set of small glass bowls – These are the very small clear glass bowls that we usually see in cooking shows, those that hold only a tablespoon or three of liquid or powder. These little bowls can serve a variety of purposes: they can hold cooking ingredients, serve as dipping containers, and if you buy the right-sized bowls, they can even measure ingredients for you. These usually cost Php15-40 per bowl.

Places to buy: home and garden section of various department stores

Spices

Photo credit: Abhijit Tembhekar

Spices – Spices are always a welcome gift for any cook. Having a complete stock of spices is very difficult because they aren’t really all that cheap. Try to avoid the common herbs like thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Instead, focus on the different ones like allspice, cumin, paprika, and turmeric. Better yet, try to find the rarer spice mixes that come with its own grinder.

Places to buy: supermarkets, Gourdo’s, warehouse stores (S&R, Price Smart, etc)

Containers with screwtop lids – Ah, containers. These are my personal favorites. It is preferable to gift glass containers, since that is the least reactive of container material. Screwtop lids will prevent more dropped-container accidents than “vacuum” seals. Big containers offer good storage space for things like flour, pasta, and cereal. Smaller ones will hold sugar, coffee, and other table condiments. A matching set will make a great gift.

Places to buy: Saizen, Japan Home, home and garden section of various department stores

I was thinking of going on to a third part, but seeing as Christmas is already next week and the stores will be packed it might be too late. I hope you enjoyed my very short series! 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Saizen Wipe Out Sale: 15 Days to Go!

Several blogs have mentioned the Wipe Out Sale that Saizen is having for this month of August. I decided to go out and take advantage of this sale. Here are the things I’ve purchased for myself, for Php 58 (~$1.29) each:

I’ve been waffling whether to get these bowls since the start of the sale. I thought, hey why not? I could always use more bowls. And if I go through with my plan of actually using the oven, these are perfect for baked pasta and rice dishes. I bought 3: the blue one for The Man, and pink ones for me and the little princess.

Who doesn’t like high socks?

I found these cute felt bento bands on sale and decided to get both the bunny and the panda. I didn’t get the third one (chicken) because it didn’t really look much like a chicken.

This red bento band was not grouped with the rest, so I didn’t see this until the last moment.

Aside from these, I also bought the following at regular price (Php 85) each:

Yes, more bento bands! Why not? This one is a little less wacky and more “professional” looking.

I had been wanting to get these onigiri molds since the branch in Trinoma opened. Good thing I got it, since it was the last piece.

I bought this jar for the sole purpose of holding a stock of soba sauce. Here you see I already brewed up a batch.

I also bought this new 2-tier bento, which is very small. This will go well with the bento bands I bought.

The thing here is, I didn’t realize that Saizen will be holding a special event on August 20-22 at the Robinson’s Galleria Atrium until I read this. Maybe I could have held out before buying those last 3 items at full price. At present the sale features mostly plastic containers, some crockery and other food receptacles, some beauty items, and other household products.

What have you bought so far?

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Quest for non-native fruit

I have been following this blog for some time (since around Day 38). It’s an interesting blog that teaches about couponing in the US, and the author’s challenge to himself to live on $1 a day of food. I find it interesting because 1) it’s about someone’s cooking adventures 2) couponing is something that cannot exist in the Philippines and 3) his writing style is engaging and he doesn’t hold back on sharing his experiences, whether bad or good.

One of the things that I like about the blog is the wealth of pictures that he includes. In conjunction with my love for fruit, his pictures have triggered a craving for fruit that are not native to the Philippines. I have been looking around for those, blackberries in particular, but have only found the usual local fruit like watermelons, grapes, bananas, and mangoes. I saw some raspberries in Rustan’s Katipunan but they were selling at Php400 (~$8.88) for a very small package, which was very steep.

Fortunately, my mother-in-law wanted to go to S&R, a large membership-shopping supermarket that carries both local and international products. The Man and I decided to tag along, with him intending to buy ice cream and me intending to scout (and buy) non-native fruit. Lo and behold! They were in fact carrying several kinds of non-native fruit, and I decided to get raspberries and plums.

These came up to Php550 total (~$12.22), which is still pretty steep but I doubt I could find a better price anywhere else. Here they are, unpacked.

So far they work great with my breakfast cereal (yum!). I’m not sure what else I could do with them considering the very small amount I got, but I plan to include them in some future baon. What kind of fruits do you like?

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Saizen is in Trinoma!

:happy dance:

Yes, that’s right. My favorite 100-yen store is now in my favorite mall! Saizen sells all items at Php 85 (~$1.84) regardless of size. The most important thing is that Saizen sells a lot of bento and cooking equipment not found in the other 100-yen stores. I already have bought some items from Saizen before.

Here’s my loot:

Okay, this is not exactly bento equipment. This is a plate specifically for holding and serving cold soba noodles. The wooden mat serves to both absorb the excess moisture as well as lets water drip onto the plate underneath. This also comes in a pure black theme, but I got the red-and-black since most of my plateware is also red-and-black. I’m thinking of getting a second (and maybe a third) soba plate, just in case I need it.

Yes! I finally got myself a nori cutter. I haven’t tried it out yet and see how this actually performs, but I have high hopes. The interesting thing about this cutter is it actually comes in a set of eight cutters (separately bought, of course). I chose cutter number 5, the bunny cutter. I plan to get cutters 1-4 and 6 as well, and skip the last two. The last two are a ship and a car respectively, which is not useful because my daughter isn’t into vehicles at this stage. Too bad Saizen does not have any kao (face) cutters, so my bentos will go faceless for now.

Lastly, I also bought a set of sauce containers. These are basically small plastic containers with lids and comes in different colors and designs. I have so far been reluctant to take pictures of my bentos with sauces because I’ve been using ugly sauce containers. Now, I will no longer be ashamed! Freedom! :3

Here’s a picture of those three items unwrapped. There are several other items that I am planning to buy: bento boxes to add to my collection; additional picks; the other cutters as I mentioned; onigiri molds; and cookie cutters.

Since I’m already in the process of sharing pictures of my loot, let me show you two new bento boxes I bought from two other merchants.

This is a two-tier bento I bought from Japan Home (another 100-yen store). It is quite small, and it comes with its own bento band and chopsticks. I’m planning to use this little bit a lot, to help me control my portions better. My other boxes are much much larger than this one. I bought this one for Php 88 (~$1.90).

Is it hard to imagine who this bento is for? The moment I saw this bento I knew I had to get it for my little T. The only problem I have with it is that it’s HUGE. It might not fit in her lunch bag, but we’ll see. I bought this one at Clipper in Trinoma for Php 99 (~$2.14).

Disclaimer: These items are bought with my own money and all opinions are my own. I have not been paid in any way to advertise by these merchants.

Originally posted: Jul 21, ’10 5:50 AM

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in Old posts

 

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More equipment!

I was able to go for a bit of shopping yesterday for some bento equipment. All of these were bought from Saizen, a 100-yen shop at Robinson’s Galleria, where everything is sold at Php85.00. I like Saizen because of the sheer variety of items that they offer.

This is a popsicle mold for four. Since Tesla loves ice cream, I figured I could make her some using this mold. It’s also rather nostalgic, since the kids from my era are used to making homemade ice drops by freezing fruit juice.

This is a nigiri-sushi mold. I am told that my maki were good, so I’m planning to make more. This mold will help me make differently shaped sushi.

I also bought these bento picks. Admittedly this is on the decorative side of making bento, I am hoping also that this will encourage Tesla to eat her packed lunches. This is a set of 50 vegetable-themed picks (actually they are more fork than pick).

Here I displayed the picks along with the opened sushi mold. As far as I can tell, there are five different designs of the picks. Aren’t they adorable?

Originally posted: Jun 14, ’10 2:24 AM

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in Old posts

 

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New bento boxes!

My newest hobby these days is cooking. Specifically, cooking for packed lunches, also known as bentos. I also like the different types of lunch boxes available out there, and I would like to grow a respectable collection. Prior to this, I had only been using standard plastic containers like Lock n Lock.

I found these beauties at the department store in Trinoma. Who would’ve thought they sold quality bento boxes?

The first box is a two-tiered green box with a hidden compartment for a spoon and fork set. Alternatively you can replace that with chopsticks. The box itself seems pretty sturdy and leak-proof, so there will be no fear even if you put this in your bag along with other belongings.


This second one is a three-tiered pink-and-white set with an accompanying spoon in the first layer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have its own compartment for utensils. However, this is designed to be carried on its own, as the pink part already acts as a carrying handle. As you can see in the picture, the plastic is not that thick.

I am excited to try them out!

Originally posted: May 31, ’10 4:28 AM

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2010 in Old posts

 

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