Category: food

Khaoniao Mamuang: Best Thai Dessert

I can no longer count the number of times that I have posted in this blog that my favorite course in an entire meal would be the dessert.  The confectionery course has always been my main course!

When I was in Bangkok with my mom and sisters, we of course got to try Thai dishes.  I have always revered how uniquely sensual and remarkably palatable Thai dishes are.  But still, it is a simple dessert among all the striking Thai dishes that really makes my modest and artless taste buds happy.

I love Khaoniao Mamuang.  Don’t be fooled by how the words were spelled and how should it be read.  The best Thai dessert for me is simply known as Mango Sticky Rice!

I adore this dessert for it is uncomplicated, simple and straightforward!  No lavish implements are needed for its presentation; no rare, pricey and uncommon ingredient is need; no knotty and confusing procedures are required for its preparation; and, no intricate and confusing way of eating and enjoying it.  Yet the taste is so heavenly! 

mango sticky rice in the past are simply sold by street vendors of bangkok, but now it is conveniently available in groceries and supermarkets…
a night in bangkok…

It was my fifth time in Bangkok about a week ago.  I may have failed to revisit some the beautiful and spectacular tourist spots of the city, but I never failed to eat, savor and enjoy the divine and blissful Khaoniao Mamuang!

Uulit ulitin talaga…

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Jamie’s Italian Bangkok

One epicurean highlight of me, my sisters’ and my mother’s adventure in Bangkok was the opportunity to dine at Jamie’s Italian.  It is a popular worldwide chain of Italian restaurants conceived and run by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.  Thanks to cable TV my family knows who Jamie Oliver is.

This chain of restaurants has recently been in the news in which about a dozen of its branches scattered around the world are reportedly beleaguered and will soon be closing.  It is so ironic that it has yet to open a branch in Manila, yet branches in other spots on the planet are already closing.

So before Jamie’s Italian would completely dissolve and utterly disappear from the face of earth, me, Nengkoy and my sisters took the chance to savor some of its dishes.  My family love watching cable TV cooking shows (including that of Jamie Oliver’s) and now that there is an opportunity, we will no longer forever wonder how a popular celebrity chef’s creation actually taste like.

These are what we ordered…

Soup of the Day… pumpkin soup! This surprisingly passed the palate of Nengkoy whom I consider to be an authority when it comes to pumpkin soups.
Meatball Pappadelle (free-range pork & fennel meatballs in ‘nduja tomato sauce with olives, herby breadcrumbs, rocket and parmesan) this is sooo good…
Spaghetti Alla Norma (a classic sicilian pasta dish or aubergine, chilli & basil in rich tomato sauce) it’s vegetarian yet my personal favorite! 
Truffle Shuffle (white sauce, truffled salami, fontal, balsamic onions, free-range egg & black truffle) super savory!
Epic Chocolate Brownie (with proper chocolate sauce, salted caramel ice cream and caramelised popcorn) super yummy!

And after enjoying all these savory dishes, I wonder why a significant number of Jamie’s Italian branches around the planet are in the brink of closure.  Maybe it’s because taste buds of people around the world has mutated, regressed and had a relapse that it can no longer fathom, appreciate and recognize what good food is.

Good to know that the Bangkok branch stays strong and dynamic.  This is considering the fact that Thai people seem to be one of the most discriminating in terms of flavor, taste and palatal experience.  With the luscious taste and flavors we experienced at Jamie’s Italian Bangkok located at Siam Discovery, I hope that this chain remain for a long period of time for others with discerning taste to enjoy. 

me and nengkoy… enjoyed the food so much!

Parang ako ang kasarapan!

Food for Thoughts at China Blue

Every time a member of my family finishes his or her studies – may it be elementary, high school or college – the graduation dinner treat for him or her is always held at the old, not so expensive and not so savory Filipino restaurant in Malate, Manila (which I refuse to name).  It has always been the tradition that Nengkoy got to insist that the celebration be held in that restaurant may you graduated with summa cum laude honors or you finished at the bottom of your class’ ranking.

But for the Master’s Degree graduation of my nephew Luis, I got to choose the restaurant!  Nengkoy allowed that it be held someplace else maybe it is because the graduation is not just an ordinary bachelor’s degree but something higher, more advanced and more difficult to obtain.

I chose China Blue.  Having previously enjoyed the savory food I this authentic Cantonese Restaurant located inside Conrad Hotel, Manila, I knew that Nengkoy and the members of my family in that dinner would truly enjoy some sumptuous treat!

Nengkoy with Team Langit. Congratulations Luis!
the mandatory photo-taking of me and nengkoy…
super nice private room where we had dinner… the waiter i guess felt that me and my family are so noisy we were billeted in this private room

And since I arrive early in the restaurant, took the liberty of ordering the dishes for our group.  And when everyone arrived and each dish was being brought in into our room, I asked my family not to touch the dish until I tell them to because I want to take pictures of it.

Here’s the actual photos of some of our orders.  And since I lack the ability on how to properly describe each dish, let me then attach a Chinese proverb for every one of it…

when you drink the water, remember the spring.
(paper thin crispy beef in sweet and spicy sauce)
a bird does not sing because it has an answer. it sings because it has a song.
(sweet vinegar marinated cherry tomatoes with sour plum)
when the winds of change blow, some people build walls while other build windmills.
(barbeque honey-glazed matsusaka pork neck)
what you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.
(steamed truffle mushroom buns)
he who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left
(crispy fried shrimp salad with wasabi dressing)
pearls don’t lie on the seashore. if you want one you must dive for it (hahaha! can’t remember what this yummy dish is called)
true knowledge is when one knows the limitations of one’s knowledge
(pork belly wok fried)
if you always give, you will always have
(crispy pumpkin coated with salted duck eggs)
if you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow
(fried spinach bean curd with spicy sichuan eggplant with minced chicken sauce)

I failed to take a photo of the Buchi or glutinous rice dumpling with red bean filling coated with sesame seeds (our desert) which according to our waiter Angel was a very good choice because it was the award-winning dessert of China Blue Manila.  My family are all sweet toothed, it would not come as a surprise that everyone would just rapidly dig into the delicately sweet Buchi and would not care if I have already taken a photo or not.

I really can’t figure out what specific dish was the highlight of that dinner.  It is because every dish was beautiful, every dish was delicious and every dish deserves a big round of applause!

And when Luis would decide to further pursue his studies, doctorate degree that is.  I’m pretty sure Nengkoy would again agree that Luis’ PhD graduation dinner be held again in China Blue Manila.

Kongrats Luis!

A Fruity Twisted My Brain

I was not longing for Ruby Roman Grapes, the most expensive grapes in the world.  I was never looking for Ackee, one of the rarest fruits on the planet.  And not once did I crave for Cherimoya which according to Mark Twain is the most delicious fruit known to men.

I was only yearning to try a Miracle Berry and experience for myself the magic and oddity it does to my taste buds.

twisted!

And this yearning has finally been resolved when Chef Clark Soliman, a co-employee, learned about my hankering.  He’s got a Miracle Berry plant in his backyard in Pampanga.  Chef Clark when he visited my office actually gave me a handful of this amazing berry.

I right away tested it.  I ordered the nearest restaurant from my office to deliver me a chopped calamansi (a very sour citrus fruit abundant here in the Philippines).  I munched into the miracle berry as soon as my chopped calamansi has been delivered.  And after a couple of minutes, I was supping, lapping and sucking on what supposed to be the sourest citrus fruit on the planet.  But my discernment was different, my taste buds were telling me that I was supping on the sweetest and most delicious honey orange in the universe!

from notorious sourness to heavenly sweetness


Miracle Berry indeed tricked and deceived my precious taste buds!  I never knew that my brain could further be twisted by such a mere fruit.  It’s fun! Find one and be twisted by the effect of Miracle Berry.
Tikman nyo! Kaaliw!

Three Meal Periods at the Number 2 Restaurant in Alaminos Pangasinan

This blog post officiates my being an avid fan of Celia’s Café, the number 2 restaurant according to TripAdvisor in Alaminos Pangasinan.  Number 1 restaurant of course is the old and tired Maxine By The Sea located at Lucap.  Though run-down and the food served were average, Maxine By The Sea is the leading restaurant in Alaminos.  Its TripAdvisor’s number 1 because it is located at a wharf near the dock where tourists would have to take a boat ride to reach the majestic Hundred Islands.  It’s one of those rare eateries whose reason for being number 1 is not their food nor their service but its location.  I still remember way back in the early 90’s was the first time I dined there.  It was also my first time in Hundred Islands!

me, my sister and a few of my monster pamangkins

The number 2 restaurant on the other hand seem to possess the thrilling potential of becoming the leader among restaurants in Alaminos.  Celia’s Café seem to capture the urbanized and the ruralized feel.  Their ambience and facilities are homey yet urbanite.  Because of the modern feel of the ambience, you will never miss the feeling of being in an urbanized city when you dine there.  But their warm service is naively bucolic.  Celia’s Café are manned by gentle and courteous lads, which reminds you that you are indeed in a countryside away from the jungles of Manila.

But what I particularly love about Celia’s Café is the food.  It’s surprisingly delicious!  During my recent revisit, I again ordered the Pasta Longganisa for lunch, the one I ordered the first time I dined there.  All I can say is that it is consistently luscious.  The only thing that changed was the bread.  It is because it is now tastier and more delicious.  The focaccia bread was so good, I ordered extra and even ordered take-out so as to bring it back to Manila!

focaccia inside a bag (my take away!)
yum!

And since there seem to be no agreeable restaurant establishment in Alaminos except for Celia’s Café, me and my family returned at dinner time.  We ordered the platter in which, one order is already good for four (4).  I was especially impressed by the flavors of the Chicken Platter.  It is because each dish in the platter tasted differently.  It was unlike the platter offerings by other restaurants in which each dish seem to taste the same with other dishes in the platter.  The Southern Style Fried Chicken was of a totally different flavor from the Chicken Salpicao and the Chicken Salpicao was of a totally different taste from the Pork Tonkatsu.  And what is best about the platter was the generous serving of rice!  To top it off, we were surprised to find out that our ordered platter comes with a whole serving of soft and chewy pancakes!

The following morning before heading back to the jungles of Manila, me and my family returned to Celia’s Café to have breakfast.  I had the big fulfilling English Breakfast, which I guess is the only English breakfast dish served in the whole of Alaminos province.

Enough said and I am impressed if you reached this point of this blog.  Hahaha!  I think I already said that I am a fan.

Tagahanga! Dats mi!

Self Indulgence at Market Cafe

Some go on travel, some sleep all day, others go on shopping spree.  Some would have a make-over, some would spend the whole day at a theme park, others would have a relaxing massage.  These are various ways on how people would threat and pamper themselves.

There was no celebration and there was nothing to commemorate, yet I and some of my colleagues decided to indulge in a sumptuous lunch buffet!  Aiko, the gentle bloke among all of us happen to own a BDO credit card that provides 50% discount promo at New World Hotel Manila’s Market Café.  And since we believe that we deserve for some little treat, we all agreed to avail of the promo!

pig out gang!
yum!
happy tummy! sulit!

All of us deviated from our respective regular breakfast so as to ready our respective bellies to the epicurean event!

We were all happy and pleased by this gastronomic indulgence.  The price of the buffet though half-priced is not cheap that is why we truly made sure that it was all worth every penny that we paid for.  In fact, we were actually the last group to leave the restaurant! It was so funny because almost all of us turned nauseous because of being so full.

On my way home, this episode made me realize that little pleasures like this get simple people like us get through the everyday grind.  Simple people like us, definitely deserve to lead a full and happy life!

Busog!

An Inimitable After-Wedding-Party of Alexis & Thatcher

I’m a proud uncle I must say.  Up until now I can’t seem to overcome the genial feeling at how the wedding ceremony and after-wedding-party of Alexis & Thatcher has turned out.  All elements of a fun party was there.  The wedding reception in particular was a well thought-off kind of a revelry.

The set-up was grand, the live music was impeccable and the host was entertaining!  Elements of Alexis and Thatcher’s personalities were present in all corners of the venue, from geeky/techy toys and designs to youthful books and journals.  I never realized that chic elegance and non-mainstream geeky-ness can jive well and would be such an exciting type of a wedding party concept.

grand!
nengkoy with the couple…
blue label…
ninong duties

Another impressive aspect of the party were the food and drinks.  When I saw the menu, I immediately concluded that the line-up of these exciting dishes were well-scrutinized.  The dinner was absolutely lovely!

I am not a wine connoisseur but my having three glasses of the red wine that night would signify how good the wine was.  But the most impressive of all in terms of drinks was the serving of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.  There was nothing geeky about it, but the serving of this rare Scottish whisky – a freakin’ bottle on every table – was sheer elegance!

But all these were topped by the dance number that Alexis and Thatcher has performed that night.  My family knows that the couple (both seem to possess considerable levels of geeky-ness) shall be the last to dance in any of our family’s occasion.  Seeing both strutting a swanky and ritzy dance number was such a treasure to behold.  Alexis and Thatcher’s romantic dancing made me super cheery, my emotional equilibrium went berserk that it made me cry for joy.

Here’s how grand the event was… watch it…

Awtstanding…