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!
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!
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…
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.
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!
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…
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.
Taipei, Taiwan based on travel blogs seem not in the top list of places to go to on the planet. But I along with Nengkoy and elder sister Ester nevertheless adventured into seeing what Taipei has to offer. Actually, yesterday we were back to Manila and actually just arrived from Taipei. And before the lazy bug bit me, let me showcase an awesome experience while we were there.
Night markets in Taipei are quite popular. Shilin Night Market located near Jiantan train station is considered the largest is actually the most popular among tourists. This is the night market that Nengkoy, I and my sister chose to chill at and visit during a very short stay in Taipei.
Shilin Night Market is known to offer various food and nonfood items. Aside from a couple of cool t-shirts I purchased, I got to try two amazing stuffs at this lively, brazen and well-admired night market.
The Ampaet Drink
First, I got to try the white bitter gourd juice. Bitter gourd is known as Ampalaya in the Philippines. Here in my country, Ampalaya is green in color and never used as a juice drink flavor. Because of its bitter taste, it is one of my most hated vegetables.
But in Taiwan, they got a white/albino variety and they use it for a refreshing juice drink. Upon learning that such is mixed in a cold drink, it got me curious. I even thought that the albino variety would be a redeeming version of the green-colored variety. I was expected that it would be sweet to the taste. So as to end my pondering, I ordered a tall glass.
As for the taste, it was a disappointing bitter taste same as the green version. And same as the green variety, I hated the white kind. It was not my type! Ampaet! (Translation: so bitter!) But as a consolation, I nevertheless will no longer have to brood over on what the taste was of such a rare drink when I get back to Manila. To get rid of the bitter after taste, I, Nengkoy and my sister decided to gulp on a very cold bottle of pure and freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, which is also a popular street drink in Taipei!
The Uncut Cutlet
Second, Shilin Night Market shall be for the record the place where I actually had the largest piece of chicken cutlet. It was so big I thought it was an ostrich!
There was a long queue at store called Hot Star. I actually don’t know what people were queuing up for. And since the line is very long, I assume the food stuff that store was selling must be amazing. I just decided to fall in line and only got to realize that it was a humongous filleted chicken cutlet that was being sold when I was already paying for it.
Hot Star chicken cutlet was surprisingly very good and very tasty! The chicken meat is evenly coated with a crunchy deep fried golden brown batter. Before the ginormous cutlet was handed over to me upon payment, it was sprinkled with flavoring powder which I believe (based on the whispers of my taste buds) is composed of white pepper, sea salt and special spices. This chicken cutlet was surprisingly tender and juicy. It was so ginormous I shared it with Nengkoy!
These are just two of the million or more possible stuffs that people can try when they visit the vibrant Shilin Night Market. There is a cornucopia of stuffs that visitors can taste when they chill at this amazing night market. Try visit sometime and prove to yourself that Taipei is actually worth a visit!
Guests entering a restaurant three minutes before it closes is technically okay. But this situation is one of the most hated circumstances by that of the waiters and cooks. This is especially true when the kitchen has started to do its cleaning and sanitizing. Cooks would not have the choice but to gloomily re-grease their pots, pans and griddle and degrease it again later on when all orders of the oblivious close-to-being-late customer has been dispatched.
This is exactly what I did! And in the above scenario, I was the customer. Since it’s almost closing time, I expected that my orders would be nothing spectacular. I was actually expecting the food to be unmeticulous, negligent and haphazard.
But all my worrying expectations were all false! I was served, what could be considered one of the best gourmet burgers in Manila! Congratulations to Hunger Buster. This burger joint located at the 2nd floor of University Mall in Taft Avenue gave me what I never expected.
It was so delicious, I wanted to drag other folks dining at a nearby restaurant and tell them “what the hell are you doing in that measly resto when an awesome gourmet burger joint in Manila is just under your freakin’ nose!?”
It was the type of burger that I love. Hunger Buster provides disposable plastic hand gloves because their burger is a gloriously messy creation. All elements I wanted for a burger was there: tender and flavorful meat, crispy bits of savory bacon, provocatively dripping greasy juices and gooey cheese! And despite the dripping juices, the soft and tasty bun never turned sad and soggy. For me it was one surprising burger!
I will definitely be back at Hunger Buster and on that time, I will step in 2 minutes before it closes! Hahaha!
Did you know that according to the readers’ poll by CNNGo in 2011, Prata Roti sold in Singapore is part of the top 50 delicious food around the world? Good thing, I do not need to go to India, Singapore or Malaysia to enjoy the deliciousness and palatability of this flat bread. It is because Prata Roti can be found at Prata Avenue, a new Singaporean food stall located at The Mill in Pulilan, Bulacan.
Yeah, the most delicious Prata Roti in the Philippines is not found within Metro Manila. A little effort of travelling to Bulacan is needed before you can enjoy this tasty Singaporean fluffy and flaky type of pancake. I’m saying it’s so good because whatever you put or add into Prata Avenue’s version of prata roti, every bite evokes nothing but pure pleasure to the palate! It was so good, when I came back to order another round of the Prata Combi 2 (ham & cheese), the lady attendant told me that this flavor (since it was so popular) was already sold out.
Another dish that put’s delight to my Prata Avenue experience was their kebabs! If CNNGo considers Roti Prata as top 50 most delicious food, according to BBC poll in 2004, kebab is one of the 50 food that a person must eat before he dies.
Prata Avenue’s unique presentation of this skewered dish is so appealing! The presentation is quite unique, buyers deemed it “instagramable” (is that a word?). Personally, I would call it as curtain kebabs! The presentation is so distinctive and prominent, it gives you a dash of baseless smugness and arrogance each time this curtain kebab gets served on your table. I don’t know, but guests in the area who has curtain kebabs on their table looks richer and well-heeled. While those without it and settled for other dishes looked lowly and deprived. And since I’m conceited, I ordered 2 curtain kebabs!
I enjoyed my munching and chomping at Prata Avenue. By the way, did you know that “prata” means silver in Portuguese? Yeah, Prata Avenue at The Mill is definitely one silvery path that will lead you to an awesome palatal experience. Thanks Prata Avenue for featuring 2 lip-smacking CNNGo-and-BBC-recommended dishes that the Filipinos must try before they die.
Prata Avenue is located at The Mill: Pulilan Food Park,
Pulilan National Road, Poblacion, Pulilan Bulacan.
One downside of being a solo traveler, which I realized during my San Francisco CA solo expedition, is that I am to eat alone. Good thing I am living by myself in Manila, thus, the impact of eating solo in a foreign country is not disturbing if compared to those who are so used to sharing a thought and their food with someone else during a meal.
Because of this glitch, I avoided fancy restaurants and during meal periods I can be found in a communal table of a food court, an indie coffee shop or in a park munching a dish I bought from a food stall or food truck.
But when my college best friend Marie (now based in Los Angeles) recommended that I should try and dine at Stinking Rose, I never had a second thought. One late lunch period, I navigated the streets of SF and proceeded to Columbus Avenue where the Italian restaurant is located.
The receptionist upon knowing that I am dining “just myself”, she was smart and gentle enough to assign me to a good and strategic table (a corner by the window) which seem intended really for solo diners.
I ordered a 3-course Prix Fixe Dinner bundle. For the main course I settled with the one recommended by the waiter, the Forty Clove Garlic Chicken. And when the food was served, I totally forgot about the glitches and hurdles of dining solo in a fancy or busy restaurant.
On a bright side of this experience, since my mind would not be diverted or side-tracked from this gustatory encounter, I actually was able to indeed levy the quality and taste of the food that was served at Stinking Rose. I was more focus and conscious about the palatal attributes of the food I was devouring. And my verdict about Stinking Rose? Let me just say that my super friend Marie cares for my palatal satisfaction. She indeed gave me an excellent recommendation!
I may forget that I dined solo at Stinking Rose but the gustatory experience I had with this Italian restaurant shall be remembered for a very long time.