My palatal experience and taste for the Classic Pudding has come a long way. It progressed from being derisory to being lavish. My lunch today with Nengkoy and a few of my relatives at Medley Buffet in first-class hotel Okada Manila made me realize this.
When my sister Joie took a heap of the Classic Pudding as her dessert, I told aloud that Nengkoy (my mother) at one occasion made a Classic Pudding when we were still very small. Nengkoy upon hearing this smiled and nodded her head. But what is so memorable with Nengkoy’s Classic Pudding I told Joie is that it was made from left over breads most especially from the staple of the Marcos regime’s feeding program in the ‘70s called Nutribun.
I can still recall that Nutibun given to us students in the 70’s were so big, so dense and were so filling. It was so compact, that if you fail to consume it and let it stand for a day it will turn so hard, eating it would be next to impossible. I remember not eating those bulky Nutribuns and instead bring those home. This kindled the parsimony and thriftiness in Nengkoy. Instead of throwing away those rock hard Nutribuns, I remember she turned it into a hot delicious Classic Pudding.
After telling that story, I excused myself, went to the abundant and over-the-top buffet area of Medley Buffet. I also took a big bowl of their Classic Pudding for my dessert. While enjoying my dessert and washed it down with champagne, I silently reminisced about the taste of the pudding Nengkoy prepared for us when we were still kids in the seventies.
Parang walang pinagkaiba anf pudding ng Okada at ng Nutribun. Yummy! Hahaha!
Last Sunday, I woke up wanting to go to Ongpin, the Chinese Capital of the Philippines. As soon as I opened my eyes after a long and quiet sleep, my katawang lupa (flesh and corporeal being) just suddenly crave for the look, the noise and the smell of Ongpin.
Thanks to super friend Willie, he accompanied me and made my silly craving a reality. My longing was really plain and unchallenging. I just wanted to walk the super busy street of Ongpin, buy a snack and then leave. But thank goodness I was with itinerant Willie because he knows a very good eatery in this old and hoary part of Manila.
We dined at what is known as Estero. It is a non-air-conditioned diner that is right beside a creek and a tidal channel used as drainage canal in the overly populated area of Manila. I was at first so tentative and doubtful about the place. But when the gentle lady manning the eatery approached us and handed the menu, I knew that I was into some exciting gastronomic adventure.
Estero is tagged as a fast food on the internet but it is unlike the usual fast food that items were pre-prepared and placed on a heater display. Estero food are only cooked upon ordering. Maybe the reason why it is called fast food is because the kitchen is equipped with high pressure burners and the cooks prepare their dishes so fast. In a haste, the server was already serving our freshly cooked Hototay and the surprisingly crunchy Stir-Fried Mung Bean Sprouts.
Aside from the very good food, Estero’s price was surprisingly cheap. Total bill of all the fantastic dishes we ordered was roughly around 8 (US) dollars.
A friend learned that I dined at Apartment 1B of The Henry Hotel and suspected that the food must have been no good that is why I did not write or post about it in this blog. But since now that I am writing about it, it only means that I indeed enjoyed the food that they served us.
The selfish in me actually wanted the restaurant of The Henry Hotel to be a secret, but since friends learned that I dined there with Nengkoy and family, might as well spill the sumptuous beans!
I have nothing bad to say about the warm service, the appealing food and the relaxing ambiance. The food at Henry Hotel actually was a big positive surprise! I never expected it to be so good. Their well-presented dishes were amazingly fine and delicious.
I have nothing but alluring and charming praises for the food served at Apartment 1B. I will surely be back!
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.
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.
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!
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!