Saturday, May 30, 2015


This is Buzfeeed's second Filipino food taste test where Americans try Filipino food. The food theories ("any food that's in the shape of a ball, probably Filipino") and the reactions are absolutely hilarious.

Here's the one that started it, where another group of Americans tasted Filipino street food. Their reactions to Kwek-Kwek and Kikiam are as enjoyable as a stick of hot fishball dipped in sweet-sour sauce.

All the videos are owned by Buzzfeed. No copyright infringement intended.

Friday, May 29, 2015


We like to have friends over for dinner. I usually plan ahead and ask my friends if they're bringing anything. But if there's juicy chismis or if someone has needs some talking to, I often find myself cooking an impromptu dinner.  I never sweat it out, though and always have something quick and easy-to-make in mind.

One of my go-to dishes for impromptu dinners is a Japanese variation of the cream-based carbonara pasta because it's easy to  make and dinner guests often find the quirky combination delightful.



400 g linguini pasta
250 g bacon
200 g asparagus
2 cups Japanese mayonnaise
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated


Cook the linguini as per packet instructions. I usually choose the  Italian brands that cook for about 11 minutes. When you drain the pasta, save about 1/4 cup of the salty, starchy water. Set the pasta aside.
Fry the bacon in olive oil until crispy. Chop into 1 inch squares. Set aside some bacon for topping.
Using the oil from the bacon, saute the onions and when they turn translucent, add the garlic. Mix for about a minute then turn the heat down. Add the asparagus and wait for another minute before adding the pasta and the Japanese mayonnaise. If it gets too thick, add in a little of the starchy water.

Right before serving, mix in the grated parmesan. Top with bacon bits and more parmesan.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


They're both nuts! Not!
What's the difference between these nuts? 
In botany, real "nuts" are specifically indihescent fruits or fruits that have solid shells growing around the seed and do not naturally open  upon maturity. But a peanut fruit, which grows underground with the roots of the peanut shrub, has a shell with a seam that splits open to reveal the pods inside.   

Technically, the peanut is not a nut.
Image courtesy of Koehler Images
Are you shell shocked? Don't be, because the cashew is not just a nut poser but a fruit poser as well!

The cashew is a seed of the cashew apple that grows outside its shell (talk about being rebellious) and above ground.  And because the seed grows outside the fruit, it's technically not a fruit. I guess, it figured why not expose my nut, that would be the ultimate disguise!
Image courtesy of Koehler Images

Here's a tale of the (nutritional) tape:

But when it comes to being buttered, which nut poser is better?
The Cashew Butter on the left has more oil and was not grainy. This meant it did not stick to the ngalangala (upper palate) as much as the peanut butter but it tastes fattier. However, the cashew butter carries the roasted flavor better than the peanut butter.
Cashew Butter
The peanut butter, the more familiar butter, is a paler brown and a milder flavor. Weirdly, even of the cashew has higher sugar content, the peanut butter I tasted was sweeter.  It's grainier than the cashew butter but spreads very well.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Photo is screen captured from the video produced by Paul Kerley for BBC
Came across this  BBC News article about the winners of the Pink Lady Food photography contest, a competition that pay tribute to the talent of pay tribute to the outstanding photography behind many food blogs and raise money for Action Against Hunger.

The photos in all the linked sites are very interesting and inspiring because it does not only focus on the beauty of food shots but also the stories behind each picture.

Take some time to enjoy the pictures by just clicking on the links.

Friday, May 22, 2015


I was on a weekend getaway with friends when we chanced upon this hole in the wall, just right outside the gates of Subic Bay Freeport.
We were looking for home-cooked meal and we saw the ihawan right beside it. Luckily, the ihaw-ihaw place did not serve rice and had no seating. We were 'forced' to order food at 'Leah's Lutong Bicol' so we could occupy a table. And did it turn out to be the best mischance we had for the night because the laing is one of the best I tasted.
We ordered Laing, the famous Bicolano dish made of dahon ng gabi, gata and sili.  

Aling Leah, a Bicolana who married and settled down in Subic, shared that her spicy laing is based on a family heirloom recipe and uses only kakang gata (pure coconut cream) giniling na baboy (ground pork). She simmers the ingredients for a long time to really integrate the gata into the gabi leaves and pork.

So, when you find yourself hungry in Subic, go and check out  Lea's Lutong  Bicol.

Address: 525 Rizal Avenue, West Tapinac, Olongapo City
Telephone: 0908-748-8255

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Came across this article on food art that has a new take on 'cubism' by perfectly slicing 98 different kinds of food into perfect squares.
Image courtesy of
I searched the web for the people crazy enough to perfectly cube food and found out that they're Dutch collaborators Lernert Engelberts and Sander Plug who've won prestigious awards but porbably go to work in their cut-offs and undies.
Image courtesy of
The 'cubist' art was commissioned by Dutch newspaper De Volkskrantfor a food-themed documentary. As seen in their website the duo finds food interesting and have tried stacking Christmas dinner on top of several iphones  and mercilessly  melting a chocolate bunny with an iron

Here's to more crazy food artists!

Saturday, May 16, 2015


I'm a hybrid bisaya. Born in Davao, I spent a few of my formative years in Iloilo and grew up in Manila. My knowledge of the Sugbuhanon and Hiligaynon languages is so limited and mixed-up, I made a term for it- Carabao Bisaya.

My father speaks in Hiligaynon only to my grandparents, my mom and his friends. Always doing so in his malambing singsong voice. On the other hand, my mom's Sugbuhanon is spewed in a rat-a-tat manner akin to a machine gun being fired by a blind, raging marine. That's when she's not mad.
I grew up understanding them but speaking neither language fluently. When I try to converse, my Ilonggo accent comes out but my limited Cebuano vocabulary only allows me to sputter a three-word sentence.

But whatever speech schizophrenia my parents have given me, they more than made up  for it in the Visayan cooking they've both taught me.

Here's one of the hybrid recipes I learned from both my Ilonggo father and Dabawenya mother.


Kinilaw is the Filipino version of the ceviche where the main ingredient, usually fish, is cured in citrus juices. In kinilaw, the raw fish  is cured in acetic acid. Don't panic that's just the fancy geek work for suka (vinegar).

1/2 kg fresh dilis (fresh water anchovy)
100 mL coconut cream (kakang gata sa lubi) from 2 coconuts, grated
3 tbsp. vinegar (the white sukang paombong or the reddish sukang halin sa tuba)
1 green mango, grated into small pieces
2 pcs onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic,  finely chopped
1 small piece ginger, finely chopped
1 pc siling haba, sliced  (or 2 pcs siling labuyo)


Prepare the fish
Wash  and drain. Then chop off the heads and tails. Fillet by opening the fish in the middle and taking out the bones. Aside from the spine, there are smaller bones in the sides. make sure to take them out, too.  Wash, drain and towel dry. Add a little salt and the vinegar. Set aside in the ref.

Make the coconut cream
Have the coconut grated in the supermarket or wet market.  Put in a bowl and squeeze with your hands to get the creamy liquid. Do not use water to get the kakang gata or the purest coconut cream.

If freshly grated coconut isn't available you can use the canned or packed liquid coconut cream. However, the canned (or boxed) varieties tend to be sweeter and if you know your gata, they won't taste that fresh. I wouldn't use powdered coconut cream as the end result will be watery.
If there is fresh coconut  but no grater to be found, you can always use a melon hand grater.

But expect to be finished after 365 days, so the other way is to scoop out the coconut and put them in the blender.

Prepare the Green Mango and Spices

Cut the green mango. Grate the flesh from each cheek using a spoon. You want to get the acidic juices to come out.
Chop the ginger, garlic and onion finely. Slice the siling haba into 1/4 inch thick slices.  If you want the kinilaw to be really spicy, use siling labuyo.

Mix all ingredients
Bring out the dilis. Add the grated green mango and chopped spices. Mix in the coconut cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add chopped onion leaves and wansoy (coriander) to spice it up some more.

Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


All these years, I have been cooking my Pork Chops wrong.

I would just thaw, season and toss them over to a pan of boiling oil. I would usually end up with dried outer meat and raw meat inside. Then, I would try to salvage the situation by either putting the chops back in the pan (where the meat gets burned) or in the microwave (where the meat ends up tough and chewy). The scenario always ends up with me ordering fried chicken for delivery.

I recently found out that a great way to have juicy Pork Chops is to brine them before and oven-roasting.

What is a Pork Chop?

All Pork Chops come from the lomo (loin) section, the part that runs from the hip to the shoulder,  and is cut perpendicularly to the spine. It usually includes a small bony part from the vertebra or a rib. The eye or the center of the chop is the meatiest portion surrounded by meat marbled with fat and ligaments. On the top part ,which is connected to the skin, is a fatty layer.
Image courtesy of Gamekeeper

What is brining?

It is a process of steeping meat (or other kinds of food) in a water-based salt solution to process the flesh and enhance its flavor. In this recipe, brining is used similarly to marinating. Putting the meat in a salt solution creates osmosis.  
Image courtesy of
The salt acts as a solvent that does many wonders. First, it breaks down the semipermeable membranes of microorganisms that thrive in the meat, drawing out water and slowing its growth (which is why salt is often used to preserve food).  But the process of osmosis doesn't stop there. The salt is absorbed into the meat and breaks down the soluble meat proteins, allowing it to surface and coagulate.

Imagine someone chewing the meat for you and then chucking them out into softer, chewier meatloaf. That someone is salt.
Who? Me?
What is roasting?
It is a process of dry heat cooking using where hot air slowly envelops the food, cooking it evenly on all sides with the help of an indirect heat source, like an oven. Oven roasting mainly uses heat convection, the process of transferring heat to the food via a fluid matter like water or air  to  produce browned surfaces and juicy interiors. In oven roasting, the moving warm air transfers heat energy to the surface of the meat. And then conduction happens as the heat travels through it the meat, cooking its inner parts.
Is it hot in here or is it me?
Making juicy Pork chops takes a few more steps and more time but the result  is definitely worth it.

3 cups water
3 tbsps  salt (add 1/2 tbsp. if you're using table salt)
4 garlic cloves
1 tsps black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Pork Chops
2 Pork Chops, Pork-rib cut, bone in,  about 1 inch thick 
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
First, brine the pork Chops.
Boil 1 cup of water. Add the salt and stir to dissolve. Add the aromatics and water two cups of cold water. You're doing this to bring down the brine to room temperature. Place the pork chops in a shallow container and pour the brine in. 
The portions here are good for two pieces of chops. If you're cooking more, just add water and salt with a ratio of 1:1.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 4 hours. Don't leave it overnight or the meat will be too salty and will fall apart.

Before searing the pork chops, drain them from the brining solution, wash them down with water and pat dry with a paper towel.
By this time, you should also be pre-heating the oven to  400°F.
Season the chops with olive oil, salt and pepper. You can also use soy sauce, but remember, this will darken the meat even faster.
Put the pan in high heat and sear the Pork Chops for about 3 minutes on each side, depending on how thick the cut is. If the pan smokes and the side of the chops turn dark faster than you expected, just lower the heat.
Transfer the Pork chops to the oven and cook for about 6-10 minutes. The thicker the cut, the longer they should be in the oven.
Let the meat rest for about 5 minutes. 
When the meat is roasted, the surface of the meat that gets all the warm air, forces the juices towards the center, saturating it. If you don't let the chop rest, all the extra liquid just spills out. Resting allows the liquid from the center to flow back to the outer parts of the chop.

Now, you're ready to serve your chops.

Here are my chops, served with linguini carbonara and a tomato salsa.
This one's served with mashed potatoes, gravy and salsa.