Thursday, June 30, 2011

Filipino food: More than just adobo

Japan is known for its sushi, America for its hamburgers, Italy for its pizza, France for its foie gras (fatty liver) and China for its noodles.

But what about the Philippines?

Through the years, several people have tried to describe what Filipino cuisine is all about, and most of them say the dish that best defines our country is adobo, or meat (from pork and chicken to seafood and offal) braised in garlic, vinegar and soy. Each household, town, province and region has a different way of preparing this otherwise simple viand.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Recipe: Celebrity chef Sam Leong's wasabi prawns

Here's a dish that is so powerful it gave a Singapore chef a career, a wife and an opportunity to travel the world.

Well, at least that's what Sam Leong, the city-state's very own celebrity chef, claimed when he held a cooking demo at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel earlier this month.

"I bring this dish wherever I go," he said.

Leong was referring to his wasabi prawns, a dish that required few ingredients and only took him 10 minutes to prepare. It was so easy to do, one would wonder how it promoted someone to master chef status.

The answer was revealed shortly after. True enough, the dish was simple but amazing -- the prawns were delicately coated in a batter that is both crunchy and hard, reminiscent of peanuts. The sauce, made from mayonnaise, condensed milk, wasabi paste and lemon juice, gave just the right amount of sweetness and spice.

It was effortlessly beautiful, like magic -- or perhaps kung fu, as others would say. No wonder it is very close to Leong's heart even if he has created tens of thousands of modern Chinese dishes.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Puerto Galera's well kept culinary secret

Expatriates and foreign travelers seem to be drawn to a secluded resort in Puerto Galera, the northernmost municipality in Oriental Mindoro province.

Australian-owned Out of the Blue is tucked away from the pack on White Beach, known as the go-to place for local tourists. Its cluster of Mediterranean-style luxury villas sits on a small lot overlooking Small La Laguna.

"Our resort became popular mainly through word of mouth. We had mostly foreigners, expats, those who work in embassies and Asian banks," said John Booth, one of the resort's owners. The other is his good friend and former colleague, Chris Shannon.

"We never expected it to be as successful as we've actually become."

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Sampling Coke-laced diner food at The Real Thing

"The Real Thing" used to be the advertising slogan for Coca-Cola, the ubiquitous soft drink brand with the classic white lettering against a red background.

It's also the name of a themed diner at Tomas Morato in Quezon City which opened late last year. 

And it was named such for a reason. The place screams "I love Coca-Cola so much that I'm giving it free advertising!" at the top of its lungs, from the familiar signage font to the huge coke bottle-shaped shelf filled with Coca-Cola memorabilia. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Let's talk fast food: Yummy Roast

Imagine eating Asian-style fare, just like what is served in Singapore's food courts, in a typical fast food environment.

That's the feeling I got upon my first visit at Yummy Roast, the newest addition to the Philippines' growing list of Singapore influenced food chains. It's a result of a partnership between Richie Yang of Yum Roast International Inc. (the Filipino company that runs Super Bowl of China, Big Buddha and Chili's) and Cary Gee of The Asian Kitchen restaurants in Singapore.

Yummy Roast looks and feels like the usual fast food chain, complete with yellow plastic chairs and a counter where all the menu items are displayed. It also has "value meals" and unlimited rice offerings, as seen in most quick service restaurants here in the country.

The difference, however, lies in the food.