Wednesday, February 29, 2012

La Paz Batchoy

La Paz Batchoy is a Filipino noodle soup that has its origins from La Paz, Iloilo City in the central area of the Philippines. I've never actually had La Paz Batchoy. The closest I've gotten to it was having the dehydrated version, where you add hot water. And it was pretty bad. So it doesn't count. But I knew that this dish would be good if I had the original version. So I decided to try to make it and see what it would actually taste like. After a quick search, I decided on this recipe from Filipino Recipes.

The original recipe required the use of pork chitlins and liver. Not a huge fan of either. So I omitted them and kept the chicken, pork meat, beef and shrimp. It also required a small amount of bagoong, which is a shrimp paste found in Asian markets and a staple in the Filipino kitchen. I don't know what a real La Paz Batchoy tastes like, but this one was pretty darn good. Its pretty time consuming because I had to boil beef and pork bones to make the broth. But once that's done, the preparation is pretty simple. And totally worth the wait.

1 lb. beef chuck
Pork bones
16 cups water
1 medium onion, quartered
1/2 head garlic, crushed (about 6-8 cloves)
1/2 tsp. shrimp paste (Bagoong)
1 Tbsp. peppercorns, crushed
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. soy sauce
salt to taste
1/4 lb. pork
1/4 lb shrimp
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
ground chicharon, for garnish
fried/toasted garlic, for garnish
chopped green onions, for garnish
fresh Chinese egg noodles

1) In a large stock pot, boil beef chuck and pork bones with 16 cups of water for 2 hours, or until the beef is tender. Occasionally skim off the sludge that forms on the surface of the water. Drain the broth. You should have about 12-14 cups of broth. Discard pork bones. Cut beef into thin slices and set aside.

2) Return broth on the stove over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, shrimp paste, peppercorns, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, soy sauce, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Blanch shrimp until pink. Remove from broth. Remove shell and head from shrimp. Set aside.

3) Add pork and chicken into broth and continue to simmer until pork is tender, about 25-30 minutes. Add more water if necessary. Remove meats and allow to cool. Slice thinly and set aside.

4) Continue simmering broth over low heat until ready to serve. Place noodles in bowls and top with strained broth. Garnish with the sliced meats, chicharon, fried garlic, and green onions.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Crab Cakes

A couple of months ago, I bought a huge container of Chicken of the Sea Crab Meat from Costco, with the plan of making stuffed mushrooms for New Year's Eve. But things got kind of hectic and I didn't have time to make it. So the crab meat sat in the refrigerator. The expiration date is nearing, so I had to use it up fast. And since it is Lenten Friday, I figured it was the perfect time to use up this seafood.

I got this recipe for the container of crab meat and it came out so good. I served it with Creole sauce and hubby really liked it. If crab meat wasn't so expensive, I'd be making this dish often.

1 (16 oz) cup Crab Meat
1 beaten egg
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
1 tsp. creole seasoning
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup bread crumbs
Creole Sauce

1) In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except crab meat and bread crumbs. Stir until well incorporated. Add crab to the mixture and continue stirring until thoroughly incorporated. Gently fold in bread crumbs. Form into desired size patties. Pan fry on both sides until golden brown. Serve with creole sauce or aioli.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

A few months ago, I ordered some Fleur de Sel online in the hopes of making something salted caramel-y.

Fleur de Sel is a French sea salt. Its a finishing salt that gives a subtle salty flavor, unlike the regular table salt. I recently discovered the wonders of mixing salty with sweet in baking after tasting a chocolate cupcake drizzled with salted caramel. To die for. After that cupcake, I decided I wanted to replicate it, but never got around to it. So the Fleur de Sel sat in my pantry for months. Then I discovered this recipe from David Lebovitz for Caramel Salted Ice Cream. 'Nuff said. You can imagine how heavenly it tasted by its name alone. We all loved this frozen yummy treat.

Caramel Praline (mix-in)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. Fleur de Sel

1) Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or sparingly brush the baking sheet with unflavored oil.

2) Spread an even layer of the sugar into a medium-sized heavy duty saucepan. Heat sugar over medium heat until the edges begin to melt. Use a heat-proof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until caramel starts to smoke and begins to smell like its about to burn.

3) Sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon of Fleur de Sel without stirring and pour caramel onto prepared baking sheet. Immediately lift baking sheet, tilting and swirling to spread the caramel into as thin of a layer as possible. Set aside to harden and cool.

Ice Cream Custard
2 cups whole milk, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp. salted butter
1/2 tsp. Fleur de Sel
1 cup heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1) Make an ice-bath by filling a large bowl with ice about 1/3 full and just enough water so the ice floats.   Place a smaller metal bowl in the ice and pour 1 cup of milk in the inner bowl.

2) Spread 1 1/2 cups of sugar in an even layer back into the heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until edges begin to melt. Use a heat-proof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until caramel starts to smoke and begins to smell like its about to burn.

3) Once caramelized, remove from heat. Stir in butter and salt until butter is melted. Gradually whisk in cream. (Note: the caramel may harden. So return over low heat and continue stirring until all caramel is melted). Stir in milk until well incorporated.

4) In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks. Gradually pour a ladle full of warm caramel into the egg yolks and stir. Pour egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, scraping the bottom as you stir. Continue cooking until custard thickens and reaches a temperature of 160-170 deg F.

5) Strain mixture into milk set over an ice-bath. Add vanilla and stir frequently until mixture has cooled down. Refrigerate for 8 hours or until thoroughly chilled. (Or you can cheat like I did by refrigerating the mixture with an ice bath for 4 hours).

6) Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. While ice cream is churning, crumble the hard caramel praline into very tiny bits. Once ice cream is finished churning, stir in praline bits.  Place ice cream in an airtight container and freeze until firm. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Beef Mechado

Its Fat Tuesday. The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Where Catholics decide to fatten up before fasting on Ash Wednesday. I was planning on cooking a small quick meal, because hubby decided to start his diet. But heck, why not join the masses and cook a big meal.

The next dish on my to-do list resulting from our last trip to the Philippines is Beef Mechado. We had lunch at the Aristocrat prior to our flight back home to the States and hubby absolutely loved the Beef Mechado. He asked me if I can try to make the dish. And you know me. Always up for a challenge when it comes to cooking. So I did a search which lead me to this recipe from my go-to blog, Panlasang Pinoy.

Beef Mechado is another Filipino tomato-based beef stew, like the Beef Caldereta, but cooked and seasoned slightly differently. I've modified the original recipe to use a crock pot so that the meat comes out a lot more tender. Because frankly, slow cooking over a stove top never yields the best results for me. But the crock pot does. And this dish came out really well. Hubby loved this dish. He even said he thinks it might be better than the Aristocrat.

3 Tbsp. oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large onion, sliced
2 lbs. beef chuck, cubed
8 ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 slice of lemon
2 bay leaves
salt to taste
1 large potato, cubed

1) In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute garlic and onion. Add beef and cook until browned.

2) Place beef mixture in crock pot. Add tomato sauce, water, soy sauce, black pepper, lemon, bay leaves, and salt to taste. Slightly stir. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours. Halfway through the cooking process, add potatoes and continue cooking until meat is tender and potatoes are soft. Serve with steamed rice.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Homemade Marshmallows

On chilly evenings, we always have our fireplace on and our daughter likes to roast marshmallows. It wasn't so chilly last week, but out of the blue she wanted to roast some. Unfortunately we didn't have any marshmallows to roast. And then I remembered that there were several recipes in the blogosphere for homemade marshmallows. Then I thought, why not try to make some. So I settled with this recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker.

This recipe is pretty simple if you're organized. There are a lot of things going on at the same time, so you just have to have all the ingredients and appliances ready for a smooth process. Once its all said and done, these marshmallows come out so good. Mine didn't come out as pretty, but hey, they'll be floating and melting in my hot chocolate anyway.

1 cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 (1/4 oz) packets unflavored gelatin
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup cold water
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tbsp. sugar

1) Using a rimmed baking sheet that is about an inch high, line it with parchment paper. Dust generously with cornstarch. Set aside.

2) In a medium saucepan, add 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cup sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Once sugar is dissolved, continue cooking (without stirring) until temperature reaches 265 deg F on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

3) While syrup is cooking, pour remaining cold water (about 7 tablespoons) in a microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water and let sit for 5 minutes until it becomes spongy. Then heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to liquefy.

4) In a clean bowl of a stand-mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites over medium-high until firm, but still glossy. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.

5) As soon as the temperature of the syrup reaches 265 deg F, remove from heat. Lower mixer to medium speed, add syrup into egg whites, pouring in between the spinning beater and the sides of the bowl. Add gelatin and continue to beat for 3 minutes so that syrup and gelatin is fully incorporated. Beat in vanilla extract.

6) Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet. Spread to the corners of the pan, but try to maintain the height of the mixture at 1-inch. Dust the top of the marshmallows with a mixture of cornstarch and confectioner's sugar and set in a cool, dry place. Allow to set between 3-12 hours.

7) When ready to cut the marshmallows, have a bowl ready with a mixture of cornstarch and confectioner's sugar to dust. Cut marshmallows into desired shapes. Frequently rinse and dry the tool you are using to cut the marshmallows. Place cut marshmallows in bowl of cornstarch and confectioner's sugar and toss. Shake off excess powder and place on a serving platter or storage container. Store in a cool and dry place for up to 1 week.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Peanut Butter Passion Cake

♥ ♥ ♥ Sweet love ♥ ♥ ♥

What better way to celebrate the day of Love than with something sweet from a cake called Peanut Butter Passion Cake. This cake popped up from the most unlikely places. Facebook. When I clicked the ad from my homepage, it lead me to this recipe from Just a Pinch Recipe Club. This entry is from Melissa, and when I saw what the cake looked like, OMG. I saved the recipe just for Valentine's Day. This cake is very rich and dense. And if you're a chocolate and peanut butter lover, this is another one for 'ya.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Do something sweet for your sweet :)

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup coffee, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round pans. Set aside

2) In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3) In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract on medium speed until well blended. Slowly add flour mixture in the bowl, alternating with the coffee and buttermilk. Continue beating over medium speed for 2-3 minutes.

4) Divide and pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan to cool completely before frosting.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese frosting
8 oz (1 package) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
12 oz non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs, for garnish
2 cups chopped peanut butter cups, for garnish
1/4 cup prepared chocolate frosting, melted

1) In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, peanut butter, and confectioner's sugar over medium speed until smooth.

2) Using a spatula, fold in whipped topping until well combined. Chill frosting for an our to overnight. Frosting will have the consistency of mousse.

3)  Frost cooled cake. Press cookie crumbs around the side of the cake. Top cake with chopped peanut butter cups. Drizzle melted chocolate frosting over peanut butter cups. Chill until serving time.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Toasted Ravioli

I was home with my daughter today because she's sick with a fever. Again. It seems like every month we send her off to school, she catches something just as she's recovering from a previous illness. But the doctor says its part of growing up. But she's off of school more than she's on. Anyway, since I was home today, I was looking in our refrigerator for something to make. Then I remembered that I had a huge bag of frozen ravioli from Costco, which I had planned on making some toasted ravioli with. So I figured since I had some time, might as well make them today.

I used this recipe from What's Cookin, Chicago? that I had been eyeing for awhile. The process was pretty quick and simple. And I served this with my own Marinara Sauce for dipping and it came out so well. They taste just as good as the ones we order as appetizers at some of the restaurants we visit. Hubby loved these.

2 Tbsp. milk
1 egg
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 package frozen ravioli (about 20-24 pieces), thawed
2 cups oil for frying
grated Parmesan for garnish
Marinara Sauce for dipping

1) Combine milk and egg in a small bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs and seasonings. Dip ravioli in egg mixture and coat with breadcrumbs.

2) In a large, heavy pan, pour oil to the depth of 2 inches. Heat oil over medium heat until a small amount of breading sizzles and turns brown. Fry ravioli, a few at a time, for about a minute or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately with Marinara Sauce.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ukoy (Squash and Sweet Potato Fritters)

Ukoy is a Filipino crunchy appetizer, often eaten as a mid-afternoon snack. There are many variations to this dish, where shrimp and mung bean sprouts are sometimes used. But the main ingredient is always either sweet potato or squash or both. Growing up, I was not too fond of ukoy whenever my Lola (Grandmother) or dad made them. They made theirs with squash, mung bean sprouts, and tiny shrimps. As a kid, you never really like veggies or tiny little shrimps poking at you while you're eating it. But I've grown to love eating ukoy when I had them at a friend's party about a year ago, and then recently at my daughter's welcome party during our recent trip to the Philippines. My aunt's maid had made them for the party and I learned that my aunt taught her how to make them. And so I asked my aunt how it was made, which was quite simple. Her ukoy was made of just sweet potato and squash, a little salt and pepper to taste, and a mixture of cornstarch and flour to bind them together. There really isn't any exact measurements. So its more based on texture. You can also add whatever type of other vegetable you want. I added some corn kernels for an extra touch of sweetness. Once deep fried, the best part of this dish is the crunchiness that I love. Dip them in a mixture of vinegar with minced garlic, salt and pepper, this can be eaten as a main dish as well. My daughter loves this dish so she's able to have her dose of veggies for the day.

2 cup shredded kubocha squash (Japanese Squash)
2 cup shredded sweet potato
1/2 cup corn kernels
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup flour
splash of water
oil for deep frying

1) Fill  a deep frying pan or saute pan with oil about 1/4 of the way up the pan. Heat oil over medium heat.

2) In a large bowl, combine shredded squash, sweet potato, salt and pepper. Stir until incorporated. Add cornstarch, flour, and splash of water. Stir well. Mixture should stick together when mashed together. If mixture is too wet, add an equal amount of cornstarch and flour. If its too dry, add a splash of water.

3) Spoon mixture into oil to make a small patty and fry on both sides until golden brown. Serve hot with a mixture of vinegar with minced garlic, salt and pepper.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chicken Inasal (Filipino-style BBQ Chicken)

I've been missing the Philippines lately. Missing the families we left behind, missing the laid-back atmosphere, missing the food. I made a vow during my last post to try to replicate some of the great dishes we had during our recent trip. The first dish I wanted to attempt was Chicken Inasal, and the recipe I decided on was from Panlasang Pinoy, my go-to blog for all things Filipino.

Assembling was a cinch, but grilling was pretty tricky because you have to baste the chicken in a butter mixture. And everyone knows (but I happened to have forgotten) that oil and flame do not mix. So I charred some of the chicken. However, I was able to peel off the charred skin (because skin is too fattening anyway. ha!) and ended up with a delicious grilled chicken. Not quite the same as Bacolod Chicken Inasal that I had in the Philippines, but I think it'll do for now.

2 lbs. chicken, cut into serving pieces

2 Tbsp. minced ginger
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
3/4 cup chopped lemon grass
1 cup coconut vinegar (or substitute with cider vinegar)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup lemon-lime soda
1/2 Tbsp. ground black pepper

Basting sauce
3 Tbsp. annatto oil (annatto seeds cooked in oil)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice

1) In a freezer bag or large bowl, combine chicken with all the ingredients for the marinade. Stir or shake ingredients until well incorporated. Allow to marinade in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

2) When ready, heat grill. While grill is heating, combine ingredients for the basting sauce in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3) Grill chicken while basting with generous amounts of basting sauce. Continue grilling until juices run clear. Serve with steam rice and dip chicken in a mixture of soy sauce and a splash of lemon juice.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Trip to the Mother Land - Philippines 2012

You've probably noticed that I've been incognito for the past month. Two weeks of that was spent packing and preparing for our recent trip to my homeland, the Philippines. The last two weeks was the vacation itself. And since I haven't posted in a while, this is a fair warning that this post will be a little long.

When I was single, trips to the Philippines was a yearly thing with my family. The last time I went back home was in 2005, when I brought the new hubby to our homeland. His first visit to the Philippines. Ever. Actually, he went there when he was 3 months old, but he said it didn't count since he didn't remember anything. Since then, we've had our ups and downs, then our daughter was born, and then we decided to put everything on hold until hubby finished school and found a job. My relatives have been asking and wondering when they would finally be able to meet our daughter. We wanted to take her to the Philippines before she started Kindergarten, which will be next year. So I figured now would be a good time to take her. Along with my parents and siblings, we headed back home.

We arrived in Manila at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on a very early Sunday morning. We were then taken on a 2-hour drive to our house in the province of Nueva Ecija, north of the big city of Manila, where we were welcomed by many relatives. I was then told that one of my aunts will be hosting a Welcome Party for our daughter the following day. So we rested up to prepare for the festivities the following day.

The food was being catered. So there wasn't much preparation on our end, except to shower and get dolled up. We were able to watch the set-up of all the delicious foods. Especially the set up of the Roast Pig. No Filipino feast is ever complete without the the Roast Pig, or Lechon. Its similar to the Hawaiian Kalua Pig, except the skin is this yummy, crunchy goodness that is deliciously dangerous to eat. Can you just hear the arteries clogging up?

My brother and sister decided to purchase some cakes for the festivities, since it was also my parents' anniversary, and it didn't look like we had any desserts on the table.

My daughter's cake was this yummy Dulce De Leche cake, with its cake so soft and airy, I couldn't stop eating it.

The next day, we had to wake up really early to drive back to Manila and spend the night at the Marriott in the Resort World Manila because we had an early flight heading to the island of Boracay.

And yes, that is the bathroom on the other side of that see-thru wall.

Prior to our trip, I had been reading up on what restaurants to visit at the Resort World and the Red Crab Alimango House caught my eye.

Specializing in, what else, crabs, I ordered the Crab Maritess which was a huge crab, sauteed in lots of garlic. Messy but delicious.

Of course, I had to order something for our daughter, and she loves nothing more than pasta. So we ordered their seafood pasta.

My meal is never complete without the rice. So I also ordered the Crab and Shrimp Fried rice, which was also delicious.

We turned in early after dinner and got ready for our early flight to Boracay the next day. I didn't realize how long of a journey it would take to finally get to Boracay: a 45 minute plane ride from Manila to the Kalibo airport, then a 2-hour drive to the jetty port, a 15-minute boat ride to the docks of Boracay, and finally a 10-minute cab ride to our hotel. By the end of it all, we were exhausted and hungry and it was lunch time.

After checking into our room and exploring the hotel, we decided to walk down the beach path, crowded with tourists/foreigners, vendors advertising their business of a beach activity (island hopping, scuba diving, helmet diving, ATV, Zip Line, etc.), and lots of restaurants. We decided to have a quick lunch and headed to Don Vitto's, an Italian restaurant at the Boracay Mandarin Island Resort.

When entering the restaurant, I was a little confused. I thought we had entered a Chinese restaurant with its Chinese decor. I soon realized that it was decorated as such because of the theme of the hotel. Looking beyond the decor, we decided to order our lunch.

Everyone knows how much I love spaghetti, and so its what I ordered.

We also ordered a Meat Lover's pizza, which didn't look too meaty. But we were hungry and we were in a rush to finish lunch because hubby and I had a spa appointment. So we basically engulfed the pizza.

After our quick lunch, hubby and I headed to our couples massage. So relaxing. However, later in the evening, I soon regretted ordering my plate of spaghetti because I had a serious case of food poisoning that lasted 24 hours. It ruined my trip as I stayed in the hotel room the next day. With no energy and an empty stomach, I managed to get out of the room and took a stroll on the beach to view this Boracay sunset:

This was probably the best part of my island trip.

The following day, we had a breakfast buffet. Everyone ate breakfast while I ate dry bread, for fear that my stomach problems would return. We walked around the beach some more before we packed it up for another long journey back to Manila: 10 minute cab ride to the jetty port, 15 minute boat ride, a 2 hour drive back to the Kalibo airport, then the 45 minute plane ride. And to finally get back to our house in Nueva Ecija, we took another 2 hour drive home. I don't know if the trip to Boracay was worth all this. But at least I can say that I've been to Boracay.

We spent a couple of days at our house before heading further North to my mom's province of Pangasinan. Every visit to Pangasinan always begins with a visit to the shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag to say a prayer of thanks for the many blessings we have received. Once finished at the church, we visited one of our aunts and stayed for the night.

Back to Nueva Ecija we went and spent a couple of nights before heading back to Manila to prepare for our return to the states. During those 2 days, we managed to take hubby on a quick tour to historical sites such Intramuros, which housed Fort Santiago where the Filipino National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal was imprisoned. We also managed to do some shopping in the many, many malls that the city had.

We stayed at Crown Plaza Galleria which was connected to the Robinson's Galleria Mall. Before entering the hotel, I saw the sign for Bonchon Chicken, said to be the best chicken in America. A Korean Fried Chicken. I actually did see them being featured on one of the shows on either the Food Network or Cooking Channel TV. Unfortunately, there isn't a branch near us here in Southern California. So I was really excited to try them out.

However, I was very disappointed, in fact quite upset, with their service because they were very slow. Aside from their famous chicken, we also ordered the Bulgogi beef plate, which we were warned would take 15 minutes. We had no problem with that. But it took almost 45 minutes to get our order. Keep in mind that we ordered before the lunch rush. When the lunch rush came, our order kept being pushed back and I observed patrons who came after us being served with their food.

In all fairness, their chicken was delicious. Its a fried chicken drenched in a sweet and sour sauce. Even with the sauce, the chicken remained crunchy. It might actually have been worth the wait. At another branch.


Ever since we arrived in Manila, we always saw signs and billboards advertising Mang Inasal Restaurants. And so my brother and I had been dying to try an Chicken Inasal. However, because we were down to our last days in the Philippines, we settled for another restaurant in the mall that featured Chicken Inasal, Bacolod Inasal Chicken.

I ordered a Pork BBQ stick.


And shared my daughter's plate of Chicken Inasal. Dipped in a mixture of soy sauce and the local lemon/lime fruit, Calamansi, the chicken was delicious. The BBQ stick wasn't bad either.

We had visited a few other restaurants such as Max's Restaurant, which we have here in the states, and The Aristocrat Restaurant which my dad and I always love to go to for their Pancit Canton. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my camera during those visits. And we ordered a lot of food from them.

Overall, I had a wonderful culinary experience, as always. I always love eating foods that are not served here in the states. So I often miss real, authentic Filipino meals. I especially miss meals prepared by aunts and uncles at home. Those are always the best. Aside from delicious foods, its always great seeing family we haven't seen in a while. So my goal for the next few months is to try to re-create some of the meals I've had during our trip. We'll see how they compare.