When we drove out of town last weekend, we really weren’t sure where we were going except for the general direction — south of Metro Manila. Sam had to shoot for a project, she wanted a change of scenery so we picked her up from the condo and drove south. I initially suggested Sta. Rosa, Laguna but Speedy said the coastal road would be more picturesque. So, the coastal road it was.
The problem was that Sam fell asleep even before we exited Metro Manila. Knowing how very little sleep she had last week (mid-terms at school), I didn’t have the heart to wake her up once we reached the more country-like parts of Cavite. So, we drove all the way to Tagaytay. It was 11 a.m. when we got to Mushroomburger. We were hungry. And, if Sam was going to get any shooting done, she would have to get up. I roused her from her sleep and told her we’d have a quick meal and start shooting.
Still half-asleep, Sam asked where we were, I told her we were at Mushroomburger in Tagaytay. But what would I eat here, she asked. Right. Mushroomburger’s burgers are made with 50% oyster mushrooms and 50% meat. And Sam’s vegetarian. Salad, I I told her.
Unfortunately, when we got inside Mushroomburger, I was told there was no salad on the menu. I asked the girl at the counter what they had for vegetarian customers and she pointed at the poster on the wall. That one above. Sam and I got a table while Speedy ordered the food. … Continue reading »
What the heck? Yeah, what the heck. I was going to make yakisoba but I was out of soba noodles, sake and mirin. But I had thin oriental wheat noodles, dashi, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce and Chinese rice wine. So, right, what the heck, cook with whatever’s available. And this noodle dish that is literally a cross between yakisoba and chow mein was born. Call it fusion, call it bastardized cooking, I don’t cake either way. It’s delicious and that’s all that matters.
But why do I call it a cross between yakisoba and chow mein? Why not a cross between yakisoba and lo mein? Because the noodles were stir fried separately in oil before it was tossed with the veggies. You skip that part when cooking lo mein. So, there — my yaki-chow is a cross between yakisoba and chow mein. … Continue reading »
Fish balls, squid balls, crab balls, lobster balls… just about every seafood has been made into balls and they proliferate in the market. They are available in every price range and varying levels of quality. In Asia, they are very popular. As street food, they are deep fried and skewered. In food stalls and eateries, they are common toppings for congee and noodle soups. My kids love them, we used to buy them by the bag, frozen, and fry them at home. Personally, because I am allergic to crustaceans, I could only eat fish balls. No squid, crab or lobster prawn for me.
After Sam turned vegetarian, she gave up all those seafood balls. Lucky for her, Speedy found these mushroom balls. Lucky for me too because I love mushrooms and these balls do not contain any crustacean in any form or shape whatsoever. Under usual circumstances, this would have gotten posted in the Almost Vegetarian section, but these mushrooms balls have more going for them aside from being vegetarian-friendly. … Continue reading »
If you’re a foodie who has seen Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman, then, you probably felt the urge to lick your TV screen several times while watching the film especially during the first 15 minutes. Those first 15 minutes show a father preparing Sunday dinner for his family that consists of his three grown daughters and himself. That’s the dinner in the photo above but it doesn’t show the dumplings and the roast duck. A feast, really.
In the movie, the father is a chef who works (semi-retired) in a huge restaurant in a hotel. Chef or not, whether one person — with no help — can cook all that within a day is something I find incredible.
But then, it’s a movie, it’s fiction, so, the only real point was to focus on the story and enjoy the visuals. Which I did. So much that I was inspired to re-create one of the dishes from that Sunday dinner — the steamed pork dish near the upper left corner of the photo.
This very aromatic braised pork dish has many intersecting flavors. Salty, sweet, sour, spicy… Like many Chinese dishes, you can’t quite decide which is the dominant flavor but you know that the dish just won’t taste right unless all the flavors are there. It is so easy to make too. Just put everything in a pot and simmer for an hour or two. Browning the meat at the start of cooking is optional. You can add tofu and mushrooms if you like (I like!) or serve the meat with nothing but its sauce.
All the ingredients for seasoning are listed but no amounts are specified as it is best to allow each cook to find the balance that he or she finds the most pleasant. … Continue reading »
The flavor that results from the combination of miso and toasted sesame seeds is something I have no words for. I made sesame miso soup once and to describe it as delicious would be an understatement. It is complex yet subtle. Never overpowering but, rather, deep and mysterious. I used the same sesame seeds and miso combination for this cha (green tea) soba with miso sauce that we had for lunch today — it is so good that Speedy (who is not a big fan of noodle dishes) had two helpings. … Continue reading »
Despite the foreign sounding name, it appears that beef salpicao is a Filipino dish. Is it related to the Portuguese sausage called salpicão? Well, the Filipino beef salpicao is definitely not a sausage but, rather, a garlicky stir fried dish.
It was a challenge finding the history of this dish, I still don’t know where in the Philippines it first appeared but I did discover two things which may help explain the “salpicao” part of its name. First, salpicado is a Spanish word which means “spattered with” (thank you, Clair). Considering that the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over four centuries, “salpicao” just might be a derivative of salpicado. Second, farther search led me to references to salpicao as a Brazilian word. I found a Brazilian-English translator which says that salpicao means “dotty” in English.
I figure that “spattered with” and “dotty” might just refer to the gazillion bits of garlic in beef salpicao. Maybe. Perhaps. Arguable. Debatable. What isn’t in doubt is how delicious beef salpicao is. Tender and juicy beef cubes that are salty and subtly sweet and boldly smelling and tasting of garlic. The way the meat tastes and smells, you’d think it has been flavored by a hundred spices. But beef salpicao has very few ingredients! The simplicity in the preparation and the startling deep flavors… it’s just the perfect main dish for a party. You can even serve it as a cocktail food! Place in a platter, hand out small forks and voila! … Continue reading »