Category Archives: Food

Agriculture Magazine

What magazine do you read these days?

When I went to a 2nd hand books bookstore here in the Philippines called “Booksale”, I browsed the current publications of magazines in the Philippines.  Booksale has a reputation of being frequented by artists, intellectuals and avid readers to explore new things from old books and magazines alike.  Although they also offer newly published local and imported books and magazine publications, there are only few. 

One that surprised me was to see an Agriculture magazine.  It is being published monthly by Manila Bulletin to update the public on the current trends in agriculture in the country.  It is a growing business.  After all, the nation is mainly an agricultural land.  If there’s one thing the country can successfully offer to the world market, I think that would be natural (organic) products.  No wonder a lot of investors are coming to the country to explore its natural resources and manufacture them using their technologies; it is since the Philippines is having a hard time making its own technological industry.  

But because of the natural ingenuity and industrious character of Filipinos, we find ways to adapt to the changing needs of the country and the world.  Innovative ways to improve food production and food security measures are fast coming to fruition.  Sustainable crops are a variant of staple foods that farmers are now growing.  In this issue, I learned of traditional white corn being produced in Pampanga, a province located in the Central Luzon region.  Despite not being a popular one to grow among corn farmers due to low market demand and smaller economic returns compared to the popular yellow corn, one farmer here prefers to grow this traditional corn.  This crop is a sustainable one and has cultural value.  One local delicacy called “binatog”, which is a merienda or snack I like when I was little, is one food that can be made out of this unique crop, white corn.  It is the first time I learned about white corn where this snack I used to enjoy when I was a child is made from.  I rarely see sellers of this delicacy these days in Manila, even in our place in San Pedro, Laguna.  I remember when I was in grade school, there were still some binatog sellers roaming in bicycle around the village to sell this as a snack in the afternoons.  The bike has a pail with cover tied and placed carefully at the back.  The pail is the container of the binatog, the boiled white corn kernels.  And this street food seller will serve one order with a cup-full binatog topped with grated coconut and sugar.  It is so delicious.  This street food used to be a popular Filipino snack here in the Philippines.  And another dried white corn product is “kornik”.  Usually, these white corn food are available in the provinces of Luzon. 

There is also a growing fondness for lettuce in the country.  It is a favorite staple ingredient for salad lovers.  And salads being made in the country are usually the organic ones.  A growing number of lettuce farmers are having regular buyers for this vegetable.  Along with these lettuce being grown are usually the cherry tomatoes and other herbs.  Various organic ways to repel insects in order to replace the use of pesticides are also being done.  Aside from it, having a chicken farm and even raising rabbits to make fertilizers rich in nitrogen are farming and gardening ideas that enrich the landscape of agriculture in the nation.

Having trellis in a garden especially a vegetable and herb garden is such a lovely scenery.  Especially if the vines growing there produce flowers.  And more so if there are hanging vegetables.  It is so nice to harvest them.

So from greenhouse construction to producing organic products, how to grow in the organic business to venturing in sustainable crops, being a supplier of raw ingredients to understanding the demand in food, you’ll learn a lot in this magazine.  Many authors of the articles are experts including scientists and professors, practitioners and enthusiasts in the field. 

All the positive vibes in the business in agriculture sector including soil improvement, you can get it here.  I think restaurant owners, will also benefit from this magazine.  They can have an overview of local produce that can be potential suppliers of organic products straight from the farms and gardens.

And the best part is you get to know more of what you eat, how you can be a part of the success of agriculture in the country, which is the industry that is very important in the development of the nation’s economy.

Geographically, you’ll also learn of the culture and natural resources abundant and being raised in the regions.  There are many programs that the government and non-profit organizations are being done to help farmers produce the best quality food to be available in the local market.  And these are our assets that we also play in the global marketplace.

In my opinion, knowing our strengths and weaknesses in the global economy in terms of our geography is a wise thing to consider.  We’ll know more how to play wisely, when we know our assets.  We’ll come to know our liabilities as we go along and manage how to balance and keep safe.  The agricultural industry in the Philippines is one that can give us our best yield economically.  Fiscal measures are important but the support from the grassroots to the local consumers will definitely play an important part in the success of industry building in the country.

 

 

Singaporean Pad Thai @Soi

I went with a date at Soi.  Soi is a Thai Restaurant.  The branch that I went to was in Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City.  My date treat me with a sumptuous meal.  These are what we ordered:

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  1. For appetizer, it’s fried spring roll. 
  2. For my main course, Singaporean Pad Thai—my favorite! 
  3. For my drinks, my date ordered for me and let me try, Vanilla Thai Tea Shake.  (I initially declined because I didn’t like the taste the first time I drink a cold beverage Thai tea.  Well, he had his reason and I just followed it.  He told me that I should try it because of what I ordered.)
  4. For a drink that I like, it’s calamansi juice, which he usually orders also for him whatever it is that I order as a drink.  This is one of my favorite cold drinks.
  5. For his main meal, breaded pork chop with yellow rice, which is a bit spicy too.  It has curry in it.

What I especially like in Thai food are their sauces!  I was so amazed with the sauce of the fried spring rolls.  It is carrot sauce, which is blended carrot with a little bit of sweet vinegar.  Fried spring roll with the carrot sauce is so appetizing!

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 And just look at the place, isn’t it so enticing?  Your senses will slowly open in these Asian colors.

Going back, Singaporean pad thai is a kind of fried noodles, which has barbeque pork, bell pepper, bean sprouts, green onions and scrambled egg.  How the spicy flavor of this dish was mixed, it is so yummy!  The taste is just so rich in flavors.  Each ingredient is defined in every bite.  I would say, the chef here really is a good cook!  I’m no food connoisseur, but I tell you my tongue has a way of dissecting taste of every ingredient in a food.  I am very particular if the ingredients used are natural, with quality and where is it made from.  I like organic food so my taste buds are I think trained to know if one has natural flavors.

I’m the type who eats because I love the taste.  I love the feel-the ambiance, the place itself, the company.  I love the service.

I am just an ordinary person who likes simple food with natural flavors.  It makes it more wonderful when I am with people who like the same.  But I just really like the taste of Asian cuisine, especially that of Thailand, Singapore and Korea.

That is why my date is my best partner in eating at restaurants.  For him, he doesn’t mind what he eats as long as he is with a person he wants to be with.  And I happen to be the lucky one! 

I am no feast eater too.  I don’t like having so many food in front of me.  I’m the type who takes a pick on what I eat by looking at the menu.  I love looking at the menu with all the choices the restaurant offers.  But I don’t like having too many to choose from.

Here’s the thing, I want practical, orderly and quality things.  So that is why I guess each thing having a particular plate is so appealing to me.  I like being able to customize particular food.  Which is why condiments section or having specific containers for each condiment is very important.  Here at Soi, it is nice.

Chilli flakes is one particular condiment that I especially like when eating at a restaurant.  I like eating in Asian restaurants so I especially like or very particular with the sauces and condiments they offer.  And for me, the sauces in Thai food is the mark of success of the restaurant.

When I tasted the sauce of the fried spring rolls, which was the first time that I tasted it as a fried one (I usually order it fresh with peanut sauce, which I also like), the sauce is very appetizing.  The sauces they make are what makes me crave for more.

It actually reminded me of the delicious sauce I also tasted in another Thai restaurant here in the Philippines.  The sauce is mashed eggplant and green chillis with sweet vinegar.  It is the sauce for their Chilli Squid O’s, their brand of Calamares, the breaded squid rings.

I love these sauces and food.  I love their spicy noodles.  And need I say more that their food are really delicious?

My favorites in Thai food are pad thai, noodle soup and chicken.  With others, if there are vegetables and side dishes too like that in Korean food, I like it a lot.  It’s only the time that I can eat meat.  But when it comes to spicy food, nothing beats Singapore and Thai’s spicy noodles!

With Singaporean pad thai, I like its spiciness.  It tastes like the spicy dried “pusit” (dried squid) here in the Philippines.  They almost have the same flavors, which is why I guess Singaporean pad thai is something close to my heart when it comes to spicy food.  I used to eat these spicy “pusit” when I was a child like it is a candy.  It is actually in very small transparent square plastic wrappers with small amounts of tiny bits of spicy squid, about five pieces at most where you can buy in sari-sari stores. 

In the Philippines, sari-sari store is usually a small portion in front of a house turned into a convenience store  in a residential area .  A store where you can buy in retail products for everyday use.  Most of the products are what we call “chichirya”, goodies for kids like chocolates, chips, candy bars, bubble gums and other sweets.  Other food usually being sold are sometimes ice candy (different kinds of juice made frozen), ice buko, instant noodles, instant coffee and many others.   Beverages being sold include softdrinks, beers, bottled water, milk and juices in tetra packs, bottles and cans.  Other retail products are soap, shampoo and conditioner, detergent bar or powder and the like.  Natural foods include raw and salted eggs, bread, and some vegetables.  Just a trivia here in the Philippines.

Going back to these Asian noodles, I’d like to tell the difference I observed with the Singaporean pad thai and the pad thai.  This is what I have only observed in Thai restaurants here in the Philippines.  The Singaporean is spicy while pad thai is not.  With the former, the egg ingredient is scrambled while with other pad thai, it has an egg net.  The egg net is like beaten egg sifted while being fried and put on top of the noodles, which looks like chicken wire.  Also, with Singaporean pad thai, for me, there’s no need to add chilli condiments for it is already spicy while with pad thai, to make it spicy, you have to add chilli condiments.  And that’s the fun part!

Now, to make the spiciness of the food be neutralized, that’s where the Thai tea is for.  For me, as a stand-alone cold drink, Thai tea shake is not one I especially like.  With the Vanilla Thai Tea Shake I ordered, it is like a float-there’s a vanilla ice cream on it.  That’s what my date ordered for me (which I agreed), he knows that I’m going to need it.  He is right.  It goes well with spicy food.  After all, he lived in Thailand for 4 years when he was young, that is why he knows about it.

I love my man.  We always eat in peace.  We have good conversations while eating.  He makes me feel secured.  And he can make me smile.

And one more thing, he ordered a dessert to make our meal complete despite telling him that I’m already not feeling well because of feeling full.  Or rather because of having put chilli flakes in my Singaporean pad thai a little more than I should (which I realized only later).  And so our dinner was culminated with sweet banana with cocomilk.  He always eat half of the food I order because I have a smaller capacity for eating.  Although he does wait for me when I am still half-way to go and he’s done eating everything he ordered including half of mine.  And when I’m done, he’ll have the dessert served.  And we eat them together.

This is what we had in Soi.  I love the food.  I love the structure of the place.  I even liked the drawings of elephants in small frames in the cupboards. 

And so, our date was said goodbye with a picture of the elephant, which is the pendant of my necklace I remembered.  He was even embarrassed to take a picture of the drawings in the cupboard near us when I asked him to.  

Well, no doubt there will be more of these food reviews.  Chow lah! 😉

Street food

Street food

I love food!

That’s Dalandan Mint Juice in Fruit Magic cup. Dalandan is a kind of Philippine orange fruit, only the color is green, which turns yellow when really ripe. The juice or the fruit itself are eaten when the peel is still green. It is best to eat or squeezed to make juice when freshly picked. It has a sour taste and natural sweetness. When it is almost yellow or really yellow, it is already too ripe and the taste is so sweet that is unsavory. That is why when eaten as a fruit or prepared as a juice, it is made sure that it has its natural sour taste with a little bit of sweetness. With Fruit Magic food cart, they add mint, which gives it a unique flavor.

The one on the left is lobster ball from Potdog. I really love small servings of food. I call them “little food” instead of street food because they are not being sold on the streets; they are being sold usually in food courts or on sidewalks within the malls in the Philippines. These food are being sold in what I call “food booths.”

This lobster ball is my favorite among the well-known usual street food like fish ball, squid ball and kikiam. These original street food are usually being sold in mobile food carts-carts with wheels parked on sidewalks of busy streets in the Philippines. I remember when I was a grade school student, the fish ball vendor will park its food cart on the sidewalk beside our school. At that time, it was only fish ball but later on, it has evolved to having other choices like squid ball, kikiam, “kwek-kwek” (breaded quail eggs) and cheese sticks. These street food are being fried in front of you as you order them. And now, other street food vendors like Potdog also included lobster ball, crablets, crab egg, chicken nuggets, or even potato wedges. Almost anything that is easy to fry and eat quickly with a nice sauce.

And the one on the right is organic lumpia with special egg wrapper from Aboy’s Fresh Lumpia. It is a food booth at Shopwise Supermarket in Festival Mall, Alabang. I usually frequent Aboy’s to buy fresh lumpia for lunch or as a quick snack when I shop there.
Usually these three are just a snack for others. But since my capacity for eating a meal is just as small as this, it is already my lunch. 🙂 For others, there is a selection in Potdog wherein you can avail of one serving of the street food with rice and drinks. These food are supposed to be for merienda or just a snack but you may observe that many Filipinos have this appetite for fried food and make it a meal. I confess, it is cheap and it is very delectable and appetizing.

I think, it is one thing about Filipinos. We love food! 🙂

Kaaya-aya

 

Tinanong ko ang aking ka-date kung paano niya mailalarawan ang aming tanghalian ng ika-3:00 ng hapon matapos ang isang mala-impyernong araw sa aming trabaho.  Ang sabi niya, ito ay “kaaya-aya.”

Hay, naibigan ko ito.

Mayroong eksaktong noodles na paborito ko sa lahat ng noodles na luto ng thai–“pad thai.”  Nagkataon na ang aking ka-date ay nanirahan sa Thailand ng apat na taon (kung hindi ako nagkakamali :).  Lagi akong kumakain ng noodles na kasama siya kamakailan lamang at lagi niya akong inilalabas para kumain ng noodles kapag mayroon kaming “sandali” (kung alam mo ang aking ibig sabihin).  Kami ay parehong may sapat na katandaan na (kung ano mang ibig sabihin noon) para umupo at kumain ng sabay habang nagkukuwentuhan at pinagmamasdan ang isa-t isang kumain at parehong gamitin ang isang kutsara sa pagkain ng buko ice cream.  Kamusta naman ito para sa kahulugan ng “may sapat na katandaan na”. 😉

Ay, hindi pa ako magaling sa pagkukuwento dahil ako ang tipong nilalasap at ninamnam ang bawat sandali habang ito ay nangyayari.  Ngunit maibabahagi ko lamang kung gaano ito “kaaya-aya” sa pamamagitan ng larawang ito.

Ang isa sa mga pinakamagagandang bagay sa lunch date na ito ay dapat kakain kami sa Oody’s, ang isa sa mga paborito kong restawran.  Kahit na hapon na hapon na at ang aking lalaking kasama ay malinaw na naglalaway na sa gutom sa loob nito, bago kami magparada ng sasakyan, tinanong ko siya kung maaari bang sa ibang restawran na lamang kami kumain dahil ayaw kong magsawa sa Oody’s dahil lagi na kami doon kumakain.  At dahil mahal niya ako (yun ang sabi niya), kahit na may kaunting dismaya, matapos kaming nagparada ng kotse at bumaba, naglakad-lakad kami ng maikli at nakakita kami ng mga restawran ng mga pagkaing hapon, at tinatanong niya ako kung gusto ko ba roon at lagi akong tumatanggi kung kaya’t naglakad-lakad pa kami ulit ng kaunti at buti! Nakita namin ang Simply Thai.  Ito ay parang Oody’s ngunit mas “high end” kaysa Oody’s. Siya ay naging matiyaga sa akin.

Tiningnan namin ang menu stand sa labas ng restawran.  Magaling, nakita ko ang Pad thai at tinanong ko ang waitress kung ito ay maanghang at sabi niya ay hindi gaano ngunit maaari naman naming lagyan ng mga maaanghang na pampalasa iyon ayon sa aming kagustuhan.  Tunay na magaling dahil gusto kong naglalaro ng mga maaanghang na pampalasa sa aking pagkain upang iayon sa kaya kong kainin na maaanghang na mga pagkain.

Ang pad thai na kung saan ang pansit ay naluto ng tama lamang at may presentasyon na kasiya-siya sa aking mga mata, nagulat ako na sa pansit nito, iba ang nakabalot na lambat na gawa sa itlog, ang lagda ng pagkaing ito.  Tiningnan ko ito mabuti at aking palagay ay ang bating itlog na lambat ay may halong tinunaw na keso kung kaya’t nagmukha talaga itong kawad (wire).  Ang pad thai na kadalasan kong kinakain sa Oody’s na naroon rin sa Greenbelt 3, Lungsod ng Makati, ang balot na itlog na lambat ay walang keso kung kaya’t ito ay malambot, hindi tulad ng narito sa Simply Thai, ang lambat na nakabalot ay mas matibay, makapal at parang tinunaw na nougat.  Ang restawran na Simply Thai ay nasa Greenbelt 5, Lungsod ng Makati, ang isa sa mga mararangyang lungsod sa Pilipinas. Hindi naman sa gusto ko ng mga mararangyang bagay, nagkataon lamang na gusto ko ng mga pagkain rito o kung saan mang may maaanghang na lutong pansit at iba pang pagkain sa Asya lalo na ng mga pagkaing Singaporean.

Maliban sa Pad Thai ay ang Chilli Squid O’s, ang aming paunang pagkain.  Ito ay parang Calamares, mga bilug bilog na hiniwang pusit na binalot sa harina at pampalasa, ngunit ang sawsawan ay katangi-tanging minasang talong at berdeng sili na may suka.  Ito ay tunay na napakasarap bilang paunang pagkain.  Matapos naming kainin ang ilang pusit, hiniwa ko ang pad thai gamit ang kutsilyo upang kumuha ng kaunti at nilagyan niya ako sa aking plato.  Ito ang isa sa mga pinakamasaya kapag kumakain kasama ang isang lalaki, gusto ko kapag nilalagyan nila ako ng pagkain sa aking plato.  Nararamdaman ko na ako ay espesyal syempre ngunit higit rito, nabibigyan ako nito ng pakiramdam na ako’y ligtas.  Gusto ko kapag sila ay nagaasal na maginoo.  Napapaganda nito ang mundo.

Ang lagay sa kanya, ako ay kaya niyang dalhin.  Ako ay sensitibo, masyadong mapili at talagang nakakainis kapag wala sa lagay.  Natutuwa ako na kaya niyang laging maging maginoo sa akin kahit na hindi ako…di ko alam ang termino, maaaring pagiging sensitibo.  Ngunit ang termino niya roon ay ako ay maselan.

Nang sinabihan ko siya kung maaaring ihain na ang panghimagas bago siya pumunta ng silid-pahingaan, sinigurado niya na ang aking kailangan ay bigyang pansin kaagad sa oras na iyon.  Hindi naman sa itinuturing niya ako bilang isang prinsesa, itinuturing niya ako ng may dignidad, may pagmamalaki at may sinseridad.  Nag-usap kami at nag-usap kami at nag-usap kami.. Nagpalitan kami ng maikling pag-uusapan, mga malalambing na hawak, yakap, sumasandal sa kanyang balikat, ang aking kamay na nakaakbay sa kanyang balikat  habang tinitignan ang kanyang mobile phone matapos kumuha ng mga larawan ng mga pagkain..

Ngayon alam ko na ang ibig niyang sabihin ng “kaaya-aya.”

Pleasant

I asked my date how he can describe our lunch yesterday at 3:00 in the afternoon after a hellish day at work.  And he said, it was “pleasant.”

pad thai
simply thai, greenbelt makati

Oh well, I loved it.

There’s the perfect noodle dish which is my favorite in thai noodle dish–“pad thai”.  My date happened to live in Thailand for 4 years (if I remember it right :).  I always eat noodles with him recently and he treats me to eat noodles when we have “the moment” (if you know what I mean).  We’re both matured enough (whatever that means) to just sit and eat together and just have fun having conversation and watching each other how we eat and share spoon eating coconut ice cream.  How’s that for the meaning of “matured enough.” 😉

Oh, I’m not yet that good at storytelling since I’m the type who savor and relish the moment at the moment it is happening.  But I can only share how “pleasant” that was with this picture.

One of the best things about this lunch date is that we’re supposed to eat at Oody’s, one of my favorite restaurants.  Even though it’s already late and my man is obviously drooling in hunger inside, before we parked the car, I asked him if it’s ok if we look for another noodle restaurant because I might just loose my appetite for Oody’s since we always eat there.  And since he loves me (that’s what he said), even with a little bit of disappointment, after we parked the car in Greenbelt mall and got off, we wandered a little and we saw Japanese restaurants and he was asking me if I want there and I keep on saying no s0o we walked a little more and voila! We saw Simply Thai.  One like Oody’s but this is high end than Oody’s.  He was patient with me.

We looked at the menu stand outside the Restaurant before we went in.  Perfect, I saw Pad thai and asked the waitress who assisted us if that is spicy and she said not so but we can adjust its spiciness with the condiments. Really perfect because I like toying with condiments with chillies in my food to adjust to my limit of eating spicy things.

The pad thai, whose flat noodles was cooked just fine and presented as palatable as it is in my eyes, to my surprise has a different look of its egg net, the dish’s signature.  I looked into it and I assume the scrambled egg net has melted cheese with it making it really look like a wire.  The pad thai I usually eat at Oody’s also in Greenbelt 3, Makati, the egg net doesn’t have cheese so it’s soft unlike here in Simply Thai, the net wrap look stronger, thick, and look like a melted nougat.  Simply Thai Restaurant is in Greenbelt 5, Makati City, one of the posh cities in the Philippines.  It’s not that I’m into posh things but I happen to like the food there or wherever there are spicy noodle dish and other Asian food especially Singaporean food.

Aside from the pad thai is the Chilli Squid O’s, our appetizer.  It is like Calamares, breaded squid rings, only the dip is uniquely mashed eggplant and green chillies with vinegar.  It was really delicious for an appetizer  .  After eating a few of the squid, I cut the pad thai with a knife to get some and he put some in my plate.  That’s one of the best things about eating with a man, I like it when they put food on my plate.  It makes me feel special of course but more than that it gives me a sense of security.  I like it when they behave as a gentleman.  It makes the world so beautiful.

The thing about him, he knows how to handle me.  I’m sensitive, too picky, really a pain in the ass when I’m not in the mood.  I’m glad he can always be a gentleman with me even if I’m not…I don’t know the term, maybe being sensitive.  But his term for it is that I’m delicate.

When I asked him to have the dessert served before he goes to the restroom, he makes sure what I need is attended right there and then.  It’s not that he treats me like a royal princess, he treats me with dignity, with pride and with sincerity.  We talked and talked and talked.. We chatted, exchanging caress, hugs, leaning on his shoulder, my arm around his shoulder looking in his mobile phone after taking photos of the food..

Now I know what he means by “pleasant.”