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Archive for the ‘Philippines’ Category

Phở

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It had been a while since visiting one of the local Vietnamese places in town, the Rau Ram Café, down a side street, a few meters from the Marapara Golf and Country Club in Bacolod City. Ever since the first visit, always ordered a big bowl of phở, a traditional beef noodle soup.

Arriving at the table, the steaming bowl comes with a plate full of fresh herbs, including basil, cilantro, and sawtooth coriander; along with hot sauce and hoisin sauce, in order to customize each individual bowl.

With ever bowl prepared, tore up various herbs and threw them in before adding in the soup. Once the hot broth makes contact with the leaves, the aromatics consume the table and before taking one bite of the soup, the impression the smells leave is already remarkable.

Even though this place does not serve it with the traditional thin slices of beef that cook quickly in the hot soup, instead its small cubes of beef, the dish is still delicious.

Taro bingsu is lovely

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It has been a while since getting to enjoy a huge bowl of bingsu, the Korean shaved ice dessert. Have tried to keep track of the different flavors tasted but that’s been lost. Took a shot in the dark and ordered the taro bingsu, whether it’s been requested before or not, it was delicious.

The refreshingly flavored ice, red beans, ice cream, cheesecake bites, and whipped cream mode for an amazing treat – as always.

It is amazing how all the different flavors go so well together and the ice, as it melts in the mouth, takes on a creamy feeling, not just water. The worst part is when it is over; it’s such a unique dish with a taste that is all too delicious.

Taro bingsu with red beans, cheesecake bites, and ice cream.

Written by Paulo Loreto

March 19, 2017 at 12:18 AM

Sisig is always good

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With origins as a method of getting rid of the rest of the pig that wasn’t used to make a variety of other dishes, the iconic sisig is something that can be found at most Filipino restaurants. A sizzling plate of chopped up pig face and ears, with some hot chilies thrown in to give it a spicy flavor, the meal is one of the best representations of “comfort food.”

The dish probably isn’t the healthiest one to pick from, but it is one that has to be tried when in the Philippines – one of those dishes to have people try first before telling them it’s a sizzling plate of pig face.

Everything from crispy to chewy to rich, it’s a tasty adventure and, somehow, it always tastes good no matter where you order it from.

Sisig

A tall order

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Wandering the mall on a random weekend and needed to find a spot for lunch. The same old chain restaurants that occupy entire wings of the mall, all serving the same overpriced meal options – it’s very much, slim pickings. Zark’s, which also happens to be a chain, usually offers up good burger and fries options, always a go-to when there isn’t much of a craving for anything in particular.

Having visited several times before, it has always been good – although, still taken aback by the number of patrons who eat their burger and fries with a fork and knife.

On this occasion, picked the stone-cold stunner, described as “a double bacon cheeseburger on a bed of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, and caramelized onion,” it sounded great.

The plate arrives at the table and, having experienced double cheeseburgers before, this one did not disappoint in height. It took a bit to figure out the mechanics of it, and it was an absolute mouthful.

Zark’s has always been a good fallback when there didn’t appear to be many other options. Plus, the massive “stone-cold stunner” was some good eats to carry through the rest of the day.

Stone-Cold Stunner

Dulce de Leche for breakfast

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After years without a place that consistently sold bagels, Bacolod City finally has one, Bagels by ELG, located at the O Residence, next door to Robinsons Place. On the first visit, stopped in to stock the house with bagels and English muffins and they were great. Other bake shops in town either stopped selling bagels, probably due to unfamiliarity with the product, and another only sells stale bagels – literally, concrete.

Perusing the menu, found all the options, with a variety of bagels and the all-time favorite, smoked salmon.

Enjoyed the lox on the first visit and went through the different bagel options on the next, stopped at dulce de leche.

Spreading dulce de leche on a toasted plain bagel (to be honest, dulce de leche spread on anything in incredible) was an amazing way to start the day. The place is quickly becoming the regular Sunday breakfast spot.

Bagels by ELG, the first stop after Sunday mass.

Bagels by ELG, the first stop after Sunday mass.

Written by Paulo Loreto

September 7, 2016 at 9:56 PM

Been eyeing the frozen yogurt

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Stop by the J.Co location at The District-Ayala North Point mall every so often, they offer doughnuts that are very soft and light. Every time, reaching the cashier, always spot the frozen yogurt bar to the left and have always been curious.

As a huge Red Mango fan, had to make the comparison.

On a warm weekend, finally stopped by to give it a try. For one, and this is not an issue with J.Co itself, but moreso the inventory customs of the region, they only had about half of the full array of toppings available. Stop by a Pinkberry or Red Mango, they have every topping and are at the ready to refill when necessary. But, as said earlier, it’s not uncommon for a place to be without half of their menu, it’s a larger issue regarding responsible retail management.

Chose mango, kiwi, and kit kat bars to go with the frozen yogurt. The topping were slices very thin, unlike the chinks of fruit one gets elsewhere. Nonetheless, it looked great.

The yogurt is much sweeter and creamier than other places, am much more accustomed to the sour-y and icier variety other places offer. It did taste good, overall. Probably, if one were looking for frozen yogurt that tasted more like ice cream, rather than yogurt, it’s probably a good spot.

A much sweeter, creamier frozen yogurt variety.

A much sweeter, creamier frozen yogurt variety.

If only the toppings bar was better stocked.

Written by Paulo Loreto

May 29, 2016 at 6:35 AM

A Decent Burger Spot

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Ever since moving to the Philippines, it’s been a disappointing search for a decent hamburger. Either the bread wasn’t great, the toppings were insufficient, or (the worst) the burger was not all beef – and not a blend of another meat, some kind of filler made it obvious restaurants were not serving a 100% meat patty.

Did have a smidge of hope with the monthly burger pop-up at The District by Ayala, in Talisay, but that went to the wayside after too many occasions having to wait because they opened without having their beef patties or buns ready for service; just unprofessional.

Burger chain Zark’s opened up at SM City and, after visiting twice, it’s a pretty good spot and the price isn’t too bad. Enjoyed the Black Mamba on the first visit, came with a really delicious and sweet barbeque sauce; on the last visit, tried the Shaq, topped with onion rings and bacon.

For something as simple as a sandwich comprised of a bun, burger patty, lettuce, tomato, and any other additional toppings, it’s incredible how many places get it wrong. Zark’s has a huge menu and there are so many more to try – so far, so good.

The Shaq, a cheeseburger topped with onion rings and bacon.

The Shaq, a cheeseburger topped with onion rings and bacon.

There was an incident with the hostess on the last visit. Apparently, some fellow food photographers have taken the rather tacky habit to an all new level. The customer, who ordered takeout, asked to have the food brought out on a place for her to take a photo, to add to that, she asked the seating hostess to hold the plate as she took the photo.

That was some pure idiocy, on the part of the customer, and very bad judgement from the seating hostess.

Written by Paulo Loreto

April 17, 2016 at 12:19 AM