Etc.

Le Whaf Gives A Whole New Meaning to Inhaling Your Food
The start of the week brings about some weird news. Fun! As I was doing the daily rounds of the Intarwebz this morning, I came across this story of a woman traveling to France to put her head over a goldfish bowl. With that kind of an intro, I read on of course.
This is Laura Powell of The Daily Mail, and no, what she’s doing isn’t illegal.
That bowl puffing smoke is called the Le Whaf, and the steam coming from it is flavored steam- the lady in picture is sampling lemon tart and tarte tatin. The idea behind this invention is that sometime in the near future, instead of digesting a calorie-laden seven course meal, we will be able to enjoy the same flavors simply by inhaling this flavored smoke.
With the Le Whaf, it might be a cross between these two.
The Le Whaf was invented by Willy Wonka David Edwards, Harvard professor and aerosol scientist. He’s also the guy who invented the Le Whif, that inhaler that comes in a variety of flavors (chocolate is the most popular) that came out last year and is surprisingly doing well in the market.
*photo from this site

 

If this can go mainstream, so can Le Whaf! The concept sounds a little bit too novel for me but it certainly seems like a good diet method. Imagine kaldereta-flavored smoke? Weird? I’d try it. What do you think?
*All pictures aren’t mine, they’re ganked from the net and they have attribution on them. So please don’t sue me.
Noms

Pop Some Chichapop Microwaveable Chicharon
Having an office near a convenience store (who doesn’t?), I find myself taking a break from work and heading over nearly every afternoon to grab some knick-knacks. During one of these breaks, I noticed a package with the label Microwaveable Chicharon.
Chichapop (p70 SRP)
I did a double take and thought- “Just like popcorn? That’s awesome.” A month or so after, I finally had the chance to try Chichapop Microwave Chicharon. While the outside packaging of the local version of microwaveable popcorn is larger than its foreign counterpart, the chicharon bag isn’t much different from what we’re used to. See?
There are instructions on the package on how to handle it, but being used to microwaveable popcorn, I merely glanced at the text and thought I could figure it out for myself (being a pro at cooking liek that). Pop this baby inside the microwave and within minutes, you get freshly-popped chicharon, all ready for munching. Easy peasy.
You’d end up with this after popping
It wasn’t that easy (kitchen noob alert). Although not rocket science, there are a few differences between popping popcorn and chicharon. For one, you can usually tell that the popcorn is ready if the bag is fully inflated. The chicharon bag doesn’t expand as much. 

For another, you know that your popcorn’s done when the intervals between the popping kernels get longer. Popping chicharon is a lot quieter than popcorn, you barely hear the chicharon popping (it’s more of a low crackling sound) and you’d have to garner a guess if it’s done.

Light and crispy chicharon straight from the bag

What you can do is to take it out of the microwave after the bag has expanded and you hear a few minutes of crackling and try to feel if the bits have popped. If not, put it back in the microwave to pop it some more. It took me a few tries, but some minutes later, I was happily munching on warm and crunchy chicharon.

Quite honestly, I thought it would come out a little bit tough. It was a nice surprise to find bite-sized chicharon that’s light, crispy and less-oily than regular chicharon. Chichapop would be perfect for Filipinos abroad who get a hankering for this crunchy Pinoy snack when they’re not in the country. With Chichapop, you can have freshly-popped chicharon anywhere at any time of the day. As long as you have microwave, of course.

Chichapop Microwaveable Chicharon is available in most 7-11 and MiniStop branches all over the metro. ­čÖé

DIY

How To Make Yema Balls: Possibly the Simplest Recipe Ever
If you follow this blog, you’d know that I tried to make fluffy yema balls last week. Unfortunately, it ended up in something close to a disaster (click this to read last week’s post on how NOT to make yema). What was supposed to be soft, round, yellow, and fluffy balls of yema lightly coated in sugar ended up as a hard, brownish, uneatable slab of sugar.
Minor setback, I thought. So for the weekend, armed with a new recipe and renewed vigor, I gave it another shot. And the end result looked like this-
Yummy yema balls!
Following the recipe from The Pilgrim’s Pot’s and Pans (with a few tweaks), I had me some fantastically fluffy yema balls when I was done. (WARNING: The following text will contain much gloating at the success of my second atttempt in the kitchen.)
Step1: Prepare the ingredients. A 300ml can of condensed milk, 10 eggs, butter, sugar, and cupcake cups.
Step2: Separate the egg yolks (set aside the egg whites) and put them in a medium-sized bowl.
Step3: Beat the egg yolks, pour the condensed milk, and mix well. Notice the beautiful golden yellow color of the mixture?
Step4: Set the heat on low (as low as you can), lightly coat the non-stick pan with butter, and pour the mixture in.

And then comes the stirring-

Step6: Initially, your mixture should be slightly thick, with a consistency not unlike syrup. Stir your mixture some more.
Step7: After about 10 minutes of stirring, your mixture should be noticeably thicker. Make sure your heat is set to low, so your mixture maintains its happy yellow color. Keep stirring.
Step8: After 15 minutes of stirring, most of the water should have evaporated and your mixture is about as thick as your typical congee.
Step9: After 20 minutes of stirring, your mixture should be thick and dry enough, similar to the texture of cookie dough.

And now the fun part-

Step9: Transfer the dry mixture into a bowl and wait for it to cool. After about 10 minutes, you can start rolling them into balls.
Step10: Lightly coat your hands with butter and scoop out a small amount and roll it into a ball. Dip in white sugar and place it on the cupcake paper. Repeat until you use up all the batter and serve.
You now have soft and rich yellow yema balls. I deviated from the recipe I found online and did not add lime to the mixture because I thought that might give it a weird tangy taste. I also opted not to coat it in caramelized sugar because I did not want the rich taste of the milk and egg mixture overpowered by caramel, which tends to be too sweet.
This version of yema balls is sweet but not too sweet either. You can eat as many servings as you want and it won’t leave a bitter taste in your mouth. The plain white sugar coating gives each bite of the soft ball a nice crunch. They’re soft but they hold together well and are not messy to eat. You know you’ve made yummy yema when everyone who tried it loved it and requested for a second batch.
I’m not so useless in the kitchen after all, yay! (Thanks Comicology dude, for being a cute kitchen elf. ^*^)
Noms

Han Pao Tea House: Chinese Nomz Without A Twist (not that its a bad thing)
Hai everyone! I’m┬áhaving one of the worst cases of the Monday blues in recent memory. Rain and the first day of the work week don’t go together.┬áThe gloomy weather takes my weekends-should-be-longer pouty mood and quadruples it. On the flipside, a new day means more new nomz to discover and that perks me up whenever and wherever.
Like Han Pao Tea House. If it weren’t for the Bim‘s sisters, I wouldn’t have found out about this Chinese restaurant located all the way over at Mandaluyong City. We were in the area a few Sundays ago and we were looking for a place to eat at on the way home when they suggested this Chinese restaurant in Sunshine Square. I was not familiar with the area, so I agreed right away as long as they’d lead me to it.
Appetizers Chicken Feet (p70) and Cold Cuts Platter (p280 (S))
Chinese restaurants are a dime a dozen in this country, we’ve embraced Chinese cooking as if it were our own. The popular restaurants serving Chinese food in thte country have adjusted their dishes to suit the Filipino taste buds. One of the first things I noticed about Han Pao Tea House is the number of Chinese diners present. I figure that if the Chinese like the cooking in this particular restaurant, then it must be good.
Cream Corn Soup w/ Quail Egg (p130) and Yang Chow Fried Rice (p100 (S) )
Skimming through the menu, I noticed that most of the items are typical Chinese restaurant nomz. For appetizers, we ordered Chicken Feet and the Roast Combination platter. I’m not a fan of chicken feet (don’t throw stones at me!) but I tried the sauce on this one and it was surprisingly tasty. It wasn’t as spicy as other chicken feet sauces but it had the right amount of kick.
The Cold Cuts Platter was filled with all kinds of roasted goodness, but what stood out was the Hainanese Chicken which had meat so tender and a sauce that wasn’t too salty. Not much can be said about the Cream Corn Soup w/ Quail Egg (my favorite), the Crispy Chicken, and the Beef with Broccoli Flower besides the fact that although common fare, they tasted better.
Main dishes Crispy Chicken (p200 half) and Beef with Broccoli Flower (p250)
My title may be a bit of a misnomer, this is in no way a hate post but you probably have figured it out by now that I absolutely enjoyed the nommables at Han Pao Tea House. Yes, the contents of their menu can be found in most other Chinese restaurants all over the city but Han Pao Tea House’s nomz are well-made, reasonably-priced (far more reasonable than all Chinese restos I’ve seen so far, even the fastfood ones), better-tasting, authentic and delicious.
Han Pao Tea House
Location: G/F, Sunshine Square, 312 Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong
Contact Info: 717-0465
Noms

Hot Tsokolate Warms You Up in All The Right Places
Whenever I’m in the mood for hot chocolate (which is whenever I have a runny nose or when I want to feel like it’s Christmas again), I always head over to Bacolod Chicken Inasal for their bottomless native tsokolate.
Tsokolate (p55.50)
For just fifty five pesos, you get cupful after cupful of hot tablea tsokolate drink all night long. The cup is small, but it’s enough for you to savor the rich taste of the local tsokolate drink before it gets cold (then you can ask for another steaming mug). If you get the chance, try Bacolod Chicken Inasal’s Bottomless Native Tsokolate. It warms you up in all the right places.
Etc.

The Nom Nom Song

It’s almost the weekend!!! Here’s something to cheer us all up all the more this morning. Below is a short video of super cute furbabies om nom nom nom nomming to the nom nom song by Parry Gripp:

…and it’s now stuck in your head! Sorry! ^_~ Aren’t they just adorable? Thanks to Celina for pointing me to it.

Noms

Serye – A Filipino Coffeeshop and Restaurant
Although a third world country, there is no scarcity of swanky restaurants in the Philippines. Peppering major areas of different cities across the country are hundreds of restaurants that boast of a variety of foreign cuisines. What I find slightly disconcerting is that there seems to be a preference for foreign nomz when eating out. 

Even with something as simple as coffee, we patronize foreign flavors and franchises. In a country where Starbucks is mainstream and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is the alternative, it’s not very often do you find a local, Filipino-themed cafe like Serye.

From the same family that brought us local favorites Aristocrat and Reyes Barbecue, Serye Cafe Filipino is a coffeeshop doubling as a restaurant that caters to Filipinos’ love for good food and good coffee. 

They have a branch at Santana Grove, one of my favorite hangouts in the South, and it’s become one of those restaurants that I go back to time and again. My family was there just last week for a simple Filipino lunch.

Hototai Soup (p235, good for sharing)
To start the meal, we got an order of the Hototai soup for sharing. They also have this at Aristocrat (a sister company) and it has always been a family favorite. The tasty soup is a slightly thick broth with shrimps, dumplings, and cabbage in the mix. It’s a classic.
Sisig (p245)
Sisig has become a staple in most Filipino restaurants and it isn’t any different at Serye. Served in a circular sizzling plate, Serye’s sisig is topped with onions and crunchy chicharon bits with a side of chili sauce.
Boneless Chicken Barbecue (p320, half chicken)
The specialty of the house is the Boneless Chicken Barbecue. The half chicken order consists of two juicy slabs of boneless chicken marinated in their signature peanut sauce, served with java rice and a side of atchara. Serye’s sister companies, Aristocrat and Reyes Barbecue, are also famous for the same nutty barbecue sauce. 

Too bad, I didn’t order coffee during my last visit. The Serye coffeeshop deserves another post all on its own. They’re famous for their siphon-brewed coffee that’s freshly prepared each time you order. The cafe has a menu of traditional Filipino drinks that you don’t see in a lot of coffeeshops like the salabat, kapeng barako, tanglad tea, pito-pito, tsokolate as well as a wide array of classic coffee drinks.

With its homey couches, classy interior, good service, and local food, Serye is a coffeeshop and restaurant that you’ll surely appreciate.

Serye Cafe Filipino
Location: Santana Grove, Dr. A. Santos Avenue, Sucat, Paranaque
Contact Info: 826-9317
Other Details: Serye Cafe Filipino Facebook page

Noms

A Zong Media Noche
We’re more than halfway through the first month of the new year and this post is very late but I really wanted to write about the nomz at Zong, so please humor me and let’s all pretend it’s two weeks ago. 
(..and Christmas music starts playing)
For New Year’s Eve, no one in my small family of three was in the mood to prepare food (and wash dishes) for media noche; so for dinner, we drove over to Westgate in Alabang to see what was open for business.
Zong was one of the three restaurants open that night
Only a couple of restaurants were open when we arrived and because we were already familiar with the menu at Zong, it was the unanimous choice. It was my first time to dine in the WestGate branch, it was always at the one at The Strip in Bonifacio Global City that I frequented. The area wasn’t all that different, it’s a bit smaller than the one in The Fort, but both branches had the same look and feel, with modern but simplistic decor.

All three of us were in the mood for good Chinese food and luckily, Zong has an abundance of that. We started the meal with the generic Jelly Fish Salad with Century Duck Eggs. It wasn’t bad, but it’s not the best (I like Lutong Macau‘s version better).

Jelly Fish Salad with Century Duck Eggs (p128)
The less than satisfactory appetizer had me looking forward to my main dish. It was such a cool night that night that I wanted something warm so I ordered the Roast Duck Noodle Soup. This was the dish that helped make my new year look so promising. The large bowl of steaming noodle soup topped with tasty roast duck met all my expectations and more.
2011 is promising because of this- Roast Duck Noodle Soup (p168)

The appetizing scent of fantastically roasted duck tickled my appetite so that I started eating without waiting for the other dishes to arrive (it was the first main dish served). It was as good as it smelled.

The soup was tasty without being salty or too oily, the noodles were aplenty and not too soggy, and the duck was juicy and very flavorful. It reminded me of noodle soups from those hole-in-the-wall eateries in Hong Kong (where you get the best nomz). Zong’s Roast Duck Noodle Soup has become my favorite dish at Zong and one of my favorite dishes ever.

Spareribs and Tausi  Rice Topping (p168)

My folks ordered less than stellar dishes (compared to the Roast Duck Noodle Soup). My dad had the  Spareribs and Tausi Rice Topping while my mom ordered the X.O. Fish Rice Topping. Both were in thick brown sauce and topped on rice. To be honest, the only difference was the meat used- one was pork and the other was fish. Both tasted almost the same to me.

X.O. Fish Rice Topping (p168)

Zong has always been a reliable restaurant since they started years ago. They have good Chinese nomz at prices a bit higher than mainstream Chinese restaurants in the city but you get better ambiance and service. And they serve pretty good duck.

Zong
Location: Central Precint, Commerce Ave., Westgate Alabang, Muntinlupa
Contact Info: (02) 771-1428
Website: http://zong.com.ph/

DIY

How Not to Make Yema
For those who know me,  you would know that the extent of my cooking abilities is limited to making instant noodles and frying hotdogs and eggs. I am almost useless in the kitchen and have never willingly stayed longer than I have to (only as long as I need to reheat old nomz in the microwave).
Inspired by the wonderful dishes from Carnation’s Good Eats! Bloggers’ Night, I attempted to actually use our kitchen (and not start a fire). I wasn’t going to be overly ambitious the first time so thought to start with something small and simple. Scouring the net for the easiest thing to make that involved sweets and milk, I found a short recipe from the post Yema Balls – A Simple Filipino Treat on the blog A Cupcake or Two.
4 egg yolks, 3 tablespoons of butter, 2 small cans of condensed milk, sugar (for coating) and small cupcake cups
It sounded easy enough to make, with too few ingredients for a noob to mess up. Come Friday night, I passed by the grocery to get eggs, Carnation condensed milk, sugar, butter, and cupcake paper for BaconTunaMelt’s version of yema balls.
Up bright and early on a Saturday (also a first), I had my ingredients prepared, utensils ready and the recipe printed out by 9am. There was a bit of a snafu right when I started because I didn’t know how to separate the egg yolk from the egg whites. That should have been my indicator that although the recipe is simple, a kitchen noob will remain a kitchen noob without any actual practice.
Here’s how NOT to make yema:
Step 1- Melt butter in a non stick pan over low heat;
Step 2- As soon as the butter is melted, pour in the can of condensed milk and stir for half a minute;
Step 3- Pour in the egg yolks;
Step 4- Keep the heat on low and stir. Your mixture should be a light yellow color and slightly thick;
Step 5– You’d notice your mixture getting thicker, keep stirring over low heat;
Step 6– The mixture would be bubbling a little because of the heat, but keep stirring;
Step 7– After about 15 minutes, your mixture should be getting darker and you’d still be stirring;
Step 8– Your stirring arm should be feeling really numb now, but keep stirring.
Now if you weren’t such a noob, you’d figure out that the mixture is thick enough and you should stop the heat to let it cool down and when it’s cool enough, you start rolling them into balls and then coating them with sugar. But for noobs like me, we keep going.
Step 9- Stir until your arm feels like it’s about to fall off and until the mixture looks like brown paste;
Step 10- The mixture is cool, but is also rock hard. Take it out of the pan if you can and end up with this solid mass of brown.
You now have a yema that’s not really yema, but a hard candy that kinna tastes like toasted pastillas. Or peanut brittle without the peanut. If you’re really nice, we can call it candied yema. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how NOT to make yema.
*this isn’t going to dishearten me from wanting to make yema, I’ll try again soon enough. Tune in next week to find out what I’ll end up with then. 

UPDATE: My next attempt at making yema was successful! Check out the fantastic results here- How To Make Yema Balls: Possibly the Simplest Recipe Ever! ^_~

Etc.

Carnation Good Eats Bloggers Night
Last week, Events 100 invited BaconTunaMelt for Carnation’s Good Eats Bloggers’ Night at the cozy Buenisimo restaurant in Eastwood where food bloggers were treated to a sumptuous buffet dinner with a variety of lovely dishes made special with Carnation Milk.
The glorious buffet menu from Buenisimo, all made yummier by Carnation
They served melt-in-your-mouth Lengua Legislativa, classic chicken fingers called Croquettas de Pollo con Huevos with Aioli, creamy Tri Color Pasta with Salmon Cream, and Canadian Glazed Ham as the main dishes and mouth-watering Sweet Corn Panna Cotta and luscious Chocolate Truffles for dessert.
We came in a bit late and missed Cook at Home chef China Cojuangco’s cooking demo but we were in time for the awarding of the Good Eats award which they gave to the Lengua Legislativa, and rightfully so. It was easily the best dish served for the night. But coming a very, very, very close second were the chocolate truffles.
Like they say- life is uncertain, eat dessert first. Indulge your sweet tooth with the Sweet Corn Panna Cotta and the luscious Chocolate Truffles, both laced with Carnation Milk.
This is why BaconTunaMelt joined Carnation’s photo contest with the Sweet Corn Panna Cotta and the Chocolate Truffles as the subject of our entry. Dessert is the best part of any meal, don’t you agree? Voting is only until tomorrow, so please like BaconTunaMelt’s entry on the Cook at Home fanpage as soon as you can!

Help BaconTunaMelt stop making kitchen-related disasters in two easy steps:
Thanks guys!