Life

Only In The Awesome Philippines

It’s true what they say that you don’t know what you got until it’s gone. Dramz? Hellz no, I’m talking about nomz. Living in a foreign land for an extended period of time, there are just so many nomz from home that I have come to miss (and long for). Normal, regular, everyday yummies that can be got in many corners of Manila are nowhere to be found here (boohoo).

Like taho, for instance. Hot, fresh, sweet soy drink best served on Saturday mornings. I’d usually wake up to the very fine voice of the village magtataho calling out to the neighborhood like a local pied piper attracting kids of all ages to come follow him. I wish I could follow him and his taho here.

Besides taho, a typical back-home breakfast would include a silog. My favorite being the tosilog.

GoodAh!!!'s Tosilog.

For non Pinoys, a silog is a meal consisting of a viand (usually tapa, tocino, or longganisa), a steaming cup of garlic fried rice (sinangag), and a fried egg or two (itlog). The word ‘tosilog’ is derived from the ‘to’ in tocino, ‘si’ in sinigang, and ‘log’ in itlog. It would be lovely to go the nearest GoodAh!!! to grab a quick (and cheap) Pinoy breakfast.

..and then head over to the nearest Tapa King for some of their awesome champorado.

Tapa King serves the best commercial champorado in town (Manila, I mean). Just thinking about the warm, gooey, chocolate rice porridge sliding down my throat on a cool rainy day makes me want to grab a flight back home for tomorrow’s breakfast.

I haven’t even started on the main dishes yet. I involuntarily start salivating at the thought of good sisig.

Sisig is a sizzling plateful of crunchy, soy sauce-y chopped up bits of a pig’s head deep fried in oil and topped with an egg. After typing all that up, I’m now craving for sisig. But I can’t have sisig. Because I’m not in Manila. Oh well, it’s probably for the best because sisig is sinful and unhealthy YUMMY GOODNESS. Sadface.

No sisig makes me sad. Then I start thinking of Manila chickens. And make myself sadder.

Lechon manok is usually the go to meal for most Pinoys. No one cooked anything for dinner at home? Get a whole roasted chicken from Andok’s! The chicken a tad too salty but who cares? It’s oh-so-juicy and goes perfectly with soft, steaming white rice. It’s my favorite lechon manok in the world.

I even miss their familiar bright yellow sign with red text and a chicken head mascot. But not as much as I miss Manila KFC.

Only in the Philippines do they serve KFC chicken with a side of white rice and unlimited gravy. UNLIMITED CHICKEN DRIPPINGS, YO! You guys got it good, you just don’t know it. Also, the heart attack masked as a sandwich called KFC Double Down? Nothing comes close in this side of the world.

Speaking of not coming close, because I missed it too much, I tried copying Manang’s Chicken chicken.

I thought soy sauce and sugar would do the trick. It didn’t. I ended up with something resembling Manang’s Chicken, but not quite. I’d still pick theirs over mine any day, if I had a choice. (Already made summady promise to place an order for Manang’s Chicken for when I get back. Not kidding.)

Another thing that I can’t get here (and desperately want to) is fishballs.

Sure, I might be able to buy a pack of frozen fishballs in the Asian grocery and fry it at home. But I’m not gonna be able to make manong fishball’s authentic sauce. You know, that sweet and spicy gravy-like gelatinous sauce in huge jars that no one really knows what’s made of. It’s what makes Pinoy fishballs special. (No one make any comment about its cleanliness.)

When I get back, I’d set aside a full day for Pinoy food tripping to get me the nomz on this list, including this-

What I love about Mango-ong’s manggang hilaw with bagoong dip is that you can choose what kind of bagoong to get and how much of it you want to get. I know it’s unhealthy, but I really like putting a whole lot of very spicy shrimp paste on my green mangoes.

After manggang hilaw, we’ll end a meal with a chunk of chocolate cake.

You might scoff because you think this is just a chocolate cake. But let me tell you stop you mid-scoff and tell you that this is no regular chocolate cake, this is Polly’s Chocolate cake, otherwise known as the Best Damned Chocolate Cake Ever! No really, it’s the best damned chocolate cake ever. That’s why I miss it, along with all the others in this list.

Although French nomz aren’t bad, the Pinoy nomz in this list are much missed because they can be had only in the awesome Philippines.

DIY

BaconTunaMelt’s K.I.S.S. Muffins

Strawberry walnut crumb wheat muffins.

Does that sound like something you can’t make? If you said yes, I’m gonna suggest that you read this post in its entirety. If you haven’t made muffins before (and want to), check out how we easily we made these awesome muffins from scratch. Like our super simple yema recipe, we’ll be following the K.I.S.S. rule (keep it simple, stupid) for this one.

Because of my inability in the kitchen, I thought making muffins would require me to buy myself a fire extinguisher. Then I found a recipe that seemed simple enough (I’ve already memorized it by heart). Even with my little tweaks (I couldn’t find blueberries), it still turned out pretty well.

Here’s what you’ll need-

Dry stuff: Wet stuff:
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
For the crumb: Flavor/topping:
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup halved strawberries (or blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Let’s get started, shall we? First, mix all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Then mix all the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl. Pour the contents of the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix just until the dry stuff has dissolved all of the wet stuff (be sure not to overmix). Fold in the flavor/toppings into the batter and you’re almost done! Easy peasy.

Scoop the batter into your oven safe silicone cups (this batch makes 6 large muffins or 12 medium ones). After this, set your oven to 200°C or 392°F for about 10 minutes to preheat it and then get started on the crumb (the best part!).

With a fork, mash the cubed butter together with the flour and sugar (measurements in the “For the crumb” column) until it forms evenly shaped lumps. Sprinkle it on top of your muffins until the cups are full. Pop it inside your preheated oven, set it for twenty minutes, and start an episode of Spongebob (optional).

As soon as the episode is done (or twenty minutes, whichever comes first), check your muffins. To do that, get a toothpick and stick it in the nearest muffin. If it comes out clean, it’s good to go. If it doesn’t, pop it back in the oven for another 5 minutes and check it until the toothpick comes out clean (repeat until it does).

By this time, your muffins should look as if they were injected with steroids (this one above is a bit flat, i used too little flour the first time). Use a potholder to pull out the pan (do not, and I stress this, do not use a kitchen towel as a substitute. your thumbs will thank me). If everything went well, sit back, relax, and gloat in the fact that you made fabulous muffins from scratch.

Once you get the hang of it, you can use the same base and start experimenting with different flavors. So far, I’ve tried blueberry, apple, banana, carrot, corn, butter, chocolate chip, and almond mocha chocolate chip.

The last batch I baked (almond mocha chocolate chip, carrot wheat crumb, and apple wheat crumb.

Etc.

Sweet, Sweet Youth

In celebration of World Youth Day, we thought it would be nice to go down memory lane (and relive my youth) for the duration of this post. Let’s look back on those days when the biggest of worries was homework (or whether you have enough allowance to buy gummy bears for recess).

I compiled a list of my favorite candies from when I was a kid. If you were born in the 80’s (fine, maybe even in early 90’s) you probably enjoyed the same teeth knockers as I did. Do you remember these?

The classic King’s Chocnut-

Photo from my Choc*Nut vs Hany post

Who wasn’t addicted to this as a kid, raise your hands? I didn’t think so. If you grew up in the Philippines, you’d surely have tried the chocnut. Actually, if you’re normal (like me), you’d have eaten hundreds of this little peanuty bar. (If you’re not from the Philippines and you love peanut butter, you have got to get yourself one of these.)

Photo by Special on Flickr

Trolli’s Sour Brite Crawlers-

These were my absolute favorite sweet treat when I was a kid. I liked regular gummy bears (or worms), I’d even eat the occasional gummy fangs or gummy sharks but sour gummy worms are by far, the best gummy candies in the world! No kidding. I used to rush to the school canteen for recess just to get me a small bag of these sour treats (only 20 pesos back in the day).

Haw Flakes-

Photo from here

Haters gonna hate, but as a kid,  my friends and I used to practice the Holy Communion with these little red round candies. These were sold in most sari-sari stores for cheap. Perfect for a kid on a budget. Up until now, I still don’t know what Haw Flakes are made of (but I eat them anyway).

Photo from here

 

Wonka’s Runts

Because imported candies like Willy Wonka’s Runts were expensive for a kid (around 30 bucks a pop), these hard candies used to be special treats for me. I’d get this as a reward when I’d get a perfect score on a quiz or something like that. I loved that it was a mix of fruit shaped candies that actually tasted like fruits (sweet, candied versions of them anyway).

and last in this sweets list is..

Choki Choki

Photo from here

These are nothing but chocolate syrup squeezed in a tube-like shaped piece of plastic. But no matter, these sold like hotcakes in the 90’s. For a pretty long period of time, I remember buying these from a classmate at 1 peso a piece. Everyone in class would get their supply from this entrepreneurial classmate and the teacher after recess would be annoyed that we’d all have this chocolate tubes (?) on our faces.

 

These were my favorite candies as a kid. What were yours?

*BTW, I checked and I’m still considered as “youth” (hooray!).

Life

BaconTunaMelt: REBORN!

This post has been long overdue but now, today, FINALLY, the new BaconTunaMelt is officially up!

After months of procrastination hard work, we have finally implemented this new simplistic blog design which features a lot of whites, highlighted by various shades of orange.

Today’s screenshot!

As you can see, we did a non too drastic reboot of the site (we’re not DC). From Blogger, BaconTunaMelt now uses WordPress and is hosted on Hostgator (fenkew for letting us squat, GeekOut guys).  Although we changed the look, the content will remain the same, we’ll still be yakking about gastronomic adventures from anywhere and everywhere the best way we know how.

So far, we’re liking the changes (but hey, we’re biased). We’d appreciate your feedback about the new design. Tell us if you think the font is unreadable or if the colors are horrendous, we won’t take it against you (okay, maybe we will a little).

Also, there are too many exclamation points on this post but we don’t care, we’re just excited that BaconTunaMelt is back, reborn, rebooted, and as always, raring to nom!

Travel

Seafood Galore at A La Peche Aux Moules
One late Saturday afternoon, a restaurant along rue des Marronniers called à la pêche aux moules served as our pit stop. Eateries in France usually close shop after lunch and resume for supper. At around three past noon (lunch was a tad bit delayed), it was one of the few restaurants still open for business.
This restaurant is situated at the ground floor of an apartment building just like most, if not all, restaurants in Place Bellecour. The cobblestone path along rue des Marronniers adds to the restaurant’s very French ambiance. À la pêche aux moules is named after the traditional French song of the same name (Video below. Have a listen, it’s catchy!), which means ‘fishing for mussels’ in English. They serve mostly seafood, their specialty being mussels of course.
A la pêche aux moules is catchy!
As always, meals in France means you get bread in a basket. I’ve actually grown to love the French baguette, which is what most restaurants serve before your main order. Theirs was a little different from the usual breads served in most restaurants, it was slightly tougher and was sprinkled with sesame seeds which gave it a stronger flavor.
I <3 French bread
My companion opted to get the three course menu, which is also typical in most restaurants here in France. You get an appetizer, main course, and dessert for a fairly reasonable price. This combination includes the Welcome Salad for the appetizer, Tuna Steak a l’ancienne as the main course, and the St. Marcellin as the last part of the meal.
3-course menu (€15.90)
St. Marcellin, which he initially thought was dessert, is a kind of cheese that’s considered to be one of the best cheeses from around these parts apparently. It smelled horrible. Is there any truth to what they say that the fouler the smell, the better the cheese? This particular one is definitely an acquired taste.
I forgot to mention that there were sturdy buckets decorated the tables around us, with most guests having one bucket of mussels of different flavors to themselves. I wasn’t sure if my stomach could handle a bucketful of mussels so I had the safer French fish and chips called Half cooked salmon escalope and a creme brulee for dessert.
Half cooked salmon escalope (€12.90) + Creme Brulee (€5+/-)
I was pretty happy with my choice because the salmon was tender and tasty (I had some doubts because of it being only half cooked, but it worked well) and the side of fries was just what I needed (fries are happy nomz, shh). The creme brulee was sweet, light and perfectly crispy on top (but a little pricey).
Next time, I’m gonna brave it and try the bucket of mussels. Wish me luck!
P.S.
The melody is now stuck in my head.

A La Peche Aux Moules
Location: 2 Rue des Marronniers, 69002 Lyon
Contact Info: +33 4 78 92 94 24

2, Rue des Marronniers , 69002 Lyon