Thursday, March 31, 2016

Eat like they do in Hongkong at Tim Ho Wan

Love Chinese food? Most, if not all of us Filipinos do. I don't think there's one Pinoy who doesn't love to eat at least one kind of food that's of Chinese origin. Oh we do love siomai, pancit, lumpiang Shanghai and siopao don't we? I could annihilate a plate of pancit bihon and totally destroy an order of siomai anytime!  If I may inform you, these two are among my top comfort food and they could cheer me 
up on the gloomiest of days. 
Good thing there's a lot of restaurants where we could have our Chinese food favorites. They're even on your left and right in Binondo! Even then, newcomers are always welcome. Like Tim Ho Wan. When it came to the Philippines in 2014, it earned raves from foodies for its high quality of food at very competitive prices. After all, it's a Michelin star holder in Hongkong where it came from.  
Michelin star, says Wikipedia, "..normally refers to the Michelin Red Guide, the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide, which awards Michelin stars for excellence to a select few establishments. The acquisition or loss of a star can have dramatic effects on the success of a restaurant. Michelin also publishes 
a series of general guides to countries." 
Tim Ho Wan is touted as the world's cheapest Michelin-star restaurant. It is not named after a person, as we might all be thinking ('coz I did!), but is actually a Cantonese 
phrase meaning "add good luck".
Recently, my sister gave us (sis, our mom and two of my kids) a treat at Tim Ho Wan in Robinson's Place Manila. Was I excited to finally 
try this raved-about restaurant!

Our orders:
Chow Mien Stir Fried Noodle, P130.
Vermicelli Roll with BBQ Pork, P160.
Prawn Dumpling, P160.
Pork Rib with Black Bean Sauce, P120.
Spring Roll with Egg White, P120.
Jasmine Tea, P60/pot
Order sheet. It's DIY ordering here. Check your choices, write how many orders and give the form to the server.

It was one fine lunch that we had. The dimsum, noodle dish and all were flavorful in a subdued way, not so much as to assault the taste buds. The unique taste of everything just blended seamlessly, and consistently until the last mouthful. Also, there was no "sick" feeling afterwards, the way "vetsin"-laden Chinese food in some other restaurants could give you. While I liked everything we had, it was the Prawn Dumpling that I liked best. The white ball of goodness was delicious and fun to chew on.
And yes, we did order rice to go with all our savory food and of all that we had, the steamed rice was the only one I considered quite expensive at P70 per cup. Still, I was surprised that our total bill was only a little over P1,500 (we had two orders each of most of the food and we were 5 persons in the group). 
We failed to order, however, what is said to be the bestseller at Tim Ho Wan - the Baked Bun with BBQ Pork. But I remembered that my husband brought us some of it about a year ago. Good thing I was able to take a picture of it before making the " attack". It's much like an asado siopao, only the bun was a bit toasted and flaky as it is not steamed but baked. I knew it would be perfect to have for merienda when paired with the Chow Mien Stir Fried Noodle. I'm saving the idea for next time!

Baked Bun with BBQ Pork, P160.
Tim Ho Wan at Robinsons Place Manila

Try Tim Ho Wan if you haven't, folks. Aside from high-quality food, 
I promise you to have more bang for the buck. 
Happy eating!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Today's Word: Romans 8:11

Today, we celebrate life! Jesus is risen, He conquered death! To us who believe in Him, there is no more shame, no more condemnation. We, whose Lord and Savior is the Christ, no longer have to fear death because even after we leave our physical bodies when our time comes, we will rise again to live forever with the 
most Holy God. This, because Jesus rose from death 
on that first Resurrection Sunday. 
May we understand the relevance of this most important event even today, thousands of years after. Romans 8:11 is a very powerful verse to meditate on. The same Spirit who raised Jesus lives in us! This just blows my mind! Imagine the power that's within us! If only we would understand this with all of our heart, we would know we do not have to fear facing the storms of life - troubles, sickness, financial difficulties. 
We have God's mighty, awesome power to deal with all these! 
So how do we tap and make use of such power? 
Through prayer and faith. 
Happy Resurrection Sunday!

(Thank you, for this photo)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Today's Word: Romans 5:8

How is your Good Friday evening? I hope you have reflected on the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross to redeem the sins of mankind - our sin - so that we may obtain forgiveness and everlasting life instead of death! He did no sin, but out of Jesus' great love for us, He bore our sins and gave up His life to pay the penalty of our own wrongdoings. Do you understand with your heart the unfathomable love of God? Jesus died for you! Would you thank Him and accept Him in your heart in return? He longs to have a relationship with you. Accept Jesus and Lord and Savior today and repent of all your sinful ways. Whatever your sins are, God is ready 
and willing to accept you and love you even more. 
Have a blessed Good Friday.

(Thank you, for this photo)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Food and history at Kamuning Bakery and Cafe

I love history, though not while in school. Haha! I love stories about the olden days and seeing pictures of how places looked like decades ago. I love vintage items, ancestral houses and certainly, eating in old restaurants. When I read about the 77-year-old Kamuning Bakery and Cafe in some blogs, I got very curious and excited to go there. Doing some research, I found out that it opened in 1939 and that among the famous personalities who had been its patrons were the late President Corazon "Cory" Aquino and national artist Nick Joaquin.
Thankfully, it wasn't long before I had the opportunity to make my first visit to Kamuning Bakery and Cafe. I heard that my officemates were going there one afternoon to buy bread and I tagged along. Once inside the historic bakeshop, I beamed with a feeling of nostalgic delight seeing those breads that I grew up eating in our province of Quezon - kalihim, kababayan and even pinagong, which the town of Sariaya is known for. My friends and I couldn't resist buying a lot! And then, one Saturday last February, I finally was able to dine at the café together with one of my kids. 
Our orders:

Tawilis Pasta, P185. There were six kinds of noodle dish on the menu but I went for this one because it' s unique to Kamuning Café and besides, I love tawilis, which are small fish found only in Taal Lake in Batangas. I love to eat it breaded and fried to a crisp - it's perfect with my favorite vegetable dish pinakbet. This Tawilis Pasta that uses fettuccine is pleasant to the taste with its balance of creaminess with the subtle savory flavor of the fish. Yummy!

Kamuning Chicken Basket, P185. This fried chicken is good! Even my son gave his stamp of approval. It's rightly spiced and crunchy to the bite. Each piece is quite enormous, too! And there's fries that go with these. You can order a basket of two pieces chicken for P185, or four pieces for P370.

My son wanted rice with his chicken so I ordered for him
Blueberry Cheesecake, P65. This one's a little thinner that the ones you could have in some restaurants. Not short on the cream cheese and blueberry flavors, though. Probably the best cheesecake your P65. could buy nowadays. By the way, don't go searching for this on the café menu because it's not there. I asked the server if he could get me a slice from the bakery, and he gladly did, thankfully.

Brewed coffee, P75. Kamuning Café's cup of joe gave the perfect ending to my afternoon meal. Here, they use Arabica coffee beans from Sagada. As is my won't, 
 I had it black. 

                                             Mango juice, P80. My son's drink.

  Interiors - notable are some antique pieces, drawings
as well as other works or art

I loved the vintage wrought iron chairs similar to what my 
grandparents used to have.
Antique stained glass windows remind me of ancestral houses 
that I dream to live in. 
The bakeshop 
My childhood Pinoy bread favorites - kalihim, kababayan and pinagong plus many more. All breads are baked the old-fashioned way, using pugon or wood-fired brick oven.
Kamuning Bakery is divided into three sections - bakeshop on the left, cakeshop in the middle and the cafe at right. This is located at 43 Judge Jimenez corner K-1st Street, Quezon City.

As I see it, Kamuning Bakery and Cafe is a gem tucked away in this side of Quezon City for its priceless history and of course, the traditional Filipino breads and the coffee plus savory food offered at the café. The ambiance of nostalgia that it gives off is a treasure in itself as well, for people like me who find interest in history. 
But people come to Kamuning Bakery and Cafe not just for the food and coffee. They come to discuss, mostly about government and politics. Professors from the University of the Philippines and yes, the bigwigs in government do come and for this reason, owner Wilson Lee Flores last year decided to hold media forums here so aptly dubbed as "Kapihan at Pandesal sa Kamuning". Some of those who have graced these events were Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senators Francis "Chiz" Escudero and Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos and Representative Leni Robredo. 
So pay this decades-old foodie place a visit, folks and enjoy as much as I did, drinking and munching away a relaxing weekend afternoon. 
Happy eating!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Gerry's Restaurant and Bar: My new fave Pinoy food place

Gerry's Restaurant and Bar (formerly Gerry's Grill) is one of the most 
established chains of Filipino restaurants in the country. With 75 branches across the country and abroad, it's just about anywhere! Whatever mall you go to, you can be sure to find a Gerry's Restaurant and Bar. And it's been around for 19 years already, since its very first store opened 
in Tomas Morato in 1997.
This is why I don't know why it took me so long before I ate here for the first time only this year. I was chaperoning my sister who was vacationing from the US. It had been three weeks into her vacay and we've dined at most Pinoy restos in the malls except for Gerry's Grill. Finally, we were there at the SM City Manila branch. My son and his girlfriend, who were incidentally in the same mall, joined us for merienda.
Our orders:

Pancit bihon, P165. If you've been a regular visitor to this site, you already know that I love pancit bihon but am choosy with it. Well, Gerry's version did not disappoint and I actually loved it. Delicious and meaty!

Pancit palabok, P175. This one's my second favorite among Pinoy noodle dishes and I also loved it here at Gerry's. The sauce is not so much, just enough to cover and flavor the noodles. Thumbs up!

 Fried chicken, P255. I loved that this all-time favorite food of mine wasn't only delicious and crunchy, it's also served with fries. It's double the yum! I'm sure kids would love Gerry's fried chicken.. One serving has six pieces.

Batchoy, P135. Though we've ordered quite a lot or more than we could eat, my sister couldn't resist a bowl of hot soup. Batchoy is her favorite noodle soup dish as well as mine. And Gerry's served justice to this original Ilonggo favorite. Perfect for warming up a growling tummy!

Iced tea, P80 (bottomless); Coffee mug, P65.
Gerry's Restaurant and Bar at SM City Manila

I loved Gerry's Restaurant and Bar on my first-ever visit and would certainly love to be back. It's a good family restaurant as the servings are huge and meant for sharing, but as it is also a bar, it's also a nice place (for some people), to bring their friends for a drink. The menu is impressively extensive - 12 pages! Whatever Pinoy food you're craving for, chances are it's offered at Gerry's Restaurant and Bar. From bulalo to sinigang, kare-kare, crispty pata, kilawin to sisig and inihaw na pusit, they're all available here! Prices are reasonable and service is friendly though a little slow, at least during that time and in that branch. You bet it's so apt a place to bring a balikbayan
See you, folks, at Gerry's Restaurant and Bar!
Happy eating!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Trying out Kuya J

Kuya J, that restaurant often mistakenly thought of being owned by actor Jericho Rosales, is fast becoming a favorite family restaurant and certainly growing when it comes to number of locations. Before I knew it, it was in almost all the SM Malls I went to. Doing a little bit of research, I learned that Kuya J, owned by businessman Winglip Chang, actually started as a small eatery in Cebu. Today, it has 18 branches across Luzon and the Visayas.
Last January, I finally got to try Kuya J at SM San Lazaro together with my sister for a late afternoon meal. I was craving for pancit bihon then but because the server told us that their bestseller was pancit canton, we decided to give it a try, 
plus a few others to go with it. 
Our orders:

Pancit Canton, P165. Honestly? We should have ordered pancit bihon instead. The canton noodles seemed a little undercooked. My sister and I wondered how this dish became a bestseller.

Grilled Scallops, P230. This saved the day for us because it was really good - very cheesy and flavorful. A little bit leaning on the salty side but very delicious! And it was so beautifully arranged on the plate I almost felt wanting to put all these shells on a string and tie it around my neck. Hahaha!

Banana Langka Turon, P75. The sweetness of this dessert-snack provided the balance with the saltiness of the cheese in the scallops. A perfect ending to a less-than-perfect meal.

                                                      Melon shake, P85. Sister's drink.
                                             Brewed coffee, P60. My drink.

Simple, clean, elegant interiors

Some ladies couldn't pass up the chance of being photographed with Jericho Rosales - never mind that it's just a standee. My sister also wanted me to take her picture here but was feeling shy. Haha!..

Though we didn't like the pancit canton, it was still a good first time at Kuya J. I'm sure they have something good to offer and that's for me to discover next time. 
Hope to see you, folks, at Kuya J! 
Happy eating!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Pinoy food with style at Mesa Filipino Moderne

Last January when I was chaperoning my sister who was then on vacation from the US for nearly a whole month, I had the chance to try this sleek and elegant restaurant called Mesa Filipino Moderne. My sister's friend who we met at Robinsons Magnolia took us there. What a good choice it turned out because we loved just about everything we ordered and honestly, I was surprised 
that the food was not as expensive as I expected. 
Our orders:

Chicken binakol, P260. I hadn't eaten this delicious soup dish that originated from the Visayas region before and was glad to finally try it. It's basically tinola, only it's cooked in coconut water and added with coconut meat, giving the soup a sweetish flavor. A welcome change from the usual chicken tinola.

Laing two ways, P170. I thought it was cool to have this Bicolano dish served two ways but there's not really much difference - the other's saucy while the other's a bit dry. I read in another blog that one of these "two ways" was crispy but it wasn't like that at all when we ate. Anyway, both are topped with adobo flakes which is the one that's a bit crunchy.

Binagoongan baboy ni Kaka, P225.  Whoever Kaka is, I want to thank him for creating this savory dish. I loved that this wasn't all meat but accompanied with lots of veggies. The pork, though bathed in bagoong (shrimp paste), wasn't too salty. This was easily my favorite among our orders.

Baby squids in own ink, P265. I love squids whatever way it's cooked - be it fried calamares-style or ginataan (with coconut milk) or yes, adobo like this one. I loved that Mesa's version is homestyle - the way mom would cook it - no frills but certainly delicious!

Kapeng barako jelly with ice cream, P80. When I dine out, I always look for desserts that are not too rich and sweet so I was happy that there's coffee turned into dessert at Mesa. There's a scoop of ice cream, I know, but I only ate a little of it. Haha!

                         Green mango shake, P80. My sister's favorite drink when we dine out.


   Interiors - notice the elegant, Filipino-themed setting

Mesa Filipino Moderne lives up to its name. Here, you can have the dishes we Pinoys have grown up with but served beautifully and with a twist (for some of the dishes). It's like having something old in a new and different way. The taste, is course as crucial as the aesthetic factor and Mesa is successful both ways. Couple that with an elegant and relaxing ambiance and you have the perfect restaurant to bring family and friends. As I've mentioned, I was surprised about the food prices 'coz I was expecting it to be steep but we only paid P1,200. for all our orders (the ones in pictures plus three cups of rice at P40. each). Try Mesa Filipino Moderne if you haven't, folks and 
enjoy the food and ambiance as we did. 
Happy eating!