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Archive for the ‘Filipino Food’ Category

Cherry and I took a day trip to Vancouver yesterday and had a recommendation to eat at Pinpin, if we had the chance. Although the sign says “Filipino-Chinese Cuisine”, it’s definitely a 100% Filipino restaurant. The Chinese refers to a few “Chinese style” dishes in the back of the menu that are still very Filipino. With two locations in British Columbia, we went to the Surrey location, which was pretty big and quite clean upon entering. We were greeted, immediately seated and eagerly browsed the menu.

 

The Food:

 

 

bagoong rice 1

bagoong rice $9.95 ca

The bagoong¬† rice(pronounced “bah-goh-ong”) looked intriguing so we had to order it. Bagoong is essentially a fermented shrimp paste that is heavily mixed with salt. It is a very common ingredient is Filipino food. When it came out, it looked like a Filipino version of Bimbimbap, a Korean rice bowl with all the toppings neatly organized atop for you to mix in. This bowl came topped with diced tomato, red onion, green onion, scrambled egg and slivers of mango. The rice had a pink tinge to it from the bagoong paste. When mixed, all of the ingredients came together nicely. The red and green onions provided a bright and sharp bite while the tomato and mango added creamy, sweet and earthy tones. Egg always makes everything better so no need to get too detailed about that. If you’ve ever had bagoong by itself, then you know it packs quite a punch, which is what I was expecting. However, the rice had a nice delicate flavor of the fermented shrimp paste that worked very well. One thing worth noting is that the serving size of this bowl was HUGE and we weren’t complaining ūüôā

 

 

pork sisig 1

sisig $11.5 ca

We were recommended their sisig which is the Filipino “sizzling plate.” Pork sisig is the universal version and comes with chopped and fried pork mixed with onion and topped with lemon slice. The sisig at Pinpin was seasoned well and really showcased rich flavors of the fried pork. One thing that stood out was how crunchy it was – there were bits that was borderline rock hard. Those with fillings or any kind of dental work best heed caution. Another thing I noticed was lack of any substantial pieces of pork. This was pretty much sizzling plate of diced chicharr√≥n. I literally pressed a piece with my finger and it broke down to tiny specks of coarse sand. The sisig I’ve had in the past actually had discernible pieces of pork.

 

inihaw na pusit $10.5 ca

The inihaw na pusit is their grilled squid which was also my favorite dish. The squid was perfectly grilled with great texture and bite. The bbq glaze had a good balance of sweet and savory that complimented the dish well. There was also a small cup  of vinegar you use as dip, which did an excellent job countering the sweetness of the glaze. There are three different size of the inihaw na pusit (small, medium, large) and we ordered the small Рwhich was more than enough to share between two people.

 

Conclusion:

We walked out happy and full. The food was delicious and the service was great. There was always a server at our table the moment they saw our water was low or when our table needed clearing. With an expansive menu that we virtually walked away untapped, we’ll be back soon to explore more of their offerings.

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Here’s part 2 of my recent 3-week trip to the Philippines. This post will focus on the good stuff – street food. I’ll also conclude with some photos I shot during my trip of things I saw and places we visited. Now let’s get to it!

* in case you forgot $1 us dollar = $40-$44 peso

** most every piece of street food ranged from $3 – $5 peso (unless noted)

 

Street Foods:

 

a bbq stand literally 25-yards from our home. they wouldn’t start setting up until sunset and would stay open for a few hours.

street food_3

betamax & isaw (grilled chicken blood & chicken intestines)

 bbq chicken feet (adidas) & longanisa (pork sausage) with a sauce of vinegar, chili peppers and cucumber

bbq chicken feet & longanisa (pork sausage) with a sauce of vinegar, chili peppers and cucumber

 l to r: fried chicken breast, breaded and fried quail eggs, chicken skin

l to r: fried chicken breast, breaded and fried quail eggs (quek quek), chicken skin

 pick your own: fish balls, hot dogs, fish cakes

self-served: fish balls, hot dogs, fish cakes

Cherry’s cousin specifically brought us to this stall in the ili. There’s a bunch of toothpicks that you use to pick up any and all the bite-sized food you want. There’s a couple of different dipping sauces you can use as well, ranging from sweet to spicy. This is basically a self serve food cart where you stand and eat as much as you want then the vendor totals you up at the end.

 taste the rainbow

tapioca heaven

various fruit drinks

various fruit drinks

 pandan drink

pandan drink aka “green drink”

Plastic bags are the norm when it comes to juices and sodas in the ili as well as the barangays. It’s a definitely a unique thing to try for the first time. I dig it!

 fresh buko and fresh buko meat

fresh buko and fresh buko meat

home made buko juice: so presh, so represhing!

home made buko juice: so presh, so represhing!

burger collage

makings of a burger

We visited the ili almost every other day and each time we were there, this particular burger stand was always busy. The inviting aroma of oil and meat on the grill didn’t hurt either. I made it a point to try one of these burgers before we left. Their special was a “buy one take one” for $25 peso. Despite my better judgement telling me to avoid a place that sells 2-burgers for under $0.50, I couldn’t help myself. Assuming the ground meat was beef, they weren’t bad. The mysterious pink sauce however, I could have done without. It tasted like what I imagine Willy Wonka’s version of¬†“secret” sauce would be.¬† I deduced that the other two sauces were mayo and ketchup. These burgers also included a small square of cheese, lettuce and cucumber slices. The cucumber was a surprising ingredient as I’ve never had one in a burger, but thought it worked, providing a nice cool element to each bite. Overall not the worst thing I’ve ever had, but I can’t say I’d order this burger again.

deep fried isaw via balay bistro in urdaneta $100p

deep fried isaw from balay bistro in urdaneta $100p

 palutan of bbq pork, onions, tomatoes and sauce of vinegar, soy and sliced chili

pulutan of bbq pork, onions, tomatoes and sauce of vinegar, soy and sliced chili

Pulutan which roughly translates to finger food, is commonly eaten when socializing and drinking with friends and family  around a table.

  beachside grillin: milk fish, squid and eggplant

beachside grillin: milk fish, squid and eggplant

ice cream!

ice cream: pineapple, pandan, cheese

when you buy an ice cream cone, you get one flavor - all three!

  only one flavor offered Рall three!

homemade lumpia

homemade lumpia

impalate aka biko

impalate aka biko

hey buddy!

hey buddy!

One of my foodie goals on this trip was to eat the most popular street food in the country, balut! If you don’t already know, balut is a developing duck embryo that is boiled then eaten from the shell. Once you get over the visual appearance that is often off-putting, it really tastes good. You get all of the flavors you’d expect from hard-boiled egg and then the subtlest flavor of poultry on the back end. I’d definitely eat it again.

My Conclusion:

This was a great trip filled with memorable experiences and awesome food. I hope these two posts provided a glimpse into one small part of the Filipino culture, leaving you hungry to discover more on your own! I’ll end this with some of my favorite captures during this trip…

antong falls

antong falls

A large group of us hiked a few miles through fields, river beads and up rocks to Antong Falls. We had a couple of near death experiences as we tried to traverse the boulders while wearing flip flops, but we eventually made it. It was worth it.

carabao

carabao

adenium

adenium

sunrise via pugudpud

sunrise via pugudpud

milky waters before the storm

milky waters before the storm

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Last month, my family and I were fortunate enough to take a 3-week trip to Cherry’s country of birth, Philippines.¬† She’s been back several times over her lifetime and this was my second trip, so it wasn’t totally foreign to me. However this time around I had a much greater appreciation¬† of the entire experience. I like to tell myself it’s because I’m older and more mature. Cherry’s family is from the central province of Pangasinan, on the main island of Luzon. Her mother still has a home in the Sugcong barangay of the Pozorrubio municipality, which is where we stayed. We spent a majority of our days going to the ili (pronounced ee-lee), which is the central hub of each municipality, and nights with family drinking – Tang or brandy.

Now join me on a photographic journey of the things I ate and places I visited!

* unless noted, most everything was home made

** 1 US dollar = 40-44 pesos

Breakfasts:

breakfast_3

chicken tinola, home made longanisa, tomatoes with armang (shrimp paste), rice

breakfast_2

fried tilapia, tomato with armang, rice

breakfast_1

fried fish, mulunggay leaves and tomatoes, rice

These three dishes are very common breakfast meals in the Philippines. If you couldn’t tell by the pictures, breakfast consisted of rice (a staple), a protein (usually fried) and a vegetable. Depending on what was available the protein and vegetable changed each day, however tomatoes and shrimp paste were always on hand!

tocino breakfast

tocino breakfast $130p

chorizo breakfast

chorizo a la cubano $160p

These were breakfasts offered at Burby’s Grill. The tocino was average and the achara (papaya salad) was too sweet. The chorizo was pretty horrible. It had no flavors of any seasonings and the only flavor I picked up was vinegar.. too much of it. The fried plantains were pretty good though.

chow king

pork siomai chao fan with egg $97p

In terms of number of locations, Chowking is like the Starbucks of the Philippines. The food is cheap, will fill you up and they’re open 24-hrs a day! Not exactly my idea of Chinese food, but for under $3 U.S. I’m not complaining ūüôā

Lunches:

clockwise from stop left: pinakbet, pork afritada, pork adobo, ____, curry chicken

eatery from the ili clockwise from top left: dinengdeng, pork caldereta, pork adobo, pinakbet (mostly pork), curry chicken $35p each

lunch_1

left to right: diniguan, pork adobo, pancit, sweetened pork belly fat adobo, tomato and armang, rice

mang insal_1

“pm 2” meal from mang inasal $109p

Mang Inasal an extremely popular fast food restaurant known for their barbecued chicken. The chicken is tasty and well cooked with a mildly sweet glaze. It’s very common to dip your chicken in sauce comprised of soy, calamansi juice and hot chlili peppers. This meal comes with unlimited rice but you can opt to not have unlimited rice and save yourself 10 pesos.

jollibee

polobok & chicken meal from jollibee $140

Jollibee may be the most recognizable Filipino fast food restaurant, and like Chow King, they’re open 24hrs a day and on every street corner. The picture above pretty much sums up how the meal was. Both the polobok and fried chicken were average at best but satisfied my hunger.¬† One thing I’d like to note is that Jollibee is busy… staggeringly busy. It doesn’t matter the time nor location, there will be a crowd.

eatery_2

view from the road

eatery_1

pick a pot, any pot

eatery_3

beef steak with rice

This meal is from a roadside eatery. My mother-in-law paid for the meal so I’m not exactly sure how much it was. If I were to take a guess, I’d say around $35peso per plate. These types of eateries are also very popular in the Philippines. When you enter, you’re met with a plethora of covered pots and pans filled with various stews, meats and veggies for you to choose from. After you make your selection, the server plates it and serves you with a plate of rice. The beef was on the chewier side and the flavors of the vinegar overpowered everything.

 top: fried shrimp, grilled milk fish,  bbq pork skewers, bbq pork, eggplant bottom l to r: salad of mango, tomato, red onion, chili and fish sauce and "chow mein"

top: fried shrimp, grilled milk fish, bbq pork skewers, bbq pork, eggplant
bottom l to r: salad of mango, tomato, red onion, chili and fish sauce and “chow mein”

Cherry’s cousin treated us to this lunch at a Lisland Rainforest Resort in Urdaneta City. It was a beautifully presented meal and most everything was delicious. I especially enjoyed the fried shrimp which were crispy and enjoyable to pop in your mouth. The bbq skewers were also delicious. The glaze had a good balance of sweet and savory. The noodles on the other hand, were underwhelming. It looked pretty but the the ingredients literally sat atop a hard noodle cake. I felt like I needed a knife to cut a portion out. The icing on this noodle cake was the seasoning that seemed to be sprinkled all over. Three words: Chicken Top Ramen.

Dinners:

 native chicken tinola & bbq pork

native chicken tinola & bbq pork

The picture above was a very typical dinner each night as well. Like breakfast, it usually consisted of a protein and a vegetable. Often times we ate the exact same thing for both breakfast and dinner. They call the chicken above “native” chicken because it wasn’t farmed. They literally went into the backyard and killed one for dinner. It was definitely very tough and much chewier.

The following two pictures show preparations for¬† a celebration. In the barangay’s, celebrations involve a family hosting a huge dinner for the entire barangay (dozens of large families) to celebrate a wedding, anniversary or any other momentous occasion. Needless to say these types of dinners are not a regular occurrence.

 teamwork makes the dream work

teamwork makes the dream work

just another bbq

a little pork and a little carabao

to be continued…

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Making its debut last night, Kraken Congee is the newest addition to Seattle’s pop-up scene Рstarted by a trio of local chefs; Tyler Robinson and Garrett Doherty of The Ruins, and Irbille Donia of Ray’s. According to an article by the Seattle Met,  the three of them met at culinary school and since then have come together to create this new venture.

kraken.welcome

the kraken welcomes you

kraken.essentials

the essentials

The Food:

kraken.beeftongue

 steamed bun, beef tongue, apple fennel kimchee $8

The bun was soft and the beef tongue was clean and tender. The apple kimchee was bright with nice crunch, but I would have liked it to have had  much bolder spice and pickled flavors.

kraken.squidink

 squid ink congee, pork stuffed squid tubes, ginger, thai chilis, fried shallots, roasted peanut, cilantro $ 15

If it¬†weren’t¬†for the cilantro sprinkled atop, this bowl of congee looked visually‚Ķ meh. Unfortunately, there isn‚Äôt any color in a cooked squid tube and the squid link ladled around, looked like a pen broke in someone‚Äės pant pocket. The pork stuff squid was cooked well and provided the majority of the ‚Äúheft‚ÄĚ to this bowl. The thai chilis brought a satisfying heat to my lips and the roasted peanuts provided a subtle crunch to each bite. The ginger also provided an additional layer of flavor to the bowl. Lost in the mix, were the shallots

kraken.dunkconfit

xo congee, five spice duck confit, cracklings, bok choy, egg yolk $15

This bowl looked very appealing – more so than the squid ink congee. The bok coy was rich and green ¬†while the bright egg yolk sat wide-eyed, asking to be opened like a gift on Christmas morning. The duck confit was seasoned well (though I‚Äôm not sure I got a full duck leg‚Ķ more like ¬Ĺ a leg)and the egg yolk provided a creamy richness to the bowl. The cracklings were savory and worked well with the other ingredients. I did have the unappetizing pleasure of biting into a piece of star anise that wasn’t removed… which has a flavor of black licorice.

kraken.chefs

the chefs

My Conclusion:

In terms of turnout, this pop-up was a success – it was a packed house when we entered and people were still coming in as we left. I think these three are onto something great! I also really like the idea of shining light on an Asian staple that is, congee. Growing up in a Chinese household, congee was a regular for me. I¬†especially¬†love the plethora ingredients and side dishes you can add to each bowl. When it comes down to it, congee is just porridge of rice and water. The things you add in it or on top of it are what give it flavor and appeal – so¬†I have a tough time wrapping my head around are the steep prices. I place congee in the same category as pho (minus the hours spent making the broth.) They‚Äôre both satisfying on a cold day, provide big flavors, perfect for the morning after a night on the town, and cheap! … Well sorta‚Ķ A $15 bowl of congee is like a $20 bowl of pho.

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Irbille Edible’s August Pop-Up will marked his last Pop-Up of the Summer season. It also marked a continued partnership with Noel House Programs in that he donated 10% of the dinner’s proceeds to local Seattle Women in need.

new look to the menu

The Food:

calabasa: summer squash, fried blossom, longanisa sarsa  $10

The squash was nicely cooked with texture that wasn’t too soft and wasn’t too hard. The longanisa sarsa was the element of this dish that really shined through. It had a nice deep and salty flavor that¬†highlighted the¬†squash and did not overpower. Despite being deep fried, the blossom was light and airy. If all vegetable dishes were prepared this way – I may consider crossing into the dark side and becoming vegetarian!

 

 

gabi: garlic prawns, coconut braised taro leaves, forbidden rice  $16

The prawns were plump and perfectly prepared. Each bite of the prawn was flavorful with an ideal firm texture and as the dishes focal point, they were pleasant to look at. This was my first time eating braised taro leaves and I thoroughly enjoyed it. They brought a deep earthy flavor that contrasted nicely to the more bright flavors of the prawns. This was also my first time eating forbidden rice, and if I were to take a blind-taste test between it, and white rice – it’d be a toss up. However, texturally, forbidden rice grains are a little larger and rounder than calrose or jasmine rice – it reminds me almost like an arborio rice.

 

nanay’s adobo: braised pork, leeks, poached egg, garlic rice, adobo¬† $14

If you’re going to serve an item advertised as adobo in a Filipino Pop-up/Restaurant, then you’d better be sure you’re bringing your A-game. From a flavor profile’s standpoint, Chef Irbille and his team was on point. The braised pork was tender and there was no missing the soy sauce and vinegar flavors that are staples in this dish. I wasn’t able to make out the leeks however- they were unfortunately masked beneath the strong and bold flavors of the pork adobo. Adding a subtle creamy flavor to everything was the egg yolk – from the perfectly poached egg. The one critique I will have for this dish is regarding the portion size – which was very small for my liking.¬†Generously gauging, there may have been two-tablespoons of pork between the rice and egg. Our dinner party consisted of three – Cherry and I as well as Cherry’s 11-year old god-daughter. Each of us literally had 1-spoon full of the dish before it was gone.

 

My Conclusion:

Chef Irbille has always created and served wonderfully flavorful &¬†delicious dishes. He continues to present great interpretations of Filipino Classics while still paying homage to the originals. Having been to six of his Pop-Up’s I can honestly say that he is growing¬†in his¬†creativity and plating. That being said, as your average consumer, I am unaccustomed to the world of fine dining – which Chef Irbille and his Pop-Up’s border on. Though presented beautifully¬†and with fresh and local ingredients,¬†I find his dishes are little overpriced for the amount of food served. In order to walk out on a full stomach, be prepared to shell out $40-$50 per person – which may be little to some, but as a monthly supporter of Chef Irbille and his Pop-Ups, my pockets are on fire.

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Here is the menu for Irbille Edible’s July Pop-Up at Olivar in Seattle. Please call for reservations.

 

Pampagana

‚ÄĘPapaya Salad 8

papaya, radish,  mizuna, calamansi

‚ÄĘ Kamatis Salad 8

heirloom tomatoes, red onions, crispy silver fish, cane vinegar

 Pagkaing Dagat

‚ÄĘ Fried Talaba 12

fried pacific oyster, coconut rice,  grilled corn

‚ÄĘ Scallop Sipo 16

seared scallops,  peas,  wallawalla onions, mushroom puree

‚ÄĘ Gabi 15

coconut braised taro leaves, garlic prawns,  forbidden rice

 Carne

‚ÄĘ Sisig 10

seared pork, arugula, mango

‚ÄĘ Pork Adobo 10

braised pork belly,  leeks, garlic rice, adobo sauce

‚ÄĘ Grilled Manok 10

grilled chicken, fava beans,  braised new potatoes, apritada sauce

‚ÄĘ Grilled Baka 12

grilled sirloin steak, sautéed red onions, cherry tomatoes, toyomansi sauce

 Dulse

‚ÄĘ HaloHalo 8

coconut granite, ube ice cream, strawberries, jackfruit, coconut cream

‚ÄĘ Champorado 8

chocolate rice pudding, raspberry ice cream, hazelnut polvoron crumbs

 

 

10% of the dinner’s proceeds will benefit Noel House Programs.

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¬†Just when you thought these Pop-Up’s couldn’t get any better,¬†last nights¬†event marked an occasion truly worth speaking of – 100% of the proceeds from last nights dinner are to be donated to Noel House Programs. For those that may not know, Noel House is the largest women’s only shelter in Seattle. Providing both permanent and temporary housing, food, resources and support for women in need, Noel House is truly a blessing for women in need. It is¬†awesome ¬†knowing that Irbille Edible’s partnered up with such a great organization.

The Food:

mango salad: manila mango, mizuna, watermelon radish, green mango vinaigrette

This salad was dressed wonderfully. The julienned mangos really popped against the backdrop of the mizuna and was a pleasing plate to look at. This is the second time I have mizuna (the first was at his April Pop-Up) and I can honestly say I enjoyed it! It has a more mild flavor than arugula and does well in cutting through the sweetness of the mango. One critique I have about this dish is I didn’t notice the watermelon radish – which was listed on the menu.¬†

roasted eggplant: baby eggplant, bell peppers, almond sauce

Cherry and I opted to lean away from our norm and order the roasted eggplant. The eggplant was roasted nicely with a good char and soft inner layer. The almond sauce added a countering sweetness almost like a peanut sauce and worked great with the eggplant! However, again, the menu stated the dish would come with bell peppers, and if my memory (and photo) serve me correct, there were none.

 steak bagoong: anchovy marinated hanger steak, purple yams, heirloom tomato

For me, this dish was the highlight of the meal. The steak was cooked perfectly with a perfect char on the outside and a tender pink in the middle. The anchovy (or bagoong) marinated stead had great flavor and really added a nice depth of flavor. Acting almost like a sweet potato mash, the purple yams added a delicious touch when combined with the tomato and steak, it was sublime.

 

 My Conclusion:

It is always great coming to these Pop-Up dinners, ¬†not only to support¬†an up-and-coming chef, but also a¬†friend. Being able to witness Chef Irbille’s progression of his creativity, technique and plating from his first Pop-up to now, is truly something great. Learning and growth is something that is constantly the goal of any professional and despite some missing elements on our dishes, these miscues were¬†mere hiccups in the overall dinner. Furthermore, in the grand scheme of things, the main winners are the residents¬† and staff at Noel House, for they are the ones who¬†will directly¬†benefit from this event – I was lucky enough to be apart of the ride.

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