07 November 2015

The Pattaya Experience: Baan Pictory and Pattaya sidestreets...

Last year, we were on a recording jaunt for the company and we ended up in the well-equipped and amazing Karma Sound Studios located just nearby the famous "Pattaya" in the outskirts of Bangkok. 

We also stayed in a very charming resort owned by 2 very charming French gentlemen who had decided to settle down in Thailand and build a business there. We were well taken cared of and the food was very sumptuous all around during that trip. 

We had a welcome dinner hosted for us in the resort by the owners and it was a beautiful dinner spread indeed.

All the requisite Thai dishes were there and so much more. It was spread out all in one setting and we immediately got down to business. For appetizers they had Thai-style fried chicken wings, fried spring rolls, and my favorite shrimp cakes! So yummy! 

We also had another one of my favorites - the Tom Yum. Spicy and sour soup with tiger prawns, mushrooms, kafir lime leaves, and lemongrass. This is always a winner and comfort food for me. Baan Pictory's kitchen prepared this perfectly together with the delicious shrimp cakes.

Lastly, dessert was the bomb. Traditional sticky rice with mangoes and coconut cream. Delicious, rich, satisfying, and a perfect end to a great dinner.

I think we literally had this everyday for the rest of our stay there. :)

Morning's at the resort were also enjoyable treats with a continental breakfast and Thai breakfast served buffet style. But what caught my attention was their version of our Filipino "arroz caldo". Their version is not that starchy, more like clear broth but with a heavenly burst of flavor with each spoonful that we really liked having it every day.

As we were already near Pattaya, we were granted a chaperoned excursion by the 2 owners and the big boss. We also stopped by their favorite French restaurant there which is right smack in that district but mind you, they served us really amazing food. We had steaks and fritters (mine cooked to medium). The steak was humongous but wonder of wonders I actually finished 3/4 of it until I called it quits and finishing 3/4 is quite a lot considering that it more than half the big plate. It was just pan fried and cooked with some sauteed onion garnish and it was amazing. The quality of the beef itself was the showcase of that dish.

One of our French hosts also got us to try his beef stroganoff and it was a lovely dish with very tender pieces of beef and beautifully cooked. The French do really know their food.

It was also during this night that I first got to try one dish I always dreaded to try for fear of it's taste or some other thing - the steak tartare. Can't get any more french than that. Pure raw beef. I dreaded trying it out since I cannot imagine having to eat raw beef but to my surprise I wasn't repulsed by it and I found it really nice. I just didn't get to take any photos of that lovely beef.

The food I had was amazing in Pattaya and the red light district was really a sight to behold. I think I will be visiting this region again.

Sawasdee Thailand!


26 February 2015

Ramen Fuss: My Ramen Nagi Tastexperience

Ramen places have been sprouting all over the metro like mushrooms. Nowadays we have a variety of really good ramen places to choose from as compared to a few years ago when the only ramens we could get where from the Japanese fastfood chains.

Ramen Nagi is one such example of a nice ramen chain which has come to our PH shores. Although it is somewhat a fastfood chain but the restaurant has it’s roots in Japan and is dedicated to serving a really good bowl of ramen.

Since they are mainly a ramen place, there are only 4 variations of ramen that customers can customize once you get there: Butao King (tonkotsu broth), Black King (garlic and squid ink combo), Red King (spicy), and the Green King (cheese and basil). For some reason, my favorite among the 4 is the Black King one. I love how it taste with all that squid ink and al dente ramen noodles. They also serve some side dishes that go well with a bowl of ramen.

As of this writing I have made many visits to Ramen Nagi since it turns out my friends also love it. Basically this is a rundown of what I have eaten there and what I recommend. By the way, they don’t allow take aways in all their branches and this is because they don’t want the quality of their ramen lowered down. I always think I cannot finish one big bowl but I really do. Blame it on that rich and flavorful ramen broth! :)

For our side dishes, me and my friends almost order the same thing. We had their Nagi Star Salad. This is a refreshing salad with lots of crunch. It is composed of sliced cabbages and lettuce mixed together with some crispy fried noodles and topped with some sesame oil and a secret Ramen Nagi dressing. This is a really rich tasting salad but it is really good.

Next up, always on the table is their gyoza. They serve them perfectly cooked and piping hot all the time and we all just love it. I haven’t been disappointed with their gyozas ever. Really crispy bottom and soft and tasty insides.

I have also tried their Chicken Karaage and it is just delish. Crispy and very flavorful and the meat is so juicy inside. Kids would love this.

Now when you take your seat at Ramen Nagi you are immediately given a sort of paper checklist of how you want to customize your ramen. This is also a feature which I like very much because you can tailor fit your ramen to suit your tastebud demands for the day. Also, you can order extras like tamago, green onions, noodles, and etc. They also have condiments in each table like pepper, sesame seeds, pickled garlic, and spicy bean sprouts.

The first ramen bowl I tried in Ramen Nagi was their Black King and I immediately fell in love. It is spicy and rich but not “umay” as some would call it. It is also yummy with Tamago. The garlicky and squid ink taste really does it for me. This ramen is very flavorful and rich and one that you should try! I make sure to sprinkle some sesame seeds on top as well. This is one that I really love. A favorite of mine.

I also did try the Butao King and while it is also tasty and delicious as well with the soft chasu slices, somehow I find it not as rich as the Black King which I like. The broth is very milky though and really good as well. You cannot go wrong with this one.

Ramen Nagi really has a simplistic approach to a bowl of ramen by just having 4 variants and sometimes they have another flavor they rotate but it is limited to certain months. Here you won’t be confused to what kind of ramen to order and also I think just by having4 variants that they would really do their best to serve it at optimum quality at all times. Do check out Ramen Nagi for a ramen fix. I promise it won’t disappoint.


19 January 2015

Hole-In-The-Wall Alert: El Chupacabra at Makati Avenue

Hole-in-the-wall restaurants are one of my favorites. They are great finds when it comes to good food without breaking your bank. One of my recent favorites is a Mexican inspired little restaurant along the busy streets in Makati avenue - El Chupacabra. They serve really good Mexican food and during the weekends, they are packed and you will need to wait for a table to become available because they have limited seating only.

My friend B was the one who introduced me to this little gem and I have been introducing it to friends as well because they really serve good food in here and you can just come as is. No need for a posh get up or whatever. Some of the seats they have are literally on the streets already because they just have a little space.

So one weekend I brought friend D, M, and their other friends and we had our dinner here. It was packed so we had to wait for at least 45 minutes to an hour to get a table but we had a good time and while waiting we ordered one of their signature dishes - Nachos Especiales. This was a huge platter of nachos with everything on it - beef, cheese, and etc. So while waiting at least we had these to munch on and friend M, D, and me had a little catch up moment before the rest of the gang arrived.

We also ordered some cheese quesadillas - Gringas and they had some carnitas in them. These were also delicious with coriander paste, salsa, and sour cream to complement the dish.

Tacos were of course a must-have. I ordered a Carne Asada taco. One was enough to satiate my stomach since they have a good sized serving and the nachos got to my tummy too. These were yummy and so good. Simple but really delicious food.

We also had some barbeque as well. We ordered the small sticks and the meat on the barbeque were juicy and so tasty. I love their barbeque here by the way. It’s really good and yummy.

Of course we ordered a pitcher of margarita as well to quench the thirst and we ended up with a good night. El Chupacabra is really a must-try place for anyone. They serve really good Mexican food without the huge price tag. The place has a very different vibe as well. It just evokes a very relaxed feeling from me whenever I am here.
Thanks to friend B who introduced me to this place! :)

18 January 2015

Checking out Sariwon at BGC

At this time, I can say I like Korean food a lot. I have been to countless Korean restaurants - both the mom & pop kind to the mainstream ones as well as to the fine dining ones. I must say I am not yet bored with it. I find it really interesting and very enjoyable to my palate. So of course when friend D had another MNL flight, we went to one of those Korean restaurants in BGC.

Sariwon is one of those more pricey ones I think but the quality of the meat and their other offerings are quite good. The interiors were nice and cozy and of course the requisite table top grill was ever present. I just love these table top grills. I think they are an essential component in Korean dining. 

We were given several banchans to start us off. I just love these little side dishes and I think they lend a certain charm to eating Korean. 

We also ordered some galbitang and it was very good. The beef ribs were tender and very flavorful. 

Aside from that we had Dak Galbi too which is marinated grilled boneless chicken and I wasn’t able to take a photo of it because at this time, I was really busy eating.

Then we had to have some bulgogi too. We had the Yooksue Bulgogi which is the marinated beef grilled at the table and cooked in a tasty beef broth. The meat was so tender and we enjoyed the broth it was cooked in also.

All the dishes we ordered were so tasty and delicious. It is something to try if you are in the BGC area. And by the way, not everything was spicy during this meal although Koreans are known to be really spicy eaters. I’d probably visit again to try the other menu options from Sariwon.



13 November 2014

Balkan Yugoslavian Home Cooking - At A Glance

As usual I am late again in my posts. I guess it’s nothing new. I am always busy so sometimes I am too tired to write about the delicious experiences I had but I always try to catch up one way or another.

Anyway, thanks to one of my awesome foodie friends DJ B, she told me about this restaurant named Balkan in the BGC area which serves authentic Serbian food and I went with M and Z to check it out. We weren’t disappointed. Although it is quite pricey, it really is good value for money. And of course, your taste buds get to try out Serbian cooking which I think is very hearty and filling.

When we all walked inside the restaurant I immediately liked what I saw and felt. The interiors were cozily decorated with shelves full of books, old photographs, and some mementos. It immediately put me at ease and comfortable although it was my first time to try Serbian cooking. The colors inside the restaurant were also very relaxing for me. We seated ourselves and we proceeded to order.

The first thing that I really said to the wait staff was to get us an order of goulash. I have been hearing about this kind of beef stew in books and in tv and my curiosity was piqued enough. It was served together with crusty bread which we all loved. I couldn’t get over how hearty and delicious the goulash tasted. It really would be perfect on a cold night in front of a glowing fire. The soup was tasty, savory, and the beef was very tender. We loved it. This was one of the highlights for me. I made a mental note to order it at another time and bring home to Papa.

The M also wanted a salad so I chose something that would also be pleasant to Z. I ordered their Arugula salad with chicken breast. There is just something about the peppery hint of arugula that I dearly love. I think it’s perfect in a salad and together with some cherry tomatoes, this was a winner too. The breaded chicken breast and mozzarella additions were delicious highlights on that salad.

We also ordered stuffed pljeskavica. I’m not sure If I got the spelling right. This was ground beef steak stuffed with melted mozzarella and served with your choice of fries or rice. This dish was also delicious and very filling.

DJ B also suggested I try the rosti potatoes which were fried potato pancakes. Z loved them!

Actually in a nutshell I would describe Balkan’s food as being hearty and filling. Some reviews I have read say they serve up a great burger which I promise to try next time. Definitely Balkan is a place worth coming back to.

Ta Ta!


P.S. Balkan is located at the 2nd floor of the Crossroads Building, 32nd street, Bonifacio Global City. :)

13 September 2014

Satisfying My Craving for Thai Food Over at Thaipan in Quezon City

Even before I was able to visit Thailand, I have always loved Thai food and the fresh and spicy twists it has. Having visited the country a few times, I came to love more of its food. There is really something about it. Maybe it’s the way they are able to flavorfully use herbs and spices in their food or maybe I just have an easy tummy to please. Either way, I have come to love it immensely. More so when enjoyed with really good friends over wonderful conversations.

Fellow foodie and friend L invited me for a dinner date together with her partner friend C and she suggested a Thai place and I was in. There are quite a few Thai restaurants here in Manila and they are really good ones too. When we met up at Thaipan in Tomas Morato I was already impressed with the restaurant’s exterior. They had a sort of open air veranda set up as well as air-conditioned interiors that seat people comfortably. They had a very cozy set up and I was already feeling good about it that I was so looking forward to the food.

Friend L is very particular about food so I trusted her judgment on this resto recommendation and she was spot on. The food took me back to the streets of Bangkok with its flavor and authenticity. I had all my favorites on this night.

For our drinks we had Thai milk tea and Dalandan juice which were both great accompaniments to our meal.

We had Tod Man Kung for our appetizers but I forgot to take a picture of it because we were busy devouring every piece of the crispy but soft in-the-inside shrimp cakes with the sweet chili sauce. These are a favorite of mine. I can eat a whole serving all by myself and can eat this day and night. These had just the right amount of shrimp and they were cooked just right.

Next up my favorite, Tom Yung Kung, a hot and sour broth with prawns and straw mushrooms and they were very good. The Thai version of our sinigang and this never fails to make me ooohh and aaahh with pleasure.

We also ordered the pomelo salad, Yam Som-O. It was very light and just had the right amount of kick to it. It was very fresh tasting and definitely a good addition to our meal.

For our rice choice, we picked Khao Phad Kaffir. We opted to get this rice since we knew our meal was going to be spicy and a lot of other things so getting the Kaffir fried rice topped with garlic ensured that we won’t overdue it on the spicy part but I would like to try their Bagoong fried rice at another time.

For one of our mains, we chose to have fish and ordered the Pla Lad Prik Sam Ros. These were deep fried fish fillets drizzled with tamarind chili sauce and garnished with fried basil leaves. The fish cooked right. It was crispy on the outside and soft and tasty on the inside.

For dessert of course I had my staple – sticky rice with mango and we also ordered Ta Koh Sakhoo, tapioca pearl steamed cake. These were just too pretty to eat. Everything that we had for our meal was indeed a very lovely Thai dinner for me and the conversation around the table was just heart-warming.

Looking forward to the next foodie adventure L and C!

For all my foodie friends craving for some really good Thai food, you can have your fix right here. Guaranteed!


Looking for Thaipan:

Address: Sct. Dr. Lazcano, Diliman, Quezon City, 1103 Metro Manila
Phone:(02) 352 4926
Hours: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm – 12:00 am

20 June 2014

Checking out the HK Food Landscape: My foodie trail in HongKong! (Part 2)

To continue with my Hong Kong foodie adventures, friend K brought me to the neighborhood IKEA store. We were quite hungry when we got there and the first thing that greeted us before we went in for the furniture was the friendly IKEA cafeteria. I had heard many things about the IKEA food but I think it’s just hype. They were good but nothing that I would describe as spectacular. They were just “bang for buck” eats.

We had their famed meatballs and they’re really nice and filling. We also had some of the sausages and of course they were showcasing cream puffs and they happen to be one of my “happy food” items so I bought a whole tray to take home. They staved off our hunger pangs before we went furniture window shopping.

The very next day and right before my take-off, we had to have the HK “Crystal Jade” for lunch. We went with friend K’s officemate and buddy, P.

We went straight to ordering the Xiao Long Baos, which are their specialty and a slew of other dishes as well. The Xiao Long Bao experience was great. I loved the soupy broth and they did this very right I think. Compared to all other XLB’s I have eaten here in PH, I think theirs is just super! The broth was tasty and very savory that I think I had quite a couple of XLB’s during that lunch. The XLB wrapping was very delicate and the whole piece of dumpling was just cooked right. It was so flavorful and I really enjoyed every bite.

Aside from their bestseller the XLB, we also had some French green beans with minced meat. This dish really reminds me of sautéed green beans with ground pork that my ma cooks. Not really stellar but good.

Then I saw from their menu that they had some steamed white chicken in Chinese wine. We ordered this and the chicken was steamed beautifully. The chicken meat was so tender and juicy. This was a real treat.

We also ordered some of the more basic ones – the sweet and sour chicken fried to a crisp and cooked with pineapples and peppers. We also ordered some gyoza that they had. The Japanese version is better in Japanese restaurants so maybe we will just leave the gyoza’s to them but again they say that the gyoza was something that came from China. How true that is, I do not know.

Lastly, I ordered some chicken soup and I did not expect to get a really hearty and delicious chicken soup. The chefs can really make the chicken soups. To sum it all up, I had a more than pleasant lunch at Crystal Jade and I look forward to eating there again.

I have eaten at the Crystal Jade’s here but there is just really something about the Crystal Jade in HK.

I love you HK, I will be back that is for sure. I still have to discover more food secrets from your quaint and busy streets.