Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pepper and Paper

There is both pepper and paper in Pepper Lunch Express. Pepper is for the sizzling plate of Japanese classics and steak and combo, all of which, with rice. 

I always thought then why we had to eat there from time to time. I did not like eating too hot foods in a sizzling plate because of my low tolerance to heat. However, I had to abide with a companion's favorite. 

Pepper, well, I love pepper. Whenever there is pepper in food, I think that there is spicy something along the way. I like spicy food though but not that too hot from a sizzling plate. While one enjoys eating, a plasma screen shows how the food is being prepared. 

Well, for Pepper Lunch Express, there are shakes, salads, Japanese classics and steak and combo meals. While the sizzling plate is sprinkled with pepper, it is literally circled with a piece of paper. See it and try for yourself while it's hot. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Under the Same Sun

The sun cannot simply shut an empty gut.
Weather is too hot. Sun is up to its peak. You are hungry. You only ate few loaves of bread in the morning. Then, you'd been bombarded with lots of mind-boggling activities like group work, essays-to-submit and many more. A hungry trainee you become.

Though open, dining is still fun here.
You feel like going home but you cannot do so. You feel like eating in your own dining table but you cannot do so. You feel like cooking your own food but you still can't. A regimented life inside the camp.

The real meaning of eating outside.
What about dining under the sun? 

Good idea. Break free and drive to a nearby area. Dine under the sun in Paseo de Sta. Rosa, a commercial hub in  Sta. Rosa City, Laguna. Fresh from the effects of recent typhoon Glenda, some structures aren't restored yet. Some shelters had been flown by strong winds brought about by the gustiness of the previous storm. 

Then, weather is going back to normal. People are in the usual mood of dining, shopping and going around.

When you cannot afford expensive fine dining in the area, go to this place at the back portion of the Paseo. Although it looks like an open space (and obviously it is), the food is nice and less expensive.  This looks like an open space Dampa.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Top Five Food Adventures in Sapporo

Photo source:
I stayed in Sapporo, Japan for a short period of time. The word 'short' means a lot to me. It means that my stay was never enough to discover everything about Sapporo. The word also means to me to make the most of my stay as I may never be able to go back to Sapporo again. The Philippines is geographically closer to Japan but going to Japan is an expensive thing to do. Sapporo makes a difference because there are no direct flights to Sapporo from Manila. It takes two air travels to reach destination - ours, we traveled to Korea and from Korea to Sapporo.

In my sojourn, Sapporo will always be memorable to me. I am sharing my top five food adventures while I was there. 

If cannot read and write Nihongo, be sure to ask about the costs before ordering.
1. Eating Japanese foods. Literally means, entering a Japanese restaurant and ordering Japanese foods. When in Japan, be Japanese. For me eating Japanese foods encompasses doing the right things in Japan especially during meal time. I am no stranger to eating Japanese foods as there is plentiful of Japanese restaurants in the Philippines. Eating the Japanese way also include the right etiquette while eating. The hardest thing for me to do is the chopstick 101. I am raised with the spoon and fork culture. I tried my best but I felt inferior in my chopsticks skills. In our regular breakfast buffet, I had to request for spoon and fork aside from having chopsticks with me. In case I can't make it, I have my spoon and fork. As a result, I practiced a lot of chopsticks eating when I went back to the Philippines.

Kanpai! and lots of eating to be done.
2. Sapporo beer. Where else in the world is a place as famous as beer than Sapporo? Kanpai! You will miss everything about Sapporo if you have not tasted Sapporo beer. When we arrived at the airport, we were greeted with big posters about Sapporo beer. There are lots of 7/11 stores all over Japan including Sapporo (as 7/11 is Japanese company, right?). So if you find it expensive buying Sapporo beer in your high-end hotel, go out and visit 7/11.

3. Sapporo water. I learned that Sapporo water is the best water in Japan. Why? They told me this: Sapporo is closest to Siberia, where there is plenty of ice. Presumably, Sapporo could be one of the coldest parts of Japan if that is the case. Then, the melting of ice and the cold temperature brings about the best of Sapporo's water. Hence, water inside my hotel room is potable. I tasted it and tried it indeed. 

Shiroi Koibito Cookie Production Line. Reflection means we only see through glasses.

Inside Shiroi Koibito Chocolate Factory
4. Cookies and chocolates. When we say chocolates and cookies in Sapporo, I am referring to Shiroi Koibito. Shiroi Koibito is associated to the famed cookies and chocolates of Ishiya company. Today, Shiroi Koibito is a theme park where there is the chocolate factory. One can visit the park and be amazed by its amazing beauty and likewise enter the facility. The facility includes a real view of the production line, museum part and of course, taking home chocolates and cookies with you. For more information about Shiroi Koibito, their website is

Not just my ordinary corn in Odori Park.
5. Street food. We are familiar in the Philippines with plenty of street foods such as those chicken feet, peanuts, barbecue and many more. How about visiting the park and try a different taste? I did. We visited the Odori Park and tried some corn. It may look similar corn with ours. Nothing could be different but the taste will make it unique. I can't explain the taste that it is so yummy. I did not ask of what they mix with the whole corn to have a very nice taste - somewhat combination of condiments. By the way, whole corn was bigger than our regular corn in the Philippines.

There rest of what I did, I also tried saki wine (rice wine) and the different kinds of tea in the buffet area. I didn't care about my stomach's reaction to foods different from what I am used to eat or drink in my country. Nothing bad happened, I enjoyed food - lots of them. I long to be back again in Sapporo. Aside from the foods I enjoyed, modesty aside, the Japanese are indeed courteous and disciplined people.

Photo credits: Supt Ricardo Perdigon, Fr. Benjie Ventajar and

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Tugegarao City Dining Journey

Culinare's Pizza
In my recent visit to Tugegarao City where I tasted its local delicacies at my best, I came across with three restaurants. I am sharing these restaurants not simply to promote them but to share my story to provide a reference to would-be travelers and foodies in the Philippines' hottest city.

Inside Culinare
My regular breakfast, longganisang tugegarao with silvanas. (The sinabago in bamboo is mine)
1. Culinare. They say pizza, pasta and more. It is located in Hotel Camelita, where I stayed for four days. If you would like to taste pancit batil patong, then, theirs is so yummy. I also like their pizza. As I have said before, although Biano's Pizza in Mindanao is still my best, I liked Culinare's pizza taste. It is still different from so commercially prepared pizza in Metro Manila. I enjoyed silvanas (sweets) as side in my breakfasts. 

2. Feli-Citas. It is a fastfood and restaurant. One can choose to stay indoors with aircon or dine in those nipa huts outside the main restaurant building. When one is looking for a pancit cabagan try, then Feli-Citas deserves it.

3. Kainang Pinoy. They imbibe being sariling atin that offers Filipino foods. This is the cheapest eat-all-you-can so far. It opens at 10 a.m. for the unlimited lunch onward. Dinakdakan and sea weeds are noteworthy to me. I also liked their mango shake. There are small function rooms where one can reserve for a group dining.

Tropical drink, mango shake

Foods to Taste in Cagayan Valley

Tugegarao City, located in the hottest region of the Philippines, Cagayan Valley. Literally the hottest place because the peak temperature for a day is even higher than fever. I have visited the city for about three times already. I recommend for a first time visit and succeeding visits that one should taste what it takes to be in Cagayan Valley. 

The Philippines has a diversity of food products. We have one-town-one-product project too. Because of this advocacy, we have promoted more local delicacies for every place in the Philippines. For Cagayan Valley, I recommend the following food products to taste. I tasted them, enjoyed them and appreciated the labor of love.
Pancit batil patong
1. Pancit Batil Patong. Characterized by topping such as chicharon bulaklak, vegetables and egg. The best with a mix of spicy condiment with onions and Philippine lemon.
Pancit cabagan
2. Pancit Cabagan. Another variety of pancit, it has no such elaborate toppings like that of pancit batil patong. There is a mixture of vegetables and of course, I like the spicy condiment. What is noteworthy of pancit cabagan is the serving size. In Cagayan, when you say pancit, it is of no ordinary serving but expect a bigger serving. One serving is equivalent to two or three pancit servings in Metro Manila. 
Labor of love
3. Sinabago. It is made of sticky rice inside a bamboo. When I first saw it, I told myself that bamboo had to be cut and be used just to be able to make sinabago. Indeed, a labor of love, one should try for himself sinagago. I tried one and consumed it all. One piece of sinabago is worth about 20 pesos, very affordable.
Rice-based food products
4. Kakanin. I separated sinabago from various kakanin because of its presentation. Other rice food products include tupig, suman and patupat. I like the peanuts inside, yet I forget what they call it.
Carabao milk candy
5. Carabao food products like chicaron-carabao, carabao fresh milk and carabao milk candy. I tried carabao (water bufallo) milk candy but have not yet tried the carabao fresh milk. Next time, I will try it. I also tried the chi-charabao or chicharon carabao, made from popped carabao skin. It is worth a try and it's tastier when dipped in spicy vinegar.

In every place in the Philippines, eating is indeed more fun especially when we taste from one variety of food to another.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Picnic-like in Balinsasayaw

Spacious main restaurant hall of Balinsasayaw.
At one o'clock in the afternoon, hunger made us all uncomfortable already. We headed from Silang, Cavite. It was a long way drive to Tagaytay City as we reached Balinsasayaw Restaurant.

The first group waited for us while they ordered fresh guyabano; they're the hosts.

Nipa huts to choose from.
The restaurant has a huge parking space. It has a main hall but you can choose between eating in the main restaurant or inside the nipa huts. I also see similar nipa huts in various retaurants in Legazpi City, which makes dining more fun as a picnic. Several huts made of light materials (thatch) will make the most of your time as you enjoy the luscious packages in bilao in Balinsasayaw.

One of Balinsasayaw's bilao packages.
Food is the best in Balinsasayaw. It made me so full. At 2:00 p.m., it was very much like my Spanish meal.

Take me home.
Before leaving you can buy some take-home products being sold in the restaurant like fresh guyabano juice and sweets.

Colorful reuse hanging inside the hut.
When you're in Tagaytay City, Balinsasayaw is a place and a restaurant to visit.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sauyo's Kambingan

Goat's meat is called chevon, mutton, cabrito etc.
I was surprised when I spoke of the word "kambing" in Kaula Selangor some few years ago and the Malaysians understood what I said. Kambing is the Filipino word for goat. The same word for goat in Malaysia, kambing.

When we say kambingan in Metro Manila, it refers to a restaurant whereby goat menu is the specialty. It cooks  chevon, mutton, cabrito or any other terms that refers to a goat's meat in various ways - adobo, ginataan, kinilaw and others.

Until two weeks ago, I discovered the place in the nearby Sauyo not so far from my place in Mindanao Avenue. The kambingan is frequented by a lot of people. It is so simple that it looks like within a home. By the side of the road and on the opposite side is a sufficient parking area. On Sunday when there is not much work, so many customers still flock  Kambingan ni Tsong. I thank someone who brought me there. I discovered a new fun place to eat kambing which is just a few minutes ride from where I live.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Yellow Cab's Sweet Lucy

You don't just eat pizza, you're eating apples too.
I don't simply refuse a friend's offer for a treat. When it's a treat, it's free; then why refuse? 

We were treated by an old office friend to Yellow Cab in the last week of March. For a Filipino like me, who use to eat pancit bato instead of spaghetti and sweet potato instead of pizza; I find it always new to eat something that I don't swallow everyday.

Although the Biano's Pizza in Mindanao is still the best for me, I liked the new taste in Yellow Cab. I didn't knew when was it first introduced but I still liked the pizza considering that it's apple-based. I am referring to the Sweet Lucy apple pie pizza style. While thinking you are eating several calories of pizza, you are confident you are eating apples too.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


My brother and his wife met with me at Cabalen last week. They treated me to eating all-you-can in Cabalen Trinoma Branch. 

That was their first time to travel to Luzon as husband-and-wife since they got married last year. Now they are based in Mindanao and establishing their residence there.

I find it fun eating in Cabalen as I prepared my tummy for lunch and at the same time my breakfast. So good, it was free for me. 

Cabalen is a chain of Filipino restaurants. Its other brands also include Mangan.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Itlog Everyday is OK!

I am giving a big shout-out to this Eggvocacy by the National Federation of Egg Producers of the Philippines.

Itlog, Tagalog term for "egg."
Researches show eating an egg everyday does not increase risk of heart disease.

The Truth about Eggs and Cholesterol

"A substantial body of scientific research shows that dietary cholesterol has only a small effect on blood cholesterol and that the consumption of eggs - up to an intake of one egg per day - has no detectable effect on heart disease risk in healthy people." - American Council on Science and Health, 2002

Why an egg a day is really OK

Eggs are packed with:
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Choline
  • Folacin
  • Folic Acid
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus

For more information, visit

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Irresistible Asian

In a world of free trade, saying nationalistic as far as food consumption is concerned seems already impossible to me.

I consume Filipino foods and products and of course, food and food-products from other Asian countries as well. 

Here are some products that I use:

Coffee. Kopiko, the 3-in-1 coffee, which taste I like much for having more coffee and using brown sugar, is a product of Indonesia.

Photo source:
Vitamin. Memo-Plus Gold. I take Memo Plus Gold, not regularly, but from time to time only. Said to be good for the brain memory, Memo Plus Gold is a product of India.

Noodles. Oh! Ricey. I have seen many Korean and Japanese noodles in the market for sometime already but this product is new to me. Oh! Ricey is a rice noodle, product of Vietnam.

Photo source:
Ice Cream. Melona, ice cream waffle. Who cannot resist a taste of new dessert like an ice cream from Korea? 

We share products and we share the beauty of the tastes of our respective countries without forgetting our own.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Flags of Some Countries Made from Traditional Foods

When I saw these beautiful masterpieces from, I appreciate the diligence of the chefs and assistants who did it.

Even if I did not see any flag of the Philippines, I am sharing those pieces of art as my appreciation and recognition of man's creativity. 

Photo credit:,

Photo credit:
There are more photographs when you read the entire article entitled: National Flags Made from Each Country's Traditional Foods. The foods are masterpieces of Sydney International Food Festival.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Kansi, the Ilonggo Bulalo

Last week, we dropped my boss to the Good Governance Summit in the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. From there we moved to Makati. I had no idea about my companion's statement. He kept on saying kansi. I also kept on asking what is that?

Finally, we reached the place. Our purpose - eat breakfast and lunch at the same time - brunch. Good timing because we were then hungry already.

I use to eat Ilonggo foods. This is because I had two Ilonggo bosses. I also have some Ilonggo office mates. This paved way to my Ilonggo diet from time to time. 

For myself, I was born to coconut milk and sili country. I grew up eating vegetables in coconut milk, fish in coconut milk, chicken in coconut milk - and of course, we sprinkle those foods with hot spice.

Kansi bulalo
This new food encounter of mine is called kansi, the so-called Ilonggo preferred bulalo. I am familiar with eating bulalo but this new noun is unique. Although, I am not good at describing food tastes one from another, kansi soup is so nice that I can't even smell beef in it. We paired the kansi bulalo with rice, pork barbecue and boneless bangus. Taste, of course, will not be enough without kalamansi and sili. Perfect brunch.

Boneless bangus 
More rice and kansi soup
We ended up so full for our breakfast and lunch. We took out kansi soup and lumpiang ubod. Kansi bulalo per serving is just 145 pesos (about 3 dollars). 

By the way, in my short stop in the restaurant, I did not get the entire details, What I can only share is that it is located along Sampaloc Street, Barangay San Antonio, Makati City. The restaurant's ambiance is homey. I learned that its owner is Ilonggo and the restaurant is somewhat an extension of a house. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

When Tea Bubbles

Whenever I pass by The Block at SM North EDSA, I just simply pass without noticing the details of plenty of shops around. I always see that restaurant named Bubble Tea but I never tried to see what's in there. As the name suggests, I only thought of it as a tea shop until friends brought me there about a week ago.

This glass reminds me of Octoberfest.
Sounds funny but it was my first time to dine there and my first time to drink a milk tea. I had a lot of tea in Japan and tasted so many of them. However, in the Philippines, teas have lots of flavoring. I was looking for oolong tea but I got to see plenty of flavoring. 

If you can't tell the flavor just choose your color.
The tea served to us reminds me of Octoberfest because of the oversize beer glass.  When tea bubbles, there is more than that at Bubble Tea. Inside the shop, I was surprised of the salivating desserts and cakes. I was fascinated by the Red Velvet. I hope to try it one day (in the future). LOL

Red Velvet and Matcha Tiramisu
What was most intriguing to me is the rice meal. We were there for lunch, definitely it means rice meal. I ordered my fish cake while my companions had the bigger ones. 

Fish cake drizzled soy ginger sauce
Fish cake drizzled soy ginger sauce is a special marinated fish with a distinct kind of soy and ginger sauce, perfectly made with garlic fried rice.

So which one is the Beef Bulgogi? It is a sliced beef marinated in Korean  sauce with succhini on Korean hot stone.

Before, prayers grace before meals. Nowadays, cameras and smart phones grace the meals with flashes. How grateful we should be for the foods we partake. Let us not forget to thank the Lord for giving us food. Thanks to my friends who made me discover Bubble Tea. When tea bubbles, there is more than that as well.