Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ryu Ramen and Curry -- Tantanmen is a must try

A dear friend and I was at Ryu Ramen and Curry last Sunday afternoon. It's our early Christmas get together. I specifically requested that we go that place because I've heard some good things about it from friends.

We were there late afternoon but it was still hot outside so I had a difficult time deciding whether to order curry or ramen. I ended up ordering ramen because in the first place that's what I really went there for.

There were a lot to choose from. I had Tantanmen in mind but I still asked my friend what she thinks I should order. She said she heard from her friends that Tantanmen is a must try. Then still undecided, I asked the waitress what she would suggest I order. She also said Tantanmen. So naturally I  ordered Tantanmen. The menu says that Tantanmen is a spicy miso base broth with ground pork, soft boiled egg, negi and garlic oil with two slices of chasyu (it looks like a slice of morcon). You can choose the level of 'hotness' -- mild, hot very hot. I asked the waitress how mild is mild. She said it  is already hot. Given that I have colds that day I opted for just mild. I think I made a right choice. It was the most I could handle that day.

Tantanmen deserves to be their house specialty. It's really good -- with just enough flavor (no overpowering taste).

My friend by the way ordered Tonkatsu which I also got to sample. It is served on a bed of greens which I totally love.

The appetizer - meat balls (?) and vegetables.

Ryu Ramen and Curry is owned by celebrity couple Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez - Alcasid.

I wonder if they regularly visit the restaurant. It would be lovely to see them there entertaining their customers haha. Hmmm.....Regine, why don't you try to rehearse there for the repeat of Silver. Pak!! haha

Anyway, I saw Jed Madela at Ryu that afternoon.

Ryu Ramen and Curry is along Tomas Morato, Quezon City.  It is near Scout Lazcano (on the same building that.  houses Kumon).

Mercato, Fort Bonifacio -- A Wonderful Food Haven

I was able to finally go to Mercato at Fort Bonifacio last month. I've been wanting to go there for a long time already but it's only last month when I got the chance to because we visited a friend at St. Luke's Hospital.

Based on stories from friends, I already have an idea of the things I would find there. I know that since it is a food bazaar there's going to be a lot of good food choices. But I was really pleasantly surprised when I discovered that when they said a lot, they really meant A LOT.

There were lots of choices so whatever your tummy tells you will definitely be satisfied. There's an area where you can find barbecue and isaw. There's also a corner where you can order various flavors of paella. Pasta lovers will also be happy at Mercato. In you want flavors from different places in the world, this is also the place to be -- there's Japanese, Korean, Italian, Thai, Indian, etc. Desserts also abound. There are a lot of cakes and pastry stalls. I felt like just the sight of them is already enough to give me diabetes.

I'm not really fond of waffles but this one surely looked good.
They all look yummy.
Shawarma P90
My greatest regret -- not trying this Ilocos empanada.
Good gift idea.
Definitely filling
Should try this out next time.

In the past there weren't really lots of chairs and tables for customers. It used to  be such that people eat standing. But now there are plenty of tables and chairs -- in and out of the tents. When we were there we ate outside -- near the football field. We didn't see the Azkals training that night but a good friend told me that she saw them there once.

Though it is a food bazaar, do not expect that your wallet will not be heavily 'damaged'. Prices of food aren't really high but they are not cheap either. There are stuff that are pricier than if you would eat them elsewhere. Shawarma for example is priced at P90. You can get one for just P50 at the malls. And since there are plenty of choices, you will really be tempted to have not just one kind of food but several. Believe me you will be tempted to order one meal after another.    

Overall it was really a great experience. I had fun going around the stalls several times.It's not an eat all  you can place but if have the budget and you practice proper pacing, then you can eat at Mercato, Fort Bonifacio eat all you can style.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Magnum Choco-Cappuccino

I was craving for ice cream last night. After eating at Chic-boy I felt like I needed to eat some sweets. Unfortunately I wasn't able to buy one. And to make it worse, while looking at some pictures on my phone, I saw some pictures of Magnum I took a few weeks back. Waaa......

This is Magnum's Choco-Cappuccino. Super like.I like the chocolate coating. The ice cream itself is also smooth. And I love cappuccino 'streaks' inside. The crunchy bits also add excitement.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ilocos Empanada - Farinas Ilocos Empanada

I like empanada. I've loved empanada since I was a child. I remember my mother bringing home empanada every time the person in-charge of the retail store where she works would bake some. That empanada was the first empanada I have had so that's my peg of how empanada should be. Through the years I have tasted different kinds of empanada but nothing could match what I call the 'original'. The only other version perhaps that I equally like is the Ilocos empanada. I always buy one every time I would see a store selling them.

One restaurant I know here in Manila is the Farinas Ilocos Empanada. You can find the store along Tomas Morato in Quezon City. It is near cor. Roces St.

Their Ilocos empanada is very tasty. It tastes real. I mean it tastes like the ones you can get in Vigan. They have various versions of it. There's one filled with bagnet. There's also one filled with Vigan longganisa. If you want both, do not worry. You do not need to buy two. They actually have a version with both bagnet and Vigan longganisa.

Farinas Ilocos Empanada has affordable empanadas. You can already have one for less than a hundred pesos.  

The store is small. They only have a few tables. You actually eat 'al fresco'.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gift Ideas for Christmas - Food. Food. More Food.

We are already in the Christmas season so I'm sure many of you are already of thinking of what gifts to give to  your loved ones, friends, employees, teachers, neighbors, etc. I'm not going to suggest here material gifts but what you can find them in my other blog (click here). What I'm going to list down for you are food and food related items that you can give as gifts this Christmas. From time to time I'll include places and stores where you can find the best deals.

Let's start!


Fruits are safe gifts. No need to worry  about sizes or colors. No need to worry if 'they have it already'. Fruits are almost always welcome. You do not have to worry about recipients who are price-conscious. They cannot check the price of your gift.

So what fruits are you going to include in your gift. You must have the 'basics' like apples -- red and green, oranges and pears. If it's available now, you can also add avocado to add color. Then add a few not-so-common fruits like dragon fruit, mangoosteen, marang or kiwi. Pineapple can be added because it's big which is good if you can only buy a limited number of fruits.

The challenge in giving fruits is how you are going to wrap/present it. The most basic way is to put the fruits in a nicely woven basket then cover it with cellophane with ribbon as accent. If you are giving it to a 'very special' person like a boss, you can include a small bouquet of flowers tucked on one side of the basket. The downside to giving fruits in a basket is that sometimes baskets are expensive.

A cheaper version would be to give it in one of those eco bags. Eco bags are 'in' now so you can find a lot of cheap yet nice ones.

You can buy fruits in Divisoria, Libertad (Pasay), San Andres (Malate), NEPA QMart (Quezon City) and in other public markets.


A vegetable basket is a very unique gift idea. You can include vegetables like talong, squash, ampalaya, puso ng saging, sweet potato, carrots, string beans, etc. Choose vegetables of different colors so your basket would look nice.

This is also a safe gift.The only thing that you really have to make sure of before you decide to give this as a gift is if the recipient does not eat vegetables at all. 

You can buy vegetables in the same places mentioned above.


As early as October I already saw bakeshops selling fruitcakes. The nice thing about fruitcakes is that they don't easily spoil. You can buy them as soon as you get your Christmas Bonus this November and give them during your party in December. As an addition, you do not have to worry about wrapping your gift. They come in presentable boxes already. Many of them even have ribbons.

The only issue here is that not everyone likes fruitcakes. You can find out by casually asking them if they received one last year and what they did with it. I  know a lot of people who 'recycled' their fruitcakes. That means they give what they got away.


Cakes, pastries and other baked goodies are nice gifts for a lot of good reasons. First, they are easy to find. There are so many cake shops now offering fancy cakes. They come in good packaging already. You can buy them in bulk -- order them ahead of time if you want. The only problem is if you do not have a car, it may be difficult to bring your gifts to  the school or to the office or wherever.

There are a lot of places where you can buy good cakes. Some of them are Cheesecake Melissa (Kamagong St., Makati), Classic Confections (Greenbelt 5), Becky's Kitchen (P. Ocampo St., Manila), Chocolate Kiss (UP Diliman), Conti's, etc. You can also try those sold in bazaars and weekend markets. I saw great choices at the Mercato Centrale, The Fort.

(Gourmet Sardines, Gourmet Atchara, Gourmet Spreads)

You can also give bottles of gourmet sardines, atchara and spreads. They are nice to give because they look 'classy'. You can usually find them in bazaars. They are reasonably priced and they also come in ready  to  give bottles. Some are placed in native bags or baskets.

You can also give specialty vinegars. Last year I received a bottle of vinegar with red chili and garlic. I loved it. You can also buy them in bazaars.

6. HAM

Pinoys love ham -- whatever flavor or form. This is practical because everybody wants to have ham for their Noche Buena. If you give them ham as a gift then they would not have to spend time (and effort) buying their own so they'll appreciate you for it. Just make sure that you give it at least a week before Christmas so they can change their Christmas shopping list.

You can find hams in malls. There are local and imported hams. You can also try your neighborhood meat shops. They may have their own homemade hams.


I know! Jars shouldn't be here. But then if  you are on a tight budget, you can try looking for nice, inexpensive jars to give as gifts. You can just fill  these jars with colorful chewing gums or candies.

I've seen nice jars at Landmark and SM -- home section.

I'll be adding other gift ideas for Christmas -- food -- in the coming days.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 16 - Last Day for Mcdonald's twister Fries

It's September 12 already. Waaahhhhh. A few more days to go before the LAST DAY of the twister fries. What I don't understand is why they have to offer such a nice treat for a limited time only. Can they not like have the twister fries the whole year round? I think they want people to "MISS" it. But that's so brutal, lol.

Anyway, the last time I'm gonna be able to eat it for this period is on Saturday, before I go home to the province. I'll make sure to eat some for breakfast then order some more 'to go' so I have something to eat while watching movies on the bus on my way to the province. Hmmmmm......looking forward to that trip already. Is it Friday already? lol

Friday, August 24, 2012

McDonald's Twister Fries - Extended

Wow! McDonald's Twister fries will be available until September 16. They extended it due to popular demand. Good move!

Friday, August 17, 2012

ZARK's -- eating like a SHARK

I had a grand time at ZARK's last night. It was my first time there and bot was I surprised with the BIG burgers they have. I ordered Maverick's. It's not even the biggest. Actually, it's far from being the biggest but it was really filling. I even stopped eating the bread half way through. The burger I ordered is worth P 190.00 and it comes with fries and a tall glass of iced tea.

Some of my companions ordered the Jawbreaker burger. It has three patties. You can actually take their challenge if you order Jawbreaker. The challenge is to finish the burger in 5 min and if you succeed it will be free. And then they'll take your picture and post it in their gallery of winners.

Now if you think that's a big challenge already, wait 'til I tell you that they still have what they call Tombstone challenge. For 10 minutes you  should finish the Tombstone burger which has 6 (or is it just 5) patties. I can't take that challenge. For sure I'll be brought straight to my tomb if I try to do so.

Anyway, their burger patty tastes great. Real meat without extenders. It's juicy the way burger patty should be. My friends also liked the fries.

I'll be posting pictures next week. I have not put watermark in my pics so no uploads yet for now.

ZARK's is in front of De La Salle, Taft Ave., Manila. It's above another favorite -- Army Navy.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

VOUCHERS and DEALS - do you really get a good deal?

What can you say about deals and vouchers that are very popular these days? Do you think we really save a lot by buying these vouchers?

If you look at the deals you will at once say you are saying a lot. I mean a 40 - 60 % discount is BIG, right? I've availed several food deals already and I must say they are all worth it. PANALO.

But you know what my problem is about these vouchers? Fake vouchers? Scam? No! I have not experienced those. My problem is that these deals are good it makes you become addicted. There are very good deals that sometimes, even if you do not need something, you end up buying because of the money you'll supposedly save. Hay! In the long run, instead of really being able to save, you end up spending more.

But boy I'm not complaining. I'm not also in denial. lol. For now I'm enjoying these great deals (mostly food vouchers for me) so....

Friday, August 03, 2012

Famous Food from Different Places in the Philippines

The month of August is called "Buwan ng Wika" (National Language Month). It is celebrated in Philippine schools in different ways. One is through exhibits of the 'best' from the different provinces/regions in the country. Exhibit of this kind naturally has to have the best food from the place being showcased. To help you with that concern should your child ask you for stuff to bring in school here are some simple suggestions.

Lucban, Quezon. A Lucban exhibit will never be complete without 3 famous food from the place. It can never go without Lucban longganisa. Lucban longganisa is a favorite of many Filipinos. It is very different from the longganisa you usually see in public markets. Then you should also have Pancit Lucban or habhab. If you usually put calamansi in other types of noodles, with Pancit Lucban you use vinegar. It is called habhab in different towns in Quezon because of the way people used to eat it. In the past ambulant vendors put your Pancit Lucban in a small piece of banana leaf where you eat it directly with your mouth hence habhab. The last important part of your exhibit is the kiping. It is the colored leaf like designs people in Lucban hang in walls or windows during the San Isidro festival. Decorating your exhibit with kiping will really make it attractive. In Manila you  can buy Lucban longganisa and Pancit Lucban at Buddy's Pizza (Market Market and Kalayaan Ave. in Makati and Timog Ave. in Quezon City).

Vigan, Ilocos Sur. A must have for a Vigan exhibit is the Vigan Empanada. It is a turnover with filling composed of vegetables, egg and Vigan Longganisa wrapped in shell made of rice flour. It is deep fried instead of baked which is how your typical empanada is cooked. When you go around the main plaza in Vigan you will see several stalls selling Vigan empanada. Like in Lucban, Vigan also has their own special longganisa. The Vigan Longganisa also has its own fans all over the country. Then don't ever forget the Bagnet deep fried pork. It is like your usual Lechon Kawali cooked in a special way only true Ilocanos know how. There are several stores along Tomas Morato, Quezon City that sell Vigan Empanada. Bagnet on the other hand is available in restaurants like Stoops (Mayapis, Makati City) and a restaurant near La Salle and St. Scholastica's College (Leon Guinto, Manila). The latter is reportedly owned by Kitchie Nadal.

Pampanga. A Kapampangan exhibit is definitely not gonna be ok if there is no Sisig - sizzling or not but better sizzling for the complete experience. Sisig is made of grilled pig's head, liver and choice parts cooked with vinegar. It is touted as 'pambansang pulutan'. Then of course you have to have the Pampanga's best products like tocino and longganisa (yes longganisa again). They may not really have come from Pampanga from they are very much associated with the place because of the brand. Oh, for dessert, do not forget the Halo-halo. A famous resto that serves Halo-Halo is Razons. Their Halo-Halo has only three 'halo' - macapuno, saba and leche flan but it tastes great.

Bicol. First food that comes to mind is Bicol Express. It's made of garlic, onion, pork, coconut milk and siling labuyo. It's something that spicy food lovers will really like. Bicolanos say that Bicol Express we normally get to taste here in Manila is nothing compared to the real thing. Aside from Bicol Express you can also have laing and pinangat. Laing and pinangat are dishes made of taro (gabi) leaves, meat or seafoods as fillings, coconut milk, siling labuyo and onions. For dessert you must not forget candied pili nut. There are various kinds of this dessert so you have a lot of choices to add in your exhibit.

Iloilo. Who has not heard of La Paz Batchoy? Make sure to have this in your exhibit. La Paz Batchoy is noodle soup topped with pork meat, chicken strips, slices of beef, chicharon and pork innards. You can drop an egg to make it special. It looks like mami but it has distinct taste. In Manila you can buy this at Ted's (SM MOA) and Deco's. For dessert you can have biscocho. This  is toasted bread with butter and sugar.

Zamboanga. Seafoods. Seafoods. Seafoods. One must-have is curacha. They say it looks like a cross between a crab and lobster. Those who have tasted it says its more flavorful than any of the two. The problem is I cannot give you suggestion where you can get this is Manila. =(

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Eat All You Can Chips - Bottomless Tostada Chips at Chilis

I had a blast last night at Chilis (Power Plant mall, Rockwell, Makati City). I already had dinner so I told my friends I won't be eating much. They ordered Boneless Buffalo Salad and Bottomless Tostada Chips. I said I'll only eat the Tostada Chips.

I super like the Tostada Chips - warm, thin crispy chips with salsa. Unlike other chips - nachos - in other restos, Chillis' Tostada chips are really thin. They're not 'hard' to chew. Even without salsa the chips taste great. But the salsa is also great especially if you like spicy stuff.

The best part is that it's "eat all you can". They'll give a big basket of chips which they refill empty the basket. What's surprising is that you can actually "take-out" the left over. They even fill the basket again before they put it in a bag.

I asked the guy who served us if they put a limit on the number of people who share the chips. He said they do not. You can actually be a big group and they wouldn't mind if you share just one basket. Isn't that great? You can get a basket of their Bottomless Tostada Chips for only P 330.00.

*Note: The Ranch dip for the Boneless Buffalo Salad also goes well with the chips.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cafe Juanita, Pasig -- Nice Dinner in a Home-y Setting

A friend recently celebrated her birthday. We had dinner at Cafe Juanita in Pasig. I've never heard of the place so I really had no idea what to expect. When we got there I was surprised by how nice the facade of the restaurant looks. It looks like a house built a few decades ago. It's white and has a lot of glass. It also has lots of plants in front which makes the place really pleasant.

Cafe Juanita - White house with lots of glass.

Once inside you will notice it has a home-y feel. It looks like a typical "grandma's house" (is it Lola Juanita's house?). It has lots of antiques and lots of lights. Cloth of different colors and texture are draped in various places in the house.
Inside Cafe Juanita.
Lots of lights and cloth all over.

We were so hungry so as soon as we got to our reserved table we ordered chicharon bulaklak as 'starter'. I don't want to call it appetizer because that's something we didn't need anymore that time. The Cafe Juanita's chicharon bulaklak is crispy. It's golden brown so you know they did not overcook it just to make it crispy. It's a bit salty though but I didn't mind because they have vinegar as dip anyway.

Chicharon Bulaklak.

Then we ordered Kare-kare ni Juanita, Crispy Pata, Pinakbet and fried fish.

The Kare-kare ni Juanita is one of the best I've ever had. The sauce is thick with just enough peanut sauce -- the sauce is not overwhelmingly buttery. The meat is tender and the vegetables were cooked just right. The sauce is really good -- you can use the Filipino saying "sabaw pa lang, ulam na" to describe it.

Kare-kare - the bowl looks small but it actually contains a lot.

The Crispy Pata is also good. Lot's of meat. I say this because I've had experiences in other restaurants where the Crispy Pata they serve is made of more bones than meat. Anyway, I love the crispy skin.

Crispy Pata.

The Pinakbet at Cafe Juanit is different from other Pinakbets I've eaten. For one it has tomatoes. I don't know about you but I'm not used to eating Pinakbet with tomatoes. But it was good. The vegetables are crispy which is how they should be. It has lots of string beans though (I don't like string beans. Shhhhh...this is a secret).
Pnakbet - see the tomatoes I'm talking about?

The fried fish is what I love the most. I think it's Laguna Fish on the menu. It has thin fish meat that tastes great. They serve this fried fish with a dip that makes it even tastier. Its also served with fried rice and steamed vegetables. It's consider "single order" but it's good for sharing.

Laguna Fish.

Overall the Cafe Juanita dinner was very good. Nice food shared with nice friends in a nice place.

Next up: Dessert at Classic Confections. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Papa John's - Pizza-all-you-can (Eat all you can pizza)

I was at Papa John's (University Mall, De La Salle University, Taft Ave., Manila) last Tuesday. It was the last day of their pizza-all-you-can promo (eat all you can pizza) for P 199.00. You can avail of the promo form 6-9 pm only. We arrived at around 7:20 pm. There was a long line waiting outside. We were number 17 on the list. We got  in at around 8. I was afraid we will not be able to eat much because we only had an hour 'til the 'deadline'. What made me even more concerned is that they do not serve the pizza fast. They were actusally 'pacing'.

They first served pepperoni pizza then carbonara pizza. Then the third flavor was garden fresh and the last is Hawaiian pizza. My friends liked the pepperoni. I like it too because the pepperoni was crispy probably because they had the pepperoni bacon thin. But I liked the carbonara better. It of course has white sauce/topping with lots of onions and meat. I thought it was shawarma flavored actually.

Over all the experience was good. I mean I had 7 slices so I was really happy.    

Now I'm waiting for the eat all you can promo of The Old Spaghetti House (TOSH). I saw it yesterday on facebook. A lot of people were posting/sharing the TOSH eat all you can promo. I wonder if it's true. 

Vegetables and Fruits -- Homemade Costume for Nutrition Week Celebrations in Schools (updated - July 2013)

July is touted in the country as Nutrition Month. Schools, private and public, incorporate everything about NUTRITION in their lessons and school activities. The usual activities are slogan making, poster making and essay writing contests. In some schools they do cooking demos. Some invite professionals to do demos while others utilize their home economics or livelihood education students. In other schools they have what they call the nutrition parade. They ask students to wear costumes that show the concept of good nutrition.

An easy way to make a homemade costume for your child is to make a vegetable or fruit headdress. To do this you just need to draw (or print if you're not that good in drawing) big versions of vegetables or fruits using cartolina or cardboard.Then cut the figure out and attach to a cap or hat. To be consistent with the vegetable or fruit you've chosen, let your child wear a shirt of the same color as the one on his head.

Another option is to make a bigger version of the one described above to have something that your child can put over his body. You actually need to make two cutouts for the front and the back. You just need to connect them using wide garter, string or piece of cloth so your child can wear the costume over his shoulders like a spaghetti-strapped dress.

Another variation would be to make a big illustration of  a fruit or a vegetable. Then cut a hole in front -- just big enough for the face. You can use a piece of  garter so your child can wear it like a mask.

You can also attach real fruits and vegetables on a big hat. This is more authentic. But be mindful that this is a rather heavy nutrition week costume. lol

If you have enough budget there are also costume stores where you can buy ready made vegetable or fruit costumes. There are also dressmakers who will be willing to make a dress for your kid.

If you have old fairy tale/cartoon charater costumes, you can also use them for nutrition week. So how exactly do you relate them to nutrition week? Just be creative. Here are some tips to do it. If your child has
 (1) Bumble bee costume: make a big jar of honey (see Winnie the pooh's jar as pattern)
 (2) Snow White: let your child carry a basket filled with big red apples
 (3) Cinderella: let her carry a pumpkin (don't make it into a wagon lol)
 (4) Butterfly costume: let her bring squash flowers (available in some wet markets)
 (5) Robinhood: let him bring a sack full of French bread.
 (6) Little Red Riding Hood: let your child carry a basket of bread and cheese
 (7) Bugs Bunny: oh I'm sure you know what to let your child bring.
 (8) Mickey Mouse: let your child bring cheese, what else :)
 (9) Minion: let your child bring bananas (yeah, they have the same color, hihihi)
 (10) Ironman: remember that scene where Ironman was eating donuts? If  you do, then you know what to let your child bring. ;) 

There are so many things you  can do to make vegetable or fruit costume. You just need some creativity.

Note: Click here for new Fruit and Vegetable Costume Ideas.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Creamy Mango Sauce Recipe

We all love fried food. Fried fish, fried chicken, fried pork chops, fried bacon, fried eggs, fried hotdogs, etc. But eating fried food everyday can be boring. So what many people do to vary the taste is to change the dip or the dressing. Common dips are soy sauce and calamansi mixture, lechon sauce, mayo and tartar sauce.These are all  good but I have another suggestion. You can try creamy mango sauce for anything fried. Here is my simple recipe for creamy mango sauce.

Creamy Mango Sauce


1 ripe mango
1 small can of all purpose cream
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 small calamansi


1. Peel the mango and scrape the pulp.
2. Make a smooth puree using a blender. Set aside.
3. Pour the all purpose cream in a bowl.
4. Mix the garlic powder.
5. Squeeze the calamansi.
6. Add the mango puree. Mix well.

This creamy mango sauce is good for just about anything fried but it is best for fried cream dory, fried chicken fillet or fried pork chops.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vikings - A Feast from the Sea (Luxury Buffet)

I've been hearing about Vikings for a long time already but I never had the chance to go there. Good thing a friend invited me to have dinner at Vikings for her birthday. She was supposed to treat us there on a Saturday but I could not join them so she moved it for Tuesday.

There were a lot of people outside. The waiting list was very long and it was only 5:30 in the afternoon. It was not a problem though because the birthday girl reserved a table for us.

When we entered I felt a sudden rush  of excitement. The place is huge. It can accommodate a lot of people. There are various sections for different kinds of food. Naturally it was the area for Japanese that caught my attention first. Good thing the table reserved for us was near that area.

Anyway, here are some pictures I took.

This tuna is really big. The salmon looks small next to that giant tuna but it's still the biggest I've seen so far. You know the fish is fresh because of the sweet taste.

Tuna and Salmon
Lots and lots of Japanese food. They come in all sorts of flavors and designs.

The next picture is my first plate from the Japanese section.
Other sections

Salad and others =)
Chef's Salad - just one of the many kinds of salad they have
Cold cuts
Another salad
Cauliflower, broccoli and bacon
Suaje (shirmps) - another favorite
Assorted caviar
There are also food food from the grill. You can also select fresh seafood to be grilled.
Grilled meat
Fresh seafood for grilling
For those who love dessert you'll  truly enjoy the desserts section.
Chocolate, strawberry and ube fondue

and some more cake
For you Halo-Halo
You  can have crepe made right in front of you.
Other desserts include fresh fruits, bibingka and puto bungbong.

During weekdays buffet dinner is P 888.00 and lunch is P 688.00. Weekends (Friday -  Sunday) buffet  dinner is P 1088.

If you eat there on your birthday, your dinner will be 'on the house'. All you need is to present your ID and have at least one friend with you. (They need at least one paying person.) Aside from the free dinner, the service crew will sing the Happy Birthday song to you. You'll also get a free cake (yes, different from the cakes you can find at the dessert area).

Building B, SM By the Bay
Seaside Boulevard
SM Mall of Asia Complex
Pasay City

*Additional notes regarding reservation: Reservations can be made via phone call but you need to do it one to two weeks before the date of your visit. To be on the waiting list you need to go there personally. They will not include you on the list if you just call them. I actually tried this once and they really did not give in. I requested very hard but they were firm about it. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

ILOCOS NORTE -Vigan, Laoag, Pagudpud

Last month we went on a cultural trip to Ilocos Norte. It was a very long travel but we sure had so much fun. Naturally I took some pictures of some food you may find interesting in Ilocos. This is not an extensive listing since I couldn't choose where we would go that time - this is a company outing. But just the same I hope you'll be able to pick up something interesting from this post.

Early morning we passed by Jollibee in Hacienda Luisita. We were encouraged to eat breakfast because they said the trip is going to be long. Actually I didn't need convincing because I was so hungry.

Jollibee at Hacienda Luisita

We had lunch at Candon City. We were trying to save time so we were not given chance to look  for local restaurants. We ate at Max's. We ordered the group meal composed of fried chicken, sinigang na hipon, rice and iced tea. Outside Max's I saw a man selling 'kalamay'. I don't know what it's made of - maybe made of coconut or coconut milk or ground rice? It tasted good. It's a flat, round, thin dessert. You can buy four pieces for P 20. Each pack of 4 is wrapped in newspaper.


We stayed at the La Elleana Hotel in Laoag City. That's where we had our dinner. We had barbeque, chopseuy, egg drop soup and grilled chicken.

We checked out the 'night life' in Laoag. There's actually no night  life -- save for a few bars and videoke places. I and two other friends went to a restaurant called Ravanden's Grill, Kusina Kapampangan. Funny we ate in a Kapampangan restaurant in Ilocos. We asked for bagnet but they did not have it on their menu. What they have is lechon kawali (bummer!). We also had their crispy chicken which in a way made up for the lechon kawali let down.

Our breakfast was also at La Elleana. We had tapsilog (yeah I know we can have this in Manila but I can't do anything because it is a 'package tour'). Good thing they served the tapsilog with sukang iloco which was very very  good.

When you're in Ilocos you have to check out GARLIC. It's one of the things that moms and dads, lolos and lolas ask for pasalubong.There's also bagoong and iodized salt.

With all these garlic, Ilocos is sure to be aswang free.

Then of course there's sukang iloco sold in soda bottles.

Be sure to label these soda bottles "Sukang Iloco" so kids won't drink suka like softdrinks.

We had buffet lunch at a resort in Pagudpud. The food was great especially the vegetable dish.

Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte - first time to hear about this place. We passed by the are at around 4 in the  afternoon. We stopped to buy what the tour guide said is a popular pasalubong - biscocho. I always associate biscocho with Iloilo. Pasuquin's version is different. Pasuquin bakery has soft and hard versions of biscocho. It looks like your ordinary pandesal but it tastes as if it has anise. While waiting for my order to be wrapped I saw an old lady buying dozens of cheese bread so I got curious. I asked her why she is  buying a lot. She said the cheese bread tastes great. Naturally I tried it. Yum! Yum! Yum! It was really good. Cheesy (duh its cheese bread), firm, filling.

Biscocho  - hard variety

Biscocho - soft variety

Cheese bread

When we passed by Vigan on our way back to Manila we made sure that we would be able to eat bagnet. We went to a restaurant called Tummy Talk. Interesting name. They serve bagnet with bagoong with lots and lots of onions and tomatoes which I love very much.

Bagnet at Tummy Talk (with bagoong with tomatoes and onions)

Bagnet is also sold at pasalubong center. A kilo of bagnet is about P 380.00.

After dinner I tried to look for Ilocos Empanada. Since it was already late all the stalls selling Ilocos Emapanda around the plaze were closed. I really felt bad. the first time I went to Vigan I also missed this. But I was kinda lucky that night because when I reached the bus our tour operator had Ilocos Empanada for us.