Short post. I think I’ve already established that my family are food-obsessed folks, but it’ll be a shame not to mention some of the food that did manage to get photographed before disappearing into the depths of our belly.
Take for instance this deep-fried pork belly from the Hill Station (Baguio – Upper Session Rd). I had set my mind to order a healthy (read-virtuous) salad to balance out the indulgences of the previous day, but, as the “Hungry” Hubby says, I have no self-control.
The first night we were down in Manila, I was determined to try Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino(Fort). The experience was uneven. The appetizers were very promising and creative but the HH’s adobo overload shown below was a disappointment. It was supposed to be a smart twist on a Filipino classic, but it just didn’t click with its dry pieces of pork and the sticky rice. Even the kangkong (veggies) that came with it were a wilted mess.
The next evening was at L’opera Ristorante Italiano (Fort) to celebrate HH’s birthday. My grilled seafood main course was a bit overcooked but everyone else’s food was superb. I especially loved the pasta dishes that I got to try from others.
Our last evening was at Je suis Gourmand (Fort), a traditional French restaurant. I ordered the duck special and again somebody else’s dish like my brother’s Chilean sea bass tasted better than mine. The scallop appetizer shown below however, was really, really good.
I did have an exceptional buko pandan panna cotta at Kulinarya Kitchen (Power Plant Mall). If there was a match made in heaven, it’s coconut (buko) and screwpine (pandan).
Also, it would be remise of me to mention my new found obsession with frozen yoghurt. The tangy flavor makes it very possible to eat too much before you’ve realized you’ve overeaten. (Add to the fact that because it is non-fat it’s easy to reason that it is healthy therefore you can eat as much as you can.)
I must save the best for last. Thanks to a reader of my blog, I was alerted to an increase of Hainanese Chicken Rice (HCR) postings and buzz on Filipino food blogs. Interestingly enough, it was not about the making of it but where to get the best one in Manila. And it was not from a restaurant.
Stevie Villacin, a finance executive turned entreprenuer of this legendary hawker food reportedly makes the best HCR in Manila. Before I left for the Philippines, I emailed my brother the address so he can figure out logistics of how we can try it. Luckily for me he said it was right beside their condo.
“Don’t worry, it always taste better than it looks,” I replied with my fingers crossed.
And you know what? It effing rocked!
Best d**n anything I’ve eaten in a long time. Every bite was like a fulfillment to my stomach. The chicken was tender, the skin was silky, all three dipping sauces were superb,I can’t really choose a favorite. The chili sauce had the right balance of heat and sour, the ginger sauce was addictive to pile on and the sweetened soy sauce rounded everything out. Oh, and the rice … the rice, if you were a follower of the low-carb revolution, the rice would make you forget you’re on one. It’s that good!
So if you are in Manila and you haven’t tried Stevie’s HCR yet, here’s the number to call (906) 5084155, pick-up is at Bel-Air Village. A set is P950 and is good for 3-5 people depending on appetite.
This only proves that your best meals doesn’t always come from fancy restaurants. In fact, I find it more exciting to order food from a person who has a genuine passion for a certain dish, takes the time and effort to learn how to do it well and deliver it with the quality that the dish deserves.
And darn, I hope I’d be able to make HCR again before I lose the taste memory of Stevie’s version.