Posts Tagged ‘fish’

I KNOW. I neglected this blog for a very long time. You see, last year was all kinds of shitty and it literally felt like a shithole. I don’t even want to talk about it with the mindset that if I avoid talking about 2016’s struggles, I can pretend that they actually didn’t happen. Instead, I will try my best to inject more positivity in my life by doing more of the things I love to do (i.e., eating and traveling). So here’s a food post for ya!

I love Japanese food so much! If I could have it everyday, I would. Sadly, Japanese food is more often a little on the pricey side here in the Philippines. Watami is one of the few places that offers good food at a reasonable price point. Read on to see what we got on our most recent visit.

Spicy Salmon Tempura | P245 – The ratio of shredded spicy salmon to rice was perfect. The slices are just right as one biters and I couldn’t stop popping them into my mouth.

Beef Pepper Rice | P195 – This reminded me so much of Pepper Lunch. It is served in a stone pot which worked well in keeping the rice hot. The beef was served raw but it cooked as the server mixed it all up in the pot. My favorite were the rice that stuck to the bottom which turned crispy. Yum!

Grilled Ahi | P145 – The fish was grilled perfectly; it was still moist and juicy and quite tasty. I wish the fish was a bit bigger but I guess that’s just me being my usual matakaw self LOL.

Creative Assorted Skewers | P225 – We couldn’t decide which of the yakitori offerings we wanted to order so we got a combination platter instead. It came with one skewer each of Chicken Liver (P55), Pork Enoki (P75), Chicken Thigh (P55), Roasted Beef & Spring Onion Roll (P95), and Chicken Wing (P55). My favorite were the enoki mushrooms wrapped in pork/bacon. They were just a delight to munch on!

 

I honestly could have eaten more but we were to watch a movie with unlimited popcorn and drinks right after lunch so I wanted to save some space in my tummy. That being said, I would gladly eat at Watami again and again.

Below are photos of their menu in the Uptown Mall branch for your reference.

 

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For my friend’s birthday celebration (a year ago LOL), she chose to have our dinner at Naci’s. Naci Comfort Food brings comfort food that’s simple while still robust and full of flavor. We’ve tried their desserts one other time but it was actually our first to try their meals.

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First off, we each ordered their fruit shakes. They were rather fresh and refreshing (is this redundant?), but nothing worth writing home about. Their fruit shakes range from Php145 to Php175.

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Their Triple Nachos (Php280) were such a hit. A combination of deep-fried flour tortillas, taro and corn chips served with Mexican beef and the freshest tomato salsa drizzled with cheese sauce and tangy sour cream. I couldn’t stop myself from popping one chip after another into my mouth. The chips, despite being deep-fried, were not oily at all so that’s a big plus.

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The Yakimeshi Beef Rice Bowl (Php380) is a fusion of Japanese favorites. Sukiyaki beef, tofu and sauteed mixed vegetables topped over Japanese fried rice drizzled with teriyaki sauce. I honestly don’t remember a lot about this dish but I know that the beef slices were perfectly tender.

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Their Grilled Mahi Mahi (Php380) had one thick fillet topped with dill cream and cherry tomatoes served with parsley rice and buttered vegetables. The fish was grilled perfectly – it did not come out dry. But oddly, my favorite part of this dish were the buttered veggies. They were fresh, crunchy and sweet, just the way I like my veggies to be.

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Last that came out was the Milton’s Fried Chicken (Php450). Crispy fried chicken marinated in Naci’s secret spice blend and buttermilk served with mushroom gravy and tomato ketchup. The chicken pieces were huge and the batter was so deliciously crispy. To top it all off, the potato fries on the side was also yummy. I found myself eating the fries even if I already felt a little full. LOL glutton much?

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Dinner was very good and we capped it all off with their Yema Cake which we got for the birthday girl. My favorites for the night were the fried chicken and nachos.

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Sadly, Naci is no longer open in BGC (it has been replaced by Shingetsu) but I am hoping they open up again in another location.

It was a rainy Friday lunch and I was craving for soup so I convinced my usual lunchout companions to grab some ramen. I suggested one of my cheap favorites, Tampopo, but we were shocked to find it closed for renovation. Feeling beat down (LOL so dramatic), we started walking around the BHS area looking for a Japanese restaurant that was not so crowded. That’s when we found Shingetsu, right exactly where Naci used to be. Shingetsu is a fairly new restaurant around the area, maybe even barely 6 months old.

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They have a pretty big menu but we zoned in on their Lunch Sets. Each set comes with a side salad, an appetizer , soup,  and fruits for dessert. During our visit, we had a pork side dish but I’m not sure if this changes from time to time. The side dish, salad and soup were all good. And the fruits – cantaloupe and ride mango – tasted fresh and sweet.

Raissa got the Chicken Karaage Set. If I’m not mistaken, this was around Php350. I didn’t get to taste this given that she only had 3 fried chicken fillet. She was able to finish it all but when I asked how it was, she said that it was a little too sour for her taste. It seems like the chicken might have been marinated in lemon (or calamansi) before frying.

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Allan’s choice was the Fried Salmon Set. Deep-fried salmon jaw coated in salted egg sauce and served with a bowl of fried rice. First of all, look at the serving size! This could easily feed two people. I got to try his dish and I loved it! The salmon was perfectly fried, not too oily, and the salted egg sauce was very decadent. It lacked some acid so I drizzled it with calamansi juice and it came out even more delicious. And all that food only cost Php390. This was easily the winning dish of the day.

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I went for the Katsu Curry Set which comes out at Php420. Mine was good as well. The katsu was fried perfectly and was not dry even if the pork slice was very lean and thick. It is sitting on top of a bed of Japanese curry with a couple of tender pork pieces in it. I like how the curry was mildly spiced but I would have loved it more if they threw in some vegetables in there.

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Overall, it was a very satisfying lunch. The serving size was surprisingly big for the prize and all the extras that come with the lunch set made us feel like we were getting more that what we paid for. I would definitely go back to this restaurant and I will definitely get the Salmon Set next time.

 

 

I have been to Lugang Cafe a number of times and I leave the restaurant very satisfied each and every single time. So when I saw from their Facebook page that they brought back their buffet promo, I resolved to avail of it, come hell or high water. I was so eager that I dragged Cris and RC to SM Megamall on a Sunday to have dinner at Lugang. Only to be told that the promo is not available on Sundays. *facepalm* Not giving up, I convinced Philip to have lunch on a Saturday, where else but at Lugang. LOL.

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Their Feast All You Can promo allows you to order from a special menu. You can get unlimited serving of anything from the Appetizer, Dimsum, Soup and Rice and a choice of one dish from their House Specialties for Php588+.

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Let’s start with the basics – soup and rice. During our visit, we had Fried Rice with Taiwanese Sausage and Seafood Spinach Soup (I think the rice and soup varies on different days.) Both were good, as evidenced by my almost-gone-soup. I attacked it as soon as it reached our table, I even forgot to take a photo first.

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For our Dimsum, we had an order of Steamed Pork Xiao Long Bao and Steamed Angled Loofah with Shrimp Xiao Long Bao. As expected, I loved the Pork XLB and I ordered another serving of it when we polished off our first set of Dimsum. The Shrimp XLB with Angled Loofah, I didn’t care much about but it was still good.

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For our Appetizers, we wanted to try as much as we could.

Garlic Pork Roll – the roll itself was pretty bland but when dipped in the sauce, it was awesome! Inside the thin slice of pork are vermicelli noodles and other stuff I honestly did not bother to identify LOL. But take my word for it, these rolls are good!

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Vietnam Egg Rolls – your usual egg rolls deep fried to a pleasant crunch. I enjoyed this with the vinegar dipping sauce and a drizzle of chili oil. Bomb!

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Spicy Sliced Offals – to those unaware, offals are the meat taken from the pig’s face. If you love sisig, you would most definitely appreciate this dish. The offals were perfectly tender and were served with mung sprouts and a slightly spicy sauce. Philip loved this dish so much.

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Stewed Pig Feet Slices – these were like Pork Nilaga in a gelatinous form. It came with a dipping sauce that looked and tasted so much like the sauce of those Pork Rolls. These were good but I could only take a couple slices before I got weirded out by the funky texture.

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Pork Wantons in Spicy Chili Oil – the pork wantons were cooked perfectly and I appreciate that the chili oil was not aggressively spicy.

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Cucumber with Vinaigrette – this is a very simple dish but was executed perfectly. The pickled cucumber slices had the perfect balance of sweetness, spice and tang. It served as a palate cleanser for us when all the other dishes started overwhelming us.

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Now we come to our main dishes…

Taiwanese Salt and Pepper Squid – perfectly seasoned deep-fried squid slices. Best consumed while hot because the calamari tend to tern chewy when it gets cold. Nevertheless, a very good dish overall.

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Fish Head with Garlic Oyster Sauce – we originally had our eye on the steamed fish head but our server suggested we get this one instead because the other one tends to be very oily. I am so glad we went with her suggestion because this turned out to be one of our favorites. It doesn’t look like it in the photo but this dish could easily feed a family of 4. The sauce was very tasty and the fish head had generous meat in it. I highly recommend this dish.

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Overall, I liked everything that we ordered. I honestly wish we could have ordered everything from the Dimsum and Appetizer section but there was only two of us and we couldn’t possibly eat more. With that said, I think it will be more enjoyable if you dine with a bigger crowd. So gather all your friends and troop over to Lugang Cafe and eat delicious food to your hearts’ content.

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Lugang Cafe has branches at SM Megamall, SM MoA, SM City North EDSA, SM Aura Premier, Glorietta 1 and their pioneer branch in Greenhills.

I don’t really cook fish that much but around a month ago, an office friend shared her blood type diet to me. It entailed eating a few servings of fish every week and salmon is one of the fish varieties allowed for my blood type. This led me to experimenting in the kitchen and I was surprised that it actually turned out good. Well, at least good enough for my first try.

SINIGANG NA SALMON BELLY

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Ingredients:

  • Salmon belly strips
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 bunch of kangkong, leaves and upper stalks
  • ½ bunch sitaw, cut to around 3inches long each
  • 2 green chili peppers
  • ½ pack “sinigang sa sampalok” mix
  • Cooking oil, for sautéing the onion and tomatoes
  • 6 pcs calamansi, juice only
  • Fish sauce (patis), to taste
  • Water of your desired amount

 

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat cooking oil in a saucepan and sauté sliced onion.
  2. When onion turns translucent, stir in the sliced tomatoes.
  3. When the flesh of the tomato begins to separate from the skin, add patis and water.
  4. When the water boils, add the salmon belly strips and simmer for around 5 minutes.
  5. Add the sitaw and green chili peppers. After around 2-3 minutes, put in the kang kong.
  6. Squeeze in the calamansi juice and adjust the taste to your liking.
  7. When the kang kong leaves start to wilt, turn off heat.
  8. Enjoy with a bowl of freshly steamed white rice! 🙂

 

Borawan is a play on two words – Boracay and Palawan. It’s an island named so because, as some people claim, it has white sand reminiscent of Boracay and rock formations the same as Palawan’s limestone cliffs. If one gets the chance to have the Boracay and Palawan experience in one at a measly price, one grabs it.

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My friends and I boarded a bus bound to Lucena, got off at the Grand Terminal. Got on a mini bus and alighted at the town of Padre Burgos where we got on tricycles that brought us to the port. From there, we rented a boat that would take us to Borawan Beach. Someone gave us a tip that people usually do the Borawan to Dampalitan route so we decided to go against the flow of people and camp out at Dampalitan Island instead.

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Upon arrival to the island, we pitched our tents and settled down for the day.

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In all fairness, Dampalitan Island’s sand could pass up as Boracay’s shores from afar. While the sun is shining its brightest, the white sand seems to glow it almost hurts the eyes.

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After lunch and a quick nap, the water level went down low enough to reveal a little sandbar. We walked on the sandbar and took photos farther out into the sea. That entertained us for about 30 minutes until it got too hot to be enjoyable. We went back under the shade and napped some more while waiting for the sun to go down. When it got a little cooler, we explored the opposite side of the shore and came across some sea friends.

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We watched the sun set and it was beautiful. It was made better by the absence of a big crowd. Guess going against the norm paid off, after all.

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When it got dark, we cooked and had our dinner. We built a fire and drank and danced around it. We also roasted marshmallows for our s’mores. It was a great night. 🙂

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The next day, our boat came by and brought us to Borawan Beach.

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I had to agree that the cliffs do resemble the limestone formations in Palawan albeit being miniature compared to the real thing. When we got to the island, there was a group of rock climbers uhmmmmm climbing the rocks LOLOLOL. We contented ourselves in climbing on top the less intimidating ones and swimming around the clear waters. We didn’t really do much at Borawan Island and I have to say that I liked Dampalitan better.

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Borawan is being marketed better than what it actually is. But if you’re looking for a new beach to explore this summer, it is still worth the try.

Our second day in Phuket was solely for island hopping. After a filling breakfast, we shuffled over to the marina where we were to hop on a speed boat along with other tourists. Too bad my friends and I were not the first ones on board, I would have loved to sit in the front deck of the boat. The seats inside were still fine, just limited view of the surroundings.

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The ride was really fast and quite bumpy! In no time, we arrived at our first destination: Ko Phi Phi Leh (“ko” means an island in Thai). Ko Phi Phi Leh is the second largest island in the Phi Phi archipelago, the largest one being Ko Phi Phi Don. Phi Phi Leh houses Viking Cave, from which there is a thriving bird’s nest soup industry.

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The island consists of a ring of steep limestone hills surrounding two shallow bays, the Maya Bay and Loh Samah. Although we didn’t get to Maya Bay’s coast, it is essential to mention that this is where the Hollywood movie The Beach was shot. The cliff faces remind me so much of our very own Coron, Palawan.

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Since this island is just a small part of our whole day tour, we didn’t dock on its shores. Instead, our boat stopped near Viking Cave and our tour guide told us that we could swim around if we wanted to. We immediately strapped on our life vests and dove into the crystal blue waters.

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Shortly after, I fully abandoned my vest because it was becoming more of a nuisance for me. I swam Maya Bay’s deep waters and marveled at how calm the water is. I could easily carry on a conversation while treading, it was THAT calm.

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Some people on deck started throwing bread into the water and swarms of fish swam further up to get a nibble. The water was so clear, I didn’t even need goggles to see them (which was also a good thing because stupid me forgot to bring my snorkeling gear).

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After swimming around for almost an hour, our guide started calling us on board and we made our way to our next island destination. Come back here soon to read about it! 🙂

If you want to check out how we spent our first day in Phuket, click here –> Phuket, Thailand (Day 1)