In Which We Find a Delectable Beef Bowl – at a CHICKEN Place…

The bulgogi bowl from Bon Chon

There are some delectable edibles that you find in the most unlikely places.  Over the years, I have discovered tasty tendon and yakitori at a place that specializes in gyudon (beef bowls; Yoshinoya, quite obviously), French pastries at Japanese bakeries, and even gelati at Korean restaurants.

And, most recently, there’s this bulgogi bowl from Bon Chon Chicken.

The bulgogi bowl is part of Bon Chon’s P 145 Menu which features a set meal and a drink.  In this case, it’s a bowl of rice topped with Korean-style barbecued beef tossed with both white onions and minced chives.

How does this particular beef bowl from a chicken place fare against those done by restaurants that specialize in all dishes bovine?  Surprisingly well, I daresay!

You get a sweet-savory, full-flavored pile of beef – and though it does look small, appearances are very deceiving – whose shreds are oh-so-tender to the bite.  Despite the richness of the soy and sesame marinade used, you can still taste the strong, beefy tang of the meat and this is further tempered by the sweetness of the onions and the perky taste of the chives.  Needless to say that the bulgogi is absolutely wonderful with plain white rice.

Kimchi coleslaw!

While the bulgogi bowl works very well on its own, the addition of Bon Chon’s kimchi coleslaw to your meal works wonders.  This sweet, crunchy classic salad is given a decidedly Oriental twist by the addition of peppery pickled cabbage.  The end result is a refreshing side with a distinct hint of chile and garlic in the background – and quite an amazing meal.  😀

In Which Tiny “Corn Cobs” Hold Sweet Surprises…

Ironically, there is NO corn in here...

Now, you’re probably thinking that the wee tiny cake on the right is most presumably made of cornbread.  Much as I’d like to say that was true, it actually isn’t.

If you’re a fan of dorayaki (those small, fluffy Japanese pancakes sandwiched with sweetened red bean paste), imagawayaki (classic “Japanese cakes” filled with one’s choice of beans, peanut butter, chocolate, or cheese), or taiyaki (fish-shaped pancakes filled with either sweetened red bean or – better yet – vanilla-bean custard), you’re going to like these little cakes from Moshi Manju over at SM Megamall.

Like their Japanese cousins, these Korean treats involve cooking sweet pancake batter in greased, super-heated cast-iron molds.  (In this case, the molds look like corn cobs.)  When the batter is semi-set (which is to say bubbles start to form on the surface), tiny spoonfuls of mocha cream, chocolate cream, peanut butter, dulce de leche, or vanilla custard are added before the griddles are clapped shut to form a sweetly-filled three-dimensional corn-cob cake.

I should warn you, however, that you might not stop at just one little cake; they’re quite addictive.  😉

In Which the Blogger Samples Treats from an Ortigas Teashop…

The green milk tea from Sip

Sip is the name of a quaint, wee milk tea shop located on the second floor of the Robinson’s Galleria in Ortigas.

Now, you may be wondering: what the bluidy hell was she doing in Ortigas?!  After all, I’ve hardly gone to this part of town in years.  Simple: I handled another Chocolate Appreciation workshop, this time at the nearby Oakwood Residences.  But, I digress…

It’s one of those utterly cute shops with a rather adorable mascot (in this case, a plump wee queen bee winking at passers-by), simple surroundings, and a whimsical approach to just about everything.  And the tea and snacks are excellent.

The thing about Sip is that it steeps its tea as opposed to brewing vats of it and keeping it cold for quite a bit.  The end-result is a fresh-tasting cup for each and every customer.  That said, it also takes a little longer to get your tea because of the time involved for steeping it, but I see no reason to complain: the tea has a brighter, sharper flavor in the end.

Case in point is the incredibly blossomy green milk tea.  It steeps into a much paler drink than most green milk teas, but has this intense flavor akin to that of a jasmine-infused sorbet or ice cream: a distinctly floral taste that needs no further embellishment save for a touch of sweetness.  But, as one is entitled to a sinker with each drink, the best thing to have floating around your tea are the sweet and chewy bits of white jelly (conjac jelly, I would suppose).

Honeycomb Waffle

Oh, and while Sip also makes a magnificent chicken chop that rivals the one over at Serenitea, this shop has a snack that goes beautifully with milk tea: the crisp, huge, and golden honeycomb waffle.

Patterned after similar snacks sold in Taiwan, this treat involves cooking sweet batter till crisp in parts, fluffy in others.  The honeyed sweetness is a great counterpoint to the flavor of the green milk tea and makes for quite a satisfying snack.

SIP – 2nd Floor – Robinson’s Galleria (near National Bookstore and the escalators leading to the EDSA bus stop / EDSA walkway), Ortigas Center, Pasig.

In Which a Saturday at Home Yields a Most Delectable Sandwich…

Meet Baron Samedi!

Ever have one of those days when you feel hungry but don’t necessarily want a full meal but you don’t want to just pick on bits and pieces, either?  Yesterday had me going through one such moment.

As it is rare for me to actually get to relax even on weekends (long story that one), I was actually able to take a nap and rest up a bit.  Unfortunately, this also had the side-effect of me waking up hungry.  That said, I was off to the kitchen to take stock of what I had on hand.  I am pleased to say that my foraging led to a most delicious result.

I named this particular creation Baron Samedi – not exactly for the Haitian loa of the dead, but more for the Terry Pratchett character inspired by that top-hat-wearing deity and featured in the Discworld novel Witches Abroad.  I chose the name because 1) I made the sarnie on a Saturday (Samedi being French for the day’s name); and 2) the ingredients I used have a rather Creole vibe to them.

This sandwich consists of longganizang Vigan, that richly-seasoned, garlicky sausage from the northern provinces, paired with a particularly nutty-tasting Camembert and tucked between two slices of raisin bread.  As a dressing, I made an impromptu “Dijonnaise” – a blend of whole-egg mayonnaise and whole-grain mustard.  It is a delicious and surprising mix of flavors and textures: the meaty, spicy sausage interacting with the milky-nutty cheese and the sweetness of raisins; the bread toasted till crunchy giving a textural counterpoint to the runny cheese.

As gorgeous as this is alone, this is best eaten with a glass of cold, freshly-made lemonade on the side – preferably a glass with a bit of ginger for added zing.  As Jamie Oliver puts it, “Ahh, happy days…”

Baron Samedi

  • 2 slices raisin bread
  • longganizang Vigan or any other garlic-laced sausage, sliced lengthwise into thirds
  • 2 thickish slices from a small Camembert cheese
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole-egg mayonnaise

Evenly spread the mayonnaise and mustard on one side of each slice of bread.  Arrange the sausage and cheese slices alternately on one slice.  Pop into a toaster-oven and cook for 3 – 4 minutes or till the bread is good and crisp.  Cover the sausage-and-cheese-topped slice with the other slice.  Slice on the diagonal, and serve immediately.

Serves 1.

In Which One Filipino Blogger Celebrates British Chip Week with a Korean Twist…

The box was actually MUCH fuller...

The February 2012 issue of BBC Olive magazine – the real BBC Olive, not the overpriced local knock-off which I find too pretentious to be appealing to most local foodies – said that February 20th to 26th of this year is National Chip Week in the United Kingdom.  Seeing how it coincides with Shrove Tuesday (21st Feb.) and, ironically, Ash Wednesday (yesterday), it pretty much gives Brits license to munch on those gloriously fat, deep-fried, crisp on the outside / mushy within potato fingers that are so much more substantial than those skinny American (or French) fries.

I confess, however, that I’m all thumbs when it comes to cooking potato chips at home.  No matter what I do – blanching the spuds before frying, amping up the heat – mine are always limp and soggy.  That said, I leave cooking chips to the experts, so my best chip experiences are always store-bought.

Now, while chips are lovely enough on their own, they’re usually sold alongside sandwiches, roasts, and other more substantial viands.  Indeed, the best chips I’ve had so far this year are the potato fries that came with my soft pork tacos at Kalbi, a new Korean-Mexican fusion stand over at Glorietta’s Food Choices.  Now, while the whole Korean-Mexican spin sounds rather iffy, I have to say that it works especially where chips are concerned.

These spuds are first lightly coated in a tempura-style batter before frying.  Immediately afterwards, these are tossed in an incredibly tasty mix of salt, black pepper, and dried chili flakes.  The counter staff will give you tubs of ketchup and mayo to go with these bad boys, but you’re better off noshing them sans condiments.  The crisp outside and the soft, fluffy insides have great flavor and the addition of both black pepper and chili make them absolutely addictive.

Kalbi also offers similarly prepared and seasoned onion rings, but I’ll stick to the chips – with or without a soft taco on the side!