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Monday, August 01, 2016

A Taste of Singapore at Singlish Cafe

There was a time in my career as a system installer, traveling to clients to install our software and train users, when I frequented Singapore for 18 months. I remember being in Singapore so often that I started to get used to Singaporean accent.

Of course, I had to fall in love with Singaporean food, too. That happened very quickly without much complains, more so, any effort.

I got back to Manila and the stints to Singapore became less and less. However, the craving for Singaporean food continued. What does a food lover do? Of course I had to look for and try various Singaporean restaurants around the metro which led me to this quaint little restaurant in Marikina called Singlish Cafe.



The restaurant is small that it probably could sit less than 20 people but its cozy, upbeat interior make up for the limited space though. I love the huge red wooden framed mirror that creates an illusion of extra space.



The Food:

Honestly, I got excited when I saw Roti Prata on the menu. It's a dish that I dont often see in most Singapore-themed restaurant. Plus, it's also one of favorite food whenever I go to Singapore. (Shall I start another blog about the roti prata at Food Republic?)

The roti prata at Singlish tastes exactly like what I expected. Whenever I crave for prata, I normally go to Banana Leaf, but now I know a better place to get them! I wouldn't mind traveling to Marikina just for roti prata.


I couldn't miss their Hainanese Chicken Rice which they claim to be one of their best sellers. My friend and dining companion who happened to have just returned from a 9-year job in Singapore said it's just OK, nothing worth the rave. 


For me, it's good enough. I find the rice too soft and sticky but the chicken is very tasty, juicy and tender. 


Care for coffee? There are plenty to choose from. For me, as long as it's iced, I am good to have any of the coffee on their menu.



Singlish Cafe
60 Lilac Street, Marikina City
Open 11am to 10pm


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Number 1 Crispy Pata in the Metro

I saw a post raving about the best crispy pata (deep fried pork hocks) in Metro Manila and being the usisera that I am, I just had to see and taste for myself.

Crispy Pata Php650. Good for 4.

The most talked-about Crispy Pata is the best seller of Livestock Restaurant and Bar and is apparently so tender that it is served with a popsicle stick instead of a knife.

Here it is:



Apart from being so tender, the pork hock is fried to perfection. It's not oily, with crispy skin but oh so tender-fall-off-the-bone meat. It is served with vinegar laced with soy sauce, onions and red chili.

Superb!

Livestock Restaurant opens at 11am, and I would really (really) recommend for your to come early. The place gets filled very quickly and by noon, you probably would have to wait to be seated.

Livestock Restaurant and Bar
34 Sgt. Esguerra Avenue
South Triangle, Quezon City
Tel. No. 3320409


Caffe' Piansa, The First Jail-Themed Restaurant in Manila

Everyone I know dread the thought of going to jail and that's not a surprise at all especially if the penitentiary is in the Philippines. In fact, for me, just the idea of going to a courtroom gives me the jitters, what more if to a jail where thugs and criminals will be your legitimate housemates.

However, upon learning that there is a now a jail-themed restaurant in Metro Manila, I can't help but get excited. Although it could easily be just a fad, I was like a tourist eager to try something unfamiliar.

So this is Caffe' Piansa, the jail-themed restaurant located in Marikina.



The owners seriously took the jail concept and designed the restaurant with everything related to prison. Even their crew wears an inmate uniform while the bartender is in a judge's robe.

Diners can enjoy their meal behind iron bars in a regular detention cell, in the Execution Room beside a fake electric chair or in a court jail room (private dining as there is only one table).



How about ordering (and eating) in the court without the judge holding you in contempt?

Order in the court, literally!
So how's the food? Well, for The Hubby who is more particular with what he eats than what he sees (my opposite) the food is just average. Nothing spectacular or worth raving and I have to agree with him.

Gas Chamber Php280 (Chicken Schnitzel and Pasta Negra)

The Hubby ordered from the Visitors Menu - Pork Belly Goulash Php200

The serving, too, is quite small for the price on the menu. I was surprised (didn't take a photo) when our salad was served as it was just good for one when the price is the same as the salad for sharing in most restos.

Here's the creative menu (Note: I wasn't able to take photos of all the pages)





The food in the pasta menu are named after execution methods from centuries ago up to present. If you don't know how the executions are carried out, then ordering can be pretty fun. Like me, I ordered their house specialty which is Gas Chamber.


But the wall decors have detailed descriptions of the executions and I actually felt nauseous reading them. Quite creepy and gory, to be honest.




Before leaving the restaurant, don't forget to take a mugshot a souvenir. It's the fun part of the visit.


Overall, I'd still recommend a visit to Caffe Piansa if one's curiosity need to be satisfied. Their location is quite hard to find it you don't have Waze app. Be prepared for street parking.

Caffe Piansa
#57 Dragon Street
Midtown Subdivision
San Roque, Marikina City
11am to 2pm; 5pm to11pm



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SR Thai Cuisine's Chicken in Basil Leaves

S.R. Thai Cuisine is one restaurant near UST campus that I make it a point to dine in whenever I have the opportunity or when our itchy feet take us to the vicinity. The food are simple, authentic Thai dishes (owners are Thai immigrants) that are affordable to the budget-conscious students.


Nothing much has changed since we graduated in 1997. Except for the price on the menu, everything else is still the same. From the door, the dripping aircon, the fragile white tables and metal chairs, and the cashier/counter that looked very similar to my mom's vanity cabinet.

And because everything seems to be pretty much the same, I also stick to my order from 18 years ago. 


That's Chicken in Basil Leaves. I order this each visit even if I try other fares in their menu. The tender chicken fillet smothered with basil sauce and leaves remind me so much of my college days. It's like traveling back in time through a simple meal.

S.R. Thai Cuisine boasts of other specialty dishes like Seafood Friend Rice (my husband's favorite) and Sizzling Beef.  Actually, if you ask me, for the price of Php80 to Php110 all their dishes are recommendable.

S.R Thai Cuisine is located at 965 P. Noval St., Sampaloc, Manila. 


Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Drink from the Cookie Mug in Marikina

We all love anything new and fancy, don't we? It's primarily why Filipinos quickly fall in love and in line for new restaurant franchises especially if from overseas. We're eager to say, "I have been there!" way before others could even plan going.

Having said that, it is in search for something new and fancy that I came about Cookie Mug. How about a mug you can drink from and eat after?


Cookie Mug is a small coffee and cake shop along Lilac Street in Concepcion, Marikina and from the name of the shop, one can tell what is the specialty. They serve cold milk, mocha, caramel milk or chocolate milk in a mug-shaped cookie called Cookie Shots.


Cookie Shots come in three sizes: Small (Php48 each), Medium (Php78 each) and Large (Php108 each).  Add from Php20 to Php60 pesos for the milk (or other milk variants) you will drink from the cookie mug.

Personally, the cookie shots taste fairly average although I was quite amazed the cookie doesn't crumble or turn soft even after pouring milk half a dozen times. My kids disagree with me, of course, as they devoured the cookie mug even before they were able to drink half their milk. Hence, I had to buy them additional cookie shots.

The cafe serves milk tea, specialty coffee and other cakes and pastries. It can get a bit crowded as the store itself can only sit about 10 people. Take out is an option although to have the best cookie mug experience, one must dine in. Opens at 1pm and closes by 11pm.

Cookie Mug
116 Lilac Street, 
SSS Village, Concepcion Dos
Marikina City

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Loving Pinoy Food and Proud of It!

When I was still working in a five star hotel in Ortigas, cocktails for various hotel activities were pretty often. I've had a chance to sample different hors d'oeuvres (pronounced as ôr dûrvz), canapé, and cheeses. These small one-bite finger food and appetizers are appealing to the eyes and more to the taste buds, although ones tongue may need a few twist and turns before it can pronounce any of this cocktail staples.

When I moved to another job (my current one) which requires a lot of overseas travel, my food horizon got even broader and I tremendously enjoyed sampling dishes of various coutries - - chilli crab and kaya toasts in Singapore, laksa in Malaysia, tom yum in Thailand and the uncomparable ramen of Japan to name a few.

However, and maybe not a lot of people know that even if I've been exposed to foreign dishes, I remain loyal to Filipino food and delicacies. I am someone who would happily trade a quarter pound burger with fried rice and danggit without second thoughts.


I remember during one trip to Sydney where I met a Filipino family who have just recently migrated there. I was told they hardly cook their own native food anymore but instead go for burgers, fish and chips and pasta like any other Aussie. I was secretly disappointed learning this as oftentimes, someone's native dishes are the only evidence of a person's culture and roots after one migrates to another country.

Most of our dishes are actually influenced by the nations and cultures that onced ruled the Philippines. We were a colony of Spain for 400 years so naturally a lot of our dishes have a tinge of Spanish into it. Our most popular dish, the Adobo, although the cooking process or method is indigent to the Philippines, is actually Spanish (adobo means seasoning or marinade).

One observartion though of a foriegner friend is our appetite for meat and I have to agree. If one is attend a town fiesta, the staples would be menudo, embutido, caldereta, lumpiang shanghai and maybe lechon. Ha! Look at all those meat!

For dessert, the Filipino table has a very extensive variety. Aside from our wide array of rice-based desserts or kakanin, we have Halo-Halo, a drink-dessert made with sweetened banana, sweet potato, beans, macapuno, nata de coco and many more topped with shaved ice and milk which is similar to Iced Kachang of Malaysia. There is a coconut milk-based soupy version which is Ginataang Halo-Halo (seems like we have knack for mixed ingredients).

my home-cooked ginataang halo-halo
I adore Filipino food and I am proud of it. I do miss it a lot when I travel and sometimes when I've been away for weeks, I'll ask our yaya to cook my favorite Pinoy fare for my first meal back home. And how I love the taste of Sinigang after days of Filipino food abstinence.

So, what's your favorite Filipino dish?

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