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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Favorites from Back Home

While on the subject of food from back home, these are some of the dishes that I also miss:

Crab sotanghun (glass noodles) - both my mom's version and the one served at Sun Moon Garden in the basement level of Shoppesville in Greenhills. Is that place still open?

Tai-ma's (my paternal great grandmother) fresh Chinese lumpia (a variety of cooked veggies wrapped in a thin tortilla-like wrapper) with all the trimmings and her special Chinese-style adobo (pork stewed in soy sauce and vinegar - her version is sweeter than the usual). We didn't mind squeezing into her tiny dining room/living room and eating in shifts just to enjoy her home cooking.

Chicken Inasal (local roasted chicken) served with special sukang sinamak (spicy vinegar) - the best one I've had was in a Chicken Bacolod restaurant across Ateneo - even better than the one I had while visiting Bacolod.

Gua-ma's (my maternal grandmother) dinuguan (pork blood stew) since she makes it using pork meat (and not pork innards like the ones we can find here).

Digman's halo-halo, (local dessert with different kinds of beans, sweetened fruit, topped with shaved ice and milk). There was a Digman's in the Greenhills Shopping Center and we'd go there after classes on Fridays. My order was always had extra pinipig (toasted rice).

Sizzling sisig, (unsavory pork parts chopped up, fried to a crisp and served on a hot plate), from Dencio's in Katipunan. We would douse the sisig in calamansi juice and hot sauce - so good it made it worth hanging out in an open-air beer garden.

Philippine mangoes both the green (unripe) and the yellow (ripe) kind. I remember my grandmother's neighbor in San Lorenzo had a huge mango tree and we would ask the maids to pick a us green mangoes which we would enjoy dipped in soy sauce and sugar.

Other local fruits: mangosteen, atis, rambutan, sineguelas, kamias, langka, and aratiles (Our neighbor had an aratiles tree and I would always grab a handful on my way home from school). Not a big fan of chicos, starapple and lanzones (but Jojo has been dreaming of these too).

Pandan chicken and bagoong (shrimp paste) fried rice from Thai restaurants back home (most notably Sukhothai). Are these Filipino-Thai creations? Cause I can never find these on the menus of Thai restaurants here.

Cha misua (fried noodles with shredded chicken and pork, shrimps, fish balls, shitake mushrooms, green onions, shallots and hard boiled eggs). Manang Mercy, our cook, would make this for breakfast every time someone at home celebrated a birthday.

Lapids chicharon (pork cracklings) already infused with vinegar. I remember fondly the Lapid's stall in Unimart.

My mom's Bicol Express, a dish made with siling labuyo (fingerling chili peppers), pork and coconut milk. It is so hot that your mouth is on fire with every bite and you are sweating throughout the meal ... but it is so worth it.

Calamansi (a local lemon) and dalandan (a local orange) juice - totally different from lemonade and orange juice.

Auntie Scarlet's melt-in-your mouth ensaymada (brioche). I've tried many versions of this but hers is in a league of their own. So good with brewed coffee.

Street food: fried fishballs (dipped in spicy sauce and vinegar), roasted corn on a stick brushed with margarine, banana-cue (fried bananas coated with caramelized sugar), kropek (fish crackers with spicy vinegar), taho (tofu with syrup and tapioca balls), mangang hilaw wth bagoong (green mangoes with shrimp paste), boiled peanuts, and "dirty" ice cream with flavors such as ube (purple yam), macapuno (young coconut), and keso (cheese). I used to work along Ayala Ave. and every afternoon my co-workers and I would buy our merienda (afternoon snack) from vendors pushing carts with these treats.

This list is making me hungry. I guess it's partly a blessing that I can't find these dishes here since I am trying to lose weight for my sister's wedding and having easy access to these favorites wouldn't be a good idea anyway!


voltes 5 said...

I love the "tanghun crab" of Sun Moon Garden which is still there. I miss Dr. Pepper and Sierra Mist which is available in every supermarket in the U.S. I miss drive-in movies and eating pizza in the car while watching the movie. I miss the free taste test of clam chowder when I walk in any of the numerous fisherman wharfs in California. I miss the banana split of Ghirardelli's. I miss just driving the freeway. I miss going to food 4 less (at 1 am and having the whole supermarket all to myself) which is open 24 hrs close to where I was staying before. I miss walking around Rodeo Drive and looking at all the expensive cars driving by. I miss those Chinese lunch specials where I pay only $4.95(18 yrs ago) for a lunch buffet that includes fried rice, chow mein noodle, sweet and sour pork, corn soup, beef brocolli among others. Hopefully, I would be able to visit the U.S. again one day and get to do all these things.

jol said...

The pandan chicken and the bagoong fried rice are authentic thai dishes. Pandan leaves are not readily available in the States and most americans do not like the taste of bagoong (it is an acquired taste). Did you forget to mention the onion soup of Seasons and Judy's caesar salad?

jml said...

Everything you mentioned is ready and waiting for you when you make that trip home. There are a lot more that I know you will be glad to have, but may have momentarily forgotten.

Joanne said...

Hi "Voltes V" - I live right by a Food 4 Less too and it is also open 24 hours! We used to go at night when the place is less crowded but we've found that fruits and veggies are fresher earlier in the day =) Believe it or not, I've never been to a drive-in movie. I don't think they are around much these days. And I love Ghirardelli's splits too :)

Dad, I didn't forget the onion soup and the caesar salad - but my list is all about foods I miss cause I can't get them here. Actually my list includes foods I have not had in over 7 years! =)

leslie ty said...

Jo ! There's a new Halo-halo in town...Razon's =) will let you try that when you visit Manila =) for the Chicken Inasal, we have to bring you to JT's (Joel Torre's Chcken Inasal ) ...right outside the Mabasa compound...

of course, nothing will ever beat Auntie Judy's cooking...but you have to reserve a few lunch or dinner with us...i want to bring you to CYMA ( mediterranean food ) and MAMOU ( steak )... =)

Joanne said...

Can't wait, Les. =) Can't wait to try the places you mentioned ... and to see you guys too =)

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