Tag Archive: food porn


Abuela Con Nieta


Traveled with my nieta over the holidays — her first time in Europe. We based ourselves in Madrid but made 3 night trips to Paris, Barcelona and San Sebastian. Paris was at the top of her list but she ended up loving San Sebastian best and Barcelona second best. I wasn’t surprised.

She loves visits to the art galleries and spent lotsa time there. And I mean lotsa time! San Sebastian has no museos in the league of Louvre nor Prado, but she digs the vibe in this Basque city so much that I’m convinced she can live there.

Traveling as abuela y nieta, our pair must have invited some attention. Or at least we were marked. Or perhaps SHE was marked. More than once, I was asked “Donde esta la chica?” She’d always find a vacant seat on the train where she can more comfortably sit, or stray away from me while we’re in line. She’d get free admission to some museos when the man at the window would ask if she’s a student. No student ID nor passport copy, but she gets in free or at a discount while her abuela pays the regular rate. She’s out of her teens now but still acts like a child like when I couldn’t get a decent shot of her without her tongue sticking out or her crinkling her nose.

Our vacation lasted a full month. She’d tease we didn’t quarrel as much as expected and laugh. I was happy to show her around, much that museos and art galleries were coming out of my ears. She discovered she’s a good dishwasher and that she easily forgets things. I discovered I can appreciate street and urban art too. We share food preferences and love bubblies. She likewise shops like me — quick, decisive and wise. Ahem.

I am certain “art appreciation” was the highlight of this trip. I have seen how she spent for art materials and art books, more than she spent for those fashion stuff. For sure, she has set her sights on a return trip knowing how she has enjoyed this holiday.

While in Madrid, she found time to meet with her friends now studying there. It was amusing to see her playing tour guide cum photographer. Their photos speak volumes on how much they enjoyed each other’s company, sticking tongues and all 😜 She loves Spain. And judging by how she’s been painting lately, mi nieta is inspired. 💕👩🏻‍🎨🎨

Travels with #aponimamu:(Just click on the link)

Around Paris

Louvre and Centre Pompidou

Bohemian Paris

Touchdown, San Sebastian

Txikiteo in San Sebastian

The Playas of San Sebastian

Traveling Paintbrush of Anna

Museo Guggenheim (Bilbao)

Museu Picasso (Barcelona)

Museo Reina Sofia (Madrid)

Museo Thyssen-Bornemizsa (Madrid)

Gaudi and Ciutat Vella

To Montserrat and Back

A Pleasant Moorish Surprise

Not Segovia, But Alcala de Henares

Street Art In Spain

Some Musings and Ramblings:

Abuela Con Nieta

Happy Thoughts for Anna P

Txikiteo Con Mi Nieta


Finally! On our first night here, we only tried Atari Gastroteka right across Yglesia de Santa Maria in Parte Vieja. It was a leisurely meal without the tourist crowd, with wait staff not too busy to chat you up. Txikiteo can wait till tomorrow, I thought. For our first night, let it not be rushed and frenzied. Just one relaxing meal ordering the same stuff we enjoyed here the last time.

We’ve always known the Pulpo and Foie Gras here are tops but we discovered its salmon and beef cheeks too. My nieta was introduced to Ribera del Duero though she also took a swig at my Rioja. Our butts got stuck here as we were seated outside across the Yglesia at 7Celsius with a friendly waitress checking on us from time to time. The Txikiteo can wait, I repeat. For now, we savoured the peace and quiet, along with the good food and bebidas.

On our 2nd night we were ready for our txikiteo. But it so happened the whole of San Sebastian was celebrating Santo Tomas Fair and transformed the entire city into a farmers’ market. Locals donned farmers’ and peasants’ attires. I was tempted to buy an outfit but my Oriental looks would give me away. Any txikiteo idea was promptly dashed as we could hardly move across Parte Vieja. Crowd was so thick, everyone’s in high spirits (literally and figuratively) and so many drunks have dropped and broken their copas. No war freaks, just too drunk to stand steady and hold their glasses. Ergo, glass shards all over. We did the next best thing. La Viña is famous for its tarta de quezo but they do have a fine dining restaurante inside. More pulpo for us, plus jamon jabugo paired with txakoli. Perfect! Txikiteo can wait.

And so the txikiteo finally gets started on Day 3. First off, Borda Berri for bacalao al pilpil and orejas de cerdo. Next, Bar Etxeberria. That’s lunch. Kutixik para llevar so we can nib on jamon while walking around the Playas. For dinner, Bar Zeruko for La Hoguera, mushrooms and tuna. Next stop was La Cuchara de San Telmo for its cochinillo and oysters. Dessert was in Casa Urola for that torrijas to die for. You can say we took our txikiteo real seriously. After all, we were “deprived” of this famous pub crawl the last 2 days. No regrets though as we’ve discovered the relative quiet of a sit-down dinner and good txakoli in its stead.

My nieta swears she loves txakoli and ribera del duero. By the 6th copa, we have started calling ourselves “Luningning” and “Liwayway”, just for fun. The 2 wait staff flirting with each other we promptly named Mateo and Juana. Don’t ask why. The Lola (grandma) and Nieta (granddaughter) are simply enjoying their txikiteo. Salut!

PostScript: On the day we were leaving San Sebastian, we decided to have almuerzo (lunch) in Parte Vieja, hoping some of our favorite pintxo bars are already open. They weren’t. But we enjoyed our pintxos, cafe, desserts in 2 bars which now make up our list of new favorites. Casa Alcalde where I enjoyed my txistorra and pimientos de padron (as a first meal) while nieta had her mushrooms, kebab and iberico topped with a quail egg. Bar Sport has good reviews but never tried it before because it was always crowded. Not this time. Sangria with cheese cake? Why not? Nieta liked the tarta de quezo better here so we made sure we dropped in on La Viña again just to compare. 🙄


Who leaves Mongolia without feasting on their Mongolian Barbecue? Stuff your bowl with meats & veggies, make your own sauce concoction, and then leave it to this Mongolian to cook it for you on this round hot rock table.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJZr-D3-42A&feature=youtu.be

 

But I must say Korean food is something else. We hit the ground running by choosing a bibimbap meal on our KAL flight. Well…… Let’s just say we can’t wait. Of course the inflight meal ain’t the real deal, but it’s a good start. So, here’s how we indulged ourselves in the 2 nights we stopped over in Seoul. Call us gluttons! GWIYOMI……… I’m happy!

JUST CLICK ON THE HEADINGS FOR MORE PHOTOS AND DETAILS:

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Ginseng Chicken from YongYang…………for ENERGY!

GINSENG CHICKEN IN YONGYANG

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That’s our lunch being cooked for us.

BUSAN GALBI RESTO IN ITAEHWON

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Korean Seafood Paella? Looks like it, but spicier!

YOOGANE’S DAK GALBI

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Never ever miss this!

KOREAN BARBECUE & MORE

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Korean Street Food is LOVE!

NOT TO FORGET: STREET FOODS!


Many would remember it as that restaurant where Pinoy, Chinoy, and Tisoy cuisines merged, and which became a landmark off Echague Street. While it has since moved to 750 Florentino Torres near C.M.Recto and Soler Streets, the aura remains the same. It helps that the furniture exudes the same illustrado character, where an Amorsolo-ish painting hangs on one side of the wall  and where menu offerings are written in chalk on boards hanging on another side.

 

 

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And there’s that lone boar tied to the door…………. Could that be “Liempo” or “Pork Chop”?

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Ambos Mundos. Claims to be the oldest resto in the Philippines. 1888

 

 

The “best of both worlds”. East and West? Ambos Mundos. I can imagine men in tailored suits (yes, they really dressed up back when Recto Avenue was still called Azcarraga) dining here. Perhaps feasting on either Paella Ambos or Morisqueta Tostada. Or would it be Lengua or Buntot Estofada? Many Filipinos think of Callos and Morcon as “fiesta fare” — special dishes served whenever there is reason or an occasion to celebrate. In the same breadth, Filipinos likewise drool over their favorite local food, and by that, I mean favorite local Filipino and Chinese food. Crispy Pata, Bulalo, Lumpia Ubod, Pancit Bijon, Asado, etcetera!

 

 

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That menu is a real fusion of Chinoy, Pinoy and Tisoy Cuisines.

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Chinoy or Pinoy or Tisoy Cuisine in Ambos Mundos. 1888

 

 

Is it really the oldest restaurant in the country?  Both Ambos Mundos and Panciteria Toho Antigua claim to be the oldest, having operated since 1888. Who’s to tell? Both were my childhood favorites, by the way. But where Toho appears like many other old Chinese restaurants, Ambos Mundos has an altogether different charm. Very old world. Complete with pot-bellied black pigs tied to its front doors! (A recent addition, I suspect) Some keep pet dogs. Or pet kittens. But pet boars? We’re told they’re there for good luck. There must be a grain of truth in that. After all, they’ve been around since 1888!

 

 

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My 2 amigas eagerly wait for our order of Morisqueta Tostada, Lengua Estofado and Patatas con Giniling.

 

 

See you again, “Liempo” and “Pork Chop”! We weren’t very happy with the Morisqueta Tostada, Lengua Estofado and Patatas con Giniling that we ordered — not as good as I remember 😉 — but we’re willing to try the other dishes next time we visit. 😉 OINK OINK

 

 

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Another set of pet boars just across the street in Wah Sun, same owners. A Gaudinez married into the Leung Family who owns this Chinese resto since 1955.

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They say you can order from either/both menus of Ambos Mundos and Wah Sun across the street. Same owners.

 

 

Addendum: This is even more interesting. Thanks to Teresa Gaudinez-Martinez, I now have a chance to straighten out some “kinks” and misinformation in this blog. Foremost is that THIS IS NOT THE AUTHENTIC AMBOS MUNDOS RESTAURANT. “Both Worlds” (Ambos Mundos) refer to Spanish and Filipino cuisines. NEVER INCLUDED CHINESE CUISINE. Huh? And there was NEVER A PET BOAR outside the restaurant. Huh again! Teresa, I have read all your blogs and sympathize with your legal woes. Obviously, there’s a long story fraught with family, legal, proprietary rights issues here. Thank you for taking the time to make the corrections. To our readers, here’s the link to Teresa’s Ambos Mundos blogs.


Food is an integral part of my travels and yes, you may say food defines many of my adventures. The passion to search for certain kinds of food is serious business. Going to great lengths for a food particular to the area builds the excitement as much as checking out the local attractions. So, here’s a compilation. It is a living, breathing list as I intend to add more as I get busy celebrating life. A few inches more on the waist, on the hips won’t hurt 🙂

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EATING AROUND THE PHILIPPINES

It all starts at home. While the Philippines has national dishes like adobo, sinigang, Kare Kare and lechon, there are regional cuisines that are must-try eats. Check these out.

Philippine Cuisine

Regional Cuisine: Northern Philippines

What and Where to Eat in Laoag and Vigan

As Spicy As It Gets in Bicol

What To Eat In Batanes

Eating Frogs and Crickets From the Philippines’ Culinary Capital

DINING101 in AFRICA

Boma Dinner and the Exotic Meats of Africa

South African Cuisine

BUEN PROVECHO EN ESPAÑA!

Eating Around Spain

Best Churros Con Chocolate

FOOD PORN IN BANGKOK

EATING AROUND BHUTAN

PHÔ & MORE IN HO CHI MINH

BEYOND NASI GORENG IN INDONESIA

FOOD COMA IN KOREA

SUBJECT TO ADDITIONS, NO DELETIONS.



Balikbayans (literally “balik” means return; “bayan” means country) and foreign guests should share the same list. After all, who better to promote the Philippines abroad other than our very own “kababayans” (fellow countrymen). The balikbayans or returning/holidaying countrymen have conjured up images of local foods they must try/taste long before their arrival. You see, food images can either excite you or leave you in despair.

 

 

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Rice Cakes with Dessicated Coconut, locally called “bibingka”.

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Puto Bumbong.

 

 

I have several circles of friends — from childhood, school, office as well as those I’ve met and kept in my travels. Invariably, balikbayans hanker for the same food list. Deprive them and they’d have a bad holiday. As for the foreign guests, why force them to eat “balut” (duck embryo) when many Filipinos feel grossed out with such? There are many Pinoy dishes without the necessary Fear Factor-ish controversy. So, indulge them with:

 

#1: Bibingka and Puto Bumbong

 

I always bring my guests to Via Mare for their bibingka and puto bumbong fix. We are rice eaters like many others in Asia. So it comes as no surprise to find the equivalent of suman, puto and kutsinta in other parts of Asia. But i found none similar to our bibingka and puto bumbong. If there are, I have not seen nor tried them. So, how about introducing these rice-based eats to our guests?

 

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Puto, Kutsinta and Suman

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Mangoes — green and ripe, Chico, Durian, and other local fruits.

 

 

#2 Local Fruits: Manila Mangoes, Durian, Marang, Chico, Dalandan, Balimbing, Coconuts

 

Remember how we drool just thinking of cherries, persimmons, dragon fruits, naranjas, grapes, etc? Carnivores and vegans alike would most certainly be interested in our local fruits. No “eww factor” and it won’t cost you big time! And how about sweetened and candied fruits? I can think of our dried mangoes, condol and pineapples.

 

 

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Halo Halo from Razon’s.

 

 

#3 Halo Halo

 

Halo Halo is not exclusive to the Philippines. Fruits with ice shavings can likewise be found in Japan, Vietnam, and elsewhere. But ours is unique because of its toppings.

 

Halo-Halo combines many of our sweetened fruits along with the very local yam (Ube) and Leche flan. Now, wouldn’t these choices be lots better than the “balut”? (By the way, they also have “balut” in Cambodia but locals there would not have it at the top of the list of must-try dishes.) Halo Halo sells for as low as 20 pesos (San Andres Market), maybe lower in the provinces. A humongous serving can be had in Manila Peninsula, but it will cost you. Me? I’m quite happy with Digman’s halo halo or the finer ice shavings and simpler (aka fewer but yummy ingredients) halo halo from Razon’s. Many local eateries also offer this as “merienda” (snacks) or as dessert.

 

 

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Pancit Luglog

 

 

#4 Pancit Luglog or Pancit Palabok

 

Noodles. Italian pasta, Chinese Pancit, Korean Chap Chae, Japanese soba. All noodles.

 

What have we got that’s different from the rest? Palabok or Luglug, or even Pancit Malabon. The sauce base is different. Color is different. Toppings are different, especially if you load up with crushed chicharon. And don’t you just love how the sliced, boiled eggs sitting side by side with the squids, oysters and squid rings take center stage?


[The list continues….. Watch this page]

 

 


Ka Inatô was a surprise waiting for us. It wasn’t planned, but Ka Lui was closed on the day we arrived in Puerto Princesa City. Our 3rd disappointment after a flight delay of 2 hours and a cancelled Underground River Tour. Our van driver suggested lunch here before our northbound trip to El Nido. Well along the way, Ka Inatô is in Rizal Street just as you approach the exit out of the city center.

 

 

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Ka Inato along Rizal  Street just as you approach the exit out of Puerto Princesa City.

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Interesting wooden sculptures. Very artsy.

 

 

I’ve read somewhere that Ka Lui partly owns Ka Inatô. If true, it explains the “KA” in the name, the ambience and the food quality. It’s unconfirmed, but let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised. I wanted my family to experience dining in Ka Luí but the place was closed. So was Kinabuch’s. My apprehension over Ka Inatô was completely wiped out upon seeing the place. Very charming. Very artsy.

 

 

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Open air. The wind chimes add to the rural, carefree ambience. I love how this resto was laid out. Simple decor but each item placed somewhere with careful thought.

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This corner reminds me of a rural sari sari store. The paintings are of children exuding innocence and fun.

 

 

The “open air” atmosphere added to the ambience. The wooden sculptures, paintings and hanging chimes all combined to give a local flavor. We were early for lunch so it was not a problem choosing a table. Judging by the menu, the place caters to all clientele. Pinoys would love the local cuisine. As well as the seafood dishes. Then there are pasta dishes for the foreigners …. and for the teenager in our group. Fruit shakes and frothy iced teas complete the deal.

 

 

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Somehow, I feel like I’m in some gallery somewhere in Angono, the art capital of the Philippines.

 

 

Service quality was likewise commendable. The service crew was most attentive despite our indecisiveness over what to order. Bless the children in our group who knew exactly what they wanted to eat while the adults agonized over what to order.

 

 

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Love the colors and the layout of this resto!

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Everywhere you look, there would always be a piece of art inviting a lingering look.

 

 

Art surrounded us while we waited for our lunch.  Somehow, I felt I was in some gallery in Angono, Rizal. There were enough art items inviting our attention. And the food didn’t disappoint. LUNCH!

 

 

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Freshly-grilled stuffed squid, shrimps in some savory sauce, steamed veggies wrapped in banana leaves, grilled fish with vegetable sidings. Yummy lunch!

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This is their signature dish. Chicken Inasal to many. Inato here in Palawan.

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The Pasta dish didn’t disappoint too!

 

 

Ka Inatô’s signature dishes include their local inasal (called inatô) or grilled chicken. But we won’t be deprived our seafood favorites and guilt-diffusers like steamed veggies. The kids ordered their favorite shakes and iced tea. I have to say that food presentation pleased the senses. Simple. Not exactly a cut above the rest, but for the price tags, I’ve got to say Ka Inatô knows how to please their guests.

 

 

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Fruit Shakes and Frothy Iced Teas!

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Cheap! Value for Money, indeed. But we should have ordered the other signature dish….Sinuglaw. Combination Sinugba (grilled) and Kinilaw (local ceviche)

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And there’s more at very low prices. There’s a meal for every budget !

 

 

By the time we were done with lunch, we were all smiling in content. Notwithstanding the long drive, we were all raring to get into the van, all psyched and longing for a long afternoon nap. Aaaaahhh, never underestimate the power of a good meal. Uncomplainingly, the children claimed their seats in the van and snored away. 🙂


Away for nearly 3 months, I am now nicely settled. Home again. Back to the old grind. The same routine. The same food trip!

 

 

There were many food items I missed and you bet I didn’t waste time lining them up to stir up fond memories 😉 First on my list of must-eat was my favorite pancit. Now there are many versions of pancit (fried noodles) in this country and each version I pigged on. Shamelessly, I asked my good friend to cook my favorite pancit from Cavite — the one you eat with kilawing puso and culao toppings, along with a good sprinkling of Chicharon bits! Happiness :))

 

 

 

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Then there’s the trip to Razon’s for my halo halo fix and….. yes, the pancit palabok. Again, with generous dollops of Chicharon bits. I’m not sure if it’s really the pancit or the Chicharon that got me hooked. But really, any version of the pancit does it for moí!

 

 

 

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Back home, Manang Trining’s pancit is what everyone in the family comes home to after being away. For sure, this pancit stirs up many fond memories as every occasion is celebrated with this dish taking the middle spot on the dining table. The Chicharon is a side serving — like it’s “optional” yet I have yet to see someone foregoing that option when feasting on Manang Trining’s pancit.

 

 

 

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The Chicharon never misses making an appearance when it’s the Pancit Luglug or Pancit Malabon version. Some crushed, some in bigger chunks. Some plain Chicharon cracklings, others with a sliver of pork attached to the fatty stuff.

 

 

 

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Which brings us back to the question. Is it the Chicharon? Or the pancit?

 

 

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Four months. Four Countries. November 2011 through February 2012. Extended till May 2012. Vietnam. Thailand . Bhutan. Spain. Each country a delight to visit. Each country with its own distinct, unique cuisine. The languages compete with the culinary delights to render you “tongue-twisted”.

 

 

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It lasted about a week each in Vietnam and Bhutan. And some 4 nights in Bangkok, Thailand. Then all of 10 weeks in Spain. My taste buds were never as confused as they were in the last 4-6 months. But if this is what confusion means, I wouldn’t mind being in that state for a prolonged period. 😊😍😘

 

 

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Vietnamese cuisine tastes “clean” and subtle. Happily combining Asian flavors with French mastery of the kitchen, the dishes are beautifully plated even if purchased off a corner stall in the market. Besides, Vietnamese dishes are more veggies than meats which lessen one’s guilt but not the pleasure. The same aesthetic value can be said of Thai dishes. The vibrant colors combine so well in every single plate or tray whether they are vegetables, fruits or meats. And the sauces! Each single dish presents a variety of options by way of sauces. Major decisions!

 

 

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The food in Bhutan is an altogether different story. There isn’t much by way of meat choices unless you are craving for yak burgers. Vegetarians would have a field day here in this Himalayan kingdom but the spices are just too much for my liking. But I like their mountain rice and the simplicity of their vegetable dumplings and soups.

 

 

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Aroused by the flavors of the Orient , my taste buds were ready to be assaulted by the varied, meaty, cheesy, olive-oily dishes of Spain. From the very beginning, I knew 10 weeks won’t be long enough to try all 500 or so bacalao dishes. But really, I can’t complain.

 

 

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We tried and compared the churros con chocolate from Chocolateria De San Gines and Valor, we sampled the croquetas and quezos in Mercado de San Miguel, we dined in 101 Tapas in Andalucia, traveled to Valencia for their authentic and original paella, ate not once but twice in Segovia for that cochinillo we’ve dreamed about, relished the morcilla from Burgos and the Leche flan and crema de Catalan of Barcelona.

 

 

So, after 4-6 months….. What do you think am I craving for? Sure I miss those Vietnamese rolls, the pad Thai, momos, Jamon y Quezos . But nothing beats food from home. I shamelessly requested a good friend to cook my favorite pancit, ordered halo-halo in the middle of a board meeting, drove all the way to Binondo for my lumpia and quikiam fix, waited mornings for the taho vendor, emptied my dish of dinuguan and puto in record time, and to this day, still dreaming of bibingka with kesong Puti and my favorite seagrapes (Lato) salad. Pinoy food rocks! 😝

 

 

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