My favorite hot cups of coffee and chocolate in Baguio, Philippines

This coffee by Cafe by the Ruins is made special by the shell-shaped sugar that comes with it. I thought it was a cookie, but it turned out to be some form of brown sugar. Just drop it gingerly on your cup, stir, and enjoy! Or, you can do as I did -- I pretended it was a cookie and I turned it into "dessert"!

This coffee by Cafe by the Ruins is made special by the shell-shaped sugar that comes with it. I thought it was a cookie, but it turned out to be some form of brown sugar. Just drop it gingerly on your cup, stir, and enjoy! Or, you can do as I did — I pretended it was a cookie and I turned it into “dessert”!

This hot chocolate drink, called tskokolate de batirol, is an old fashioned way of serving our favorite cold weather drink. It is made by manually mixing and stirring real cacao balls from a special wooden stick called "batirol". When in Baguio, don't forget to visit this place named after this well-loved chocolate drink at Camp John Hay!

This hot chocolate drink, called tskokolate de batirol, is an old fashioned way of serving our favorite cold weather drink. It is made by manually mixing and stirring real cacao balls from a special wooden stick called “batirol”. When in Baguio, don’t forget to visit this place named after this well-loved chocolate drink at Camp John Hay!

I got a cup of civet coffee, supposedly the priciest coffee in the planet, for 100 pesos from Good Shepherd in Baguio. I didn't get it from a fancy cup, just a normal paper cup, but it tasted...oddly...weird. It was good, but weird. I paired it with Good Shepherd's oatmeal and strawberry muffin, which was one of the most authentic-tasting oatmeal muffins I've tried thus far. They didn't scrimp on the oatmeal and molasses so the 25 pesos that I parted with was money well-spent!

I got a cup of civet coffee, supposedly the priciest coffee in the planet, for 100 pesos from Good Shepherd in Baguio. I didn’t get it from a fancy cup, just a normal paper cup, but it tasted…oddly…weird. It was good, but weird. I paired it with Good Shepherd’s oatmeal and strawberry muffin, which was one of the most authentic-tasting oatmeal muffins I’ve tried thus far. They didn’t scrimp on the oatmeal and molasses so the 25 pesos that I parted with was money well-spent!

Enchanted Burger @ Enchanted Farm Cafe

enchanted burger

Here’s a delicious routine after stocking up on your Human Nature beauty essentials. Just a floor above the Human Nature flagship store along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City (Philippines) is Enchanted Farm Cafe, a social enterprise selling healthy salads, burgers, and desserts straight from (you guessed it right) Enchanted Farm.

I tried the Enchanted Burger, a yummy compromise between my love for meat and my brain’s nagging to eat more veggies. It is made from 20 percent meat and 80 percent veggies, so it is, of course, a guilt-free meal. It is also loaded with other fresh veggies like cucumbers and greens. All of this cafe’s burgers are served with side salad and sweet potato fries. So I suppose this will fill up our fiber needs for the day.

The salad was super fresh and the dressing had a sweet, tangy taste which i loved. While I’m not really a fan of sweet potato fries, the tartare-like dipping sauce made it a delight to eat. 

Next time I drop by the area, I will their pastas, salads, and desserts (sabanoffee pie, in particular!).

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Yummy Seabass Set at Be Organic Restaurant in Bangkok

Yummy Seabass Set at Be Organic Restaurant in Bangkok

Gave myself a yummy organic treat at Be Organic restaurant in Bangkok last Sunday. I’ve been wanting to sample some dishes from this restaurant by Lemon Farm and I finally had my chance after church. Too hungry to choose, I picked the seabass set (250 baht) which includes the seabass plate with brown rice and veggie sides, veggie salad, soup of the day, and bancha (tea).

I loved the tangy sauce that the seabass came with. Staff were nice and they served my food with a smile.

There’s also a mini grocery shop beside the restaurant, selling organic veggies and other health foods. Beauty products are also here. It’s a one-stop shop for almost all of your organic needs!

Be Organic is located at the first floor of Portico Building. Take BTS Chitlom exit 4. Walk along Soi Langsuan for a bit until you see Portico on your left. You can’t miss it!

Happy eating!

Kimchi Commandments (or, kimchi-making tips for dummies like me)

Making kimchi with my friends at the Korean Studies booth during the Academic Expo of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.

As a Korean Studies student, making kimchi is bound to be a seemingly trivial but necessary activity. After all, how can you know the basics of Korean history and not know the basics of making kimchi, right? For a Korean Studies student, that is just…inconceivable. You have to have all bases covered.

So during the Academic Expo in my university, I volunteered (or rather, the teaching assistant volunteered me ᄒᄒᄒ) and another girl to lead the kimchi-making demonstration in our Korean Studies booth.

I already have a basic idea of how to make this, since I took a kimchi-making lesson a few months ago. Kimchi tutorials on Youtube played a part in this, too. But during the actual day of our kimchi-cooking demo, something akin to stage fright happened: we froze. Good thing our Korean 선생님 came to the rescue.

She gave us some tips on how to make proper kimchi the Korean way.

1) Salt matters.  I thought any kind of salt will do. So when I went to the supermarket to buy salt, I just bought whatever I could grab in a jiffy–refined salt. But it turns out that for kimchi, rock salt must be used. So remember this, buy rock salt, not refined salt! And salt your cabbages with the rough stuff!

Also, be generous with the salt. I was reluctant to put so much that I basically scrimped on this. But it turns out that the more, the merrier. Just remember to wash it off before putting the red pepper sauce.

2) The absence of anchovy paste does not make our taste buds grow fonder. I couldn’t find anchovy paste in the supermarket here in Bangkok, so I thought we’d just make kimchi without it. But I was wrong, so wrong! Our kimchi tasted bland without it. The absence of one ingredient does make a difference in taste.

3) Fish sauce won’t fail you…as long as you don’t douse your kimchi with it. Keep this in moderation and your kimchi will taste fine. We made the mistake of putting a lot of fish sauce, thinking it could replace anchovy paste, but we were wrong. Fish sauce should be in harmony with the other ingredients.

4) Chop the cabbage into small pieces if you want to make quick kimchi, but make kimchi the traditional way (using whole cabbage) if you want to demonstrate how authentically beautiful and old-fashioned kimchi is made. We tried to cut corners (like time) by chopping our cabbage into small pieces so that we can make it quickly. But our 선생님 wasn’t too happy with this when she saw this on demo day. As a Korean, she wanted to demonstrate how beautiful kimchi-making is (And it is!). I suppose this has to do with cultural pride. So here’s a lesson learned: Presentation and style is as important as doing the job…especially with Koreans! =)

So those are lessons I learned from making kimchi. I hope I can make more great kimchi soon!

Filipino foods that go well with kimchi

Kimchi photo by Michelle CorreaKimchi, thank God, is not “homogeneous” food. It sure goes well with almost any Korean dish there is. But it does add an addictive spicy kick to Filipino foods as well. Off the top of my head, these are the Filipino foods that taste good on their own, and great when paired with Korean kimchi:

Pochero– This is something like beef stew. The beef is simmered in tomato sauce so the tomato taste really seeps in. Pochero photo from https://i2.wp.com/www.gensantos.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/pochero.jpg It is cooked alongside veggies like cabbage, potatoes, white beans and string beans. Pochero also has one kind of fruit in it–bananas! Eaten with rice, this dish is a very complete meal already. But add kimchi and you not only up pochero’s nutritional ante but it’s taste, as well. Without kimchi, pochero is beefy and tomato-ey. With kimchi, pochero is beefy, tomato-ey AND deliciously spicy!

Pork bbq photo from https://i1.wp.com/28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lb7aa2iJZd1qcmlv4o1_500.jpgPork barbecue – We Filipinos usually marinade our pork in soy sauce, Sprite and calamansi, among otherthings, so there’s that tangy taste to our favorite skewered meat. Kimchi add’s another dimension to this dish by adding (what else?) SPICE! Not to mention you get some veggies to go with your meat… 😉


Lechon – Slow-cooked in fire for hours until tender and tasty,  lechon is Filipinos’ favorite fiesta (festival) fare.Lechon photo from https://i0.wp.com/www.riajose.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Kiamba-Lechon-de-Leche-400x300.jpg The skin is crispy, the meat is yummy, and the liver sauce tops off an already to-die-for (both literally and figuratively) dish. For spice lovers who need something healthy to go along the lovely lechon, there’s (yet again) kimchi. Just a little piece of leaf to go with your spoonful of rice and lechon goes a long way in giving your meal that much-desired kick. Adobo photo from https://organicgeek.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/110519_vyoung_adobo.jpg?w=300

Adobo – If you haven’t noticed yet, I like adding kimchi to my meats, and adding kimchi to adobo, a meat dish simmered in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, basil leaves and black peppers,  is another case of this. I like my adobo garlicky, so it’s the dominant taste in my adobo when I cook (which is rarely, hehe!). I pair it with kimchi, though, when I want to have another type of taste to it, which is (you guessed it) spicy! 


Fish soup – I’ve seen Koreans add kimchi to soups in travel shows on TV so I figured there’s no harm inFish soup from from https://i0.wp.com/www.thephilippineisland.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/sinigang_na_ulo_isda1.jpg trying it with my own fish soup. And I’m happy to report that, yes, our fish soup tastes great with kimchi. =)

And here’s why I like pairing my native dishes with kimchi: Because Filipino foods tend to be fatty and oily (think lechon and bagnet—yummy but deadly, hehe!), kimchi seems to balance this out with its health benefits.

According to this website, kimchi “is loaded with vitamins A, B, and C, but its biggest benefit may be in its “healthy bacteria” called lactobacilli, found in fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt. This good bacteria helps with digestion, plus it seems to help stop and even prevent yeast infections, according to a recent study. And more good news: Some studies show fermented cabbage has compounds that may prevent the growth of cancer.”

At Bon Chon (which is not a Filipino restaurant, but hey, I like it anyway!), they have kimchi coleslaw which I’m soooo craving for right now……

How about you? What foods do you enjoy pairing with Korean kimchi? =)

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A Trip to the National Folk Museum of Korea

National Folk Museum of Korea

This is one of the cute exhibits at the National Folk Museum of Korea. Here. you'll see how cooking (and consequently, eating) is part of Korea's delicious way of life.

The National Folk Museum of Korea is a tourist spot which me and my friend happily stumbled upon while walking around Gyongbokgong Palace. Here, we learned about how Korean people lived in the olden times, from how they dressed to what work they did, and of course, the variety of food they ate! Who knew that there are a gazillion types of kimchi (okay, I exaggerate) in every region in Korea?

I also enjoyed walking around the outdoor museum which gave me an almost true-to-life peek into Korean folk life. Sometimes, I felt like I was in a sageuk.

At any rate, our trip to the National Folk Museum of Korea was one of my favorites. It made me a lot more curious about Korea’s history and culture.

More of my pics are in this slideshow.

Food security in an unsecure environment (A lecture video)

I’m sharing with you a lecture video on “Food Security in an Unsecure Environment” held during the SC Johnson-Ateneo Environmental Leadership Forum at the Ateneo de Manila University on September 9, 2011. Enjoy! It’s Blog Action Day 2011! #BAD11

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Patbingsu!

patbingsu

This is a sweet ending to every Korean summer meal. Or as a snack. Or as a…whatever food whim one may have. It’s quite similar to my own culture’s “halo-halo”, actually, which is also a combination of preserved fruits plus shaved ice. I personally wanted to try this in Seoul after watching Siwon of Super Junior gush and get overly excited about it in one of his old shows. The trip was worth it. =)

Bibimbap!

bibimbap

Bibimbap, of course, is one of the healthiest foods around. And if I could, I’d eat this everyday. It has carbohydrates because of the rice, it has protein because of the egg and it has veggies, lots and lots of veggies, for clear and glowing skin!

I heard that in some parts of the U.S., variations of bibimbap has sprung up in various restaurants. But I like this simple Korean version of it, still.

 

Korean side dishes — deeelish! =)

It’s a bit odd to focus on side dishes but these are really what I enjoyed during my trip to Korea last July.  When I dug around the photos I took of my trip, I realized that a substantial chunk of it was about food. Let me share with you some pics.

apricot side dish

I’m not sure what this is called, exactly. But it quickly became my favorite. Proof of this is how me and my friend Xarra went twice (or was it thrice?) in this hole-in-the-wall in Seoul just to get our “apricot” fix. Xarra said it could be pickled apricots. If you know what this is, please leave a comment below. =)

some kind of scrambled egg side dish

My second favorite is this — something like a scrambled egg side dish with some mashed peas mixed in. But I’m not so sure. What I’m sure of is how it tasted so damn good with my bowl of bibimbap. =)

black beans

And then there’s this little platter of black beans which also went well with my bibimbap. I’ve seen these mixed with rice in Korean dramas. City Hunter particularly comes to mind because in this drama, Lee Min HoTTT picks black beans out of his rice because he hates it. But me, I love it! “It” as in the black beans. But yeah, Lee Min HoTTT is good to look at, too. =P

kimchi

And here’s the all-too-familiar kimchi. I’m glad to report that the Jewel in the Palace kimchi I buy from the supermarket (Uh, nope, I’m not kidding about the name) here in the Philippines tastes almost the same as the kimchi I tasted in Seoul. This makes me feel relieved because this means that the kimchi I buy here tastes authentic and Korean enough. =)

kimchi

This is kimchi from a different hole-in-the-wall food place. It’s redder but not necessarily hotter. I still like it, though. =)

some kind of spicy soup

This is some kind of spicy soup which I slurped to the last drop, hehehe! I love spice! =)

pickled ginger

I don’t know what this is, but among the side dishes I tried, this was the one I hated the most. I thought it was diced tuna, but it tasted like pickled ginger. Yuck. Again, if you know what this is, kindly leave a comment below so I can avoid this side dish in the future. =)

Korean meal

This is how a meal with a galaxy of side dishes looks like.  And this is why eating Korean food is always gooood!