Halo Halo ^^

I have one obsession this summer… HALO- HALO!

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halo-halo from max’s

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halo-halo from Biggs Diner

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halohalo from chowking

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‘Halo’ is a Tagalog word that means mix. And one can easily see why this favorite Filipino summer dessert was named as such ^^ Usually served in a bowl or in a tall glass, halo-halo consists of a mixture of shaved ice, evaporated milk, ube (purple yam) and leche flan. It contains a colorful blend of preserved fruits (nata de coco, sugar palm fruit, macapuno) and fresh fruits (bananas, jackfruit), and sweet beans (kidney beans, garbanzos, red beans). It also has gulaman, tapioca, and of course, a scoop or two (or three) of ice cream on top. It is sprinkled with fragrant pinipig (crushed young rice) and sugar, sometimes even shredded cheese.

Halo-halo is widely available in most restaurants here in the Philippines, even in fast food chains. Summers here are sweltering so they’re everywhere. Matter of fact, you can even get a cheaper version of Halo-halo from street vendors that use different ingredients such as thin slices of ripe mango and gulaman on shaved ice. It’s also pretty easy to make halo-halo at home. ^^ All you have to do is purchase some milk, ice cream and jars of dried fruits, sweet beans, etc from the grocery store. That way, you‘re able to control the portions.

When I was a kid, I’d make my own halo-halo filled with lotsa kaong, macapuno, and nata de coco – all my favorites – so I kinda end up having a snowy white halo-halo instead of the typically colorful one ^^

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

Tagged Q ~ Quench the Thirst

Tagged L / Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime Day 6: Ox Tail and more ^^

I’m now on my Day 6 entry for this cool iPhoneography challenge ^^ I’m obviously loving it. Yesterday, Frizz ( and L is also for Lunch ^^ ) made a comment on my Ox tongue post about a recipe for Ox tail. That seriously made me crave for one!! So I went to one of the must-visit local restaurants. It offers a wide variety of Filipino and international dishes… and cakes, they have cakes! ^^ Anyway, one of my favorite native dishes ever is the Kare Kare — a stew made of beef, ox tail and ox tripe and vegetables in peanut sauce. For the love of blogging, and because I’m really a glutton, I decided to go all out.lol We also ordered a couple of sandwiches: beef burger and a beef steak sub. There’s grilled squid and for dessert, a mango crepe and an apple muffin. But if there’s one dish that I keep coming back for, it’s the Crispy Beef Riblets. That’s exactly how beef is supposed to be cooked, plain and simple, and you can really taste all the yumminess oozing from the beef fat! It’s served with coleslaw and sweet potato fries. I also love their chicken potato salad but we skipped that ^^

karekare

Kare Kare – dish of ox tail and ox tripe

Crispy Beef Riblets

I have a feeling this week’s theme just made me fat. Hope you had a fabulous lunch! xo ^^

*for day 7, I went back to the local diner an took some actual food photos ^^ view my posts here

Serendra Piazza: A Food Trip ^^

Serendra Piazza, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Yey! haha i actually only wanted to do this challenge coz it’s my first time to use the maps. hahaha normally, these things confuse me,lol ^^

Lately I haven’t really been living up to the “foodie” part of my blog — I’ve been focusing much on writing poetry and fiction and sharing photos of travel and nature. So, I’ve decided to use this prompt as a way to make it up to you (those who follow my blog for restaurant reviews/ food porn) ^^

Our destination: only the ultimate foodie paradise in Metro Manila — Bonifacio Global City ; Serendra Piazza, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Let’s go on a little food trip, shall we? ^^ We’re doin’ it my way: DESSERT IS SERVED FIRST. ^^

1) First stop: Cupcakes!

I’ve already made a post about cupcakes by sonja, click the link for more cupcakes. ^^

pistachio berries and cream

pistachio berries and cream

This is just one of my favorites! We’ll also have Berries and Cream, Red Velvet Vixen and Bunny Hugger Carrot Cupcake cos they’re awesome.

Ok, that’s it, enough! Quit stuffing your face with cupcakes coz our next stop is just fantabulous!

2) French Macarons and Royal Pudding at Chez Karine

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So we have dark chocolate, pistachio, lemon, earl grey, choco mint, strawberry and my favorite: salted caramel! ^^

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Muscovado Royal Pudding.. ahh the soft set custard pudding with dark caramel at the bottom.. pretty little jars too. And yes, you can take the jar home.. ^^

So it’s time for lunch but the sweetness doesn’t end here! I bet you never had a sweet burger before 😉

3) Lunch: Murray and D’vine — burgers, sliders, and damn good wine

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If you happen to be in Manila and somehow specifically craving a heart-shaped burger, lol, then now you know where to get it. ^^

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Murray and D’vine is what I’d call a win-win situation. Why? Well, for starters, their slogan says: “Burgers, Sliders and Damn Good Wine” so you know it’s the perfect dating place when you’re in the mood for something not too fancy but not too low-cost either. Yeah, their gourmet burgers are pretty pricey compared to other burger chains here in the Philippines but IMHO the price is still pretty decent. After all where else can you find a place where the equation: [(girl gets wine + heart shaped burger) + (boy gets beer + sports channel + burgers) = everybody happy] exists. ^^ — It’s ok, math confuses me too. ^^

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murray

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in case you’re wondering, yeah, I believe all of their burgers are heart shaped, except for the sliders and yeah, they tasted good too ^^

4) Dessert — again! : Gelatissimo

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chocolate truffle and forest berries are my fave flavors… a definite must-try ^^

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I bet you’re tummy’s pretty damn full by now so let’s spend the rest of the afternoon walkin’ around and doin’ my favorite past time. I WILL SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP . ^^

I’m bettin’ you’re hungry again.. And that your arms are aching from carrying my shopping bags.lol ^^ How about we sit for a while and grab a slice of pizza

5) Sbarro @ Bonifacio Global City

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My fave Chicago White Deep Dish Pizza ^^

So I know this place with the best cheese rolls and ensaymada in town…

6) Mary Grace Cafe

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More bread? ^^ Don’t worry, I got it covered.

7) Le Petit Artisan

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bamboo charcoal bread
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well, i’d have to say though, i prefer the macarons at chez karine!

Oh no, don’t you dare tell me you’re full now ^^ We haven’t even gotten to dinner yet!

8) Filipino Cuisine — Sentro 1771

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On the menu: Dried fish spring rolls, glazed ribs, Beef tapa with bagoong rice, Green Mango Salad and Sinigang na Corned Beef

Don’t worry, no more desserts ^^ promise. But how bout some pica pica and mojitos instead? ^^

9) Shots: New Orleans Bar & Resto

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Sizzlers and nachos and some mojitos ^^

And of course, you can’t leave without bringin’ a little sumthin sumthin home with you ^^

10) Krispy Kreme

Let’s go all out and get some donuts ^^ Wherever you are in the world, you gotta love your original glazed

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Writing Challenge: Map It Out

I hope you enjoyed spending your day with me.^^ Glutton!
^^
xo, kz

SUNDAY POST : Christmas — Pinoy Style ;)

Last year our Christmas eve was pretty silent. Some relatives living abroad weren’t able to make it. There was too much food, too little to do 😦 So unlike Christmas Eve 2010 when the whole family’s there… We all dressed up in green, each one trying to outdo the other.lol And we wrote our names down in little pieces of paper for our little Monito Monita/ Exchange gifts. To me Christmas Eve with family means a lot of things and one of the words that I can’t help but associate with the season is FOOD —- like LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of it. We eat like the world’s about to end.lol In fact, I feel like I eat more on Christmas Eve than the rest of the year combined. Oh boy.. ^^ Below are photos from Christmas Eve 2010.

lechon / roasted pig -- a must in every huge Filipino festivity ^^

lechon / roasted pig — a must in every huge Filipino festivity ^^

chef wang -- kind enough to work overtime and spend Christmas eve with our family

chef wang — kind enough to work overtime and spend Christmas eve with our family

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palabok or rice noodles with shrimp gravy, seafood, pork cracklings and deep fried pork and eggs

palabok or rice noodles with shrimp gravy, seafood, pork cracklings and deep fried pork and eggs

cordon bleu

cordon bleu

shrimp tempura

shrimp tempura

steamed fish by mommy (my grandma)

steamed fish by mommy (my grandma)

rellenong bangus -- milkfish stuffed and deep fried

rellenong bangus — milkfish stuffed and deep fried

chicken stuffed and baked

chicken stuffed and baked

embutido -- ground meat stuffed

embutido — ground meat stuffed

crema de fruta

crema de fruta

mixed buttered veggies -- an attempt to have "something healthy"-- as if! lol

mixed buttered veggies — an attempt to have “something healthy”– as if! lol

lumpia 2 variations fresh and fried aka spring rolls

lumpia 2 variations fresh and fried aka spring rolls

caldereta -- beef stew with tomatoes, carrots and potatoes. i know it looks gross but it's yummy!!! my specialty

caldereta — beef stew with tomatoes, carrots and potatoes. i know it looks gross but it’s yummy!!! my specialty

buko salad - young coconut strips with condensed milk, cream, preserved fruits

buko salad – young coconut strips with condensed milk, cream, preserved fruits

gulaman/ gelatine

gulaman/ gelatine

By the time you reach the end of this post, you’re prolly already suffering from a stroke. ^^

Here’s my happy news… This year, the family’s complete again– well almost.. we’re doing exchange gifts again and dress up in green and it’ gonna be awesome! ^^

see and share how Christmas is celebrated all over the world at Sunday Post by Jake

Merry Christmas from my fam’ly to yours 🙂

Filipino Food 2.0 : What to Eat in the Philippines ^^

Now you didn’t think I can possibly cram all of the must-try Filipino foods in one page did you? Fellow food-lovers, I present you with the continuation of my previous blog . Not to worry though, this list consists of more “safe foods to eat” than the previous batch. ^^ (unless you can’t have sweets ^^ sucks 4u, kidding lol no im not)

Warning: poor-quality unedited snapshots coming your way ^^

native chicken stuffed and baked

chicken inasal

Jollibee chickenjoy

1) Chicken – First up, the Native Chicken or “Natural na Manok” as we call it. I’m not referring to those mass produced two-legged freaks of nature crammed with synthetic feeds, vitamins and steroids; these native chicken are allowed to roam free and find their own food. Unlike ordinary chicken, Native Chicken aren’t cooped up in fences and are actually able to get some exercise, hence, their meat is a lot firmer than ordinary chix; this means longer time is required for cooking. The taste, however, totally makes up for it; I personally wouldn’t eat Tinolang Manok ( a Filipino dish with chicken broth) unless Natural na Manok was used.  Next up, Inasal na Manok or Grilled Chicken .. but nope, this ain’t no ordinary chicken barbecue, folks, it’s carefully marinated in lemongrass, calamansi, salt and pepper, garlic and annatto seed oil. Eat it with plain rice or garlic rice, your choice; you may even pour the oily orange marinade over the rice if you prefer. Now if you don’t have any qualms about eating in fast food chains then why not try the Jollibee Chicken Joy –this “crispylicious”, “juicylicious” fried chicken seems to be very popular not only with Pinoys here and abroad but foreigners as well. Jollibee is an original Filipino fast food chain that differs from other fast foods since they tend to taste how shall I put it… more… Pinoy. ^^

palabok

2) Palabok – is a rice noodle dish covered with thick orange sauce. Its main ingredients include shrimp broth so a warning to those who have seafood allergies. The yummy palabok is topped with layers of crunchy pork (lechon kawali), chicharon (pork rinds), shrimps, tinapa (dried fish), hard boiled eggs and sometimes squid. However, refrain from eating cheap ass palabok! Coz that’ll just ruin your experience. Opt for places which offer Palabok as their specialty; ones that actually take time cooking it and not just heating it in the microwave.

bulalo from restaurant

home-cooked bulalo

3) Bulalo – ahhh comfort food on rainy days.. This is a beef soup with a richly flavored broth from boiling the beef for hours and hours; expect big bones with yummy bone marrow.. and uh, don’t be embarrassed about scooping the bone marrow with the other end of your spoon ^^

aroz caldo

4) Aroz Caldo – Aroz Caldo to Filipinos is what chicken soup is to some people. This rich rice porridge is one of the Pinoy’s ultimate comfort and snack foods (merienda). Ingredients include ginger, fish sauce and toppings of toasted garlic and green onions. Hard boiled eggs are favorite add-ons to this dish.

fresh lumpia

5) Fresh Lumpiang Ubod – the Filipino version of the spring roll which makes use of Ubod (pith of coconut tree) as its filling. The Ubod is encased in a soft, usually white, egg wrapper; the wrapper and the sweet, thick sauce with a garlicky kick are the main reasons why this dish is one of my favorites. The filling may also include pork, shrimp, carrots and other veggies as wel as peanuts! Mmmnn When you get them though, be sure that they’re really fresh coz Ubod tends to spoil easily.

pan de sal

6) Pan de Sal – these buns with thick crusts and soft insides are normally present in a typical Filipino breakfast table. They are best eaten with cheese especially Kesong Puti; eat them while they’re still hot. I personally prefer dipping Pan de Sal to a hot cup of choco. ^^

champorado

7) Champorado – to all the chocoholics out there, you have got to try this Filipino chocolate rice porridge. It’s made from rich cocoa, brown sugar and coconut milk and is best when served hot. Some prefer to use evaporated milk instead of coconut milk coz of the convenience but the one with coconut milk tastes much better. It’s pretty easy; I might post a recipe one of these days.

halo halo

halo halo ^^

8) Halo-halo – (Halo = mix) Look at the photos and you’ll know why. If you have a sweet tooth like me and you’re looking for a way to beat the summer heat, why not cool off with a bowl or a tall glass of this favorite Filipino dessert. Halo-halo consists of shaved ice and any or all of the following: nata de coco (coco jelly), kaong (sugar palm), sweetened coconut strips, kidney beans, munggo (red beans), garbanzos, saba (banana), ube (yam), leche flan, sago ( tapioca pearls), milk and an ice cream on top! Looking for a warm dessert? Have some Taho instead.

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9) Taho – a warm custard made from soybeans, mixed with sweet brown-ish syrup and topped with tiny tapioca pearls. Taho used to be sold mainly by peddlers but now it’s also available in sidewalks, restaurants, malls, etc

leche flan

10) Leche Flan- the Pinoy version of Crème Brulee is a custard which is composed mainly of eggs and milk with a glistening blanket of caramelized sugar. My aunt makes one hell of a wicked leche flan! ^^ Crave, crave, crave

bikol express

11) Bikol Express – If you happen to wander off to the Bicol region, then you mustn’t leave without sampling its specialty, the Bikol express. Bikolanos are known for their love of hot and spicy dishes which makes me wonder whether I’m really a Bikolana or not. ^^ Coconut milk, shrimp paste, pork and “Sili” (long chilies) are the main components of this dish. Hot hot hot!

bananas at the grocery

12) Bananas and Banana Products –the Philippines is rich in bananas and there are like a million things you can do with them. Fry them, boil them, make them into a smoothie, or a bread or use them as ingredients for cooking Filipino dishes like Nilagang Baka (beef broth dish) or Adobong Manok (chicken cooked in sweet soy sauce). Or you can just eat them as is ^^ Sweet Turon or Fried bananas encased in Lumpia wrappers are a favorite Filipino dessert or snack (the ones with langka or jackfruit is a-mazing) The type of bananas used for cooking Turon is usually Saba. If you’re bananas for bananas, don’t think for one minute that you’ll get sick of eating bananas cos there is plenty of varieties of bananas to be found here: saba, lakatan, tordan, pakil, bongolan, and saksik…. Cavendish bananas are awesome for making banana ice cream ^^

the taho vendor

That’s 12. So if you’re a visiting foreigner in the Philippines, you got more than 24 Pinoy dishes to try out ^^ Damn, this is starting to become a food blog.

xo- kz

Eat Like a Pinoy: What to Eat in the Philippines :)

Warning: Contains Pork, Brains and Intestines. If you’re Vegan or have a heart condition, I suggest you simply turn your attention to my other posts ^^

Dedicated to foodies out there with a lust for adventure. Yeah sure, you’ve been to the Philippines, lazed around its fine beaches, seen some of its exotic animals and partied in its hottest night spots but may I be bold enough to say that you haven’t really had a taste of real Filipino culture unless you’ve actually eaten like one. So next time you visit the Philippines or maybe if it’s you’re first time, then I challenge you to leave some space in your list of “safe places to eat” and try some if not all of the following. I made absolutely no effort to glam up the pix coz i’m lazy so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. Don’t worry, this is nothing too crazy, matter of fact, I would describe this list as “typical Filipino foods” so you may rest assured that I’m not gonna urge you to eat anything that I wouldn’t… (like fertilized duck embryo) ^^

lechon

1)      Lechon – the Philippines’ national dish is a whole roasted pig cooked over charcoal. Preparation time takes several hours and this results to pork skin that’s crisp to perfection. This dish is commonly seen during Fiesta and on special occasions but can also be purchased in restaurants. Prior to cooking, its entrails are removed and replaced with  special herbs… So where’d the intestines go? This brings us to the next dish… 🙂

dinuguan

2) Dinuguan – (dugo = blood) yep, it’s a savory stew of meat and offal cooked in rich pig blood. It consists of vinegar, garlic and chili and while I understand that this might seem a little scary particularly to foreigners, it’s a typical everyday Filipino dish. I got to warn you though, be wise in choosing the places that you order this dish from. Having said that, I’ve only eaten Dinuguan once and it was cooked by my grandma. This dish is best eaten with Puto.

kalamay

kutchinta

bibingka

3) Native Rice Cakes – Puto is a steamed rice cake that’s usually eaten with butter or cheese. Kutchinta is another type of glutinous rice cake that is usually eaten with grated coconut. Bibingka is made from sticky rice and coconut milk; they are cooked in clay molds and charcoal and is slathered with a little bit of margarine and sprinkled with sugar before eating. Kalamay is another sweet and sticky delicacy from ground rice and can be considered as a form of dessert.

buko

buko salad

the whole damn process ^^

4) Buko/ Coconuts and coconut dishes/desserts – ahhh I really don’t know where to begin with coconuts. I mean I absolutely LOVE it. I literally have one refrigerator at home which I use purely for storing coconuts. Matter of fact, I hardly ever drink water anymore.. Coconut water is my H2O! For some weird reason, I’m the type of person who doesn’t like water; I hate the fact that it’s tasteless.. such is the reason why for years, I never drank water unless it’s flavored (iced tea/ powdered juices, etc) There was even a time in my life when I’d only drink soda, mostly from fast foods. Horrifying! It’s a damn miracle that I’m still alive. Anyway, I’ve realized the error of my ways and have learned to drink at least a few glasses of water mixed with apple cider vinegar plus a big jar of coconut water per day. Back to coconuts, mmnn I understand that not everybody loves coconut water but what are you nuts? if you’re a coconut lover, you’ll go gaga over Buko Salad. It’s a dessert made from young coconut strips mixed with condensed milk, cream, as well as other coconut products like nata de coco (coconut jelly), kaong (sugar palm) and preserved fruits. Boyfie prefers plain old coconuts though; he says it’s great on its own, why ruin it? Oh well, there are like a million things you can do with coconuts. The point is, we have PLENTY of them so you best take advantage of it while you’re here. ^^

langka

guyabano

pineapples/ pinya

5) Tropical Fruits – While we’re talking fruit, why not try other delicious fruits that grow in the Philippines like my personal favorites: Guyabano (w/c has mazing anti-cancer properties), Langka or Jackfruit, Carabao Mangoes, Rambutan/ Tickleberry (Hello Vitamin C!) and boyfie’s favorite which I absolutely hate, Durian. ^^

a medley of squid, baked shellfish, pork barbecue, salted eggs and garlic rice with tomatoes

steamed fish

crabby!

6) Fresh Seafood – if you happen to visit places in the Philippines that are near the sea, you have got to be cray cray if you don’t pounce on the opportunity to feast on fresh seafood! Just sayin’…

sinigang

inihaw na pusit / grilled squid

caldereta

menudo – yeah like the old boyband ^^

7) Filipino viands such as: Sinigang – a tamarind-based soup that has several possible versions: shrimp, fish, pork, or beef. My favorites are shrimp and beef—preferably grass-fed 🙂 It’s such a shame though that most restaurants, even households, nowadays make use of bouillon cubes or powdered soup base instead of the real thing. The same goes with my other favorites, Beef Caldereta (a stew of tomato sauce, potatoes, carrots, bell pepper) and Beef Kare-Kare (a stew made of peanut sauce and a variety of veggies). I prefer making these at home rather than ordering them from restaurants; that way I can be sure that 1)it’s freshly cooked and not microwaved 2)the beef is grass-fed 3)the ingredients are complete 4)no powdered/liquid fake ass foiled/canned flavorings are used. I might post a recipe of Beef Kare Kare made from scratch as well as a recipe of Beef Caldereta using real fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomato sauce.

salted fish and salted eggs wrapped in Thai wraps

bagoong rice and beef tapa w/ eggs

8) Breakfast: Smoked/ Dried/ Salted Fish – I’m very picky when it comes to smoked and dried fish. Also, I rarely eat them coz personally, I’d rather have fresh, cooked fish; I mean seriously why settle for less? But somehow, it seems ok if you eat them for breakfast. ^^ Tinapa, Danggit, Dilis are a favorite breakfast in many Filipino households, eaten alongside garlic rice, salted eggs and raw tomatoes. Yum! Don’t eat too much of these, though… not a very healthy choice considering the preservatives and the high purine content. Or you could make up some sort of excuse like my boyfie’s mom; whenever he starts scolding her about eating stuff like this every morning for breakfast, all she’d say is: “Once in a while…” 🙂 and we all know it ain’t true ^^

Not for you? How about some beef tapa (cured beef) and bagoong rice. Bagoong is a Pinoy condiment made up for fermented fish/ shrimp

kesong puti cheesecake

9) Kesong Puti / White Cheese – a white cheese that’s soft and slightly salty made from unskimmed carabao’s milk, salt and rennet that’s popular in Philippine provinces like Laguna. Be sure you get the real thing though and not the commercial version. It’s best when eaten with bread but is sometimes also used to create delightful desserts.

crispy pata boneless

my grandma’s pork knuckles

sizzling sisig

chicharon bulaklak

10) Pulutan (food usually eaten while drinking alcohol)- Eat like a Pinoy, Drink like a Pinoy. The Sizzling Sisig is a favorite Filipino pulutan made from finely chopped parts of a pig’s face (maskara), and liver and is seasoned with chili and calamansi; sometimes, it’s topped with raw egg that is left to cook while the plate is still hot. Chicharon Bulaklak is a Filipino delicacy made of deep fried pig’s intestines; OMG these are so crunchy and so addictive and soooo not for people with heart conditions ^^ … then we go to my fave: Crispy Pata or Pork Knuckles – deep fried pork trotter with a soy vinegar dish. Cooked the wrong way, it could be rubbish; cooked right, it could be like sex in your mouth just awesome. I swear I would’ve given up all pork if not for this dish. ^^

natong with porkchop

my granny’s laing

11) “Natong”/ Taro cooked in coconut milk – If you ever find yourself in the Bicol region, then this you gotta try. This is actually my grandma’s specialty and we often eat it with barbecued pork chops. This used to be my all-time favorite combo before I decided to eat healthier ^^ It’s also one of the reasons why I sometimes hide from my grandma… Every time she suspects that I’m on a reducing diet, she’d always attempt to fatten me up. She always says I look better when I’m a little chubby.. Sorry gran, but I draw the line on size 2. ^^
Going wakeboarding at the Camarines Sur Watersports Complex? They have this unique pizza topped w/ cheese and chili taro leaves known as Laing Pizza.

kinalas

goto

12) Kinalas – If happen to visit Naga City, why not snack on this popular noodle dish? (Kalas = remove –> as in stripping off the meat from a pig’s boiled head, brains included). No, that wasn’t a typo. ^^ The pig’s bones are boiled and seasoned to create the tasty broth; it comes with a thick brown gravy and the soup is topped with crunchy pork rinds (chicharon). Some people prefer eating it with a boiled egg. ^^
Gross? Maybe you’ll like Goto instead (rice porridge with beef tripe).

I gotta say some of these foods aren’t for everyone… and yep, most of them, I admit, are quite unhealthy choices. I only indulge in foods like lechon during special occasions/ festivities, which in my family, are many.lol Here’s the thing about Pinoy food, whatever they lack for in presentation, they usually make up for with taste. I’ll end this with my grandma’s famous excuse “Tiwi kung Tiwi” ( Heart Attack, Schmeart Attack) ^^

xO -kz

P.S. PART II to follow