29 August 2008

Mushroom Siomai

How appetizing!

Count me in as part of the human population that doesn't mind eating while talking about excrement, death, or disease. Or getting served siomai by a dude wearing a dead and preserved frog as a coin purse.

Siomai love for you...

I am in full support of people who wish to make unconventional food products out of plants. The siomai tasted alright, like mushrooms with onions and flour. It seemed like it might have had "cheese" (Kraft shit) in it, there was a salty and somewhat tart note. It was fried and oily. But... alright, on the whole. Enough to inspire me to try to make a steamed version at home.

I didn't try the mushroom burgers, primarily because I very much dislike commercial hamburger buns, which are milky-sweet.

So colorful and glittery. Are those mushrooms what I think they are??

AANI Herbal Garden and Livelihood Center is a great place to go if you like plants, livestock, food, and small new ideas. It's one of the few places where scientists and farmers can showcase their wares cheaply. Good ideas here rarely catch the wave they deserve, because those with access to media or purchasing power just aren't that interested.

Nicole's Mushroom Burger
AANI Herbal Garden and Livelihood Center,
Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City
MRT Station: Quezon Avenue
Take a jeep that goes around towards the Circle.

28 August 2008

Gas Chamber

Inhaler flashed into view every so often.

I rode a cab last week. The windows were busted and it smelled like gasoline. Apparently, the driver just bought an LPG-run taxi, and the fumes were entering through the airconditioning vent.

Torn between wanting to be on time for a film and getting lightheaded, I opted to stick it out, breathe as little as possible, and ask a few questions:

Who did the conversion job? Some small talyer.

So how did he deal with it? By buying asthma medicine that he never needed in his whole life.

How long was he going to keep it the way it was? Until he could still afford to buy medicine.

27 August 2008

Spicy Peanut Explosion

Sili and garlic got me buying peanuts again.

Notice the spicy peanut explosion around Manila? From garlic peanuts, we now have peanuts with siling labuyo. Brings us closer to our Southeast Asian street food neighbors, no? I'm waiting for all the underutilized and forgotten Filipino herbs to begin cropping up again in the mainstream.

A vendor has many kinds and sizes of peanuts, along UN Avenue.

25 August 2008

Donuts and Cavities

A funny juxtaposition, near Mall of Asia a few months ago. I wonder if it was intentional.

24 August 2008

Nana Meng's vs. Starbucks Hot Suckolate

I get my regular chocolate fix at Nana Meng's Tsokolate, where I usually order this lovely and rich little serving.

Packed with dark chocolate goodness, the very thick tsokolate e! comes in a small demi cup (a shot, if you may) for 60 pesos. This is roughly the price of a large taza of the other less concentrated varieties, such as tsokolate a! (what are those bizarre names?), and cashew and peanut variations. They are all pretty amazing. I usually take my own mascobado sugar with me.

Two days ago, a photography gig took me (quite early in the day) to a faraway place where there was only Starbucks to provide me with my legal stimulant needs. Somehow I was fooled by the fancy Hear music into ordering a cup of hot chocolate for 100 pesos. The server asked me if I wanted the special "Starbucks Signature Hot Chocolate". What was the difference, I asked, between this and the regular sort? Well, this was darker, and richer, I was told.

Well, Starubucks execs, I propose you rename it "Swiss Miss Delite". It's so soulless, thinnish and sickly sweet that I had to chuck the crap into the basurahan after drinking less than half of it. I am officially scandalized by the kind of cocoa perpetuated by this large coffee chain. It simply does not compare.

Home sweet home for this rubbish!

Nana Meng's Tsokolate
3rd Floor (near cinema escalator)
Glorietta 4, Makati
MRT Station: Ayala
Walk straight towards Glorietta from Ayala Station

20 August 2008

Bring The Mountain to Mohammad

Bus to Dumaguete, selling pomelos and snacks.

Many people in small towns take advantage of bus routes by preparing pre-packaged or portioned food that can be bought in a total of 5 seconds (through a window).

Bus to El Nido, girl selling corn.

Bus to Benoni, selling guavas I think?

15 August 2008

An Original Relation To The Universe

Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

12 August 2008

Ice Cream To Eat In The Rain

I got creative and takaw and mixed in some coconut vanilla with chocolate rice creme.

Even though summer has gone by, I still look forward to Sundays for some vegan ice cream at the Legaspi Sunday Market. I gobble them down even on cold rainy days. My favorite is when there are new flavors and I get to try them out.

David Onstott (who is a great guy and somehow my uncle, we discovered) makes the only really good-for-you ice cream in Manila (or at least, not really bad for you). They use only mascobado sugar and fruit for sweetening, a departure from the "healthy" soy ice cream or yogurt all over that use white sugar or fake sweetners. Occasionally he uses stevia.

He uses several milks as a base. Fro Yo is made with homemade yogurt. Rice Creme is made with brown rice milk. The most elusive (and my favorite) is the Coconut Milk one.

Though they come a bit more expensive than the usual (a pint is around 180-190 pesos), David doesn't compromise when it comes to ingredients. He also runs an organic cafeteria and is starting an organic farm just outside Manila, and is pretty serious about health and using nothing artificial! From someone who has all but stopped eating ice cream due to the increasing dodginess of stuff put in, this is a sigh of relief.

Suggestions would be the mango yogurt (move aside, veganness), as well as the coconut or rice vanillas.

You can text Dave at (+63918) 614 7479 or Rob at (+63927) 263 9198 for orders. Soon he will have a space in Serendra.

Fro Yo's
Legazpi Sunday Market (7:30AM-2:00PM)
Rufino cor. Herrera Street,
Legaspi Village Makati (here's a map)
MRT Station: Ayala
Walk through to Greenbelt 1. Walk out to the side facing AIM, and walk into Gamboa St. Turn right at Salcedo, walk through, and you will see it to your right sooner or later.
Alternatively, walk outside Greenbelt 1, walk towards your right until Legaspi St. Turn left and walk straight. It's past the Union Church of Manila.

11 August 2008

A Bit of Carinderia Love and History

1875 illustration of a carinderia in El Oriente newspaper.

I love carinderias. Whilst on long-haul buses I have a Pavlovian hunger-related reaction towards food stops. I like eating my way across the varying landscapes. Or, if there are no veggies or I'm oddly full, I poke around at everything-- what their bathroom signs say, what utensils they use, how the places are laid out, what language the people speak.

Wide selection of food in Puerto Princesa-- and this is only on the left side of the door!

These places prove that prepared food does not have to be soul-less like they are in many commercial restaurants. In smaller towns, they are a place for community to gather, like the Western coffee house. There you get free soup and the ability to make your own sawsawan (I prefer vinegar with siling labuyo broken up into it). If you sit in long enough you will also overhear stories about other locals from the patrons and the owners.

Communities can use less firewood if they cook in larger amounts, in this rural Batangas place.

Coming out to say hi.

Carinderias became widespread in rural areas only after increased human mobility, around the late 1800's. Before this, I picture people simply setting up large pots by their windows or in front of their houses, much like in more "isolated" areas today. People come walking over with bowls from their homes and buy a bit to take home.

Jackfruit (langka) with coconut milk sauce (I poured it all on my rice), standard carinderia fare.

Felice Prudente Sta. Maria notes that carinderia is most likely derived from the word cari or kari, a Tamil word for sauce, or a saucy accompaniment to rice. Some theories attribute this connection to the large number of breakaway soldiers from the invading British army, mostly East Indian Bengalis or Tamils, ended up settling in Taytay and Cainta, major tourist routes at the time. Note: I don't buy this theory of word origin.

Good ventilation at a bus stop to El Nido.

Even better ventilation at an outdoor carinderia.

Most memorable of their offerings was spicy cari (it has been posited that our peanut stew kare-kare had evolved from this East Indian-Javanese dish). However, their enterprises, primarily catering to some locals and many tourists from pilgrimages and train journeys, served things from food, tobacco, water, and alcohol. Notable was the serving of betel nut, much like India's paan stalls.

A simple layout in Dumaguete.

Over time, the stalls evolved to serve solely food-- indigenized Chinese dishes, Filipinized Spanish food, and these days some more Western-evolved creations (recently I saw a strange creation-- breaded and deep-fried hotdog wrapped in a pizza). Still mostly saucy and all, to drench your rice with. They still serve the cheapest and most abundant food. That they are moving away from serving regional plants and animals, are an indication that local, unique food is no longer cheap and widely available.

Pinakbet and Chinese-influenced pancit in Camiguin.

Musical Visayans

While browsing the Asian Art Museum store, I chanced upon this tidbit in the book Early Mapping of Southeast Asia by Thomas Suárez:
That song was a part of everyday life, with the common people singing during their everyday tasks, was striking to Europeans. Francisco Alcina, visiting the Philippines in the seventeenth century, claimed that "rarely can a Visayan man or woman be found, unless he is sick, who ceases to sing except when he is asleep."

08 August 2008

Throwaway Culture

Found in an empty lot. Left there.

Hentai. Wiki it, over 18s.

More Trike Stuff

Sometimes tricycles endorse politicians.

Doods Antipuesto distributes a fine large sticker to step on.

(Bit of a story: this particular candidate calls himself "Animal". Just a bit of a story, I heard him campaigning off-season in a squatters' area before, during a wake. He was promising all sorts of useless things, such as lending cars with sirens for funeral processions of every single person who dies in the district. This is so people think that "the dead person is important".)

06 August 2008

More Trike Interior Embellishments

Still I find they are exclusively things related to God, women, superstition, and fluffy stuffed toys.

Springy unidentified animal in Nueva Vizcaya, beside a Chinese charm and a snow globe.

Jesus loves you, please give me only coins during the morning. Mindoro trike.

Less frequently, there are stickers telling you to pay with only in loose change during the morning.

04 August 2008

Long Bus Rides

Preacher lady talks on the rattling bus. Everyone is sleeping. Others look out the window.

03 August 2008

Clogged Thoroughfares

Hotcakes selling like hotcakes.

Along Cubao's Edsa, ignore the smoke roaring buses, and you'll find a dazzling array of penis rings and pirated porn ("Rape Scenes", "Roid Roundup").

You'll also find snacks and perversions of different kinds. This woman was selling good old banana cue. And hotcakes, which she coats with a spoonful of Star Margarine and dips in a pool of white sugar.

Banana cue with sugared and powdered and slathered hotcakes.

Remember when we thought Star Margarine could make us taller? This lump of something, which doesn't melt, is hydrogenated, is possibly purgatory in glob form.

Poor design.

Clogged thoroughfares.


Playing in the rain.

01 August 2008

Carinderia Hits

Pinakbet with kamote, munggo with ampalaya bitters.

I don't remember what the place was called, but there's a pretty good carinderia a few footsteps away from St. Mary's College, which should be a tricycle ride away from anywhere in Bayombong. They play rock and reggae music.

I ordered my standards-- munggo and pinakbet. The munggo had a healthy amount of ampalaya greens, a rarity in most cheap eateries. The pinakbet had kamote instead of kalabasa-- a northern variation, in my experience. Good news for me, no meat at all mixed in. And all pretty non-salty (prepared food in the province tends to be a little too salty for my tastes).

But actually, the best part about Nueva Vizcaya is the pleasant relative lack of MSG in the food, more actual flavor without that special homogeneous ginisa mix taste.

And 15 pesos per ulam!

Popular Posts