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(on the left: clay bibingka stove, on the right puto bumbong steamer)
No Filipino Christmas is complete without the traditions of ‘simbang gabi’ (church mass), Noche Buena, and warm companies of close family and friends. This is a way of expressing how Filipino value relationships. I always remember how I was as a kid, when my mom will buy food from stalls outside church; what I always tell her, “ma, gusto ko ung bayolet” (Mom, I want the purple one), then, later I learned it was called Puto Bumbong.
Puto Bumbong & Bibingka Galapong are my few favorite native desserts that I normally crave for, even if it’s not yet available. I always love the sticky texture of puto bumbong; it reminds me of tikoy, a traditional Chinese New Year giveaway to family and friends. It is said that, it’ll bring everybody closer and having a harmonious relationship to one another. (sweet & sticky) Another cherished memory is having this soft, spongy texture of bibingka galapong; it reminds me of the Chinese steamed rice cake wrapped in red paper called ‘huat kueh’, which resembles prosperity.
Fortunately, there’s a stall, along the driveway of Metrowalk (Meralco Ave., Ortigas), beside the fruit stand, who sells good puto bumbong & bibingka galapong, the best of all, it is available ALL YEAR ROUND!!! I’m a regular at Kuya Tony’s store for a few years now.
Puto Bumbong is made from soaked, ground glutinous rice called Pirurutong, which has a distinctly purple hue. It is poured into bumbong or bamboo tubes, then steamed until cooked. It is topped w/ butter, fresh coconut shreds, & muscovado sugar (cane sugar) just before serving.
The secret of a puto bumbong is the usage of the right ingredients to achieve a greater harmony. Muscovado sugar gives a hint of nutty sweetness that refined sugar doesn’t give, then having fresh coconut shreds gives the texture and cuts the stickiness of the roll. One thing that makes them different is the use of ‘pirurutong’, instead of substituting it w/ the regular glutinous rice plus food coloring, that’s the reason most puto bumbong have a pale lilac shade.
Bibingka Galapong is a coal-steamed rice cake made out of ground glutinous rice, water, & egg. It is cooked on a clay pan that is lined w/ banana leaves, for the aroma, then topped with salted egg slices. Preheated coal is placed both at the top and at the bottom of the pan to cook thoroughly. It is best served w/ butter & coconut shreds.
Bibingka Galapong P50
Warm, soft, & fluffy is the supreme qualities of good bibingka galapong. Most of the bibingka available has a dense texture after cooling down, because of the use of flour, which contains gluten (protein); plus overmixing of the batter, develops the protein; which makes it heavy and tough. The salted egg gives another notch of complimenting flavor and texture of the bibingka.
As the CrazyChanese would say, “Good food is revived tradition, but excellent food is ART perfected.”
Follow us every week for another gastronomical adventure here at Wiki-Foodie.com
Tony’s Special Bibingka – Metrowalk, Ortigas
For party needs, call or text 0928 259 0466
When asked, what is the meaning of the word ‘exotic’, most of the time, the answers would be ‘something weird or unusual’, but there’s more to that than being unusual, its the intriguing factor that makes it interesting. Like we had this weird early dinner at a quaint restaurant in Angono, Rizal. Some may know it, some may not, but this place brags about their “EXOTIC” menu. A few years ago, they used to serve monitor lizard ‘bayawak’ & tree snakes ‘sawa’, but was banned by the DENR because of their endangerment. But the most exciting part was that this place isn’t just an ordinary restaurant where you eat and dine. It is a restaurant & art gallery (painted by the family itself) at the same time. I was hesitant to eat weird stuffs, especially we were taught by our parents that ‘insects are dirty’, depending on where you’re coming from. During a foodfest in China I tried alot of fried insects on stick, like a barbeque (ugh…), but it was a nasty experience, just did it for the photograph. Although I finished everything, the secret is “swallow it w/ water” hehehe… The best way to take up the challenge, remember that. 😀
The façade of the restaurant doesn’t have a decade old feel, but it seems different and interesting. There are also neighboring art schools beside it.
Upon entering, one can notice hanged masks all over the wall and ceiling. Different facial expressions and signatures on each mask. Forgot to ask what it’s called or resembles, but it was made out of papier-mâché. Being alone with a lighted candle, in the place during the night would be like being in a haunted house full of statues and gargoyles. (creepy…)
The first thing I went to look for in the menu was their list of exotic dishes… hehehe
We were unlucky because the dish that we went there for wasn’t available, UOK or the beetle larvae. The server told us to try it some other day, but try calling for availability. (waaaa!!!) Anyways, most of our orders we’re not the usual food like chicken, beef or pork. But what we ordered are Minaluto (steamed rice)- their specialty dish, Kamaro (crickets), Nilasing na Palaka (frog legs) – YUMMY!, Sizzling Butt & Balls (yuck!), and Sago’t Gulaman, the only thing normal for our crazy palettes.
Before they served our food, they gave us a variety of dips or ‘sarsa’.
We were getting excited for our orders and still conditioning ourselves that it’s just another form of ‘FOOD’ period. Anything edible is spelled F-O-O-D. (seems like it….)
Our first dish was Minaluto, it was a steamed rice on a banana leaves surrounded by kangkong, 2 pcs. prawns, 1 pc. crab halved, steamed tomato, half-boiled egg, 5-6 pcs. mussels and pork adobo on top of the rice. Good for 1, according to the menu, but for me it’s for 2-3 pax already. (P195)
This is the start of the unusual stuffs…
Kamaro or fried crickets is a popular Kapampangan dish, which is stir-fried field crickets. It is best served w/ vinegar. For us, the taste is similar to small shrimps. T’was really, really good. The first and second time i had those, it gave me the creeps… Nothing too exotic if one tries to conquer the fear. (P250)
Nilasing na Palaka is an ordinary fried frog legs, looks like mini drumsticks. As the same old expression goes ‘it taste like chicken’. It really is… 😀 Best served w/ vinegar again. (P220)
Haven’t been contented without a taste for some cow’s butt and balls to top off this wild-xotic dinner. So we ordered Sizzling Butt and Balls, it was served on a sizzling plate w/ leeks, onions, carrots, & beans with a slightly sweet sticky sauce (signs of high sugar content). Surprisingly, it wasn’t bad after all, the butt was just made out of chewy ligaments or ‘litid’, soft, and chewy. The balls, on the other hand, has a texture of firm balut yolk and has a slight livery taste to it. Overall it was flavorful, but we could’ve enjoyed more w/ Soup No. 5, which consists of the same parts. It’s better off cooked on a soup because of the flavors of the butt be infused in the soup itself, similar to bulalo (bone marrow). (P200)
At the end of the day, it was a eXotically fulfilling, having conquered another challenge in life. As we go along this culinary journey, we would like to try different foods all over the world, from game meats to insects, to satisfy our craving for the ‘ULTIMATE FOOD’.
Follow us every week for another gastronomical adventure here at Wiki-Foodie.com
P.S. We’ll definitely comeback for the ‘uok’ or beetle larvae. hehehe!
Balaw Balaw Restaurant is located at 16 Don Justo, Dona Justa Village, Angono, Rizal
Last week, I was invited by Carlos of Foodie Manila, to join him in a PR launch at L’Incontro. At first I was hesitant to go with him, but in the end, agreed to come an hour before the event starts. Like any regular launching, expecting to be at their best. But this was different, we were treated like “ROYALTIES”, yes you heard it right, royalties… At the door, the PR person greeted and welcomed us to the event and at the same time the servers served us Apertif, not your usual term for a welcome drink. After receiving the menu, I was so excited to get it started. I didn’t understand most of the dishes because it was in ITALIAN!!!, being a fil-chi w/o Italian blood, (nose-bleed T_T), but I can profoundly describe it . I won’t make this long, but here is the 9-course meal we had. (viewers precaution: the photos will make you crave) Bon Appetito!
All photos courtesy by Carlos Palma of Foodie Manila
APERTIF – Peach Bellinis
ANTIPASTO – Insalata Caprese (Zonin – Prosecco Special Cuvee Brut)
It is layers of sliced pomodori & mozzarella di bufala drizzled w/ olive oil. This was the perfect start for the lunch, having subtle flavor combining the softness of the cheese & the sweetness of fresh tomatoes. HA-LLE-LUJAH! HA-LLE-LUJAH! Which reminds me of a pizza in italy called “margherita”, using the 3 colors of the Italian flag, (red, white, & green).
PRIMO – Crespella Tartufo (w/ Kendall-Jackson 2007 Camelot-Chardonnay)
This was my favorite, actually. A layer of thin crepe w/ Italian ham and Mozarella Cheese in it topped w/ creamy truffle cream sauce w/ fresh button mushroom (not the canned ones). The combination of saltiness of the ham & cheese combine with creaminess & ‘earthiness’ of the mushroom was a match made from heaven. Perfetto!!!
SECONDO – Seabass al Sala (w/ Carmen Reserva 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon)
Heavenly fish!!! Baked local seabass (apahap) covered in rocked salt served aioli (made from scratch). Guess what, it’s not salty at all!!! Surprise, surprise!!! The flaky texture of the fish combined with a creamy, smooth dressing was outstanding! It’s like Yin & Yang when combined causes HARMONY & BALANCE.
We’re not done yet!!! There’s still more up ahead.
SECONDO – Roast Beef Tagliata con Rucola (w/ Carmen Reserva 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon)
CONTORNO – Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, Onion Gratin, & Arugula Salad
Calling all beef lovers – this is THE BOMB!!! Pan Roasted 1.5 inch thick premium grade rib-eye (the best part of the beef) cooked medium rare. This is so tender and flavorul. The juices of the beef explodes in your mouth, combining it w/ the sweetness of the onions and the crispness of the potatoes was a different way of eating your regular steak at your favorite steak house. It’s a major SIN if you don’t try this at L’incontro.
As a cheese lover myself, I love this next dish.
FORMAGGIO e FRUITTA – 4 kinds of cheese w/ dried fruits (w/ Natalie Sweet 2007 Syrah)
Not your regular processed cheese of the shelves, hehehe. Combination of four types of cheeses, which are Parmegiano Reggiano (dry & flaky), Caramelized Brie (sweet & creamy), Gorgonzola (creamy, sharp, & spicy) and Cheese Log (soft). This was awesome, I wish I could take this home… Loving cheese since I was a small kid, this was paradise for me. I wish I can have this everyday without putting a hole in my pocket.
DOLCE e CAFFE – Affogato = Gelato di Nocciola + Espresso + Amaretto Liqeur + Biscotti Croutons
DIGESTIVO – Limoncello
The food here reminds me of Italy in movies. Good food isn’t always complete without a superb conversation w/ friends. But the best part is reminscin’ that wonderful experience we have in those memories like we had in L’incontro.
Eat. Dine. Experience.
L’incontro is located at 207 N. Garcia (formerly Reposo) St., Makati City
899 0638 / 899 0642
As for my first ever blog post, I want to feature on how WE dine, as was observed by me. hehehe…
Dining, as we know it, is just defined as ‘to take any meal’, but for other countries, it is considered an art. It is a form of ritual on how we give importance to food & people (we dine with).
Being born here, in the Philippines, we’re used to eating like ‘crazy’ or no rules at all, conspicuous at most Filipino restaurants. It shows how our culture influences us as a person and shows how Filipinos love festivities, celebrations, and show how bonded we are to each other.
A friend and I we’re chatting over a press lunch at L’incontro (always forgetting the name, jeez…) in Makati. We started talking about how the place reminded us of ‘rusticity’, having a feeling of coziness but not intimidating over a 9-course meal, from apertif to digestivo. While we were at it, we talked about cultures and etiquettes; how it defines the persons dining, shall we say, rituals.
I was telling him that typical Italians enjoy food with family and friends over small chats while bonding with each other, like how it was presented in the movie “Letters to Juliet”. As compared to a ‘traditional’ Japanese or Korean dinner, which is very ritualistic. There’s a certain way of using a chopstick or drinking tea. But Filipinos have no rules, but, for me, is the most enjoyable. Eating however you want it!!! Long buffets, large piles of food, boisterous laughs, and at the end of the day, EVERYBODY is JOLLY!
It all ends up on how WE want to enjoy our food… But the best way is to cherish every minute of those SUMPTUOUS memories…
P.s. Many Thanks to Carlos for providing me photos for my first blog entry, and hopefully in other future entries… hehehe