Celebrate the Best of Filipino Cuisine at Corniche of Diamond Hotel

There are but a few world class hotels in the Philippines that celebrate the culinary heritage of their host country. Diamond Hotel is one of those few, and they promote our rich cuisine by launching an annual Filipino Food Festival. This year, they have asked 3 of Manila’s most celebrated chefs to come aboard and showcase their prowess by reinventing all-time Pinoy favorites at The Best of Filipino Cuisine lunch and dinner buffet in Corniche Restaurant from May 13–23, 2014.

Corniche The Best of Filipino Cuisine - Diamond Hotel



Filipino celebrity chefs Bruce Lim, Sau del Rosario and JP Anglo join Diamond Hotel’s Executive Chef Marko Rankel in celebrating the flavors of Filipino cuisine. We loved every twist they added to the dishes they prepared for this food festival. 🙂

Continue reading Celebrate the Best of Filipino Cuisine at Corniche of Diamond Hotel

OZEN Japanese Food Haven in Malabon Serves the Best Takoyaki We’ve Ever Had!

There’s this small Japanese hole-in-the-wall food stop near our house that we usually see jam-packed with customers at night. We really had no plans at all of trying the place, since we’ve had authentic Japanese fare from topnotch restaurants and hotels in Manila (Yabang naman! 😀 ) and we’re quite sure that the place will be nothing less than a disappointment. But it was until we met a fellow foodie who raved about how awesome their Takoyaki was that we finally decided to pay OZEN Japanese Food in Malabon a visit.

OZEN Japanese Food - hole-in-the-wall food haven in Malabon City

Our first try was a total disaster, service-wise. They had 3 groups of families that were dining in, so we had to wait over an hour to finally get our food. We ordered three sets of Takoyaki — two to-go and one for dining in because we wanted to take a quality photo of their Takoyaki for the blog. I didn’t get my hopes up, since my first encounter with a mall-bought Takoyaki was totally unremarkable.

You can order your Takoyaki for takeout too

I picked up a piece and took a small bite. My eyes widened in amazement, and from then I knew that it’s the best Takoyaki I’ve ever had my whole life! Well, I exaggerated a bit there. 😀 It took us a couple of balls to finally establish how delicious their Takoyaki was. It was so good that we came back the next day – in the afternoon this time – so we didn’t have to battle a crowd of patrons to get our food.

Continue reading OZEN Japanese Food Haven in Malabon Serves the Best Takoyaki We’ve Ever Had!

Fish Ball Sauce Recipe, Just Like Manong’s

There is no doubt we Filipinos love our street food. And if you ask me about my favorite, it’ll have to be fish balls (or fishball). Nothing beats eating fishballs off a stick, piping hot after you just skewered them off a street vendor’s deep-frying pan. But THE best part of it all is dipping them into their famous fishball sauce. YUM!

Fishball sauce recipe just like Manong's!

I’ve always been curious about this well-loved fishball sauce recipe. I studied in UP Diliman and I’m sure many of you have heard that we love eating fishballs there from Manongs who sell them across the campus. It was where I got hooked on the sweet sauce, and I then moved on to the spicy version. I noticed something. It seemed to me that wherever I go, even outside the campus, the taste of the fishball sauce of every Manong fishball vendor (yes, I call all of them manong) I met had the same taste. I wondered, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!? 😀

Over the past decade or so (ugh, I’m old), I’ve asked different vendors about their sauce. Most of them took wild guesses. There were a couple who refused to tell me anything, which, to me, was an indication they really had no idea, and some were so convinced they had the right recipe.

Of course, I tried to make them at home and failed three times (twice, I was adding vinegar). It was only in late 2004 that I learned the right recipe. The manong who sold fishballs at our home in Navotas told me about his fish ball sauce recipe. The thing is, I didn’t get to making it til a year later. It was too late for me to thank him because we already moved to Malabon, but I’m forever thankful. Charot! 😀 Continue reading Fish Ball Sauce Recipe, Just Like Manong’s

Mezza Norte Now at Trinoma!

Probably the best foodie news we received this past month was this: Mezza Norte has moved to Trinoma in Quezon City! Finally, a food market that’s closer to our home! 🙂

Mezza Norte - The Mercato of the North

Dubbed as the Mercato Centrale of the North, Mezza Norte is finally opening this Friday, May 3rd, at the Trinoma Mindanao Open Parking Lot. Starting this week, they’ll be open from 4pm to 3am every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Woot! 🙂

Mezza Norte schedule -  night market in Quezon City

We can’t wait to find out the food purveyors who’ll be selling their yummy goodies at Mezza Norte. It’s a night market so foodies who are living or working at night in QC, particularly those from West Ave and even those around Munoz, will be happy about this. If you’re looking for a place to go at night, finally, we know where to go when we’re craving for some tasty snacks. 🙂

Continue reading Mezza Norte Now at Trinoma!

Cucina Andare : First Food Truck Market in the Philippines!

From all my watching of American TV shows about food (Top Chef, No Reservations, Master Chef, etc), I learned the big part food trucks play in the food culture of Americans. It was something Ken and I believed would definitely suit us here in the Philippines considering we already love street food, food carts, and Jolly Jeeps 😉 . So, when we heard about Cucina Andare, the first food truck market in the Philippines, we got all excited!

Cucina Andare in Gloriette Open Park in Makati

Cucina Andare will finally be open tomorrow, December 14, 2012, and it’s located at the Glorietta Open Park (front of Glorietta 3, Landmark, Makati Shangri-La Hotel and 6750 Ayala Ave). It’ll be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 4pm to 3am, which is just perfect for my erratic schedule. I can’t wait to go during our 1-week holiday vacation! 🙂

Continue reading Cucina Andare : First Food Truck Market in the Philippines!

Malabon Kulinarya Festival 2012

Before I tell you what happened at the launch of the first ever Malabon Kulinarya Festival last Tuesday, we’d like to invite you first to the bazaar happening until tomorrow, May 18th, 8am to 5pm, at the parking lot of Malabon City Hall. It’s a 3-day event, but I only got to post today, so you only have until tomorrow to come to the bazaar. There’ll be 30 food and non-food establishments participating. So, if you like anything you see in this feature, you might want to visit the Food Bazaar and Tiangge.

Malabon Kulinarya Festival 2012

On May 21st, which is the official Malabon Day celebration, there’ll be a cooking competition among senior citizens and cooking enthusiasts aged 18-35 years old at the Malabon Amphitheater. Pinoy Junior Master Chef finalist Miko Manzano will be there for a cooking demonstration too. His family originates from Malabon, which is most likely one of the reasons why he has such passion in cooking at a very young age of 12. Miko was also present at the launch of Malabon Kulinarya Festival 2012, which was held at Dampa sa Paseo restaurant.

The launch of Malabon Kulinarya Festival was aimed at showcasing the diversity of Malabon cuisine and our rich culinary tradition. We’re originally from Navotas and we moved to Malabon 6 years ago, but we can honestly say that the flavors that Malabon has to offer have played a big part in our love and passion for food. And we do hope that this project by the city government, headed by Acting City Mayor Lenlen Oreta and the Malabon Tourism Council, would indeed boost the tourism and economic activities here in Malabon.

Bloggers with acting City Mayor Lenlen Oreta

The launch of the festival was graced by none other than Annie Pascual-Guerrero, the founder of Center for Culinary Arts, Manila. I was surprised to learn that she is from Malabon, and she couldn’t be any prouder. She told us stories about how growing up here in Malabon and being influenced by her mother developed her deep passion for cooking.

Annie Guerrero, founder of Center of Culinary Arts Manila, is from Malabon

At the event, Ms. Annie Guerrero shared her recipes for Sumpia with Garlic Vinegar Dip and Adobong Pusit Malabon Style (we’ll share these recipes on our next post). She was assisted by Chef Mira Cruz (she’s also from Malabon) and Chef Melissa Sison (not in the photo) from CCA. They gave really helpful tips on cooking, which I know the audience appreciated.

Adobong Pusit Malabon Style

I didn’t get to taste these dishes, but our nanay also prepares them at home and they have almost the same recipes, so I know they are delicious. My fellow bloggers who were there could attest to that. 🙂

Sumpia from Malabon

If you ask me about the food in Malabon, I would tell you that we serve ultimate Pinoy comfort food. You might be all familiar with Pancit Malabon, Dolor’s Sapin-Sapin, and Arny-Dading’s Peachy-peachy (they have products at the event too, but I wasn’t able to take photos), but there are so much more food that we have to offer. Let me share some of them that were showcased at the launch of Malabon Kulinarya Festival 2012.

Continue reading Malabon Kulinarya Festival 2012

Lugaw with Tokwa’t Baboy : A Pinoy Favorite

Since last year, Ken and I usually go out three to six times a month to check out a new restaurant or food place. We haven’t blogged about most of them yet. We do have fun dining in different restaurants every time. I also enjoy researching for the next resto we’ll visit before we head out. However, every once in a while, we miss the usual food we eat at home. So, one early morning, Ken craved for lugaw, and he headed out to buy the whole family breakfast.

Lugaw with tokwa't baboy is an ideal breakfastPardon the photos on this post. Everyone’s hungry so I had to take photos quickly. 😀

Lugaw is porridge or congee, soft-boiled rice usually cooked with broth (chicken, fish or pork). But, there are some who sell lugaw cooked in plain water and they just add seasoning to it. You can top it with pepper, scallions, and crispy fried garlic (yum!). I sometimes put several drops of patis or fish sauce when it’s slightly bland to my taste.

Here in the Philippines, lugaw is usually served with side dishes like tokwa’t baboy (tofu and pork). The pork part is normally the pig’s tongue, which I love. They come with a sauce made with calamansi, soy sauce and slices of onion. I sometimes add some chili pepper with it to give it a little kick.

Tokwa or tofu side dish for lugaw

Some of you might be familiar with Arroz Caldo, also a congee / lugaw, but it’s much thicker and ginger is used to flavor it. There are large chicken parts in Arroz Caldo, which is usually the distinguishing addition between them and Goto, congee that is flavored with beef.

Anyway, Ken loves lugaw with sumpia, which is what we call a beansprout spring roll here. I prefer hard-boiled eggs in my congee, along with the tokwa’t baboy side dish. But, sumpia and the egg weren’t available when he went out to buy lugaw for the whole family. The photo below was taken a long time ago on my old digital camera.

Sumpia with baboy side dish for lugaw

Continue reading Lugaw with Tokwa’t Baboy : A Pinoy Favorite

Binatog : Craving Satisfied!

We happen to be lucky enough to live in a place where there’s still an abundance of legit street food. We have vendors roaming the streets selling all sorts of Filipino merienda like taho, balut, fishballs, mais con yelo, halo-halo, green mangoes with bagoong, and, of course, binatog.

I want binatog with sugar - nice and sweet

Binatog is made of white corn kernels that have been soaked in salted water, boiled, drained, and then topped with grated coconut. You can choose if you want sugar with it or a little salt.

For the past weeks, I’ve been craving for it and I was already getting frustrated. The vendor who sells it on a bike passes our house too quickly that I haven’t had the chance to catch up to him. And, so, over a week ago, determined to finally satisfy my craving, I tasked my shop assistant and our helper to call the vendor when he passes by our house. Yeah, that’s how much I wanted it. 😀

Unlike the taho and balut vendors, the people who sell binatog on the streets don’t yell out “binatoooggg”. Or at least not here or at our old place in Navotas. Binatog vendors have this very distinct bell ring whenever they’re passing by. So, that afternoon, my ears were on alert. 😀

And then I heard that oh-so familiar bell ring. I literally yelled out from inside my room to tell our helper Ate Susan, who was currently ironing clothes at our living room, to go and call out the vendor. Well, she didn’t hear me, but good thing my assistant was on alert mode too. 😀

Binatog street vendor at our place in Malabon - CertifiedFoodies.com

“FINALLY!”, I exclaimed at manong (sorry, “sa wakas!” was too dramatic 😀 ). I told him he should slow down next time, so we can all keep up with him. 😀 I bought binatog for everyone! Of course, following the tradition, I brought out our own bowls for him to fill up. The contents of the white bowl cost me a measly Php 20, and he was VERY generous with the grated coconut. I bought Php 50 worth of binatog from him that afternoon.

Continue reading Binatog : Craving Satisfied!

Our Banchetto-Emerald Food Trip!

Update: 07/10/2011 – Banchetto now operates from Tuesdays to Saturdays in 3 different locations. Please check the bottom of this post for the schedules.

After attending Magnolia’s Summer Bloggers party, we (my friend Badeth and her photo booth guys, my bro and I) headed over to Banchetto in Emerald Ave. in Ortigas.

Banchetto started out as a very popular late night food strip in Ortigas. They recently opened 2 more venues in Libis, Quezon City and at Pioneer in Mandaluyong City (more info at the bottom of the post).

The Burp Society member Badeth and Kenneth at Banchetto in Ortigas - CertifiedFoodies.comBadeth and Kenneth at Banchetto

I’ve been reading a lot of raves about Banchetto and so I was pretty excited to check out all the food I can enjoy there. Oh, trust me, Banchetto is definitely any foodie’s heaven. You’ve got a lot of food choices. You can enjoy a full meal or something lighter if you’re on a diet. We even saw a stall selling food for vegetarians.

Okay, let the photos speak for me. Wipe off the drool after. Everything’s really mouth-watering! 😀

Oooohhh seafood pasta and pancit! - CertifiedFoodies.comIsaw, betamax, and other popular street food at Banchetto - CertifiedFoodies.com

I wanted to try the isaw since I haven’t had them for a very long time. But, I was a bit full after the buffet at the event we came from. Next time, I’ll make sure to not skip this.

Good Farm's booth at Banchetto - CertifiedFoodies.com

My bro and I are coffee and pastry lovers. So, when we saw Good Farm’s booth in Banchetto-Emerald, we were so eager to try their products. We ordered their Coffee Brownies with Vanilla ice cream, priced at Php 35.00. The lady in black was the one who baked the brownies.

Good Farm's Affogato with Vanilla Ice Cream - Php 35 - CertifiedFoodies.com

The brownies were really moist and chewy, just the way I like it. We were disappointed though ‘cause we were expecting a li’l more kick of coffee flavor. I guess we should’ve tried their Arabica Coffee brownies (Php 25).

More food at Banchetto - CertifiedFoodies.com

If you work in Ortigas, Banchetto-Emerald is definitely a place you’d be frequenting a lot. You can save on your meal expenses because there are many food choices at very affordable prices. There are even packed meals you can buy, as pictured below.

Packed meals, perfect for office junkies - CertifiedFoodies.com

What I also would love to come back for are all these grilled food at Banchetto. When I saw these huge squids being grilled, I felt my tummy grumble even when I know I’m still full. These are perfect for a quick late night drink with friends. 🙂

Grilled gigantic squids - yummy!! - CertifiedFoodies.com

Continue reading Our Banchetto-Emerald Food Trip!

Egg Station Tokneneng : Street Food Goodness

Have you ever had Tokneneng, one of the famous street food here in the Philippines? Tokneneng is usually quail eggs (itlog ng pugo) coated with orange-colored batter, deep-fried to crispiness. Some may say it’s actually chicken eggs and they’re bigger, but the tokneneng I know and love are the small ones. I know how to cook tokneneng at home. It’s very simple, really. I mostly use sweet chili sauce with it, but I’m not that satisfied. The deep-fried eggs aren’t really flavorful since it’s just plain eggs, so the secret to good tokneneng is to enjoy it with rich, sweet and mildly spicy sauce.

  Egg Station at Victory Mall in Monumento - best tokneneng sauce I've ever had! - CertifiedFoodies.com
  Egg Station at Victory Mall in Monumento

My favorite store that sells tokneneng is Egg Station. We never fail to drop by their stall in Victory Mall in Monumento. I love, love, love their sauces. There’s even this one time that we took more sauce than we needed when we had tokneneng for takeout just so we can try to recreate it at home. *LoL*

  Egg Station sauces on the side - CertifiedFoodies.com
Different choices of Egg Station sauces on the side

We discovered Egg Station one time when we were checking out the mattress salesin Monumento. I like their setup – you order and they have small plastic bowls covered with plastic bags for your orders. They have containers of sauces on each side of their stall. They even have this small table where customers can sit their bowls and eat away.

  Egg Station Price list - tokneneng is itlog ng pugo, penoy, balut, etc. - CertifiedFoodies.com
Egg Station Price list

Their prices are the cheapest I’ve seen. You get 4 pieces of tokneneng for only Php 10.00. You can order 1 piece of balutthat’s also coated and deep-fried for the same price.

  Egg Station sells tokneneng, kikiam, one day old chicken, balut, penoy, squid balls, siomai, etc. - CertifiedFoodies.com
  Egg Station sells tokneneng, kikiam, one day old chicken, balut, penoy, squid balls, siomai, etc.

They also sell penoy, one-day old chicken (awww… poor li’l things *LOL*), kikiam, squid balls, chicken balls and siomai. They have available drinks, too, selling at Php 12.00 a cup. But, we usually just buy tokneneng from them with lots of sauce. Hehehe.

  Egg Station product display - CertifiedFoodies.com
Egg Station street food goodness

I’ll try to recreate their sauce here at home and I’ll share the recipe with you. Might come in handy when we finally open our own carinderiaor eatery here at home.

  Tokneneng from Egg Station - CertifiedFoodies.com
Tokneneng from Egg Station

Do you have your own recipe of tokneneng sauce you’d want me to try? Please share them with me at the comments section. If you posted it on your blog, leave the link and will post it here. Thanks!