Filipino food: Buko Pandan

As with any recipe, there are so many creative ways to have this dessert. It can be a drink or a thick creamy dessert. I first had it at Nathaniel's Bakeshop on Timog Ave in Manila. (If you are in Manila, you have got to make a stop at this shop to try all manner of Filipino desserts and food. It's on a foodie strip, so there are other restaurants and chains on the same road). Again, I haven't the foggiest clue how to make this since Openg our helper in Manila whipped it up often while I was busy with a newborn. So here again is a recipe straight from Jun-Blog, below. His pictures look more like the creamy dessert than a drink. Check out his range of Filipino food recipes. I think I can spend hours drooling over his pictures. [Click! Add … [Read more...]

Filipino food: Sago at gulaman

While in Manila I became a huge fan of these coolers. Depending on the amount of syrup it can be sinfully sweet, but that can be adjusted. It's refreshing and perfect for those hot Manila days (which was everyday)! Once I found out our incredible friend and helper, Openg, can make them I asked her to make it quite often. As I have no cooking skills whatsoever, I copy a recipe below in entirety from Jun-blog, a Filipino food blog. You must check out his post on sago and gulaman coolers for great pics. His recipe below looks like what Openg made, with some adjustments. She put pandan leaves in the water when simmering the sago pearls. And she added coconut milk to the drink. The batches are stored in separate containers in the … [Read more...]

Filipino food: Arce Dairy has got the BEST tropical ice cream flavors

I love ice cream. One of the things I was looking forward to most when I went back to Manila after being away for over 20 years is  the ice cream. Mango, ube (purple yam), macapuno (a type of mutant coconut with soft meat inside instead of water), atis (sugar apple), nanca (jackfruit), pinipig (pounded glutinous rice) - just to name a few of the more interesting tropical flavors. Back when I was a kid there the brand to get was Magnolia, but the line seems to have faded a bit. Towards the end of our stay in Manila I had to binge on this one premium brand, Arce Dairy. It's less sweet but packs a denser taste than other brands cuz (or so I'm told) it's made with carabao milk and more natural ingredients.   … [Read more...]

Filipino food: Mango Bene and Hot Tsokolate

I'm not into sweets so much, but I love love LOVE mangoes, especially the sweet Philippine varieties. Someone made this dessert at a family event and my son didn't finish his so, thanks to my habit of polishing off his leftovers, I discovered this great dessert, Mango Bene. (If you are looking for a recipe try searching for Mango Float). This one below is from Mary Grace, a great cafe chain in Manila. It consists of layers of meringue, homemade cream and sweet mango slices in between, and is served frozen at this cafe. At my family gathering it wasn't served frozen, and I thought it was perfect for the hot summer day in the province. Whenever we had Mango Bene, I had to order a cup of traditional tsokolate too. If at home we drop a … [Read more...]

Tropical Fruits in the Philippines

I ate so many fruits while I was there. If I never eat another mango again, I know I'll have eaten the sweetest, most buttery melt-in-your-mouth mangoes on the planet, in the Philippines. Chesa, the two more orange fruits next to the guyabana (green prickly-skin fruit), is grown from an evergreen tree native to Mexico and South America but now cultivated across Asia. It's in the same genus as Cambodia's Lamut, which is smaller and browner. Sri Lankans call their varieties laulu/lavulu/lawalu. Another variety that may have a more familiar ring to English speakers is Sapodilla. Guyabana is a fruit in the Annona genus in the pawpaw/sugar apple family, which I believe is native to the Andes but now cultivated in many countries that don't … [Read more...]