Tag Archives: barkada

Welcome to Our Feast!

27 May
Purok Singko Dinners

Mexican Dinner Prepared by Chef Bibo and Chime for their guests

If you are looking for a restaurant review on this post, then I apologize my comeback  after a long hiatus is far from one. Rather, this is a way of getting to know me as a foodie. Here, I will share to you where I am coming from as a food lover and a seemingly mediocre food blogger. I may not write the most prolific food blogs, I may not have the best taste in food, but I enjoy the experience of dining – smelling, seeing, tasting and feeling the burst of flavor in my mouth.

Welcome to our Feast

Goofy cousins and uncles cleaning out the table after a Seafood Extravaganza

The whole foodie experience starts with me being schooled at home in Mandaue City, Cebu on what a good meal should be. I guess, having a Filipino palate is probably the best things a foodie could and should be proud of. With the mix of all the greatest cuisines in the world, we Filipinos have the most complex dishes you almost could not point your finger into; a great mix of salty and sweet, more sour (nope, not even tangy) than our other Asian neighbors, and a huge amount of umami flavor (let us thank the Chinese for that!).

You see at home, our whole family cooks. I do not come from a wealthy family, but we eat and we eat well. We prepare food well too! We are no chefs, but the food experience  of my childhood usually started at dawn when locks of the front door open and my aunt (may she rest in peace) makes an early trip to the wet market and scores for herself some fresh pig’s blood for Dinuguan (Dugo-Dugo in bisaya; Pig’s blood stew) because she doesn’t trust the local butcher to give her a clean container for it.

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Following our Aunt’s death, our get-togethers are still sinfully delicious.

Every time she came back from the wet market, she kept the kitchen bustling. My aunt was a mise en place expert! She would chop all spices: garlic, onions, fresh mint, bilimbi (kamias or iba) and chilis without the need for additional help. Guys, this was before breakfast could even start. Her secret ingredient to the stew was flour, to coagulate the pig’s blood and you would get chunks of blood when it’s done. Although, I would rather believe that it was her love for cooking that made everything taste incomparably good. Sadly, she had passed away. No more Biko, Budbud, Dugo-Dugo, Humba, Hamonada, Menudo and Bam-i to anticipate on birthdays. Nevertheless, the legacy of good food lived on.

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Boodle Fight: Puso (Hanging Rice), Lechon Manok (from Manok ni San Pedro no less), Sauteed Shrimp, Tinolang Isda, Grilled Squid, and Grilled Fish. This was put together by my cousins

These are the fond memories of food that I have kept from childhood. At home, we have mastered our own versions of Humba doused in Coca Cola. The Hamonada was always the most tender the meat falls off the bone. The Bam-i (Cebuano’s version of Pancit Canton) had the most ingredients I have ever seen. My mom’s Chop Suey also beats everyone else’s, even that of Majestic. Grilling? Are you kidding me? My cousins make the best marinade and cook the meat just to perfection.  That list goes on and on. Sorry, I might brag a lot here, but the food preparation and the dishes that I have had in my home are what made me a huge (literally) foodie. As they say, everything you need to know about the world you should learn about at home. My love for food definitely started at home.

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Sumptuous Easter Dinner by Purok Singko. Bummed though I did not get to join them on this one.

Fast forward to the second part of this post: the older, more mature me. You see, food has the power of drawing together people with the same taste and/or palate. Personally, I make it a point (ha! surprise!) to make food kind of a criteria for knowing whether you are my friend for life. If you like exploring food and experiencing new things through dining then let’s be best friends!

Lucky for me, fate seems to know what I want in life and has allowed me to meet individuals who support my love for food. No one intended to base our friendship solely on food, but for my friends and I, food is the glue that makes us stick together. We would often act like food critics whenever we hung out at some place. It is even an ongoing inside joke that we are a bunch of foodies aiming to overthrow food connoisseurs all over the world. These friends have been with me the past year or two and on a fateful night, (errr it was actually a trip to Jollibee on wee hours after downing a bottle of Bacardi and pumping fists at Alchology) we officially came up with a name for the group – Purok Singko and as they say, the rest is history.

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Say Hello to Purok Singko: Chime, KhuKhu, Axl, Me, Nathan, Jickoi, Chef Bibo and IDr Jason. The people responsible for pangdato dinner hacks. We also have extended the group to our different circles.

Part of our regular Friday night activities is to explore restaurants and bars for some great food, ambiance and, of course, the search for the best mojito in town.  From there,  the group has distinguished which restaurants in Cebu are just full of hype and which ones are worth raving about. You will know the minute one of us crinkles their nose after taking that first bite or that long interval between bites that something is quite off about the food. However, when KhuKhu’s face lights up and comments about the hint of spices on the food, that my friend tells you you are in the right place ordering the right dish.

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Must Try: Chime’s Amazing Jumburger (Jumbo Buger)

The best thing about our group is not really when we eat at restaurants, but when we hold our private dinners at the Diet in a Box Headquarters on cheat days. It could be just us or we invite some of our circle of friends over to experience something out of the ordinary. We hold themed dinners complete with a salad, sides and a main course all made from scratch by *coughs* US! The nights are then filled with great food, a bottle of good wine and enjoyable chitchat about life and other current events. Pretentious as this might sound on prose, but we do have fun savoring dinners we put together.

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Modern Filipino Delight: Spanish Sardines on crackers, Binagoongan Fusilli pasta with red cabbage, Chicken Afritada paired Roti, and fresh Mangoes and Greens Salad

On our themed dinners, our day often starts at 2 in the afternoon for grocery shopping and menu planning. Themed dinners may vary depending on availability of ingredients and laziness (haha!). One night, for Sinulog we had an American theme (yep on Sinulog) with an enormous serving of  Baby Back Ribs. Then, we had Modern Filipino night where we had Bagoong and Red Cabbage with peanuts on our pasta – like a Fusilli Pad Thai of some sort. At a time when entertaining guests, the guests had Mexican dinner at the patio while we had Kimchi Fried Rice, kimchi and Bacon inside the house. The list of dinner themes go on and on.

I have to be thankful for this bunch of friends because other than feeding me with great meals, I have the privilege of enjoying the company of real people who you go to not just on your highs but also on your lows. Beyond the affluent dinners, are the conversations no amount of money could equal to. Food and friends, if they go along well, all you need is a huge glass of wine and you will have the best time of your life.

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Wine and cheese night with the crew!

Looking back on my greatest influences on food through this post, on this very random day when I should be working on my paperwork and snacking on fruit, I realized that  food has been an integral part of my life. From family, close friends and to colleagues, food has brought me closer to people in my life. This being a highly personal experience allows you, my readers, to get to know the beginnings of this very lazy foodie writer/blogger. Where I come from, and how I see food and dining experiences are based largely on my gustatory memory through the years that I am now eager to share to you here on this blog post.

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Breakfast at Lunhaw Farm Resort with the gang. KhuKhu and her cup of Sikwate (Hot Chocolate).

I took it as a good way of regrouping my thoughts as a food blogger. Also, one of my friends on Purok Singko is leaving for a job abroad. Khu, if you are reading this, this is for you.

As they say, if you do not find time to explore your thoughts and experiences, you could never write from your heart. Perhaps, that is a good rebirth blog post right? By the way, I am still on my diet plan on weekdays for those who might think it contrasting to my post here. That’s just a cheat day a week. The dieting plan I will have to post on another blog post.

Thanks for reading 🙂 Bon Appetit and welcome back to this blog!