Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Asian Restaurant Experience in EDSA, Mandaluyong City

Before summer class ends, we were instructed to dine in an Asian restaurant in replace of our hotel restaurant tour for our final requirement in Asian Cuisine subject. Our group decided to eat at Dads EDSA branch which includes 3 great buffets: Dads for Western fare, Kamayan for authentic Pinoy dishes and Saisaki for Japanese cuisines.

our group

We got there at exactly 11 am and started reserving for 5 seats. Lunchtime buffet is only served from 11 am to 2:30 pm so it was agreeable that we came on time. The buffet prices are: P565 for monday to thursday lunch, P665 for monday to friday dinner and P695 for weekend lunch or dinner. A bottomless drink which comes with a free stuff toy costs P180. The price is actually worth it because you will be spoiled with sumptuous foods plus a perfect ambiance and well-trained staff. This eat-all-you-can restaurant has rules of eating like no food sharing and no left overs, so just get sufficient amount of food because you can always go back and grab any food you want as long as you can.

salad bar

The restaurant has two kinds of plate: white for the crossover buffet and green for saisaki only which is way cheaper. We first went to the salad bar and got sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, cheddar cheese cubes and oranges with caesar salad as its dressing. After the salad, our appetite really ramped up so we proceeded right after to dads specialties like carbonara pasta, paella and roast turkey and Japanese cuisines like miso soup, ebi, kani, kisu, ika tempuras, sashimi, different sushi rolls, yakimono, dumplings. With over 200 buffet choices, it is really hard to choose what to take and eat.





sushi bar

I didn't order for a juice but only water so I can maximize my eat-all-you-can experience. Miso soup is a good appetizer because the hot temperature and very blunt taste prepared our stomach for pigging out, hehe. The carbonara pasta topped with parmesan cheese was very tasty and properly cooked. The roast turkey was so tender and flavorful but dry. I guess, you would really find hard time in cooking turkey. I liked the fried tempuras because those are my favorites especially the prawn. Fatty foods cause disgusting tastes if you eat successively so be sure to eat only 2 to 3 servings at a time. The chilled california maki rolls were so yummy and uplifting and the mango inside had the most superior taste. There were also artistically presented sushi rolls with twists of strawberry syrup, chocolate and even candy sprinkles. They named their rolls as pretty in pink, godzilla rolls, volcano rolls, four seasons rolls and black forest rolls. The yakimonos which are skewered meats grilled over a hot fire had no additional flavors and sauces but tasted good somehow. For me, it is the best partner for party drinks.

Next, we moved to Kamayan section which offers local Pinoy dishes and meryendas. We took lavish servings of fried foods such as crispy chicken, lechon de leche, crispy pata and rellenong bangus. On a side, we had green mango salad with bagoong to remove the greasiness in every ingestion. We also tried to have a seafood feast of prawns, crabs, clams, mussels and squids cooked in rich coconut milk. The native cuisines like estofado, caldereta, kare-kare and sinigang are also served there but we didn't attempt to take some since those are staple dishes in every Pinoy household.

a serenade was performed while we're eating

lechon de leche

fried foods

The crispy chicken and crispy pata really withstood its names since both were really crispy and had a sweet flavor. Kamayan has become consistent in offering young pork lechon or lechon de leche which is normally 3 to 4 ft in length, that is why the meat is always soft and juicy. Their version of rellenong bangus that has been a traditional dish in town feasts was quite tasteful maybe because I'm not a fan of this food at all. I can certainly identify the ingredients inside the fish like carrots, green peas, tomatoes and raisins. The seafoods were so palatable, seemed fresh and medium cooked. Another tip to maximize your money's worth is to get abundant portions of seafood since those are expensive and has lesser extenders. But as a health advice, seldom eat seafood because they are high in saturated fats or cholesterol, hehe.

roast turkey

For our 3rd plate, we took everything we wanted in all 3 restaurants. I got one lumpiang ubod and some sushi rolls for one last time. Some of the dishes were lasagna which was so meaty and had luscious cheese on top, roast beef and leg of lamb, ham, kebab, barbecue beef ribs, lengua, callos, chicken souviaki, marinated squids in garlic, buttered vegetables, seafood and vegetable chowder, nachos, ( dinakdakan, crispy kangkong, fried alimasag, crispy squids for appetizer ), pork mignonettes, pancit bihon and canton, laing and pakbet, tonkatsu, ebi furai, ebi gyoza, various teppanyaki which are steak recipes, sukiyaki, and a lot more. Its really difficult to remember all the names of dishes unless you are a food expert or genius, so I just noted those in my cellphone.



overflowing halo-halo

The last course we had was the dessert. We grabbed some chocolate cakes, black forest, crepes, creme puffs, chocolate mousse and chocolate fondue. Our dessert almost became a chocolate party so the disgusting tastes of foods we had eaten was displaced with sweetness. Kamayan also offers famous Pinoy desserts such as sapin-sapin, palitaw, puto bumbong, bibingka, creamy buco pandan, mixed fresh fruits and halo-halo. To totally savor the halo-halo, I took 2 overflowing glasses of it and I received the contentment I was looking for. All in all, the Dads ultimate buffet branch in EDSA is way better than its branch in Megamall because the look and feel of the place is arresting and clean. The waiters and crew are friendly and approachable. Moreover, the food presentation is elegant and its proper temperature is maintained.

You will never regret spending money for a great dining experience. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Taste of Indian and Vietnamese Cuisines

our group

Finally, one last week and our summer class is over. Next week, the days will be devoted for lectures and recalling the knowledge we have learned for a month of Asian cuisine involvement. Yesterday, for our last culinary practice, we cooked two Asian dishes; Indian and Vietnamese. Different spicy powders like chili powder are staple ingredients in cooking Indian food. Do you know why Indians love spicy foods? Maybe since many spices grow abundantly in India, the local people thought of some ways to extensively utilize it, so they really used to season every meal with chili pepper. On the other hand, Vietnamese people prefer vegetables and salads more than meaty and oily foods. That is why Vietnamese cuisine is listed as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.

The two recipes we prepared were Tamatar Murghi or Indian Tomato Chicken and Goi Buoi Tom Thit or Pomelo Salad. Listed below are the recipes and procedures as well. Take heart to try. These recipes are so easy to prepare and the taste is tempting 

Tomato Chicken

Ingredients :
 - 2 lb chicken cut into pieces
 - 5 onions sliced finely
 - 2-3 tbsp curd or unflavoured yoghurt
 - 1 1/2 tsp red-chilli powder
 - 2 -3 tsp coriander powder
 - 1 tsp cumin powder
 - 3 tomatoes, pureed
 - 2-3 cloves
 - 1 inch cinnamon bark
 - 2-3 cardamoms
 - 2 tbsp cashewnuts, grind with a little water to a paste
 - A bunch of cilantro (Coriander leaves), chopped
 - Cooking oil

Method :

First is to fry the sliced onions in oil until they are properly browned.
Remove the oil, add the unflavored yoghurt and blend the mixture with the cinnammon, cloves and cardamoms till smooth. Set aside.
We were not able to buy cloves and cardamoms because they were out of stock. But we just used turmeric powder instead to add further spiciness in replace of cloves and cardamoms.
Heat some oil in a pan and fry the above mixture which is called masala until the oil begins to separate.
Now add the dry powders ( red chili, coriander and cumin powder ) and fry for 45 secs.
Add the pureed tomato and the chicken pieces.
Add some water and simmer until the chicken is cooked.
Add the cashewnut paste and bring to a boil.
Garnish with the chopped Cilantro.

We had no cilantro too so we used parsley since they both belong to the same plant family. hehe

The taste of this Indian food is really hot and spicy. It has no saltiness nor sweetness but the combination of different spicy powders will definitely play in your mouth. Just imagine eating chili without any extra flavor, that's the taste of this. Anyway, we were also delighted after receiving a good grade from our professor and being commended for the good meat texture - perfectly cooked.

Pomelo Salad

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
1 medium pomelo
1 carrot, peeled and cut into fine shreds
¼ cup mint leaves, chopped ( we used basil leaves as substitute )
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, leafy tops only
1/4 cup chopped unsalted, roasted peanuts
1/3 cup crispy caramelized shallot

2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 generous teaspoon chili garlic sauce

1. Put the salt in a small saucepan and fill 2/3 with water. Bring to a boil and then add the shrimp. As soon as they've curled up, drain them and set aside to cool.
2. Return the water to a boil and add the chicken. When bubbles form at the rim, turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes to cook the flesh. Remove and set aside to cool.
3. Cut the shrimps in sizes that will blend well with the pomelo and other ingredients. Hand shred the chicken and set aside. For us, we cut the shrimps into half to make it into bite size pieces.
4. Cut off one end of the pomelo to reveal its fleshy pith. Then use your fingers and knife to remove the pith so that all that's remaining is the white covered flesh. Pry the pomelo open and split into two parts. Then use a knife, scissors and your fingers to peel away the skin from each segment and remove the flesh. Separate the flesh into bite size pieces and deposit in a bowl.
5. For the dressing, combine fish sauce, lime juice, water, sugar and chili garlic sauce in a small bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Taste the dressing and add additional flavors if needed.
6. Right before serving, add the shrimp, chicken, carrot, basil, parsley, peanuts and shallot to the pomelo. Toss with tongs to combine well. Add the dressing and toss. Transfer to a plate, leaving any liquid behind and serve.

Try to put ample amount of fish sauce to the dressing to make it a bit salty. The sweetness of pomelo is absolutely appropriate to the saltiness or sourness of your dressing. This dish is actually a popular food and offered in almost all restaurants in Vietnam. :)

lemon water on the side

Every nation has a distinctive cuisine to offer. All delectable and must trys!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Back at Dapitan Arcade, Quezon City

One hot afternoon, I instantly decided to go to Dapitan Arcade to spot new centerpieces and metal designs for our business. When I left, I didn't inform my mom about my plan. It rained so hard while I was waiting for a jeepney bound for Cubao. Finally after waiting for 20 minutes, I was lucky and able to rode an unoccupied vehicle. From Cubao, I rode another jeepney going to Quiapo and got off at welcome rotonda, near Burger King. Dapitan is actually within walking distance from there so I just walked.

It was already past 5 pm when I arrived. I first roamed around the whole place. Only few stores were opened maybe because it was just an ordinary day. During ber-months, more individual sellers and sidewalk vendors  come out and asking for tawad becomes easier.

36 inch tall glasses

metal handicrafts

When I was looking for tall glass centerpieces, I sighted metal handicrafts in the shape of animals. Those were the same crafts we have in my school. The owner also sells 36 inch tall glass centerpieces for 530 pesos each. He even offered me a 30 peso discount for wholesale buying but that was not what I was looking for at all. The prices of things here are a way cheaper compared to native boutiques in malls plus there is a wide array of designs, colors and sizes to choose from. You can also send your own style to them if you want to customize or personalize a handicraft like for example a lantern or metal work. Tiffany chairs which are used in corporate or formal events are largely sold here on a per hundred order.

I met and talked to a dealer who processes tall glass vases and metal decorations and inquired about the price of my desired height of tall glass per piece. The cost is quite reasonable so he can be our potential supplier. I also had with me my sketched style of the tall glass but he said that it is only possible for a per thousand order. I asked for his contact number for early orders.

You can also find more stores in the arcade selling lanterns and porcelain figures. I liked the Japanese inspired lanterns sold in almost every stall. Those were not displayed the last time we went there, maybe new concepts. I thought of buying one to add in our buffet centerpiece collection. The two lanterns we have in the business made from tree vines were bought from Tiendesitas and so far, I can say that Dapitan is the first specialty market to sell these kinds of design.


isn't it cool?

One of the most dominant items are the jars and fountains. They sell wooden or ceramic types of fountains and jars in different sizes. Since it is said that these home decorations attract good fortune for the family and the water that flows through every layer is tranquilizing, many approaching buyers purchase for home display. Other items are even imported from Asia so they are somehow costly compared to those locally produced.

The last thing to look for was the ready-made gazebo which is used as tent dressed up with linens and provides shades for the wedding couple throughout the ceremony. When I entered a certain passage inside the arcade, I sighted a shop which markets different metal works. I checked the metal centerpieces for the state-of-the-art ideas but those were the old designs that I've seen before.

Those centerpieces are tall candelabras. It is also displayed in restaurants, store boutiques, offices and even homes for added adornment. For us, we put candles inside during catered night events to make the venue conducive to enchantment and make it romantic. I also noticed new styles of dove cages with stand in various color shades. The price ranges from P1,000 to P2,500. Our fancy dove cage is still in its good quality so it will take a year and a half before we replace it.

They also fabricate gazebo and arches used in weddings and debuts. I saw their sample arch which was simple but classic for P2,000. I also asked for the calling card so I can call him right away if we will be needing a gazebo. Actually, we already have a steady and standing one but I want to incorporate some designs and to make it as sturdy as a tree, just kidding. The seller said that I can also present him my own outline of the structure and he can imitate it. He wasn't able to give an estimated amount of the gazebo so I still need to think twice.

You should try to visit here and see it for yourself. Buying an item that is really meant for you is a great experience. Aside from the low-priced merchandises, the friendly sellers will make your shopping really enjoyable. After all my inquiries, I planned to go home. I dropped by at burger king to eat for awhile before walking the over pass.

the last supper image sold in Dapitan

Find the suppliers of mall products and buy from them because they sell it cheaper.
That's what you call wise buying.