I have been living a life full of food for several reasons: travels, school, work and other reasons. It even reached the point that I got to secure a Looloo (a nationwide restaurant database created in the Philippines) account and make reviews on the restaurants I have been to. Several restaurants made my cut. However, I have a handful of food preferences, the most loved ones and the not-so-loved ones.
“Ang estudyanteng nagigipit, sa siomai rice kumakapit.” I came across this statement when I read about the favorite food spots of UST students. This applied to me, even if I am a UP student (who usually reached for Lucky Me Pancit Canton when finances are quite low). Sometimes, I reach for siomai when I do not feel like spending too much on lunch. Some of my favorite siomai spots are Hen Lin (since I was a kid), Siomai House and Luk Yuen (a bit more expensive but more fulfilling).
Chicken Inasal is likewise my comfort food. I would always crave for this, especially when the chicken is authentically prepared. During my early teens, my mom introduced me to Ilonggo cuisine, via Marina, a restaurant that used to have a branch near the CCP Complex. Since then, I loved the ginger-y flavor of the chicken which reduced the fishy tone of the chicken. During a choral tour in Bacolod, I became more ecstatic when our hosts brought us to Bacolod Chicken House where I tasted the authentic Chicken Inasal. I am now looking forward to try Chicken Deli, another inasal joint from Bacolod (endorsed by Ilonggo comedian Allan K) that recently opened a branch in Landmark Makati. Speaking of Ilonggo food, I also loved the authentic Kadios, Baboy, Langka (an Ilonggo soup dish that used kadios beans as souring ingredient) from Bascon Cafe. Wish I could go back to Bacolod soon to try their other delectable dishes, as well as Calea’s famous cakes. I might try to tour around Iloilo next time, when finances and schedule allow me to do so.
When it comes to vegetables, I would always ask my mom, a pure Ilocana (from Cagayan Valley but my late maternal grandfather hailed from Ilocos Sur), to cook Braised Saluyot with Bamboo Shoots for me. I liked how the sweetness of the bamboo shoots blend with the slight bitterness of saluyot and the saltiness of fish bagoong.
I also love seafood pasta (preferably without the cream; The best one I have tasted so far was in Roxas City, during a wedding reception performance.), Sans Rival cake and Adobo. I initially hated the Sans Rival cake since I found it too sweet. I only got to appreciate it when our host in Dumaguete served us Sans Rival cake from Sans Rival, the cake shop in Dumaguete that popularized the dish. I eventually yearned for that cake every time a cake is offered in a particular restaurant/cake shop. Aside from Sans Rival cake shop, my other favorites are served in The Chocolate Kiss Cafe and Conti’s. Since I was a kid, I liked my parents’ garlicky adobo, just enough balance of Coconut Brand Soy Sauce’s saltiness, Apple Cider Vinegar’s (or could be Sukang Tuba’s) sourness and garlic flavor.
Going to my not-so-loved dishes, not that much since I am not that picky with food. However, I don’t like to eat pork liver because of its taste and texture. I am likewise not a fan of fast food style burger because they use extenders in their beef patties. I prefer food which are either cooked at home or prepared in specialty restaurants.
Aside from wanting to go back to Bacolod soon, I would want to visit Cebu soon and try their delectable dishes. I guess I have this hidden Anthony Bourdain in me since I do not just eat to sustain myself, but also to go places. 🙂
*- This essay was slightly edited from the original work I submitted for my Anthro 1 class in UP Diliman.