Chinese New Year is a holiday I really enjoy. Part of the thrill is a visit to Binondo, Manila. No matter how frequently I go, this oldest Chinatown in the world never ceases to excite me.
The Chinese deli Eng Bee Tin on Ongpin Street is always part of my itinerary. I look forward to its offerings, which are constantly changing, evolving. A visit will surely allow me to whip up innovative dishes making use of their products.
Last week, I made Asian Beef Noodle Soup using Eng Bee Tin’s ube and malunggay noodles. It was delectable. The noodles had a wonderful bite and were preservative-free.
Luckily, I have made good friends in the neighborhood, such as Eng Bee Tin’s owner, Mr. Ube Hopia himself, Gerry Chua, and his son, Gerik.
It’s pure joy to have the father-and-son tandem around. Many of the stories they share are legendary, from firefighting (they are part of the famous Binondo fire volunteer group) to their latest creations: be it another hopia to add to Eng Bee Tin’s 21 flavors; the largest mooncake ever; or the 264-pound tikoy, which is now on display.
I checked out the 15 variants of tikoy, including the green and jasmine teas (so aromatic, best enjoyed cooked in the traditional manner).
The flavors that aroused my curiosity were the tikoy supreme (minced pork with salted duck egg), the sweet corn and the muscovado. These were the variants I wanted to experiment with, inspired by the dish that Gerik and I cooked during my Binondo tour.
Eng Bee Tin’s Savory Stir-Fried Tikoy
1 tbsp oil
500 g Eng Bee Tin Special White Tikoy sliced into ½ x ½ inch strips (don’t even bother doing this with other brands, it sticks together and the tikoy becomes very soft)
1 tbsp corn oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ tbsp sugar
½ c chicken stock
200 g shredded cabbage
100 g thinly sliced carrots
100 g thinly sliced pork
100 g shrimp
Sauté garlic in oil.
Add pork and shrimp.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Cook until tikoy is heated through.
Here are the three recipes I came up with:
Tikoy Supreme with Pork Floss and Century Egg
Eng Bee Tin Supreme Tikoy (salted egg and pork)
Kimlan soy sauce
Coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
Slice tikoy ½-inch thick, dip in beaten egg, dredge in cornstarch and deep fry.
Arrange tikoy in a serving dish, top with pork floss, garnish with century egg, garnish with coriander.
Serve with Kimlan soy sauce.
(I get my pork floss and Kimlan soy sauce from Little Store. Call tel. no. 7219174.)
Ginataang Mais with Sweet Corn Tikoy Bilo-Bilo
1 Eng Bee Tin Sweet Corn Tikoy
Coconut milk extracted from six coconuts. Separate first extraction (no water) from second extraction (add 1 c warm water per coconut and squeeze)
5 pcs white corn (native), kernels cut off the cob
Steam tikoy until soft.
Shape into tiny balls to make bilo-bilo.
Bring second extraction of coconut milk to a boil with a pinch of salt and ¾ c sugar.
Add corn and cook until corn is tender.
Add tikoy bilo-bilo and coconut cream.
Adjust sugar to taste, add 1 tsp vanilla.
Bring to a boil and cook until coconut cream has thickened.
Turon with Muscovado Tikoy
Saba bananas, very ripe, quartered
Muscovado tikoy, cut to size of bananas
Langka in syrup
Coat bananas heavily in brown sugar.
Wrap in lumpia wrapper with a piece of muscovado tikoy and strips of langka in syrup.
Let turon rest until the sugar melts. When you see the melted sugar seep through the lumpia wrapper, fry the turon. You need to do this to get a nice caramel coating on your wrapper once you fry it.
Call Eng Bee Tin at tel. no. 3868888.
Food feng shui
I asked master geomancer Aldric V. Dalumpines if there is such a thing as food feng shui.
He explained there’s a “kitchen feng shui for cooking food that not only tastes delicious but also promotes health and happiness.”
“As chi or life energy is present in all things, it pervades the food you cook and eat,” Aldric added. “So the right preparation of the food that will get you into the right energetic mood is the objective for each sign.
“Exotic or esoteric, these guidelines serve you well for harnessing lucky chi from what you eat. Remember, your luck is what you eat, too.”
Here they are:
“Green leafy salads and vegetarian dishes. Avoid horse meat.”
“Chicken dishes in any preparation. Avoid lamb or goat meat.”
“Pork dishes. Avoid any monkey brain preparation in the East.”
“Stir-fried veggies and vegetarian food. Avoid chicken preparations.”
“Any chicken dish. Avoid dog meat.”
“Lamb or goat dish, chicken, too. Avoid pork.”
“Full-grain menu, vegetarian, too. Avoid any rat preparation in the Orient.”
“Vegetarian food. Avoid beef, carabao meat.”
“Bananas and fruits best. Avoid tiger meat.”
“Full-grain diet, snake and beef meat okay. Avoid rabbit meat.”
“Any meat dish. Avoid dragonfish or arowana dish.”
“Vegetarian dishes or even tiger meat! Avoid snake meat and blood.”
So, eat your way to happiness and prosperity with the right food. Bon appétit! Hotsia! Kung Hei Fat Choi!”
Master Aldric may be reached at 0999-3128168.
In celebration of the Chinese New Year, I, with master Aldric, will hold a tour of Binondo on Feb. 6. Eat, cook, learn and shop with us.
For complete details, contact tel. nos. 4008496, 9289296, 9273008, 0917-5543700 or 0908-2372346. Limited slots left.