Call it relaxing food, childhood food or comfort food, there’s always a dish that will make us hum in satisfaction.
As a kid, whenever biting into a favorite sandwich or siopao, I enjoyed dancing happily while looking at myself in the mirror.
Recently, chef Bettina Arguelles of Spiral at Sofitel Philippine Plaza and I were chatting. I was stuffed from all of Spiral’s delicious dishes, arguably the best buffet in Manila today.
“What do you feel like eating after being around and smelling all of that fantastic food?” I asked her.
Foie gras, USDA prime rib eye steaks, roast lamb, duck confit, truffle-laced dishes, Angus corned beef and many other gourmet dishes are everyday fare to chefs.
But Bettina’s answer floored me: Pan de Regla, Amber Spaghetti and McDonald’s McFlurry.
So I started texting chef-friends and foodies and threw them the same question. Their answers were hilarious.
Glenda Barreto of Via Mare: “Home-cooked adobo with piping-hot rice.”
Millie Reyes of the Plaza catering service: “Pizza, S&R hotdog, McDonald’s Quarter Pounder.”
Karla Reyes of Plaza: “KFC Hot and Crispy (thigh, please), Spam with Campbell’s Mushroom soup with rice, Palm Corned Beef with garlic, onions and tomatoes, home-cooked adobo and sinigang.”
Florabel Co of Florabel restaurants: “Hot pan de sal with egg, Spam, boiled okra with bagoong Balayan, and fried crispy pork chops with hot rice.”
Gaita Fores of Cibo and Lusso: “Jar of taba ng talangka, sauteed lightly with garlic and buttered rice and seasoned with sea salt or duldul.”
Chito Bautista of Kuya Restaurant: “Chili con carne with egg and rice, my lola’s spaghetti.”
Claude Tayag of Balay Datung and Downtown Café: “Two pieces of Jollibee Chicken Joy (thigh, please).”
Rob Pengson of Global Culinary Academy, Goose Station and Shine Bakery: “Spaghetti Bolognese with red hotdog.”
Micky Fenix, food columnist: “Hotdog, the longer the better.”
Margaux Salcedo, food columnist and singer: “Aristocrat’s Barbeque Chicken.”
Maricris Encarnacion of Cebu magazine: “Jollibee Chicken Joy.”
Ariel Manuel of Lolo Dad’s: “Corned beef, hot or cold, adobong galunggong.”
Gian Navarro of Estrelle’s Bakery: Amber’s spaghetti, Buddy’s pancit habhab with longanisa on the side, and Shakey’s thin-crust pizza.”
Eugene Raymundo, food stylist and owner of Eugene’s Spa: “Amber’s spaghetti and McDonald’s Fillet o’ Fish.”
Jyn Monteverde, maker of roasted Mediterranean chicken: “Shawarma and congee.”
Beth Romualdez, food consultant: “McDo French Fries fresh out of the fryer, lightly salted and with a sprinkling of truffle oil.”
Gene Gonzales of Café Ysabel and Asian Culinary Academy: “Charcoal-grilled burger with a smear of mustard and catsup. Char-grilled tuyo with tomatoes is my umami heaven.”
Robby Goco of Cyma and Green Pastures: “Original recipe KFC with coleslaw, macaroni salad and gravy. Ultimate anti-stress food? Jollibee Chicken Joy and Palabok.”
Myrna Segismundo: “Chicken and liver inasal, tapsilog, tuyo and eggs and sweet spaghetti.”
Nina Daza Puyat, Appetite editor: “Simple ulam like a good pinakbet with a fat daing na bangus! After a trip abroad, I always look for chicken and pork rib adobo with kamatis and patis on the side.”
The late Nora Daza: “Corned beef from the can and pork and beans, Jollibee Champ and Chowking Bola-Bola Siopao.”
I myself go for Jollibee Double Yum Burger, McDonald’s Big Mac and Red Ribbon’s Palabok.
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