Serbian knuckles, ‘bulgogi-sukiyaki,’ ‘sapin-sapin’ and other pleasures | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Masil Korean Charcoal Grill Restaurant's Bulgogi Jeongol
MASIL Korean Charcoal Grill Restaurant's Bulgogi Jeongol
Masil Korean Charcoal Grill Restaurant's Bulgogi Jeongol
MASIL Korean Charcoal Grill Restaurant’s Bulgogi Jeongol

When Doña Marcelina “Nena” Alejo Oreta (mother of Babes Oreta, a brother-in-law married to my sister Babot) died at age 102, the sadness was almost overshadowed by joy and gratitude.

Her wake had a nightly concert to celebrate her long and full life, as well as her love for song and dance. The French Baker set up a coffee and tea bar for the guests.

I was impressed by the fact that, with just four hours’ notice, the food corner was beautifully put together, with a lovely samovar and silver tiered trays of tea sandwiches, macaroons, pastries and fruit tarts.

Coffee and tea flowed throughout the evening, along with the songs that Tita Nena once sang and which her friends lovingly performed in her memory.

Godspeed, Tita Nena! Thank you for being the perfect example of how life should be enjoyed.

French Baker’s coffee and tea service; tel. 4706210, 4705012


Serbian brothers Marko and Martin Batricevic, owners of Balkan Restaurant, recently brought me Butkice—buth-ki-tse, butka means knuckle—a popular dish served at family gatherings and celebrations in Serbia. The traditional method is to slow-cook the knuckle in the oven for four to five hours in a sac (clay pot).

Once tender, it is browned until the skin is golden and crisp. The dish is served with boiled carrots, potatoes and knuckle drippings.

At Balkan Restaurant, the clay pots are sent over from Serbia and are made according to the exact specifications of Marko and Martin’s father, Moco Batricevic, who himself is a restaurateur.

Butkice is simple but undeniably delicious, tender, super tasty, succulent and chewy. Enjoy this hearty comfort food with wine or beer.

Balkan, 2/F, Crossroads Bldg., 32nd St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; tel. 0917-5474188

Bulgogi Jeongol

Masil Korean Charcoal Grill Restaurant is one of my favorite places due to its many dishes.

Last week I savored its latest creation, Bulgogi Jeongol—a cross between bulgogi and sukiyaki. Tasty paper-thin slices of beef and onions, vegetables,  mushrooms and aromatic leeks are cooked in a light, sweet sesame-laced, soy-based sauce. With a bowl of perfectly cooked rice, the dish is delicious!

Masil Charcoal Grill Restaurant, 100 Oranbo Drive, Oranbo, Pasig City; tel. 6342010, 6312173

Made in Candy

My son Diego was craving the exact same candy he bought during a trip. I had no place in mind other than Made in Candy (MIC) to replicate it for him.

The MIC apple-raspberry candy came out even better. It was naturally fruity, sweet yet with a hint of tartness, balanced enough that keeps you savoring the flavor.

The happy designs and vibrant colors, the high quality of natural flavored oils, and the highly skilled artisans who personalize the candies, are reasons why my son and I are loyal fans of this brand.

My other all-time favorite flavor is lychee.

Make your own design and combine your own flavors. Visit Made in Candy at Rockwell, Megamall, Alabang Town Center, Glorieta 4 and Mall of Asia; tel. 0920-9649076, 8665624

Dolor’s ‘sapin-sapin’

I have always loved the sapin-sapin at Dolor’s Kakanin.

But oftentimes our sapin-sapin at home turns out less than aesthetically pretty. We slice through it with reckless abandon, consuming only the colors we fancy and leaving the outer layer intact.

Well, not anymore. Just recently, I had sliced sapin-sapin on paper cups, neatly arranged in the usual bilao. Now it’s easy to choose your fancy cut without having to make the rice cake look less appealing.

Dolor’s Kakanin, tel. 332-022728

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