When my sister Babot Oreta celebrated her birthday, she invited us to join the Holy Doors of Mercy Pilgrimage.
To have gone through the spiritual journey as a family—visiting the churches, entering the Holy doors, praying and having our passports stamped—made the experience so meaningful.
While the highlight of the day were our pilgrim “diplomas,” sharing a meal with Manang Babot in thanksgiving was something we also looked forward to.
Among her birthday dishes, the Soft Shell Crab with Pork Floss was truly memorable. The intense, concentrated flavor of the crispy fried soft shell crab blended beautifully with the sweet pork floss or mahu. There was a nice play of textures between the two.
The dipping sauce of spiked vinegar cut through the richness of the crab while complementing the floss.
The mahu that generously topped the fried crab was not the usual kind. The strands of pork floss were long and delicate, fine golden shreds that were fluffy like cotton candy.
The complexity of the dish makes you chase after the taste, the mouth-feel and the flavors with every bite.
It is a must-try the next time you visit Summer Palace at Edsa Shangri-La hotel. (Tel. 6338888)
Off the menu
I always find something to eat at Gloria Maris Greenhills, whether it’s a simple or lavish meal.
I also occasionally enjoy the new dishes that are not on the menu but are worth sampling—like the fried cod with slivered green apples, diced mangoes and red onions.
The vinaigrette drizzled over the fish, onions and the abundant fruit topping, gives this dish a burst of freshness. Cold, hot, sweet, sour, crunchy and tart all at once.
If you frequent Gloria Maris and want something different, this is worth a try. (Tel. 5700921)
Hobby turned business
Trina Tiutan Cancio initially made her chicken empanada for family and close friends to enjoy. As many triumphant food stories go, the deliciousness was shared, passed on, and eventually the hobby became a business.
The family empanada recipe has been handed down three generations, and it was Tina who worked on further improving it.
She believes that “even in these modern times, there will always be a special place for this classic treat in people’s hearts and bellies.”
I will have to agree.
Her empanada brought me back in time. The taste was a blast from the past. It reminded me so much of the empanada mom used to buy for us.
It’s a sweetish crust with a gentle crunch that lightly crumbles before it melts in the mouth. Inside is a nicely seasoned, slightly chunky chicken filling.
It is, by all means, simple yet all that you expect and know this pastry to be.
The empanada keeps and reheats well, too. (Tel. 0915-8633156)
New ‘pasalubong’ idea
We all have enjoyed Cebu’s dried mangoes at some point in our lives, but Audrey Regis-Saroopdas makes them quite differently.
She dips them in caramel and has four variants: Mango Caramel Classic, Mango Caramel Cashew, Mango Caramel Pistachio and Chocolate Mango Caramel.
I particularly enjoy how the slightly tart and chewy dried mango is toned down and made luscious by the caramel. It is neither too sweet nor too tart.
Audrey’s dried mangoes make the perfect pasalubong. They taste good and are packaged beautifully.