There is more to Stevie Villacin’s food repertoire than Hainanese Chicken, though each time I order it, his chicken rice seems to taste more delicious than ever.
I also love his newly concocted dark sweet soy sauce. The chili sauce, already good, has become even better. Stevie’s tweaking for excellence never stops.
Last Easter, aside from chicken rice, my family also feasted on Stevie’s Beef Salpicao. It was tender and very flavorful, with mashed potatoes, corn and buttered vegetables as sides.
Sunday lunch turned out to be a get-together I thoroughly enjoyed. I left the cooking to Stevie, enjoyed being just a guest, had delicious comfort food to my heart’s content and had a marvelous time!
Chicken Rice, 21 Libra St.,
tel. 09065084155, 8968940.
Carlean’s Black Kutsinta
I have always loved kutsinta, how chewy it is. Some are better than others. The perfect ones are those that are soft yet gummy, with fine texture that leaves you wanting more.
This is the kind of kutsinta that husband-and-wife Roland Leonardo Paez and Carla Aran-Paez make. Their kutsinta is, however, not the usual kind—it’s black and comes with a caramel dip.
Roland says, “The ingredient that makes it black is our trade secret, but it’s all natural. Our kakanin is food color- and preservative-free.”
The black color yields no particular taste—well, at least not to me and to friends and family who have tried it. What makes Carlean’s Black Kutsinta special is the recipe and the mastery of its execution. The rich, milky caramel dip enhances the black kutsinta.
Thanks to my niece, Maureen Ferrer, for this discovery.
Carlean’s Black Kutsinta, tel. 09357861474. Order extra caramel!
Duck Salad, Salted Egg Ribs and HK Instant Noodle
I frequent Choi Garden which has something to offer for my every craving.
Among the dishes I have not stopped ordering include the Duck Salad—a refreshing concoction of slivered roast duck over a bed of jellyfish, with watermelon, mangoes and cucumbers and sweet mayonnaise dressing. The Salted Egg Spareribs is so juicy and tender, the pork married beautifully with the salted egg.
Then there’s Hong Kong Instant Noodle, cooked Chiu-chow Style, a level-up interpretation of the instant noodle, tossed in a hot wok with asado, shrimp, eggs, spring onions and crunchy bean sprouts. I can eat this all day, everyday. Delicious!
Choi Garden, 12 Annapolis St. cor. Purdue St., Greenhills, San Juan City; tel. 7276042
Rosalie Sarmiento’s ‘bucheron’
Bucheron is chicken esophagus fried to a chicharon-like crispness and seasoned with salt and garlic. The crunchy pulutan, which has the character of chicharon bulaklak, is seriously addicting. It goes well with spicy vinegar.
Rosalie Sarmiento is also the maker of the famous suman pinipig, which has fresh buko coated in sugar, garnished with latik, and with a nice green hue.
The kakanin is sweetened just right, so it’s easy to eat and is surprisingly light—a gratifying treat due to its clean taste, pleasant bite and smooth texture.
Thanks to Jeffrey and Jenny Co for this discovery.
Purplish-blue grapefruit tea
I had the chance to try Chatime’s Blue Butterfly Pea Flower Iced Tea with Grapefruit. The colored tea quenched my thirst on a warm day.
According to Chatime’s Michael Koa, what makes the drink blue is the blue butterfly pea flower tea, a type of tea consumed in Malaysia and Thailand, where it is enjoyed with honey and lemon.
“The blue tea changes color as the PH level goes up or down. It contains no caffeine, and is full of antioxidants with health benefits for memory, circulation and eyesight,” he says.
Available at all Chatime outlets. Visit Chatime Philippines on Facebook.