‘Tapang usa,’ duck confit, fried ‘bangus’–unexpected discoveries in unexpected places | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

“Valentine’s Day” is a movie about how various people experience love in different ways. One movie with different short stories to tell. It was from here that I got the idea to share my various experiences in different dining places.

It’s funny what you will discover in the most unsuspecting places. I went to this lounge and dining place at the entrance of Merville Subdivision beside South Expressway. The place was open only in the evening. I watched in awe as the owner Raul fell into a trance and just played the piano like some concert pianist. With entertainment like that, we ordered some food.

It was tapang usa served on a sizzling plate. I was never impressed with the tapang usa I tried in the past. But this dish redeemed all my past experiences. It was smoking, tender, tasty, hot and went perfectly well with the rice. We were four friends, all planning to have one dish to share among us. As soon as we tasted the tapa and the rice, we ended up ordering three tapas and five orders of fried rice. The fried rice is a concoction of the chef. Simply made, it has chunks of chicken and something that seemed like oyster sauce. It is called Raffarie fried rice.

Raffarie is at the entrance to Merville subdivision from South Expressway. As you enter the village, it will be on your left side.


The other memorable dining experience was at a French restaurant at Serendra at the Fort in Taguig. I have walked by this place many times. It was my first time to dine and I was very excited. The menu reminded me so much of our Au Bon Vivant French restaurant in Ermita.

I wanted something authentic. I started with the escargot with garlic butter. Flavorful, the escargots were tender and garlicky. And with some homemade crusty bread, it was a winner. I have always loved this simple French salad called Salade Nicoise. Here, it was also made well. For the main course, it was Confit Du Canard or Duck Confit—an overbaked duck with fall-off-the-bone meat, set on top of some glazed, mildly sweet onions. This crunchy, gamey duck was perfect with creamy garlic mashed potatoes. Amazing! A must-try.

And when I thought it was over, I was served a flourless chocolate cake with a rich vanilla Arce ice cream on the side. I will forever dream about Cuillere’s duck.

Cuillere is at Unit 1c. Serendra; tel. 8563325 and 916 7394.

Every time I need to go to an auto shop, I go to two places: Banawe and Kamuning. Car Zone is somewhere in that busy street of Banawe where one will find the most unexpected discoveries in terms of car and food. There are also a lot of “vultures” lurking, trying to con you into taking their services. What has always worked for me is to find a place I could trust. Car Zone is that to me these days. Prices are reasonable, the owner is very helpful and friendly, and it’s in an area with a lot of restaurants around. So, when the car work takes a few hours, I walk around and discover new places.

Like this place I found right beside Car Zone. Feng Wei Wee Taiwan Cuisine serves home-cooked Taiwanese cuisine. Here are the dishes I enjoyed: Fried Bangus with Brown Sauce and Cucumber, Szechuan Chai or Taiwan gulay, Black Pepper Chicken. Others that looked good are the Kiampong with Peanuts, Steamed Pork with Salted Egg, Kikiam, Smoked Duck, Fish Filet and Pork Sausage. For dessert, I had the 8 Treasures halo-halo, which had different kinds of sweet beans. It was a very refreshing dessert after the meal.

Feng Wei Wee Taiwan Cuisine is at 82 Banawe St., QC; tel. 412 5435 and 741 3112.

Call Car Zone 7816035, 7404106 and 7402656.

‘Pahabol’ suggestions

Chef Patty Loanzon’s Torta De Leche, which is nagmumura sa sarap;  tel. 0917 837 9533

Chef Bob and Ninay’s Roast Turkey and Roast pork. Both are perfect for the holidays. The pork is like a boneless version of Cebu lechon; tel. 0918-9098850, 9840065.

Stevie’s Hainanese Chicken. Now he also offers authentic Vietnamese spring rolls. These goodies are dipped in a hoisin peanut sauce and topped with spicy chirashi sauce. It will make your nose perspire in satisfaction. Even the Hainanese rice is ginger-y delicious; tel. 0906-50804155

Jeq’s Kitchen’s bottled goodies. Bestsellers are Vodka Tinapa, Adobong Tahong, Jackfruit Hummus and many others; tel. 2167429 and 0917-5296918

Annie’s Smoked Fish-Fried boneless Daing. Crispy and perfectly salty; tel. 0915 -9268788, 0927-2712684, 7345908

Ju D’s Cookies. Comes nicely packaged, and the cookies are yummy! Tel. 6330260, 6331188

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