I am not happy with just one viand. I want a taste of many, all at the same time. I want something saucy with something deep-fried. Something fried with something stir-fried. You get the drift.
That’s why I go crazy when I see a turo-turo spread, especially when all the offerings just look so inviting, so alive that they’re ready to jump off their serving dishes. Oddly enough, for the first time, I am not referring to seafood when I say something’s ready to jump off the plate. Nor am I speaking of the lure of a well-done meat dish that is a vision of either crackling crispness or fall-off-the-bone softness.
At Happy Delicious Kitchen along Benavidez St., Binondo, for the first time in my life, I wanted to feast on nothing but vegetables and have my variations of pork on the side. The resto’s greens looked like they had just been harvested, washed, sliced and served. Every vegetable dish looked like a well-executed fresh plate of crisp garden greens, even when all the vegetables had been cooked.
Vegetables, though considered one of the easiest to cook, could also be one of the hardest and trickiest. They require a lot of skill—the right heat, the timing, whether they were picked right, all play a role in the process.
At Happy Delicious Kitchen, the way the spread looked said it all. Not only were its home-style Taiwanese dishes picture-perfect, but they tasted good and clean, too.
For P150, you get one meat dish and two vegetables, and for P180, you get one meat dish and three vegetables with rice, of course. I went for the P180 option—Chinese sausage with Chinese mustard greens, stuffed eggplant and patola. I also had a side order of Chinese adobo, adobo eggs and steamed pork.
I was very, very happy with everything, particularly the vegetables, which were all to-die-for, and the steamed pork.
We decided to eat at Happy Delicious Kitchen after Vivian, Jenny and I visited World of Crystals, also along Benavidez, where you can get good deals on semiprecious stones from Atong, to get pampaswerte for the New Year.
If you’re planning to stop by Chinatown in preparation for the Chinese New Year, make sure to eat at Happy Delicious Kitchen (call 2440120).
Meet Nikki Bharwani of The Green Grocer. Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in August 2010, she says: “I was in quite a shock because I am quite young, and I thought I was healthier than the average person. I stuck closely to an early morning gym regimen with regular boxing and Pilates classes. I never thought I would get sick, and so early in my life.”
“After my two surgeries and chemo treatment, I resolved to eat healthier. My mom was into vegetable trading, so I had knowledge of where to source the freshest of produce. You cannot believe the huge difference vegetables taste when they have just been harvested, as against gulay we normally buy in the grocery. It was very tedious, though, trying to source out such small quantities merely for my household.
“Some of my friends saw the quality of our produce and would ask me to buy for them, so we started offering this to friends. One thing led to another, and shortly thereafter, The Green Grocer was born.”
“The Green Grocer is all about fresh, great quality produce, healthy food alternatives and convenience,” says Nikki. “I think everyone knows we should be eating healthier, but…we’re constantly strapped for time, making us prone to fast food and quick, unhealthy fixes. And, if we do have vegetables, what do we do with them without overcooking them, as is usually the case with Pinoy dishes?
“Our goal is to help people take steps toward healthy eating, in hopes that a series of these steps taken over time can lead to significant and sustainable change in lifestyle. We started out with conventional produce, meaning nonorganic veggies and fruits. We grew our customer base from this, and this is how The Green Grocer name started going around.”
I had a taste of Green Grocer’s Apple Cinnamon Rolls, yummy Malunggay Peanut Butter and Organic Pineapple and Papaya Jam. All very good! Those cinnamon rolls are fantastic—nice, soft and very moist.
Another thing I am looking forward to trying is the line of grass-fed lamb that Green Grocer sells with guava jelly and coffee marinade. Unfortunately, it’s out of stock for now. It also sells Renee Perrine’s organic vegetables from Bukidnon.
Eventually, Nikki says, “I see The Green Grocer as your one-stop specialty shop (that delivers to your doorstep), where you don’t have to get into your car to spend an hour going through aisles in the supermarket. Life is short! Why waste it on errands?”
When I asked what other product she wanted me to try, Nikki gave me the heated Gourmet Bagoong by chef Neil Ramos (P150). On green mangoes, it’s the best bagoong ever!
Get a copy of Green Grocer’s list—there are a lot of very interesting finds! Call 0918-9594220.
My book “Kitchen Rescue 3, The Directory—My Lifeline to Eating, Cooking and Living,” is now available at all leading bookstores. Or call 6474744.
For my Cooking Class schedule, call 09175543700/ 0908-2372346/ 4008496/ 9289296.