In time for the holidays, here’s the initial batch of my food-to-go list, perfect for yearend gatherings and gifts.
Pria Chiongbian Solon of Pria’s Kitchen is a culinary professional who has maintained the unique, home-cooked quality of her food.
Her bagoong rice is a meal in itself—a cross between khao khluk kapi (Thai bagoong rice), a deconstructed pakbet and Pinoy ensalada.
Neatly arranged over flavorful bagoong rice are chunks of lechon kawali, shredded green mangoes, shallots, tomatoes, eggplants and kangkong. It makes a simple yet satisfying meal.
Chocolate Almond Butter Crunch makes the perfect holiday gift for people who already have everything. It is Pria’s version of Almond Roca. I love how it crumbles in the mouth—surprisingly gentle on the teeth and very addicting.
The interesting feature of this edible present is it comes with a mallet to pound the candy with. It’s a fun, interactive gift that is beautifully packaged in Pria’s signature orange box.
Supavadee Luangtip, known as chef Tum, is a Thai who fell in love with the Philippines and now calls it home. The former restaurant owner decided to focus on catering and her own food-to-go line called “Thai food on a tray.”
People who’ve tried her services say that having Tum in your kitchen is like having your own Thai chef at home. Her food is hearty, easy to eat and pretty to look at.
My favorites are catfish salad, chicken satay, chicken pandan, pomelo salad, bagoong rice, shrimp cakes, phad thai, takoh.
Tel. 0906-2210370, 0977-7381616
Bagnet Paella, Singapore-style fish balls
Philfoods has been in the food business for over 15 years as university canteen operators and caterers.
It also specializes in party trays with Bagnet Paella as best seller. The crisp, sinful bagnet is cut an inch thick. The rich kare-kare sauce has a tinge of sweetness, and with sautéed bagoong, this dish comes together beautifully. Other party dishes are available, too.
Tel. 0922-5678712 or (8) 8353902
Philfoods’ sister company, Big Thumb, sells the best Singapore-style fish and seafood balls—soft and bouncy, no fishy after-taste.
Tel. (8) 8520272 or 0918-9414671
La Tasca Mushroom Cannelloni
A creation of a master, the late chef Ed Quimson, the cannelloni is made of thinly rolled fresh pasta sheets filled with hearty mushroom duxelle and capped with velvety cream sauce.
In one bite, it is sublime—tender, earthy mushrooms wrapped in pasta that is almost as delicate as crepes (it melts in the mouth) oozing with smooth silky sauce that binds the dish.
La Tasca’s bibingkang malagkit should not be missed, too. Kudos to La Tasca chef Sito Senn. It takes a genius to churn consistent, well-made dishes through the years.
Tel. (8) 8979749
Korean food expert and chef Lily Min’ is a perfectionist, so each dish is done as it should be. From rice cakes to drinks, royal court cuisine, to street food, Korean all-time restaurant favorites, barbecues, fusion fare—Lily does them all well.
Her food is refined, seasoned lightly and fresh. Should you like it more seasoned, as I do mine, tell her you want it seasoned Filipino-style.
Her regular party trays can be based on what you want. Most requested: Galbi Jjim, Bulgogi, Chapchae, Kimbap and Dak Gangjeong (Fried Sweet Honey Chicken).
Flavors of Singapore
When I crave for Singapore fare, the chefs of Tao Yuan Malate don’t disappoint.
Most of the items on its menu are available for takeaway. My favorites are the fish head curry, laksa, and Hainanese chicken rice.
The fish head curry sauce is a main dish in itself—fragrant, flavorful, tasty and spiced right. The sauce alone, paired with chicken rice, is divine!
Tel. (8) 5227009
This is comfort food done by chef Mike Santos of Nanka Japanese Steak House. It is made of shiitake with shimeji and oyster mushrooms.
The mushrooms are sautéed and simmered in their own sauce, made with spices and their house-made rendition of kecap manis (dark sweet soy sauce).
The pasta’s flavor is reminiscent of teriyaki but with more depth. It is for everyone, finicky eaters or not. It pairs well with practically any viand.
Tel. 0977-6218472 or (8) 9216772
Sandra’s Butter Crab
Sandra Ngsuy is a wife and mother of three. She said, “I have a little kitchen that can take 10 orders of crabs a day.”
Her Butter Garlic Crabs is twice cooked—fried then braised. It is left to cook until the crabs partially absorb her special garlic butter sauce. To finish, the crab is garnished with more fried garlic, leeks and red chilies for color. She also makes curry crabs.
When chef Victor Barangan touches food, it becomes extraordinary. He loves to cook with a daring twist.
I’m a big fan of his adlai creations. His Salmon Adlai Buro is sheer perfection, while his Adlai Paella a pleasant and healthy alternative to the classic.
He also makes red cabbage and salmon skin chicharon served with black ketchup made with burnt eggplants.
His kitchen, Chef Solutions Inc., also offers healthy, alternative party trays.
More next week!
@iamreggieaspiras on IG, FB and YouTube; reggieaspiras.com for class schedule and recipes