Tag Archive | Food

October 2014 – Eyeing Sydney and the Opera House (Day 8)


Our first day in Sydney was so packed, two blog posts are needed. After taking so many pictures in the beautiful Queen Victoria Building in the previous post, this one explores more of Sydney – the highlights of which I hopefully were able to incorporate into the title? (Trying to be witty, yeah…)

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Café Ilang-Ilang, Manila Hotel

Manila Hotel Café Ilang-IlangFinally, something NOT travel-related! 😀 About a month ago, we headed over to the Manila Hotel to have dinner with some relatives (who treated us, thank you!!). Admittedly, it was also my first time inside Manila Hotel! I just always see the iconic façade whenever we drive by, but we never actually had any opportunity to get inside – until now! And boy, is it really old-Manila pretty or what.

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September 2013, Nanjing – Play

With work, we always need to have a period of downtime, too. Ironically, it was Ptr. Peter and Auntie Deonna who invited me out. 😀 Lo and behold, I discover the joys of a simple night walk, more so with a camera in hand. 🙂

NanjingNanjingNanjingWalking around China at night… oh, how I missed this. I never feel afraid or cautious of anything (although of course, staying vigilant is a must) whenever I walk around any place in China at night. It just goes to show that there’s not much of a reason to feel frightened or threatened. On the contrary, I hate having to walk outside at night here in the Philippines. 😐

NanjingNanjingNanjingNanjing is also set to host the upcoming Youth Olympics, so as with any Chinese city with an upcoming major event, renovations and revamps are happening here and there.

DSC_61091DSC_6111Memories to treasure ❤

NanjingNanjingDSC_61021One of the most indelible moments of my walk with the Tan-Chi couple was how loving they were (they’re holding hands in this photo!), even after forty years of marriage! Yes, you are supposed to be loving, no matter how many decades you’ve been together. Sadly, though, the world and media has largely distorted our ideas about love and marriage. Love is a daily choice of whether you do this, or you adjust and accommodate. Praise God for the opportunity to learn so much from them. 🙂

NanjingNanjingOn our last night, some people took us out to this Muslim-friendly restaurant, promising us one of the best meals in Nanjing. Let me just say, remember the name and exterior of this restaurant, because the food is darn good! 🙂

NanjingNanjingNanjingThe usual Chinese appetizers came right before the main courses – and boy, did those main courses deliver!

NanjingThis is Nanjing’s famous 盐水鸭, roughly translated as duck or goose cooked in brine. Hearing the description itself, I wouldn’t have tried it – I personally prefer Beijing’s roast duck. HOWEVER. Out of courtesy, I ate one – and loved it! It had the right amount of salt. Definitely something worth trying out!

NanjingTHIS BEEF BALL. It’s basically an oversized beef ball, but it literally falls apart when you touch it, and it just melts in your mouth. It’s so hard to believe that it’s all beef! According to our hosts, the people here hammer it until it’s really tender, and then make it into these beef balls. Super delicious!

NanjingNanjingWe all ooh-ed and ahh-ed when these two plates of ribs came out – one beef, one goat. Both were seasoned with the usual fare you usually see in Muslim food, cumin and the like. Needless to say, we got our hands dirty and grabbed one rib each!

NanjingNanjingThis little baby had its own grand entrance. At first glance, it looks like a normal, albeit oversized xiao long bao; however, our hosts explained that it had all sorts of goodies inside, including this special crab meat. According to them, these crabs are specially cultured until they grow to a certain small size. That’s what makes the meat special. Of course, as this was going on I was practically thinking about the Philippines’s own talangka, and this didn’t taste half bad. The thing is, you have to start by siphoning out the contents with a straw, and not dig into it! Of course, I got impatient and dug in once I got about half the juice and contents, as the rest of the juice spilled out on the plate, to the horror of our hosts. 😮

NanjingNeedless to say, we went back to our hotel on our last night really full. Chinese hospitality – one of a kind! (albeit a bit wasteful…)


April-May 2013, Beijing – Temple of Confucius/南锣鼓巷/Summer Palace

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusNote to self: a neon backpack is handy for travelling with a group. Makes you super easy to spot! But anywaaaay… here comes another day of touring Beijing’s most scenic spots, this day kicked off by a visit to the Temple of Confucius. (北京孔庙)

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusSo, as you might have guessed, it’s basically a temple dedicated to Confucius, who most Chinese consider as the greatest teacher that ever lived. As for me, temples haven’t increased their appeal towards me at all, especially Chinese ones which tend to be really big and long-winding. One thing that never changes, though – beautiful scenery!

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusYes, those temples can be big and long-winding, but they also make for awesome places to chill and relax. Nature lovers would be SO happy here.

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusDetails, details.

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusSaw and captured my first magpie ever! Excited to show this someday to my students, whom I have taught “magpie” in Chinese to sometime this year.

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusOkay, that was Preston photo-bombing a possible shot. Here’s the real one:

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusSpotted a cosplay girl on our way out, and a co-teacher asked me to take a picture. Loved how it turned out!

Next stop: 南锣鼓巷 Nan Luo Gu Xiang, a.k.a. a pedestrian street packed with quirky little shops and amazing food finds! Visiting this place is especially great for around the 2pm-3pm time frame, where your tummy might start to feel a little neglected.

南锣鼓巷南锣鼓巷南锣鼓巷Cute little cafés all around! The next time I visit Beijing and this place, I’m bringing money and a good book with me. ❤

南锣鼓巷南锣鼓巷南锣鼓巷This next place was supposed to be in a separate post, but let’s just put it together here. Presenting: the Summer Palace! (颐和园)It is arguably one of the most famous tourist spots in Beijing, next to the Great Wall.

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceYou know the usual routine with tourist spots in China – a lot of the in-between “commercials” or miscellanea to look upon.

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer Palace

Just to break up the monotony: did you know that the Summer Palace was especially constructed for the last empress, the notorious tyrant Ci Xi? It’s like saying that today’s First Lady always complains about being bored with state affairs, and ordered the people of the state to build a MASSIVE garden for her, with all the works. Not some tiny little garden, we’re talking acres here! That’s exactly what Ci Xi made her people do, and although the resulting Summer Garden is indeed beautiful, the history behind it? Not so much.

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceWe walked, took pictures, walked some more, until one gorgeous view came right before our eyes.

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceLooking back, I actually have no idea what that tower meant, nor did we even get to that place. But look at how it’s placed! So picturesque, right? The things people did for their empress way back!

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceAnother one of those hundred-year-old trees. China sure has a looot of them. But seriously, tree, well done!

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceWe started going through this long hallway, which we were warned beforehand of as being one of the longest hallways in the world. However, the pretty stained and painted little shafts of windows kept us busy!

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceWe were supposed to go on this boat ride that would take us on a cruise where we can see sights only reachable by boat, but unfortunately the winds and water were uncooperative and especially rocky that day. 😦 Le sigh. Maybe that’s why we didn’t get to see these ever-famous bridges:

Summer Palace - Seventeen Arch Bridge at the Summer Palace

Seventeen Arch Bridge(十七孔桥)courtesy of bestourism.com

The Jade Belt Bridge

Jade Belt Bridge (玉带桥) courtesy of btmbeijing.com

Le sigh indeed. Would have loved to photograph these iconic bridges myself, but God has a purpose for everything, right? Forward we go!

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceAnd we walked, and walked, and walked… until we came into an area so unusual yet breathtaking, we thought we were in another town altogether!

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceIt makes me suspect if there are actually people living inside! Come to think of it, we didn’t really bother to check…

DSC_5076DSC_5079…because we were too busy buying and testing cute souvenirs (LOL) and braving a dust storm with our immediate resources! Yes, seriously, a dust storm with all the particles billowing around furiously. First time in my life to have experienced that!

Summer PalaceLast Beijing post coming up soon! Woohoo! I’m sure you’re all probably sick of Beijing now, but trust me: if you haven’t been there, you NEED to go. 😀


Bangihan ni Kuya

DSC_4039You know how you drive through highways in the province, and you always see those big thatched huts that are actually eateries or restaurants? Yeah, we never thought of trying those, but this particular one along the Candelaria highway in Quezon named Bangihan ni Kuya came highly recommended by one of my dad’s friends, so we decided to try it out on one of our recent trips!

DSC_4036DSC_4044DSC_4037The thing with the pricing of this place is that it’s waaay more expensive that it should be. The price and serving size ratio is just not right, which makes it a shame since the food itself is pretty good!

DSC_4041DSC_4056DSC_4042One of the highlights of this place is their grilled pork. The taste is quite similar to Palaisdaan – perfection for me – but again, for the price and serving size it came in, it became such a shame. The fish tasted very good as well, but the ones we ordered weren’t grilled well – some meat still stuck at the bones, meaning it’s not fully cooked.

DSC_4050DSC_4053DSC_4051DSC_4054The sinigang, however, was amazeballs. Yeah, that medium-sized bowl cost more than P350 (again, a little pricey), but man, it was amazing – the best sinigang I’ve ever tasted in my life! Would love to go back just for this!

P.S. The photo above the sinigang is sisig. I love my sisig and everything, but DON’T ORDER IT!

DSC_4045To add insult to injury, the fresh coconuts ordered by our companions were a little sour. 😦

DSC_4032DSC_4029DSC_4049To sum it up, I really wanted to love the place – the place was light and airy, the grills smelled delicious and most of the food were delicious. There were a few hiccups, though, which somehow made me think ours wasn’t an accident. Most of all, I think they need to fix their pricing. Considering the owners aren’t renting the land, and they use minimal electricity, there’s no reason to charge that high!


Koon Lin Seafood Restaurant, etc.

DSC_4059Just yesterday, we visited the newly-opened restaurant of one of Dad’s friends, named Koon Lin Seafood Restaurant.

DSC_4065DSC_4060DSC_4073At the mention of Chinese restaurants, I always have that love-hate feeling about them – yes, Chinese food is good and all that, but perhaps being exposed to it practically all my life, I don’t feel as much excitement for it as I do for other cuisine. Happy to say that Koon Lin rekindled the “love” in me, though!

DSC_4062DSC_4064DSC_4069It’s a bit upscale, mostly price-wise but also design-wise, for our small city of Lucena. However, what we did notice is that, after a month of business, the place is still very busy with customers, mostly with native Chinese (we call ’em TDK, Fookien people get that!) who have moved their families and businesses to Lucena. We had one teacher from China with us as well, and she echoed the reason why this place has been a hit with its intended market: the food tasted really authentic.

DSC_4077DSC_4075I loved that their fried squid was tender enough to cut through with a spoon. Cannot tell you about the million experiences I had with Chinese restaurants where I had to pull at the squid with everything I got!

DSC_4076My ultimate favorite (which I will be ordering in every Chinese restaurant from now on): eggplant with ground beef and spices! Everything else we ordered was YUM as well.

DSC_4066DSC_4057Fun fact: the phrases on the wall are actually part of a Chinese saying. Anyway, love how the place was tastefully designed! Enough to make you feel like you’re dining in some Chinese restaurant in Manila. 🙂

Koon Lin is actually at the second floor of the building it’s at. In the first floor are two more establishments, owned by the children of Koon Lin’s owner: M2 Miko Miko, which is more like Western dining but with a more casual and relaxed feel, and Chuables (tell me that name is not cute; the family’s name is Chua), which is a bakery.

DSC_4087DSC_4081Chuables is still pretty much reasonably priced, and anything you buy here can be carried into the other two establishments – same goes for the other two restos as well!

DSC_4080DSC_4082DSC_4090Look at that lightbulb fixture! SO CUTE.

DSC_4084DSC_4089The place was also pretty packed, so although our food tasting had to go for next time, that just about sums up how good the food is here. Till next time!


Eduvigis Lucena – The Prequel

I like to call it a prequel, simply because I didn’t take enough photos of the place, and plan to make up for it after our next visit. 😀

Anyway, Eduvigis Lucena is an establishment similar to the previously-blogged Zymurgy – coffee shop, restaurant and bar in one. You know how much Filipinos love their coffee shops offering rice meals. Hahaha!

DSC_2823DSC_2821Eduvigis has more of a great-dining vibe, and it brands itself as a restaurant as well, so it offers more dishes with more varieties than the usual. They have a chef in there, too, so they’re really banking on the dining thing. In fairness naman, they have a lot of great dishes that impress even my mom!

DSC_2827DSC_2824Mozarella sticks!! Wish they had a little more flavor, but anything fried with mozarella in it is fine by me. 😀

DSC_2830They have another specialty, which is the sisig pusit (how to translate sisig?), so that will go for the next post. 🙂

DSC_2822DSC_2832Another one of their best-sellers, the praline cake. Wasn’t in the mood for cake that time, but if my mom likes it, then it’s most probably good. 🙂