LP25: 10 Things About Bento

The 25th round of Lasang Pinoy is all about bento (or should I say baon) and since I’ve been packing lunch for work almost always for the past 6 months, I decided to list down 10 things about it.

1. The size of my usual teeny weeny lunchbox makes my officemates worry so much if I’m eating enough.

2. The Kiwi lifestyle is that everybody eats lunch in the office. Or at least I think so. Uso ang magdala ng baon. Bakit kamo? Ewan ko but most probably because they all believe in preserving the environment. Usong linya po yan sa opis. Seriously, I think health and frugality are the main reasons.

3. The office lunchroom:
– Very baon-friendly. Clean and efficient except for the fact that the cutlery drawer is too far from the coffee station. With 2 large dining tables and a long bar counter, it is big enough for our informal meetings and gatherings. It is also a library.
– Love the kitchen. Complete whiteware. 1 big fridge and a small one full of bottles of fresh milk. (Not to mention that hot, hot, HOT 20-something Maori milkman who delivers ‘em!) There’s hot and chilled water direct from water filter tap. Easy to prepare your lunch as there’s bread toaster, oven and microwave. Cleaning up isn’t a problem, too. Everybody’s responsible enough to place their dirty stash in the dishwasher.
– Coffee (fresh or instant), tea and chocolate drink are free anytime of the day. Drinks (beer and wine), nibbles and lollies free every Friday afternoon.

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Lasang Pinoy 23: Braised Pork Spareribs

My 1st month back in Auckland has been really stressful, won’t elaborate on that as I don’t wanna bore you with my angst. It would be better if I just share a recipe for Lasang Pinoy 23. I am late, sorry Lorraine, but here it is… braised pork spareribs. An old photo of one I cooked back in Beijing either during a very busy day or a matter of “this-is-what’s-left-to-cook.”

This is so simple with very basic ingredients and I did pan-fry the spare ribs before slow-cooking but you can omit that part and it would taste just as good.

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Lasang Pinoy 22: Egg Fried Rice

I love rice but when it comes to getting imaginative with cooking featuring rice, I’m afraid I can not rice to the challenge. Naku, kung hindi ako nagkakamali... I could only go as far as cooking arroz caldo and lugaw. But despite my busy schedule and jet lag (yeah, surprise, surprise! I am having a 2-week vacation back in Beijing!), I just couldn’t miss an LP round.

Here is a quick and simple recipe for egg fried rice that I usually prepare for breakfast to go with anything fried like tuyo, dilis (dried anchovies), longgonisa, tocino and the likes. Beware… it may not be for you. He he he I don’t wanna be responsible if you get Salmonella bacteria so just go check out this site before trying it.

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Lasang Pinoy 22: Congee

This beautiful entry is written by Erwin Ines for Lasang Pinoy 22 – Rice to the Challenge hosted by Cooked from the Heart. Blogging from Toronto, Canada, this is Erwin’s 3rd time to join Lasang Pinoy. Read his other articles listed here.

Tubong Lugaw

Outside is totally white and blustery. Toronto is experiencing one hell of a storm today; the worst after nearly sixty years as the radio announced very early this morning. Unfortunately, today is a Sunday, and I’m scheduled to work, and I did. I worked for 3.5 hours from my usual 8 or 9; being cut off as customers slowly trickled into the restaurant. I expected to be cut. I volunteered to be cut. I anticipated it, but the idea of working 7 days a week for the next 3 weeks is beyond me. A few hours reprieve from the kitchen is a big sigh of relief. I also get the chance to clean my apartment; cook dinner and what have you.

Upon leaving work, I decided to pass by the liquor store and bought a couple of bottles of Soju, a strong Korean spirit that I’ve learned to drink on cold, nasty weather like this one. It’s also cheaper compared with Canadian Whiskey or Vodka. Soon, I know, I’ll be cooking with them. But whatever, wine just doesn’t cut it for me anymore. I’ve also thought of drowning myself in Rum maybe over the holidays just to keep myself warm and upbeat every morning when I wake up to do the same bloody routine again until the 31st. Jamaican Rum’s alcohol level is at 63%, much stronger than Soju, and sure does provide that healthy kick and punch, if drank moderately.

In Manila, where the climate is as hot and humid as a car’s muffler, some kind of deep-fried spicy food with white vinegar and an ice cold San Miguel provides that comfort. In my case, I’d stick to those hot egg noodle soups topped with beef or chicken and paired with the best tea in Manila’s Chinatown. They are just perfect before or after my weekly Tai Chi classes, next to Dim sum (chicken feet!!). One of my favourites however, is the Chicken or Plain Congee. It’s just magic, and I never knew how it was so easy to prepare, until now.

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Let’s All Rice to the Challenge!

December’s Lasang Pinoy theme is… “RICE! We have gone through 21 months of Lasang Pinoy and we’ve covered a spectrum of Filipino dishes. Every one of those dishes, if you notice, always paired well with rice. See if you can count how many recipes end with ‘serve over rice’ or ‘serve with lots of steamed rice’. I lost count. Rice is a huge part of Filipino cuisine. So I thought isn’t it time to highlight rice?” JMom says on Lasang Pinoy 22: Rice to the Challenge! Lovely theme ei? Sali na po! Read the full announcement on JMom’s blog. Continue reading Let’s All Rice to the Challenge!


LP21: Bicol Express para sa A-Tapang A-Tao

I had been really busy and so lost and confused and excited (and whatever), all at the same time in another foreign land that I didn’t have time to blog. But it really is good to know that Lasang Pinoy once again is back and with a very interesting theme. When I had that precious time I even reminded my good friend Bursky about it and he told me that he’s already writing his entry that very moment. Impatiently I asked, “Sino ang sa ‘yo?” Then he answered, “si ano.” (Won’t tell you, just read his blog.) And so I said, pardon my humor or the lack of it but however hard I try to think and concentrate on a hero that I could associate myself with I just can’t help but think about…

Andres Bonifacio, a-tapang a-tao
A-putol a-kamay, hindi a-takot
A-putol a-paa, hindi atakot
A-putol a-ulo, hindi a-takot
A-putol a-***n, a-takbo atulin!

I even told him a dated joke about Andres’ monument and he eagerly waited for me to share it. Shoot!

Tanong: Ano ang sigaw ni Andres sa Monumento?
Sagot: (holding his tabak on one hand, he cursed with a significant emphasis on the 1st syllable) Pooot*****a mo Marcos! Hanggang d’yan lang ang LRT!

The poor twenty-something dude has never heard it before. Oh how he rolled all over the floor laughing out loud! (Obviously, we were on YM.) He then commented that at one point Andres almost turn around to face EDSA. This time to curse Gloria about MRT.

Oh well, I don’t mean disrespect but truthfully, The Great Plebian and Father of the Katipunan is known for being a-tapang na tao and if I were a binibini ng katipunan I would always be giving the supremo something that will even enhance his extra-ordinary valor (*evil grin* ano kaya yun?). Para hindi sya a-takbo a-tulin. A condiment full of siling labuyo will do the trick but he needs more protein to be stronger. Bicol Express maybe! Yeah yeah the dish wasn’t even invented during his time besides the fact that he’s not Bicolano (and so is Bicol Express). But who knows? Maybe I could have been the one who invented it. (I wish.) Anyhoo, having little time to cook given my present situation in New Zealand, Bicol Express is the only hot and spicy Filipino dish I’ve had here so far. Pretty explains why I chose it, huh? And here’s another bummer. I didn’t even cook the one shown in the photos! It’s lovingly and passionately concocted by my friend’s hubby E.

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Lasang Pinoy 20: Lumpiang Shanghai

I thought I couldn’t participate in the 20th event of Lasang Pinoy, being out of town, no cooking and all. But with my food photos in a handy external hard drive with me, I managed to find some decent photos I’ve taken months ago using my old digital camera. Voila! Lumpiang shanghai!

So lemme just list down few things about these little rolls of delight…

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Lasang Pinoy 17: Egg Fried Rice

Erwin Ines is this blog’s regular Contributor. A Credit and Financial Analyst in Manila, Erwin migrated to Canada in 2003 and made a drastic career change a year and a half later. With his passion for food and love for cooking, he decided to take a Continuing Education Chef Training Course at George Brown College’s Chef School in Toronto.

China Crisis
(Circa 1983)

Eggs are probably one of the most versatile ingredients next to the chicken. However, many in this world of ours relate eggs with breakfast and or with desserts. In my case, I’d prefer eggs with breakfast. I love breakfast and just couldn’t wait the next morning to prepare my Double Toasted Bagel Cream Cheese with Two Eggs Easy. Every now and then, I would change my bread to Rye or Whole Wheat and prepare a Western or Mushroom Omelette or Frittata. Last winter, I cooked four (4) pieces of crunchy bacon alongside this combination and mixed one crunchy slice with my omelette of the day. My morning was almost always so gratifying that I was in heaven on earth after taking such a huge meal. That meal would last me until about 3:00 P.M. before taking my quick leftover lunch. My early morning days-off would almost always turn into brunch. They were precious early mornings I cherished every week. I don’t get tired of cooking eggs. In most occasions, I’d flip the egg just to practice my speed and skill in tossing much like creating fire in the saute pan. That was my initial take on eggs.

At the moment, I am just totally confused on what to present for Lasang Pinoy so I resorted to writing this idea right away. I’m sure I won’t be presenting something “Pinoy” but maybe something more contemporary, western or classical as one might have expected as I myself have; living in the northeastern hemisphere in the western world. Initially, I wanted to combine eggs with potatoes and bread, but yet again I had to plan and to organize my ingredients to the last spec. I knew firsthand that would turn out something really flavourful, fulfilling and majestic, but yet again, time is not working for me. Spring is already here and summer is just lurking behind. It really gets out of hand during this once a year, 12-week phenomenon in Canadian summer; so with my schedule. It might get even longer and hotter due to global warming which only means more menacing work ahead. With this upcoming battle with summer, I had to devise a personal meal plan that worked. I’ve been avoiding processed food for health reasons and rice was the next best thing that was available in my pantry. I have been experimenting with rice lately cooking Chinese Congee with Julienned Green Onions (some say scallions) and Ginger. It’s fast and quick meal. It’s also a delicious and fulfilling fare similarly to my breakfast of toast and eggs. For LP17, I have decided to cook my version of Egg Fried Rice. It’s one way of cleaning up the fridge of leftovers before proceeding to Chinatown’s sweet market buys.

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Lasang Pinoy 17: Chicken & Marbleized Quail Eggs Adobo

Angelo of Eat Matters decided to tackle egg as an ingredient for the 17th round of Lasang Pinoy. Oh I thought about omelets right away but then, nilagang itlog has always been my favorite. Be it plain hard-boiled eggs as snack or breakfast just like what nourishes a poor Chinese laborer in construction sites here in Beijing, or toppings to a hearty chicken noodle soup. And so I present to you… chicken and marbleized quail eggs adobo.

A lot of things had been said about adobo – the national dish, soul food, the non-Pinoy’s favorite Pinoy food. There are also so many ways to cook adobo and for quite sometime I have always wanted it soupy but nowadays… mean and dark it is, just as I remember it as a kid.

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LP16-2: Crispy Fried Chicken

ate's fruit salad last xmasSince we lived far away from relatives, most of our Noche Buena feasts were spent at home with few family friends dropping by after dinner and Christmas day itself was almost always a private gathering. As a child I remember there were only few houses in our neighborhood and the closest would bring over a bowlful of fruit salad and my mom in return would give a tray of bihon guisado (fried noodles). Everyone loves food and at Christmastime giving something homemade means so much more. But much like my online friend and blog contributor Erwin, I have fond memories of lechong manok at pritong manok (grilled and fried chicken).

Lechong manok became very popular during my late teens and just in time when our family reunions during the Christmas holidays became a tradition. This annual get-together event has now evolved into a potluck party and kicks off just before the season ends. Though my dad prefers bringing the ever-easy hamonado (fatty pork cooked with pineapple chunks and spices, photo shown below) and my titas usually request for my sister to bring fresh mussels for grilling or baking (not to mention my craving for original chunky buko pie that only dad knows where to get), time and availability is a hindrance and the smell of grilled chicken along the highway always offer the obvious solution sans the creativity of a beautiful tin or basket.

looks like adobo i know... but it's dad's hamonado last xmas

But as a child, fried chicken was the epitome of all holy and great and festive in my young mind that I wasn’t the least interested in the other sumptuous dishes however fabulous and tedious the preparation may be. I could devour more than half a chicken – huge enough for the thin kid I was – brown and juicy with delectable crisp skin. I’d be in a corner eating with much gusto, without rice or any side dish but a bottle of ice-cold Coke and the adults won’t hear a thing. Antonio (Cean prefers that name now) is very much like the 5-year old that I was. He’d check out everything served on the table and choose only one that he likes and I can guarantee it would be fried chicken with plain rice over anything else. I just have to make sure there is a bottle of ketchup next to him. By the time the party’s over, his godparents/grandparents already knew what to put together for him – a take-home package of his favorite food that would be thoroughly enjoyed and devoured before the day is out.

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