Angono, the art capital of the Philippines, is not only a haven for artists but also a showcase of the Philippines’ rich culinary heritage. Talk about Angono and Balaw Balaw will eventually come up in the conversation. Balaw Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery has been known to serve exotic dishes utilizing indigenous ingredients used by our forefathers like the balaw balaw (fermented shrimp sauce). They are also popular for serving exotic dishes like butt and balls Soup #5, the fried itik (native duck) and uok (giant coconut worms). While the staples are still there, the Vocalan family who run the restaurant still tries to innovate on traditional dishes to adapt them to the modern times.
The Morato area has long been a favorite haunt for eager diners. And why not? The selections are nice and the prices are usually much lower than those in Makati. It can be quite a drive or a ride away though especially for those who live in the South but at times, you stumble upon a place that’s worth the trouble. Could 145o be one of those?
It’s been quite a while since we last stepped into Amici in Don Bosco in Makati City. Oh, we’ve always considered this restaurant that boasts of affordable, home-cooked Italian-style cuisine as a comforting constant in a constantly changing foodscape. But ever since its takeover by a new management team two years ago, we had our apprehensions. And there’s also the expansion to include a branch in SM Megamall. Did the move to professionalize the operations alter the relaxed eating experience? Or worse, change the great-tasting food we’ve always come to love?
To find out, we dropped by on a Sunday afternoon for a late lunch – something that was not possible when Amici was still run by the Salesians of Don Bosco. Obviously, this is one of the benefits of the new management as Sunday is a very nice time to avoid the big weekday office crowds and take your sweet time to savor each and every bite. The verdict: still as lip-smacking good as ever.
I’ve always had a penchant for Thai food ever since I’ve encountered it a long time ago way back when Flavors and Spices, one of the pioneers of Thai cuisine in the country, was around. Then, there was also the more mainstream but nonetheless delicious offerings of Sukhothai. I had this notion that it’s pretty hard not to like Thai food because for all the differences it had with local fare, there are some striking similarities – the use of a shrimp paste, nam pla, for example bears strong resemblance to our bagoong and patis. Some of the flavors are also familiar – the liberal use of lemongrass or tanglad, lime juice, chilis and coconut milk.
It’s not everyday that I hanker for Thai food but I somehow lament the fact that it’s not as commonly available as before. Until I found out that there’s a Thai restaurant along Pasong Tamo that serves great Thai food – Thai Sticks ‘n Steaks. The blurb outside says its cuisine is inspired by Sukhothai. Don’t let the funky name fool you, the food is really very good. So come inside and let’s taste what it has to offer.