One of the things I want to do once I get a job is to start hunting for food. Not in the sense that I’ll be actually stalking my meat like the spear-wielding tribesmen of Africa or the Ancient Mayan civilization…or Elmer Fudd, but scouting the vicinity of wherever I am for fantastic eats.
Scrumptious meals come in many forms, as well as prices. Some are worth their price, whether expensive or cheap. There’s cuisine that costs a fortune but tastes like dry dog droppings. Then there are inconspicuous, hidden food outlets and/or chains that serve cheap entrees but melt in your mouth like a million dollars. Of course, the latter would be the most preferred choice for everyone. But not every form of food can be bought for a bargain. Some foods are naturally pricy because of the ingredients used. Still, they can still be divided into ‘worth the price’ and ‘I can’t believe this shit costs this much’.
Me and Catherine, in a way, document our food ventures. She’s not as interested in food as me (because all women think they’re fat), but she’s always willing to try new stuff. She has the tools for fine photography, so as always, she’s a huge help. I’ll be giving back my first monthly salary to my grandfather, so our food ventures shall be renewed by my second pay and onwards. We probably also have to document each time I cook for her, because according to her, it’s something I rarely do. Haha
I’ll be dividing the food categories into two sub-categories: a) the best I’ve found; and b) suggestions from people that I want to try. I’m very much miles open to more suggestions by the way. That’s pretty much the whole point of this series of articles.
I’ll start off with…
Rice – the Philippines’ staple food; reap and sown mostly in Central Luzon. There’s the everyday white rice, there’s brown rice and there’s red rice. There’s even green rice (Pao Tsin’s Hainanese Rice), but I believe that’s due to food coloring.
Our everyday white rice is considered the ‘inferior’ breed by people in the provinces. Their usual staple is brown or red rice. That kind of rice is heavier on the stomach, but it’s more nutritious. I tried it, didn’t like it. It doesn’t taste normal. It also spoils quicker because of the germ it contains. This same germ is removed to make white rice.
A lot of rice is a must in my dish. I’ve had people question me about the amount of rice they see in my plate; both in English and Tagalog. I’ve even had someone ask me if I was planning on getting a separate plate for my viands. I swear and yell towards the sky when I don’t get even 1 cup of extra rice. I’m not a record breaking rice chomper who takes in 18 cups of rice at Mang Inasal — I hear that’s the record; or so I believe. It’s a story that came from my cousin, and it’s the most I know. But my personal record is 7 cups. What can I say; I was hungry. They don’t have the best rice in my 20 years of existence, though. They, along with other Unlimited Rice food chains, just have the most.
a. The best rice I’ve had so far is Catherine’s fried rice. Basically, it’s rice fried in butter with corn kernels, carrots, peas, little hotdog slices, fried eggs and a lot of love. The last ingredient is probably why it’s so damn good. I don’t have a picture of it yet, though. By the time I remember to take a picture of it, I’ve already finished the whole thing. I’ll capture one the next time Catherine cooks again.
b. A good friend of mine told me about an upscale Chinese restaurant called Mr. Chow. They have a branch in SM North EDSA. They offer Unlimited Yang Chow rice for only P98 (WORTH THE PRICE!). For everyone familiar with Yang Chow rice, there’s hardly a need to get any side dish or viand for that.
I was a bit disappointed however when my friend told me that there was shrimp included. My body doesn’t agree with most seafood except for fresh fish; small amounts are tolerable. If I had 7 cups of this Yang Chow rice, I might just swell up, collapse, then wake up in the hospital. Too bad, I was imagining them refilling your plate with the rice using sterilized standard size shovels. They’ll pick it up like cement and put it in your plate. “More rice, sir?” *scoop scoop*
There’s still hope for me, perhaps. One of my cousins was ultra-allergic to shrimp. It was so bad, the scent (YES, THE SCENT) of boiling shrimp made his whole body itch. One day, he tried eating it. He grew fond of shrimp. His allergy attacked him, of course, but his persistence to eat what he wanted eventually got him over his ailment and now he joins the rest of the family during shrimp and crab fests.
I’ve eaten squid rings before (calamares), more than once. My throat itched a bit, but I couldn’t give a fuck, it was delicious. There’s a headstart. Maybe I can do the same with shrimp, and that unlimited Yang Chow rice, ultimately.