Monday, March 2, 2009

168 Bento Haul

Here are some of the things I was able to buy from 168 yesterday! This is the mall near Divisoria. I'll try to post the prices if I can remember them.

I actually bought the bento bags in Riverbanks in Marikina, but I saw the same outlet at 168. The name of the tag on the bag is Katrina's Secret. The bags are actually quite cheap, ranging from P35-70 each (about $1-$2, made with good material and with lining for added insulation.

For the bento box picture, from left to right - oshibori towels and container (P25 each), the little towels themselves can be bought for P80 for 1 dozen (not shown in pic)'; Hello Kitty spoon & fork container (P50), this is actually a toothbrush & toothpaste container, but it should work well as my spoon & fork container since I hate using the flat spoon & forks usually sold with bento boxes; Hello Kitty 2-tier bento (the long one on the upper part of the photo, P150-200); Hello Kitty 2-tier container (round oval), P130; Hello Kitty 4-in-1 oval containers, P150; and the Strawberry Shortcake looking 2-tier container, 2 for P100 (the other one is in use so is not in the photo)!

I'm not really a Hello Kitty fan, but those are the only ones I can find here in Manila inexpensively. There are actually several Hello Kitty stores in Divisoria and some tiangges (flea market sort of place) that only sell Hello Kitty stuff. Not original Sanrio items, of course...

When you go shopping at 168, make sure to ask around and canvass first. Prices for the same item can vary as much as P50 at different stalls.

Bihon, gyoza and tinapa mango sandwich

Another bento from last week:

Tinapa & mango sandwich, bihon with some sliced calamansi, speared quail eggs. Gyoza with some star carrots, sliced cucumber & tomatoes topped with cheese, sliced bananas and Reese's. Dragonfruit, century egg drizzled with some sugar & rice wine.

Fun with sushi molds

Here are some bentos from last week:

Onigiri made with my new sushi molds and furikake. Also included are sliced fried tofu braised in the sauce for inarizushi aburage, sliced lumpia toge (spring rolls filled with bean sprouts), sliced kiwis and some bananas.

Chicken Teriyaki Bento

I haven't been able to update this blog for a while. I have been busy with life. But here' a quick bento that I prepared today for me and my sis. It could have been better with some star carrots, though. I used the chicken teriyaki recipe from here. Remember to let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing. This helps to make the chicken more moist (the chicken juices are redistributed back to the meat). Some lychee and green peas for fruit & veggies. Chicken is placed on a bed of rice and a slice of bread.

The other bento container is filled with chicken misua (bottom tier), lychee, almond gelatin with fruits, and sliced chicken teriyaki on a bed of sliced cucumbers and green peas.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fish Fillet Hot Salad

I probably first tried the hot salad at a wedding or some other celebration's lauriat banquet. And it was most likely a Hot Prawn Salad. Mostly only the Class A Chinese restaurants had this on their menu, but since then it has become very popular and every Chinese restaurant has put a version of it on their menu. I would always look forward to hot salad whenever attending celebrations at Chinese restaurants, and starting a couple of years ago, have started ordering hot salad myself (it's a bit expensive). My experiences with various restaurant's hot salads wasn't always good. Most were so-so, and some disappointing.

So a few months ago I tried making hot salad at home. Since we had some fish fillet in stock, I used that instead of prawns. I have actually tried some salads that used chicken! That wasn't so good. Of course using cocktail prawns would be best. But since I didn't have prawns, I used fish instead. And my salad is actually much better chilled!

First, slice some fish fillet into bite-sized pieces. Next, add some rice wine to help remove the fishy taste. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Mix well, making sure the salt & pepper are evenly distributed. Add a lot of cornstarch to the fish, making sure that the fish is well coated with cornstarch.

Heat a deep frying pan with enough oil for deep frying. Fry the fish, a few at a time, until cooked, about 2-4 minutes, occasionally stirring the frying pan to make sure that the fish does not stick to the pan and is cooked evenly. Drain excess oil.

Open a can (or two!) of fruit cocktail, drain the syrup and reserve it for another use (juice, perhaps?). In a bowl big enough to mix everything in, put the fruit cocktail, some Miracle Whip (put more if you want a creamier and thicker consistency), a little condensed milk, and salt and good quality ground pepper (or freshly ground) to taste. Mix well. Finally, add the fried fish fillets and mix well again.

You have the option to eat it now or let it chill. I suggest letting it chill. The sauce thickens when cold to make for a yummier salad.

Robinson's Otis Buy 1 Take 1 - Week of Jan 25 '09

Here are the Buy 1 Take 1 hauls from Robinson's Otis this week. Purefoods Hamon de Bola is now on Buy 1 Take 1 at P285 for both! The Cheddarella was at P194 for 2. We also got some Lurpak butter again since I plan to do a lot of baking. My dad also got some King Sue ham, Arla Havarti cheese, President brand butter, and Kraft Velveeta slices, all at Buy 1 Take 1. The Selecta Moo is at 5+1. Our fridge is groaning from being overstuffed!

Again, we got A LOT of bargains from Robinson's Supermarket in Otis. We do love this place! As a bonus, parking is free and there aren't too many people in the malls. Yes, there are probably more staff than shoppers. Just don't expect that mall to have everything. It's a tiny mall that doesn't even seem to have a Robinson's Department store. Just go there to get your hands on some real bargains!

Su Zhou Dimsum

I had seen Su Zhou Dimsum in Malate before, and thought to go back to try it some other day, but never did. So when I saw that they had a branch at Robinson's Otis, I definitely made it a point to try their famous xiao long pao. This was actually my second visit. I didn't have my camera with me on my first visit, and almost forgot to take pictures this time. So here we have the 2 remaining steamed xiao long pao, and the 1 remaining pan-fried xiao long pao. We also ordered some fish fillet and fried rice. I forgot what the fish fillet dish was called but it was delicious! Simple food - lightly breaded fish fillet with egg white-cornstarch sauce, some onions, carrots and green pepper, but done really well! It was all gone before I remembered to take a picture.

Their xiao long pao, of course, was much better than what you get at the usual dimsum places in
Onpin. The only other restaurant's that could come close would be Gloriamaris' xiao long pao. Truth be told, it was even better than the xiao long pao we had in Shanghai. We had xiao long pao at one of the restaurants at the Yu Gardens, which Shanghai residents told us was the place to go to for xiao long pao (to be fair, those restaurants did do a brisk business on xiao long pao, and it seemed to be their specialty since even the locals were ordering it table after table).

Su Zhou's xiao long pao was served piping hot. The way to eat it is to use your chopsticks to gently transfer it to your soup spoon (you may dip it into the vinegar/garlic dipping sauce first if you prefer), bite off the top 'peak' to release the heat and maybe cool the xiao long pao a bit, and when it's cool enough to eat without burning your tongue, slowly sip the 'soup' and eat the xiao long pao, taking care not to spill any of the delicious soup. Yes, xiao long pao should have that 'soup' inside the dumpling. Su Zhou's xiao long pao is delicately flavored - with a hint of ginger, the taste of pork, and not too salty nor too sweet. But it is well-flavored. Personally I prefer the pan-fried version. There's just something about pan-fried dimsum that makes it taste better - like fried siopao, potstickers, pan-fried gyoza..

Do check out Su Zhou Dimsum and savor their xiao long pao, making sure not to spill any of the soup. From my experience, the service at their Robinson's Otis branch was a bit mediocre and the staff seemed to be just idling and not as spiffy nor as well-trained compared to the better restaurants, but their food is superb! (When the supervisor served us our xiao long pao, I had to ask for chopsticks and soup spoons...) At P90-95 an order for 4 pieces of xiao long pao, it is a bit expensive, but it is definitely worth trying and going back for maybe every 1-2 months...