More Expat Comfort Food in the Philippines

Comfort food is not the same across the board. Other than personal tastes and likes, the country and the particular region of that country also has a vast influence on Expat Comfort Food in the Philippines.

Great Northern Beans with Black Forest Ham

Fried Cornbread

Now for me, this is a real Happy Meal! Great Northern Beans with Black Forest Ham and Fried Cornbread. Some of my family members and friends back in the States are always amazed that I can readily buy the food products I enjoy in Bacolod City to prepare excellent dishes at home. The Black Forest Ham is available at Aribu Sausages and Cold Cuts, located in the Mandalagan Art District. If the dried Great Northern Beans are not in stock at one of the Bacolod Supermarkets, you can buy the canned beans. The brand is Molinera and sold under the name “White Beans.” Just simmer a couple cans of the Molinera White Beans in a large pot, add the shredded Black Forest Ham and you got it going on! Don’t forget to open the cans and pour the beans into the pot but you know that already!

Getting the cornmeal to make cornbread is a little trickier. Bob’s Deli Grocery on Lacson Street is the only place I have ever found packaged cornmeal in Bacolod City and it is out of stock much more often than in stock. The alternative and much cheaper, is to buy corn in the public market and have the grinder grind it to your specifications. The grinder at Masinlingan Public Market in Bacolod charges P45 per kilo to grind the corn. We often get one texture of cornmeal for making cornbread and one texture to be used in battering fish and meat.

Popcorn Chicken

The grind of cornmeal used to turn out these food nuggets, popcorn chicken, is coarser than the cornmeal to make cornbread.

I have been eating and enjoying Filipino Cuisine since 1986. For this expat, some of the dishes are also excellent comfort food.

Pinakbet

A variation of Pinakbet is found in almost every Region of the Philippines. Our version includes the vegetables pumpkin/squash, green beans, eggplant, okra, ampalaya/bitter melon, onions and garlic. Sometimes, we add tomato. We always add Barrio Fiesta bagoong or shrimp paste. In this particular dish, we added chicken still on the bone, which is not so common. Mostly, you will see shirmp and/or pork in Pinakbet.

There are a number of homemade soups that I would include among my personal comfort food but that will be another post. I don’t really know what your personal comfort foods are but I think you will find the ingredients to make them in Bacolod City and you may even find them in one of the excellent restaurants in the city.

 

 

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Expat Comfort Food in the Philippines

Whenever I get together with my expat friends in the Bacolod Area, the topic of food always comes up! Where to buy certain Western food items, new restaurants which serve food that expats enjoy and what we eat at home. I can find pretty much anything I enjoy and would want in the supermarkets of Bacolod for my wife and I to prepare delicious food at home. The last two hard to find items can now be found at the Deli Grocery of Cafe Bob’s on Lacson Street. Those two items were American style cornmeal to make good cornbread and grit. Grits are coarsely ground corn or sometimes alkali treated corn, known as hominy. The grits I bought at Cafe Bob’s are Enriched Hominy Grits, milled in Washington State, USA. Grits are mostly eaten at breakfast but I also eat them with fried fish for lunch for supper.

We enjoy eating in restaurants in Bacolod City, eating out several times each week, but we eat most of our meals at home, which my wife and I prepare. We always look forward to the new restaurant reviews by the Bacolod Food Hunters, found right here on Word Press. I will share a few things we prepared at home the past week or so. All the ingredients were purchased in Bacolod City at one of the supermarkets, namely SM, Robinsons, Lopues, Gaisano, Cafe Bob’s Deli Grocery and K-Mart. No, it isn’t the USA based K-Mart.

We have a few Filipino friends who also enjoy what I refer to as “Expat Comfort Food!” Based on what I have learned from conversations with expats in Bacolod, I eat Filipino food more often than most of them. I eat Filipino dishes several times each week but I am not too craZy about plain white rice.

Italian Sausage with Sauerkraut

The Italian Sausage is a fairly new item sold at SM under their Bonus brand name of European Deli. A great price on these, too. The baguette was purchased at Baker’s Bakery. I added French’s Horseradish Mustard to the baguette. The French’s Horseradish Mustard is two sauces in one bottle and can be purchased at SM Supermarket.

Libby’s Crispy Sauerkraut

This jar of Libby’s Crispy Sauerkraut was purchased at Cafe Bob’s Deli Grocery. K-Mart sometimes has cans of sauerkraut in stock but they were out when I recently wanted to buy some. “Sorry, Sir, out of stock!” Too bad but I had Plan B. Cafe Bob’s.

As I mentioned, I am not too craZy about plain white rice but I can do a few things with it! To kick the rice up a few notches!

Red Beans and Rice with Italian Sausage

I could not find Andouille Sausage in Bacolod to make this hearty Cajun dish, made famous in the USA in Louisiana, but I didn’t expect to find it since it is a regional sausage even in the States. So, I used one of the SM European Deli Italian Hot Links Sausages. These sausages are spicy but not overpowering. I also added chopped green bell peppers, which are locally grown and much cheaper than the imported bell peppers. The red kidney beans are Campagna brand, which is a product of Italy. Less than $1 USD per can, so not bad! This brand of kidney beans is sold in SM Supermarket and I have seen them at other Bacolod Supermarkets. I also use the red kidney beans to make chili con carne.

G&G Burger

There seems to be the ongoing debate about where to find the best burgers. Hungry Pete’s? Bar 21? Actually the best burgers in Bacolod are found in our home! G&G Burger, which is Gary and Grace Burger. Yep, we make them but we don’t sell them. Grilled to perfection using Ground Round Beef, which is all we use for our burgers. If it is the rainy season and too wet to grill outdoors, these burgers can also be made in the skillet or wok on the gas burner. I have an assortment of good things to put on the burger. A1 Steak Sauce, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, French’s Horseradish Mustard, French’s Honey Dijon Mustard, McCormick Yellow Mustard, Heinz Ketchup, Mother’s Best Hot Sauce, Del Monte Hamburger Pickle Relish (which is red color and not green color), Magic Time Jalapeno Peppers, Tabasco Green or Red Hot Pepper Sauce and Kraft Honey Hickory BBQ Sauce.

I never make one burger the same it seems! It just depends on my mood that day. For sure, the G&G Burger always has lettuce, tomato, dill pickles and Spanish onions. I had this bad boy burger for lunch on Wednesday! I used A1 Steak Sauce as the sauce.

G&G Burger

Just one more time! Another look at the burger before topping the bun.

I will be doing a few more installments of Expat Comfort Food in the Philippines in the days ahead. Our food is only limited by our imagination!

 

 

 

 

 

Tito Gary’s Ribs

Ribs are popular in the Bacolod Area of the Philippines. Many native Filipino restaurants have back ribs and spare ribs on their menu, which are grilled to perfection. Often the barbeque sauce is soy sauce and kalamansi, which is the local lime. Depending on my mood, I can enjoy the local BBQ Sauce but I also make my own BBQ Sauce. I have three. One is vinegar based, one is red based and the other one is white based.

I made the red based BBQ sauce for today’s lunch of grilled ribs. To make the BBQ sauce native, I suggest using some banana ketchup instead of all tomato ketchup to get a nice consistency with the two kinds of ketchup and add some Tanduay Rhum. The ingredients include banana ketchup, tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup of Tanduay Rhum, finely chopped onions, 2 crushed garlic cloves, a little mustard, a dash or two of black pepper and honey. Depending on how many ribs you will need to baste, you will adjust the amount of ingredients and also adjust according to your taste. If you really like sweet BBQ ribs, add more honey!

I started with a rack of pork ribs bought fresh this morning at the nearby public market. For the freshest meat, buy early in the morning at this particular market. Boiling the ribs or putting them in the pressure cooker for 10-15 minutes tenderizes the ribs before grilling. I like to grill the ribs after the first step but not completely. I like to finish the ribs by applying the BBQ sauce and putting the ribs in aluminum foil but loosely closing for finishing on the grill. WoW! Fabulous juices from the ribs, together with the BBQ sauce, will be saved in the bottom of the foil. You will want to brush this on the ribs before eating for a wonderful flavor.

Tito Gary’s Ribs

Grillin’ and Chillin’ with family and friends is one of my favorite activities in the Philippines. We often go to one of the many beaches in our area for a Sunday BBQ.

Gold Eagle Beer

My beverage of choice with any kind of food but especially with BBQ! San Miguel Pilsen is the National Beer of the Philippines and Gold Eagle is made by San Miguel Brewery. Many farmers in the province drink Gold Eagle because it is cheaper and it does not hit them hard like Pilsen. I acquired a taste for Gold Eagle when socializing with other farmers in the province since we also have a farm there with rice, sugar cane, chickens, pigs, carabao, goats and cattle. Eagle is the beer of choice for family gatherings.

Just One More Time

Tito Gary’s Ribs! I have many nieces and nephews in the Bacolod Area and I am fondly known as Tito Gary. Some who are not my nieces and nephews also refer to me as Tito Gary.

I hope you can enjoy the ribs recipe, as it has a native Filipino touch with the sauce but still the red based type sauce for those who like it.