Buying Cheese in Bacolod City

There are a number of things I try to keep on hand at all times and good quality cheese is at the top of my list. We lived in a part of China for 5 years where you could not buy butter, margarine or real cheese. We would have to shop in Hong Kong, Xiamen or Guangzhou to buy real cheese and butter.

When we moved to Bacolod, the days of not being able to buy good quality cheese anytime we wanted was over. I may not be able to buy a certain brand of cheese anytime I want but there is always a good quality brand of cheese available at SM, Metro and Robinsons.

Cheddar Cheese

In 2009 and 2010, I found an old friend among cheese. Land O’ Lakes Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Then one day, SM discontinued the brand. They replaced it with American Heritage Cheddar Cheese, product of Green Bay, Wisconsin. It is great American Cheese. It comes in Mild, Medium, Sharp and Extra Sharp. The cost is P190 for an 8 oz block or about 227 grams. I buy Extra Sharp.

Lately, SM has not had American Heritage Cheddar Cheese in stock. They had plenty around Christmas time but not since. I had to buy an alternative and went with Real California brand Cheddar Cheese. It is white colored cheese and I prefer yellow or orange colored cheddar. Real California white cheddar is ok in a pinch.

Last Sunday at Metro, I discovered, for the first time, Real California brand Orange Cheddar Cheese. The cost is P145 for a 190 gram block. I tried some of this new cheese this morning with a croissant and I am very well pleased with the taste. Metro also had the Real California Colby Jack Cheese in stock for a little more in cost. Also a new item in stock.

To switch up, I sometimes buy McLelland Red Leicester Cheese, product of UK. I like it very much and it is about P240 for 8 oz, so it is pricier than American Cheese. SM also stocks 3 or so other types of McLelland Cheese from UK. I have tried them all over time and all are good.

In Bacolod, I have also tried Mainland Cheese from New Zealand and Bega Cheese from Australia. Both are good.

Parmesan and Processed Cheese

Concerning Parmesan, I do not buy Kraft brand. I buy Mondo Vecchio brand, product of Appleton, Wisconsin. It is P99 for a 3 oz bottle. Several supermarkets sell Mondo Vecchio. Lopues Mandalagan had Buy One Take One for P99 not long ago and I grabbed that deal. If in the ref, Mondo Vecchio Parmesan will still be fresh 12 months after best by date.

I stay away from the processed cheese made in the Philippines. I would buy a good quality cheese made in the Philippines but not available for the most part. One Christmas, we bought one brand of Quezo de Bola, Magnolia, which was pretty good. This holiday cheese is Edam Cheese.

This is the latest information you will find anywhere about buying cheese in Bacolod City.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Foodie at Home in Bacolod

We enjoy going out to eat in local restaurants several times each week but my wife and I agree that the best food we enjoy is made at home. Eating for Filipinos doesn’t seem to be a problem but some expats are picky about their variety of food and I am to some extent but not overboard. I don’t require my food to be imported from the USA, Europe, Australia or New Zealand. There are a few food items, which are part of my diet, that just aren’t produced in the Philippines, so yeah, I buy those imported items as needed.

Breakfast is touted as the most important meal of the day. For me, I often eat Brunch instead of breakfast but I do have a few breakfast favorites. Rolled Oats, which are imported from Australia, is one. Grits, imported from the USA, is another. Grits consist of coarsely ground white corn and served as a thick porridge. I enjoy pancakes and my favorite one step hotcake mix is a product of the Philippines. It is Pillsbury Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Hotcake Mix, readily available at SM Supermarket.

Eggs Benedict

One of my real favorite breakfast foods is Eggs Benedict. There are probably many recipes for this delightful dish but I have my own. An egg poacher is not required! I start with 3 cups of water in a deep wok. I add one capfull of white vinegar and bring the water to a boil. To make things easy, I crack each egg into a separate, small coffee cup and just slide the eggs into the boiling water in the wok. One at a time. My eggs are usually ready in 2-3 minutes and are still over easy but cooked with enough heat for safe eating. During the process of poaching the eggs, I also have my English muffins split and in the toaster. I have my Canadian Bacon ready to go. English Muffin first on the plate, add the Canadian Bacon and the poached egg goes on top. I don’t add Hollandaise Sauce to my Eggs Benedict but purists must have it. Go for it! A splash of Worcestershire or hot sauce is popular among others.

I buy English Muffins from Kuster’s Food Hub in Lopues Mandalagan Shopping Center. Canadian Bacon is available at Aribu’s Sausages and Cold Cuts in the Mandalagan Art District.

Snack time! I don’t eat potato chips everyday but I like them from time to time. I make sure I have some on hand when I do want potato chips. Lay’s Potato Chips are available at local supermarkets but there are several Philippine brand potato chips that are very good.

Farmer John Mesquite BBQ Potato Chips

Farmer John makes several flavors of potato chips and they are all very good, in my opinion.

Outback Potato Chips

The potatoes used to make these chips are 100% USA potatoes, the name is Outback and made in the Philippines. Great marketing! The potato chips are very good.

American Heritage Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Great for snacks, great on burgers, in chili con carne, on sandwiches and in salads. American Heritage is imported from Green Bay, Wisconsin. It is available at Lopues Mandalagan and the cost is P169 per package.

What is for supper? BBQ ribs. I will save that Foodie at Home for my next post. As Chef Bobby Flay always says, it is time for “Grillin’ N Chillin!”






Chicken Charlie

The long wait for the opening of Chicken Charlie in SM Mall Bacolod is over! Chicken Charlie opened in October in the north wing of SM, in the old Bigby’s location.

October 25 was my birthday and we had an evening BBQ planned at our home with invited guests, so for brunch, we turned to Chicken Charlie since we had to buy a few last minute items at SM before my birthday party.

Never heard of Chicken Charlie? Bacolod City has one of the newest branches, which are also in Quezon City, Manila, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and in Cebu.

The specialty of Chicken Charlie is chicken, using the double frying technique. They have a signature soy garlic sauce and hot sweet sauce, of your choice. Drumsticks and wings are the two available choices. Chicken Charlie also has fish strips and chips. Among the side dishes include Charlie’s Greens, which is an Asian style salad, fries, potato wedges, pickled relish and my favorite, Cheesestick Dynamite.

Cheesestick Dynamite!

Green chili peppers with cheese, battered and deep fried. We called them “Poppers” in Florida, my home State in America. Yes, I had these for brunch on my Birthday. First meal of the day. I’ve been known to eat chili con carne with lots of hot sauce and Buffalo Wings for breakfast! The Cheesestick Dynamite are not overpowering but they are a little spicy.

Fish Strips and Chips

I know chicken is the specialty at Chicken Charlie but I went with the fish strips and chips for my Birthday Brunch. In the near future, I will post about the chicken at Chicken Charlie!

Chicken Charlie is a fast food restaurant but nothing is cooked in advance. The short wait is well worth it since your order is cooked fresh as you order it. No prefab grabbing some chicken to put in your meal basket, which was cooked an hour ago and has not sold yet! Your order is prepared as you order it at the counter, which is the best way. You know your food is fresh!

The next time you are in SM and want to try some good food, give Chicken Charlie a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed!




Reuben Sandwich in Bacolod City

One of the greatest things about food, other than eating, is that one can create their own variant to suit their own tastes or they can simply become creative when all the original ingredients are not readily available. During my 12 years and counting of being an expat, one of the topics that always comes up among other expats is FOOD.

In Bacolod City, my wife and I can buy most anything we need to create a wonderful meal or snack in our own home kitchen. One item that is not so readily available is authentic rye bread. However, we can get creative and find a suitable substitute.

Multi Grain Loaf Bread

Cafe Bob’s Deli did not have rye bread, so we bought Multi Grain Loaf Bread, which is a good choice for any sandwich. An Italian friend once told me that it is a sin to not have good bread in the house! I don’t know about the sin part but not having good bread in the house will limit one’s preparation of excellent food.

Many Filipinos enjoy and eat a lot of corned beef and there are many Philippine brands of canned corned beef at the supermarkets. However, for my Reuben Sandwich, I always choose the Brazilian corned beef. One of my favorite brands that I buy at SM Supermarket is Hereford Corned Beef, product of Brazil.

Hereford Brazilian Corned Beef

Now, actually making your Reuben Sandwich is when the variants arise, according to your own personal taste. Yes, I know, many will be hardcore and say a Reuben Sandwich must have Russian or Thousand Island Dressing. Excuse me, but not my Reuben. I prefer horseradish!

Morehouse Cream Style Horseradish

My favorite is Morehouse Cream Style Horseradish. I buy it at either Cafe Bob’s Deli on Lacson Street or farther down on Lacson at Lopues Mandalagan Supermarket.

Some will tell you that an authentic Reuben Sandwich must have Swiss Cheese. However, I have my own preference in cheese. Swiss Cheese is available at both SM and Robinsons Supermarkets.

McLelland Seriously Mild Red Cheddar Cheese is one of my favorite cheeses. I also like Red Leicester. There are five or six different styles of McLelland Cheese available at SM Supermarket.

There is one original ingredient that I never substitute on my Reuben Sandwich and that is sauerkraut. But hey, if you don’t like sauerkraut, leave it off. You will still have a fabulous sandwich.

Libby’s Crispy Sauerkraut

For the added crunch on my Reuben Sandwich, I always add Sauerkraut. I like Libby’s Crispy Sauerkraut, which I bought at Cafe Bob’s Deli.

To toast or grill or do neither to your prepared Reuben Sandwich is the final touch. By now, you are ready to eat, which is exactly what I did and it is exactly why I don’t have a photo of my Reuben Sandwich. I have eaten it already! My Reuben will look different from yours anyway. You can place your Reuben in a toaster oven until the bread is browned on both sides and the cheese has melted. You can also heat a skillet on high heat, spread butter or margarine on each side of your sandwich and grill until the bread has browned, after flipping it over once, and the cheese has melted.

If you can’t think of what you would like to eat, try a Reuben Sandwich. I don’t think you will be disappointed.