Fish Po Boy with Green Tomato Chow Chow

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This is the recipe of the day, which can be made in the Philippines with locally available ingredients.

If you decide to add green tomato chow chow, you must make it 1 day in advance. If you plan to make your Po Boy right now without the chow chow, you will be eating within the hour, if you have the other ingredients on hand.

Chow Chow

I have an old Alabama Chow Chow recipe. It calls for green tomatoes, white or yellow onions, cabbage, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, coarse salt, white sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, white vinegar and water. If you like it hot, add some hot peppers.

You will need a food processor or a heavy duty blender for chopping the vegetables unless you have the patience to chop by hand. After chopping all the vegetables, you need to add the coarse salt, put in a glass container and let it stand in the ref overnight.

The Chow Chow will accumulate water overnight. Drain well and put in a stock pot. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for about 4 minutes. Allow to cool and you can return the chow chow to a glass container with a tight fitting lid. Place the chow chow back in the ref and allow it to chill.

Fried Fish Po Boy with Green Tomato Chow Chow

Catfish is the most popular fish used when making a Louisiana style Po Boy but I used Cream Dory fish.

Andy’s Cajun Fish Breading is sold at Rustan’s in Cebu City and I brought some home last month. This is what I used to batter the fish for the Po Boy. Simply pan fry the fish until golden brown.

The French Bread was bought at Delicioso Deli in Bacolod and it is important having good bread when making your Po Boy. No one is happy if their sandwich falls apart. For the Po Boy spread, I put mayonnaise, horseradish and pickle relish on the bread.

Spoon the green tomato chow chow on the fish. Add dill pickles to your Po Boy and you are ready to eat. Andy’s Cajun Fish Breading is about all the zesty flavor my stomach can tolerate but if you want to really get fired up, you can add jalapenos and/or Louisiana Hot Sauce to your Po Boy.

If you prefer a Fried Shrimp Po Boy, the same recipe applies. Don’t forget to peel and butterfly the shrimp before breading and frying for best results.

All ingredients to make the Fried Fish Po Boy with Green Tomato Chow Chow are available in the Philippines. Enjoy your Po Boy.

Ca c’est bon! (That’s good!)

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Shaun’s Diners

We planned going to the Indian Restaurant Spice n’Bites several Sundays ago but they are no longer in business, however, Shaun’s Diners is now in the same location. You will find Shaun’s Diners on the 2nd floor of Automobili Dettaglia in Barangay Mandalagan on Lacson Street and next to Convergys.

They were not yet open, so we went back soon afterward, one Friday evening. There was a live 2 piece band performing lounge music around 7pm. Nice music but we came to eat!

Lasagna! I had a man size task to eat all this and I could only eat half! The rest was take out.

Grilled Fish
Grilled Fish!

Complimentary Kimchi! Yes, there are several Korean dishes on Shaun’s Menu.

Seafood Platter
Seafood Platter! Crab, Prawns and Fish. Yummy!

The Hungry Fisherman! Our friend, Randy.

If you want to listen to lounge lizard music, knock back a few ice cold San Miguel and eat good food, check out Shaun’s Diners! I think you will like them and they will like you. Please say hello to Manager Mardz for me, will ya?

Philbilly Cornbread

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Being a Southern guy from the USA, I grew up with cornbread being one of my family’s meal time staples. Both my parents were born and raised in Alabama but my dad was a career US Navy officer, so we lived in several states in America when I was growing up. California, Rhode Island, Florida and South Carolina were all places we called home for 2-4 years, depending on my dad’s tour of duty. Yep, I had a Southern accent, no matter where we lived. We all know that classmates can be cruel, so I heard all the snide remarks, referring to me as a hillbilly, a redneck, a country hick, a rebel, and on and on. It didn’t really bother me much, as I was proud of my Southern Heritage and I am still proud of it!

Since I now live in the Philippines, I would like to share one of my favorite dishes right here in the Bacolod Area. Fried Cornbread, which I have named “Philbilly Cornbread.” By the way, I never had one Filipino refer to me as a hillbilly, a redneck or a country hick in my 27 years connection with the Philippines. I have received some compliments about my Southern accent in the Philippines from Filipinos and more than once they commented that they enjoy hearing me talk! One Filipino friend commented that I talked like Nicholas Cage in his movie, “Con Air!”

Fried cornbread can be easily made here in the Bacolod area, as all the ingredients are available. Fried cornbread is great with fried fish, beans, chili con carne and just about anything imaginable. You can add sliced green onions to your cornbread mix before frying or you can make crackling cornbread by adding pieces of chicharon to your cornbread mix. I will just touch on the simplified recipe and you can kick it up a few notches the way you like. Adding  diced jalapeno peppers or diced green chili peppers will give you a version of Mexican cornbread! I never, never put actual corn kernels in my cornbread mix but some like to.

fried cornbread4
The above is fried cornbread with green peppers and green onions.


In a large bowl, add one cup of corn meal, 1/2 cup of flour and dilute with 1/2 cup of milk, which makes the cornbread mix loose like pancake batter. Add one egg and stir the cornbread mix very well. Add 1/2-1 stick of real butter in a skillet, frying pan or wok and allow it to melt until it sizzles, over medium heat. Drop the cornmeal mix, about the size of a Tablespoon, into the skillet/cooking utensil and make it about the size of a pancake. When the cornbread browns on one side, turn it over on the other side, mashing it down with a spatula and let the flip side brown.

Wow! Fried cornbread is awesome! I hope you enjoy it.

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.


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.