Essential Pantry Items

pantry
For me, having a well stocked pantry and ref is not only essential but is like having money in the bank.

A friend recently asked me, what are the essential pantry items available in the Philippines. I told him what is essential to me may not be essential to him. We are all different. I cannot really think of any item I cannot buy in Bacolod, which I enjoy, within reason, of course. I will most likely never see Martha White Flour but the local White King Flour works great for me.

The Basics

There are a few basic items that I keep on hand at all times in the ref. Home Brand Mayonnaise, Crystal and Trappey’s Bull Original Louisiana Hot Sauce, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire, Heinz Chili Sauce, Morehouse Prepared Horseradish, Heinz 57, Morehouse Mustard-The Official Mustard of the LA Dodgers/French’s Mustard as backup, Any brand of deli peppers in a jar, Dona Ellena Olives, Kweichow Chili & Garlic Sauce, Parmesan Cheese, Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Hunt’s Hickory BBQ Sauce and Barrio Fiesta Sweet Bagoong.

We are not big on using salt but sometimes, it is required. Nowadays, I buy McCormick Iodized Salt. I also use Morton’s Kosher Salt but it is not Iodized and I do not use it in pork dishes.

I also keep the more common spices on hand. Black Peppermill, Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Italian Seasoning, Chili Powder, Turmeric, Bay Leaves and Cajun Seasoning of any brand. McCormick Cajun Seasoning is usually in stock at SM.

Canned Goods

Every kind of canned beans and peas that I see, I have in my pantry. Garbanzos included. The locally grown Mountain White Beans, famous in Hinoba-An Negros Occidental, and the White Sitao Black Eye Pea are the only dry beans we had much luck with, concerning coming out soft enough to my liking.

Tuna, Salmon, Sardines, imported Corned Beef, Vienna Sausage, Spam, Stewed Tomatoes, Sauerkraut, Imported Spaghetti Sauce in jars, are other items I keep on hand.

Misc

Misc Items are several kinds of Vinegar, including Spiced Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Patis Fish Sauce, local Molasses, Brown Sugar, Onions, Garlic, sometimes Ginger, Vegemite, Jif Peanut Butter, Smucker’s Strawberry Jam, Canned Peaches & Pineapple Rings and Corn Meal.

In the freezer, I always have Ground Round Beef and different Sausages. Also Fish Fillets, Wings/Leg Quarters Chicken, Pork Chops/Pork Steaks. Rarely Beef Steak these days.

I buy Marca Leon Vegetable Cooking oil, product of the Philippines but keep a bottle of Dona Ellena Olive Oil on hand.

Although I do not drink Red Wine often, I try to keep one unopened bottle on hand. Of course, cold beer in the ref at wholesale price. I never buy whiskey/spirits to keep on hand but on occasion for friends.

I hope you are also keeping your pantry well stocked. Shopping for food is one of my favorite hobbies.

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!”