Tenderizing Pork Shoulder Ribs


I am trying a new method of tenderizing Pork Ribs and other cuts of Pork. when suspected of being…tough.

I made a Brine to marinate a rack of Pork Shoulder Ribs in the ref, for 12 hours. Water, Coarse Salt, Black Pepper Corns, Brown Sugar, White Vinegar and Toyomansi Sauce.

I had bought 2 racks of Pork Shoulder Ribs at SM Supermarket. I marinated the first rack in Pineapple Juice and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauces, however, not long enough. The Pork Ribs were not as tender as we like them.

I really do not like boiling Meat before Grilling. The slow cooker will take the Pork Ribs right off the bone, over- tender, and I like the Rib Bones intact.

The Sauce Makes the Difference!


I often make my own BBQ Sauce, however, I also buy several different flavors of Commercial BBQ Sauce, readily available in Bacolod City Supermarkets. Bulls-Eye Original BBQ Sauce is a personal favorite. I also enjoy Kraft Mesquite Smoke BBQ Sauce and Hunt’s Hickory BBQ Sauce. Basting Pork Ribs on the grill with a thick BBQ Sauce should be near the end of the grilling because it will burn if applied too early. A bit of blackening is alright but I do not like solid blackening. I greatly enjoy BBQ Ribs!


Due to a time constraint, I put the Pork Shoulder Ribs on the Grill last evening after 10 hours of marinating, instead of at least 12 hours. On a scale of 1-10, I rate using the Brine Marinade for tenderizing…7.5.

The Pork Shoulder Ribs were tender enough and I did not want them falling off the bone.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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Leftover Rice?


Leftover Rice? My wife cooks extra rice each day because she mixes some of the rice with other food to feed our Belgian Malinois, Tasha. Tasha is our pet dog, of course, and she enjoys eating the Rice dishes much more than eating commercial dog food. No doubt, a full dog is a happy dog!

What About Me?

I use White Rice to make several dishes I enjoy. Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage, Black Beans and Rice with Grilled or Roast Pork, Stir Fried Rice and Spanish Rice.

Early on when I began cooking for myself, years ago, I did not know to use Cold Rice from the ref to make Stir Fried Rice but I quickly learned my mistake by asking what I was doing wrong.

Some people use leftover Rice to make Dirty Rice but I am not one of them. When cooking the Rice with all the ingredients together, wow, the Rice really soaks up all the flavors. Chicken Livers and Ground Beef make a much more flavorful Dirty Rice than using Chicken Livers and Chicken Gizzards. Onion, Celery and Bell Pepper round out the ingredients. Garlic is optional.


Rice Pudding can be made simply with Milk, Sugar and Vanilla Extract. To kick up your Rice Pudding a few notches, add Raisins, a beaten Egg and bake in the oven.

Rice, Ground Beef and whatever you enjoy adding make very good Stuffed Bell Peppers. Mushrooms are a great addition.

Deep Fried Rice Balls require more prep but nothing major. Cold or at least chilled Rice should be used. One-three Eggs, depending on how many Rice Balls you plan deep frying, grated Parmesan, Mozzarella or Cheddar Cheese and Japanese Breadcrumbs are the ingredients. Make the Rice Balls by hand and deep fry.

Milk poured over Leftover Rice, with sugar added, makes a nice Rice Cereal. I ate this often in the South, long before I ever came to the Philippines.

Rice is nice, when I use it to make Rice dishes, however, I am not a fan of plain white Rice as a side dish. If it has, at the very least, Gravy over it, I am happy.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

The Evolution of Sisig and Mayonnaise


For years in the Philippines, Sisig has been associated with drinking sessions, as Pulutan. Also, lesser known, nutrition for pregnant women in the Philippines. However, these days, Sisig is a staple at Filipino Restaurants, most often served on a sizzling plate.

On the home turf, Sisig was made with pig cheeks, pig snouts, smothered with onions and laced with red hot peppers.

Maybe foreigners would not like pig ears and pig tails any better than pig cheeks but it is a step up.

Sisig has now evolved. Ground Pork, Ground Beef, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Tuna, Squid, Shellfish are all being utilized to create Special Sisig. Other ingredients include Calamansi, Pineapple Juice, Black Peppercorns, Salt, White Onion and Chili Peppers. The new chefs on the block recommend garnishing Sisig with Mayonnaise and an Over EZ Egg.

Mayonnaise

Kewpie is probably not the go to Mayonnaise to put on your Cold Cut Sandwiches but it is good with Asian dishes. Like Sisig! In China, where I was an English teacher for 9 years, that was the only brand of Mayonnaise available where we lived, unless you took the A-Train to Hong Kong for shopping.

For years in Bacolod, I bought Home Brand Mayonnaise, Product of Freedonia, NY, but this year, I am buying Kraft Mayonnaise since it appeared on the scene. Surprisingly, I never see Hellmanns Mayonnaise in Bacolod City.

I have never tried Best Foods Mayonnaise, which I see everywhere. I have tried Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise in a pinch and that was it! It is not bad but it is not my choice.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

How to Make Homemade Bacon in the Philippines


The Bacon Purists may give me the ho, ho, ho, but I make Bacon by what I refer to as…Organic Method. It really makes nice Bacon, tried and true since we lived in China, where I began making my own Bacon.

I do not use Prague Powder, Curing Salt, Salt Peter or whatever else many others use to make Bacon. I do not like playing with Nitrates!

The ingredients I use for Homemade Bacon are as follow. Of course, Pork Belly with rind or skin intact. Do not slice the Pork Belly at this point, as you want to season the entire slab, regardless of size. Sea Salt or the local Coarse Salt, Black Pepper, Fennel Seed, 1 Garlic Clove, Bay Leaves and Honey. You may add things like Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme if you like but I do not. I want to make Bacon and not recreate Simon and Garfunkel.

Concerning the Salt, since it is Pork, I do not use Kosher Salt on Pork but to give you an idea, that is the texture of Salt you need to use when making Homemade Bacon. The Salt ratio I use is one Tablespoon per each 1 lb of Pork Belly. It is better than Chemicals, in my opinion.


Rub all the seasoning on the Pork Belly, place it in a Zip Lock and put it in the ref. Turn the Zip Lock on the other side once per day. Seven days later, you have Bacon.

It is best to remove the Pork Belly on the 8th day and roast it in an oven at 200F degrees for at least one hour. Two hours if you like but not longer than 2 hours. If you have a meat thermometer, the Pork Belly should reach 150F degrees when roasting and then you are finished.

Once cooled down, the Pork Belly is ready to slice and Fry Up as Bacon. If you are not ready yet, put it back in the ref in a fresh, clean Zip Lock or Tupperware container until you are ready for Bacon.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Eating Korean Food In The Philippines

korea
A new Korean restaurant opened at Golden Field in Bacolod and the name is Hanok. I have been hearing a lot of talk about how great the Korean food is at Hanok. Of course, if you already know you do not like Korean food, no need to go there, as that is all they serve. Some of the dishes, you can cook at your table. There are many dishes that are prepared in their kitchen by an actual chef, so you do not have to cook!

A friend contacted me and told me that there is a Korean owner and a Korean chef at Hanok and he knows I know Korean food very well. I ate Korean and Thai food 4 or 5 times each week when I lived in Ft Walton Beach, Florida. A Korean friend owned my favorite restaurant/watering hole/karaoke bar in the Florida Panhandle. Mary Esther, Florida.

Korean Dining Experience

korean-star
Four of us dined at Hanok last evening and even our 11 year old son raved about their food! We could not eat all the food, of course, as each dish is for 3-4 people, depending on appetites. It is about social, getting together, ordering 4 or 5 dishes, sharing and having a few drinks. We ordered 5 dishes, a pitcher of house blend cold tea without ice and a couple of beers for my friend and I. My wife and I were the only ones who could use chopsticks and Korean chopsticks are normally metal, not wooden. Do not worry, as they have regular eating utensils as well at Hanok. The fare was exactly P1500 and we had a ton of leftovers to bring home.

For brunch today, I had leftover Korean Green Onion Pancakes and Cheese Egg Rolls. These egg rolls are not like Filipino Lumpia or Chinese Egg Rolls. No, no, no. They are actually eggs, rolled up and stuffed with wonderful cheese.

Finding an Excellent Korean Restaurant

I will be the first to tell you, finding an excellent Korean restaurant in Bacolod and even in Cebu is hit or miss. Mostly Miss from my experience. I have eaten at 2 different Korean restaurants in Cebu City and both were not good at all. Not authentic. Hanok is the only authentic Korean restaurant we have found in Bacolod. The only one!

A good tip for ya. See which restaurant has many Korean patrons eating there. If they eat in a Korean restaurant that is crap, they will not go back again. If you find a Korean restaurant with many Korean patrons, I think you have found the gem. Word of mouth spreads. “Don’t go to _____(fill in the blank.) No good!”

Last evening, there were two lovely young Korean ladies dining there and each had a full bottle of Soju. They are a better man than I am if they can drink a bottle of Soju! Perhaps they were drinking the 18% ABV Soju? I have only tried the 45% ABV Soju in the past and I already knew if I messed around drinking much of it, it would knock my socks off! I found it to be a hard drink.

No thanks! Just give me an ice cold OB, a Korean Beer. There is a joke that OB is Oriental Budweiser Beer. It is good beer.

I had not eaten an authentic Korean Green Onion Pancake since 1995. I am very happy I found them again at Hanok.

If you want to enjoy excellent authentic Korean Cuisine in Bacolod City, I highly recommend Hanok in Golden Field.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Daddy’s Pizza: Best Doggone Pizza in Cebu City!

daddy-pizza
If you want the best doggone pizza in Cebu City, which I have found during the last 2 years, go to Daddy’s Pizza. You may ask yourself, “well, how do I get there?” I am going to tell you the man to see and I will tell you right where to go! Edmund Samuel Comaling is the owner of Daddy’s Pizza and let me tell ya, Edmund has the best American English of any Filipino living in the Philippines, who I have met during the past 30 years. And you can believe that!

Go see Edmund at Daddy’s Pizza, located across Guadalajara Street on V. Rama Avenue, Guadalupe, Cebu City. You will not only get a fabulous pizza but you will not take a hit in your wallet! Very affordable for a top of the line, quality pizza. Everyone I told about Daddy’s Pizza agrees with me on that! You will as well.

You will find Daddy’s Pizza on Facebook. Check them out!

I love Pizza!

The first time I had pizza was way back in 1960 in Middletown, Rhode Island, when my dad was still in the World’s Greatest Navy. The pizza joint was a Mom & Pop Pizzeria, owned by a middle aged Portuguese couple. Their pizza is the pizza I always set the bar that I judge other pizza by. Edmund’s Pizza at Daddy’s Pizza in Cebu City measures up. Hands down!

I am not a fan of the national and international chain pizza restaurants and Daddy’s Pizza is not that type place.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod. However, I may see you one day in 2017 ay Daddy’s Pizza in Cebu City. I hope I do and so does Edmund.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

 

Izumi: The Real House of Ramen

izumi
Can you believe that there is a place you can go, if you are a little run down on your soul and you want authentic comfort food? I  can tell you right where to go. Izumi Ramen House, which I call The Real Ramen House. Their Ramen is the real deal! Izumi is located in the Nolan Building on BS Aquino Drive in Bacolod City.

My family and I dined at Izumi Ramen House yesterday and we all enjoyed it. We ordered their large # 1 Ramen Bowl and my wife & I shared it. Four Thumbs up! After all, 2 people only have 4 thumbs total, di ba, so Izumi gets the highest rating from us.

Our 11 year old son was with us and a Filipino friend as well. We also ordered Japanese Dumplings and BBQ Pork on Skewers. All were very well pleased with their food and we were indeed hungry.

Cold Beer! Yep, Izumi has ice cold San Miguel Pilsen.

I Think I’m Turning Japanese

Not exactly but do you remember that song by the Vapors from 1980? I certainly do! Hey, I am age 62 now but I can take a licking and keep on ticking! And you can believe that!

I have been to Japan a number of times over the past 30 years and I lived in China while working as an English Teacher for 9 years. Personally, I prefer Japanese Food to Chinese Food. Moo Goo Gai Pan is a Chinese-American dish but you will not find it anywhere in China. Believe me, as I looked for it. I love Moo Goo Gai Pan!

I find Ramen as good Comfort Food. It is alright if you slurp the noodles and the soup! Go all out, have fun and check out Izumi Ramen House. Once you do, you will never eat instant Ramen again. It will not be Lucky Me but Lucky You!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Eat Like A Viking: All Day Buffet!

vikings
Two days after our son’s birthday, we went to Vikings Buffet, located in SM Mall. Their lunch hours are 11am-230pm and the one price, all you can eat and drink, allows you to stay the entire time, in what they promote as All Day Buffet. The wait staff did not come around until around 2pm to hand out the bills.

Vikings begins taking reservations and handing out Walk In Numbers at 10am and we had W-2, second to be called in at 11am. P588 per adult and P388 for our son, which was based on his not being over 4’6 in height.

Draft San Miguel is included in the price. Red wine is P149 per glass or around P600-P900 per bottle.

When we went to Vikings on Wednesday, no one in our party ate plain white rice or any of the Filipino Cuisine. I had the Louisiana Dirty Rice with Chicken Livers & Gizzards as a side dish. There was a whole pig and diners could ask for Lechon but none in our party wanted any. Everyone wanted the dishes that are not commonly eaten at home or in local Filipino restaurants. Exactly the way it should be.

The Carving Station of the Buffet featured beautifully marbled Roast Beef, Lamb, Chicken and Smoked Sausage. I went with the meat first but I skipped the Chicken. I headed to Mexican Corner on the Buffet and made my own Taco Salad with ground beef chili with beans, lettuce, tomato, onion and sour cream.

vikings3
The Japanese section of the Buffet has all the good sushi, such as Salmon, Tuna, California Maki and others. The Chinese section of the Buffet only had Egg Foo Young that I was interested in and I did not really look at the rest too much.

I had a small Cucumber Salad, which was hot & spicy as hell and I only took one bite! Too bad. I don’t like it that hot. The only seafood I was interested in was the deep fried crabs and you can eat shell and all. I have developed an allergy with Shrimp and Prawns but I can eat all the other seafood/shellfish.

Several types of ice cream and many types of cakes and pastries are on the Dessert Bar. There are many other drinks other than beer but I wanted the Draft.

Dining Entertainment

viking-vixen
Vikings puts on the best Birthday Show I have seen anywhere here. A Reggae version of a Happy Birthday song, other Birthday songs, all their staff come around to sing and dance, including the ladies who keep the CR clean. The photo op includes wearing a Viking helmet with horns. I really enjoyed the show.

I know that Vikings have branches in Bacolod, Manila and in Cebu City.

The bill for 4 of us was P2,300 for the 3 1/2 hour feast and party. A fabulous deal to me!

I think everyone will enjoy Vikings Luxury Buffet. If not, I will wonder about them!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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 ~

Recipes Expats Should Know In The Philippines

chinese noodles
How about an EZ noodle dish?

I still have most of the contents of the package of Ma Mon Luk Chinese Egg Noodles. Product of Quezon City. Today, I was looking online for a new recipe. Not much luck with anything earth shattering but I put together a few ideas from what I read. A little bit of this, a little bit of that and that’s no lie! I may have come up with the Perfect Fried Chinese Egg Noodle dish. Well, maybe not a Monster Recipe.

I learned the recommended way to prepare Chinese Egg Noodles from Sun Ting Wong. No joke! It is best to boil the noodles until they are halfway done. Drain the noodles, set aside and toss with a little olive/peanut/vegetable oil to prevent sticking. You choose the oil of your choice. Next, the fun begins, as you get creative. There are really hundreds of ways to go next. There is a sign post ahead and you may be entering the Twilight Zone. Or the No Spin Zone. Regardless, have fun!

I decided to go with shredded pork, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, yellow onion and beaten eggs. I thought about shredded chicken but I do not ever eat scrambled eggs and chicken. Or any kind of eggs and chicken. No Bola Bola Chicken Sio Pao for me, thank you. I enjoy scrambled eggs in most of my noodle dishes.

I prefer stir fried pork with noodles. BBQ pork is also good with noodles.

Take It To The Limit…One More Time

It does not matter if you are listening to the music of the Eagles or listening to the Flying Burrito Brothers, you can do this! The Sky is the limit with your seasoning, herbs and spices. I like ginger, garlic, fish sauce and soy sauce. Stir fry the noodles and add the rest of your ingredients. For kicking it up and turning up the heat, I prefer Kweichow Chili Garlic Sauce from Taiwan. Sriracha will work and so will Red Pepper Flakes. As well as whole Chili Peppers and Jalapeno Peppers. All are available to buy in Bacolod City.  If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! Joke only. Everyone does not like hot & spicy, so forget about it…if that is you.

Nutz! What are the best nuts to add to the noodle dish? I like cashews and fried garlic peanuts. I think just about any nut would work but maybe not redskin peanuts. Beer Nuts are always great! You could also make your own peanut sauce and leave off the whole nuts.

Have fun with your noodles.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~