One of the things I loved about Kota Kinabalu is that the food was very affordable. On the average, the meals we ordred cost us around RM 8 each, and that’s with drinks. We splurged a bit at Kedai Kopi Lotus and Upperstar, but it was still well within a reasonable range. The servings are also good, so we didn’t feel shortchanged. We forgo eating at fast foods, the only time we did was when i ordered a Zinger from KFC to get rid of the quesy stomach I had after drinking teh tarik one time. In my opinion, skip the fast food and go eat local.
Kedai Kopi Lotus
I was beginning to think that most food places around Kota Kinabalu are called “kedai kopi”, so long as they have coffee and tea to go with the other stuff.
This place was outside of the KK City Center. I wouldn’t have gone if our friends didn’t bring us here. It’s a restaurant, but stalls owned by other cooks are stationed outside. One offers dumplings, another sells grilled seafood and chicken wings. Order food from any of them, and once it’s delivered, you pay on the spot. It’s a popular place for the people who live nearby, and many of them drop by to buy food rather than cook.
I never got the name of the dishes we ate. We had an almond pudding, a noodle dish with some chicken and veggies, dimsum, chicken wings, and grilled fish with shrimp paste and kang kong.
We also had dinner at a similar place a day later. It had a fascinating story, because it was located in a place in KK where the houses were on stilts.
We had a free day, so we decided to strike out on our own for lunch. We decided to try Kedai Kopi Yee Fung along Gaya Street. Luckily, it wasn’t crowded. I wanted to try the claypot chicken, but it was out of stock so I decided to try their yee fung ngau chap. Had a glass of kitchai ping go to along with it. The noodle serving was smaller than Nountoun’s, but the drink was in a tall glass and I was happy.
No matter how many times you come back to Binondo, there is always something different. Everyone can go on a food tour, but with the sheer number of places to eat along Ongpin and its side streets, each visit is always new.
Last Sunday, I joined my new friends Nalani, Jonats and Marjorie for a food exploration in Binondo. Costs were divided among the four of us and we added P5 each for tips.
Stop 1: Dong Bei
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Dong Bei’s one of my favorite places to go to when I’m in Binondo. It’s a small dumpling place off Ongpin. Here you can see the attendants make the dumplings and cook them in a pot of boiling water. You can be sure that what you are eating is freshly made. We shared a plate of the mixed dumplings, popped open a can of Wai Long Kat and got to know each other better.
Cost: PHP 65
Side trip: A bakery along Carvajal
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We were going to Quick Snack along Carvajal but it was closed (along with most of the establishment along the esquinita). We passed by this bakery where I bought some tikoy bread from during the Chinese New Year. I didn’t buy anything, but everyone else did. Everything was freshly baked, which added to its appeal.
I’m not very knowledgable when it comes to Thai food. The only thing I like is pad thai, a noodle dish with a sweet, peanut-based sauce, bean sprouts, tofu and chicken. I had my first taste of Thai food in Tagaytay Highlands, and have yet to find a place that matches the experience I had there.
My uncle Rodel told us about this restaurant located in the heart of Marikina City called Krung Thai. Both he and my brother Nunik sing this restaurant’s praises. Considering that both are also quite picky when it comes to food, I knew that their glowing reviews meant the place was truly something worth trying.
We decided to have dinner here during our family food trip, after failing to find the right way to Cafe Lydia and bypassing Mama Chit’s for the next round. Krung Thai is located near the Marikina market, just where the jeepneys going to Pasig pass by. The sign is faded, with nothing to indicate that there is a very good Thai restaurant located there and has been in place for the last 13 years.
I immediately ordered pad thai. Initially, we thought about ordering one dish per person but we changed our minds when our attendant told us their food servings are good for two to three people. We orderd the following dishes: Thai chicken, Seafood Tom Yum, Pad Thai, Bagoong Rice, Green Mango Salad and Stir Fried Fish with Tofu.
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The Pad Thai was everything I expected it to be. The noodles were firm and not soggy, served with blanched bean sprouts, chicken strips, lightly fried tofu with a mildly-sweet peanut sauce. I added some kalamansi which blended wonderfully with the sweet sauce. The serving is indeed good for more than two people.
The Bagoong Rice is a meal in itself. It’s served in a big bowl with egg, some meat with asado-like sauce and cucumbers for garnish. To complement it is a dish of green mango salad. It’s prepared like our standand ensiladang mangga, but the onion is mild and there’s no eggplant. The mangoes are in a sauce that’s sweet, sour and spicy all at the same time. I love eating green mangoes and bagoong, and this dish is the best of its kind that I’ve ever tasted.
The Seafood Tom Yum was a surprise because it had button mushrooms. It reminds me of seafood sinigang, with a taste of a herb that I can’t identify. Todel says it’s corriander. I’ll take his word for it. I wasn’t able to really taste the Thai Chicken and the Stir Fried Fish with Tofu so I can’t comment on that. Even if I wanted to try them, I don’t think there was enough space in my stomach. Surprisingly, the green mango salad was a good “panghimagas”.
Five dishes for six people, with only a few leftovers. Price? Well, I can’t remember the exact amount but I know we shelled out P200 each, and we still had change. We were full and very satisfied with our meal. It’s definitely worth coming back to so I can try the other dishes on the menu.
Marikina Public Market, M. Cruz cor. W.C. Paz, Sta Elena, Marikina City.
646-2005; 681-7696; 0927 792-0587
Marikina is a great city. I’ve long admired the progress its gone through since it had a reputation for being a “salvage dump”, probably back in the 1980s or earlier. Now it’s one of the cleanest and most orderly cities in Metro Manila. Tito Del and my brother Nunik have long been gunning for a Marikina food trip so we settled on February 12 as our day. Nunik said he knew a lot of great places to go to, but unfortunately, he was absent from this trip.
We started off with a late lunch at Luyong, a Chinese restaurant along J.P. Rizal Avenue. We had pancit lechon, pata tim, green peas with shrimp and fish fillet with tofu and yang chow rice. I personally found the pata tim the best dish we ordered. The meat is tender and easily breaks apart with just a fork. The sauce is flavorful but not overpowering, making it just right for me.
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We passed by Kapitan Moy’s residence. Kapitan Moy is Don Laureano Guevarra, who is considered the country’s footwear industry founder. His house is 200 years old, and is considered a historical landmark by the National Historical Commission. It currently houses Café Kapitan Restaurant, and the second floor serves as a function room. When we were there, they were preparing for a wedding reception.
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I wasn’t able to check the menu but I want to go back and try their food. It’s a lovely place, very homey and old fashioned. It’s the type of houses that I like, as it has so much history.
Right across the street is Simbahan ng Nuestra de Señora de los Desemparados. A wedding was going to take place, so we presumed it was the wedding whose reception will be held at Kapitan Moy’s (plus, the color motif matched).
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We headed to the shoe museum but passed by a shoe store to browse their stock. They have a great selection of shoes at affordable prices. I’m sure it’s much sturdier than SM’s Parisian.
The Museo ng Sapatos is a short walk away from Kapitan Moy’s. For P50, you can see the famous Imelda Marcos shoe collection, as well as see some shoes worn by other Filipino statesmen. A history of shoemaking in the country is also available for viewing, as well as the second biggest shoe in the country. There’s a diorama of sorts at the museum’s mezzanine, some shoes from various countries all over the world and the “anything shoe related” collection of Marikina mayors.
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There used to be a doll museum in Marikina as well but I’m not sure if it’s still around after Ondoy. Continue reading →
White Plains is a familiar territory. During my elementary years my dad would take that road to get me to school. I grew up seeing the familiar landscaping businesses on one side, the pretty houses on the other and the man selling kesong puti at the end of the road. It’s changed so much over the years. Some of the houses are no longer there, one even becoming a small, gated residential community. Many houses have become business ventures, ranging from cars to salons and even banks, but the most popular of all being food.
Once such place is Monsee’s Chefs and Bakers. A recent discovery of my friend Arpee, this neighborhood bakery is hard to miss as you traverse this side of the Katipunan Avenue. Aside from being next to Lola Idang’s, a landmark of the area itself, Monsee’s looks like a charming and bright country home. It’s inviting atmosphere lures to come in, have a seat and feed your appetite.
Finally, our plans of going to Binondo pushed through. Aldekari has been planning on this trip for a long time, but for some reason or the other, we never really got to doing it. Sunday was our day, and despite a few setbacks, we were off.
Our transportation of choice was the jeepney. We met up early at Edsa/Shaw and took the jeepneys going to Quiapo. The driver mistook our destination for some other church and tried to drop us off at San Sebastian. “Sabi namin Quiapo!” we said, and he charged us an additional P3.00 each. Oh well.
Quiapo was bustling. There was a mass going on, and there were people doing their business along the streets and in Plaza Miranda. I am truly amused at how Quiapo has a big Catholic structure there, at the same time around it are people who offer the non-Christian services like card reading and fortune telling. Such a lovely study of contrasts.
Also, that day, people were selling fresh produce at Baguio prices. Den, Ching and I were all agog, wanting to buy whatever we can carry. Then again, it wasn’t advisable since we were going for a long walk after all.
And walk we did. From Quiapo down to Hidalgo then to Carriedo, crossing from Sta. Cruz Church, past the fountain, to the archway saying “Welcome to Binondo.” I acted as a tour guide, having gone to Binondo before.
Den gleefully asked for a picture with this statue
First stop was lunch at Waiying. I ordered roast duck with soy chicken and had a glass of lemon Coca-Cola to go with it. Sarap! Busog!
Last Saturday, I attended the wedding celebration of my friend Fristine to Alvin. There’s a lot of things unique about this wedding, not just on how it was celebrated, but also how I got acquainted with the couple. Fristine was a friend of my friend Lornadahl. I’ve never really spoken to her before, but Lorna asked if she could bring Fristine along when we planned on the Zambales trip a few months back. I said sure, because the more the merrier.
In all honestly, as much as I like to meet new people, I am very shy… to the extent that people see me as a snob. I am rather nervous at meeting friends of friends because I’m afraid that we may have nothing in common. There was no such thing with Fristine. From the get go, I was in awe of this woman who took whatever life had to offer — bad or good — and make it uniquely her own. The more time I spend with her, the more I admire her and oddly enough, the more I believe in myself. I don’t know if you’ll understand what I mean, but sometimes, you meet people who unconciously make you want to be a better person, people who inspire you simply because of who they are. Fristine was like that, and while I’ve got a long way to go before I’m truly happy with myself, I believe that I’ve changed for the better ever since I met her.
We don’t meet up much in real life, most of our talks were mostly on the Internet. Imagine my surprise when she not only invited me to join her wedding celebrations, but also to help make the invitations. I was floored, and very humbled. Here was this awesome woman asking me to create something for her. Pressure!
Fast forward to a few months later. Plans of having a bridal shower for Fristine was hatched through email and text messaging. Ideas flew, from hiring a macho dancer to what food to prepare. In the end, we fell back to the theme of her wedding: simple, intimate and a reflection of the things the bride believed in. We had dinner at Corner Tree Cafe in Jupiter St., Makati. I immediately fell in love with the place, cozy and homey. The food, wow. I’m a carnivore, and have long lived on the “meals are not complete if there isn’t at least on meat dish” mantra. However, the food here was so flavorful that you wouldn’t even look for meat. I enjoyed every bite and want more!
It was a lovely evening of good food and great company. Fristine had already been out with Lornadahl and Ces, and she didn’t really have an idea what was going on. When she saw who else was there, she was truly surprised. I was pretty excited myself that I spilled the beans on who else was coming haha. Sorry.
Fristine’s wedding day fell on the same birthday as my best friend, Carmenez. The first thing I did before accepting Fristine’s invitation was to ask Nez if she had anything special planned, especially as it was her 30th birthday. When she said she didn’t, I accepted the wedding invite. It was hard to choose between two good friends, one whom who’ve had for nearly all your life, and one whom you’ve just met. I feel blessed that both friends were that amazing.
Fristine and Alvin celebrated their wedding in a very unique way. The ceremony itself, held at the Filipinas Heritage Library, was for their family, and while many expressed their disappointment in not seeing the two exchange their vows, everyone understood. The second part was a guided tour at the Ayala Musuem, which the couple said they wanted to do in order to be able to share with their guests how wonderful the Philippines is and how much we can do to help bring it to its full glory. The tour made me both sad and happy.
We saw the exhibit of works by National Artists Juan Luna and Fernando Amorsolo, gold works of our ancestors from the Pre-Hispanic era, the diorama exhibit and more.
Closing the day’s festivities was dinner at Travel Cafe Philippines in Greenbelt 5. It’s my first time to try the place and I love it. The Pancit Buko was very tasty and filling, and you don’t feel guilty eating a lot.
The rest of the night was spent with much laughter. I had a great time meeting all these people that were there to help celebrate the couple’s union. I was both in awe and utterly humbled by these people.
Thank you Fristine and Alvin for sharing this part of your journey together with us. I look forward to your adventures in the years to come!
Last Thursday turned out to be food trip day. The guys decided that they wanted to try out that new smokeless grill place above Something Fishy in Eastwood called Sambokojin Yakiniku Smokeless Grill. We’ve been seeing the ads about it for quite some time now, and we thought it would be nice to give it a try. The day before, Arpee passed by and inquired about their prices and service, so he was raring to go, as was Gio. At first, I didn’t want to because I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry, but then again, I’m glad I gave in.
“Sambokojin”, as the waiter told us, is the Japanese god of the kitchen, which should be very apt for the restaurant since in essense it’s one big kitchen, since you cook your own food at the grill on your table. Sambokojin (the restaurant, not the god) has several sections of food that’s already prepared, like the wide selection of Japanese sushi and sashimi, as well as choices of other Japanese and Korean dishes.
The restaurant also has a wide array of meat for grilling. The clever thing they did was to arrange it by sauce, so you can take your pick of different sorts of meat marinated in teriyaki, kimchi or the special Sambokojin sauce. Seafood is also available and there was also choices of bacon-wrapped goodies. I’m a big fan of the Shitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms and asparagus.
Sauces are also available on your table. The Sambokojin sauce is a favorite.
There’s also a good selection of desserts and salads, which I unfortunately didn’t get to taste. I tried their ice cream and some pastries, but I feel that I wasn’t able to really taste them because I was so full. It’s enough reason to go back.
Buffet prices vary. Lunch during Mondays to Fridays are P495, while dinner is P595. Lunch and dinner on weekends are both P595. Not a bad deal right?
I waddled out of Sambokojin a very happy customer. Not only was the food good, but the service top notch. No sooner than I finished the contents of one plate, a service crew is right there to whisk it away. They also call you by your name, which is really nice, making the dining experience more personal. You also won’t have to run back and forth if you need an extra plate while getting your food because the entire shelf below the choices are full of plates.
My only complaint? An hour’s lunch break isn’t enough.
Update: Sambokojin will open a branch along EDSA! I saw a sign next to Dad’s/Saisaki. That’s great news for those who find Eastwood far away! More updates! I think the EDSA branch is now open! I passed by it the other day (I was on the MRT hehe). If anyone can confirm, I’d appreciate it! 🙂
Saturday had me visiting Riverbanks for the Hobbyworx toy fair. Last month they had their event at Glorietta 5, where my friends managed to get great bargains on some merchandise. This month’s event had fewer booths, but had a cosplay and auction activities in partnership with Cosplay.ph.
I met Ryan, then with Drew. Nothing much to look at (except for the fascinating and somewhat creepy giant janitor fish in Marikina River), so we decided to head on to Makati to meet up with the rest of the Plurkers for pizza. I missed seeing Yue because I didn’t get there fast enough.
The trip to Cubao itself was an adventure. We were stuck in traffic next to a truckload of pigs. We couldn’t take the smell, so we got off at Project 4 and took a different route to Cubao. It was a familiar place for both Ryan and myself, so we pointed out places to Drew (much like touring a foreigner, which is now a running joke amongst us). When we got to Cubao, we stopped over at Ali Mall only long enough for me to get my Pinky:St dolls and the Chopper hat for Joiz.
The line for MRT tickets was long. It was also crowded inside the train, so we sort of just squeezed against each other. It was marginally better than the horrendous traffic along EDSA. When we arrived at Magallanes, we took a jeep to Makati Cinema Square, where Joiz was with Shabby, Marsha and Jan.
Danbo and the Chopper hat
Danbo wants pizza
Danbo loves the giant juice
I like the Chopper hat!
We ordered pizza, and knowing that it would take a while, Ryan, Drew and I went to Waltermart to look at Great Toys. Drew wanted to buy a toy because I got some and Ryan got comics. :p He ended up getting Revoltech Airi from Queen’s Blade.
Dinner was fun. We had the 27″ pizza and a plate of pasta. Surprise! Busog. Took pics, made fun of Joiz then headed off to Greenbelt for drinks. I got sleepy after one bottle of Super Dry, so I had coffee. I looked so cool.
I had to leave early because I had to be up and about by 6 AM the next day for the Samsung Galaxy Tab tour. I was late in getting up, but still earlier than everyone. I should get plus points… say, a free Tab. Hehe.
Fourth October Saturday with friends. Tally: Drew – 4, Ryan, Fristine & Lornadahl – 2, Joiz, Shabby/Marsha, Den & Ching – 1 each. New people I met: Fritz and Yue. October rocks, although next week’s pretty much reserved for family. I’m going home to Zambales!
Finally got together with Den and Ching. We haven’t seen each other in weeks, what with Den being in Dumaguete for a while and Ching and myself off doing our own thing. Yesterday, we went to our usual haunts, did some food trip, videoke and book browsing. I also got to check out the newly opened Muji at Bonifacio High Street. As much as I loved it, I probably won’t be making any purchases from them in the near future. I do want the storage though, and the food stuff.
I missed my friends terribly. They’re among the rare ones whom I know I can count on anytime, no matter the distance. As I told Den, “I may be having fun with my new friends, but you guys are the ones I keep coming back to.” Aww, mush.
It rained late in the afternoon, delaying my trip to Makati where I was meeting Ryan and Drew. We met up in Hana in Little Tokyo, so Ryan and I could pick up the Pinky St. dolls we were getting from Yue. I also decided to give in and try Hana’s takoyaki, which I have been wanting to try for a very long time.
It did not disappoint. If you are looking for a takoyaki fix and you have the time to go to Hana, do so.
I also got to try the dynamite roll, California maki, and that spinach/bacon dish (I don’t know what it’s called). We also tried the coffee jelly, which I absolutely loved. While you can taste the coffee, it wasn’t that strong so it just balances out the sweetness of the cream. The shaved ice is also delicious. Ryan also share the cupcakes he decorated, and Yue’s toys posed a bit with the food hehe.
It would look better if I composed the shots no? >.<
Hoping to return there this time with the family in tow. 😀 Many thanks to Yue and her mom. 😀
New collection? So I finally got my Pinky St. figures. I got PK014 Maki from Ryan, then a mix of some loose Pinky from Yue.
Here’s a combination of the pieces.
Seriously going to check out what’s available in the stores next payday hehe.