here's an ilonggo take on the pinakbet, an ilocos original. pinakbet is the filipino version of the french ratatouille or mixed vegetables sans the stewed tomatoes. the ilocos original uses the traditional ginisa method to quickly stir fry garlic, onions, tomatoes with pieces of pork fat then throw in ampalaya, okra, talong, string beans, kalabasa and season with ginamos made from hipon to give it flavor. the ilonggo version adds ginamos and minced ginger during the stir fry process for a more fragrant dish. when the pork fat starts to caramelize lower the heat then layer the vegetables with the kalabasa at the bottom then pour in kakang gata (first squeeze of coconut milk) and simmer until it's ready to serve. technically, you should never stir the dish once you've added the gata to retain the form of the vegetables. if you don't have access to gata then you can always substitute evaporated milk.
barbecue should have FAT. this is a popular dish all over and other countries have their own version from kebabs to satay. what makes this one particularly interesting is the filipino penchant to make it sweet. soy sauce, pepper and sugar form the basic basting ingredients for this barbecue. the trick is to cook it until the sugar starts to caramelize but not long enough to burn. i wondered how they did this one as the meat slices were pretty thick but was cooked throughout. as usual, i reserved the last bit of fat for the last bite. beeeeh. sarap!
when people think of fried chicken they usually go for thigh, leg, breast and rarely would anyone go for the rib or wing part. guess what, i like the isol (chicken tail) and neck breaded and deep fried to a crisp. it's the luscious skin that gives it the fatty flavor that goes so well when dipped in sinamak or pinakurat (spicy vinegar). hot rice and crispy fatty chicken skin. delish!
head off to the carinderia in front of westown hotel in bacolod if you want no fuss meals like this one. for people on a business trip like me, don't expect receipts. in any case, everything here cost less than a jolly meal. yup. that cheap. they usually run out of food by about seven in the evening.
speaking of westown, during my trips to bacolod i usually stay in this hotel right at the heart of downtown. it's pretty close to SM and literally walking distance to restaurants and has good access to transport. it helps that the ladies in the front desk ALWAYS remember my name and have a ready smile to share. no wonder i always book my rooms with this hotel. till next time then.