Friday, January 13, 2017

Sunlife Sinag Awards 2016 at the Makati Shangri La

Last month, Mr. AR Bautista of AB Comm Events invited me to the annual awards day of Sunlife Philippines Inc. called the Sinag at the Makati Shangri La. This event consisted of honoring and recognizing the achievements of media personnel among the print, radio, online, and written mediums. Sunlife chose winners based on the regions of the Philippines. They also chose winners from unique sectors such as the youth.

Sunlife also recognized the special role of journalists in society and the risks they face. In connection with this, they awarded all the participants with accident insurance. This is just one way that Sunlife hopes to give back to the community as part of its CSR.

It didn't end there. Sunlife also awarded students with cash prizes from the Sinag Student Awards competition. Students from top universities in the Metro submitted their written works on important topics. Sunlife then chose the ones with the best content and delivery then awarded them with Php 10,000 in cash.

These activities show Sunlife's commitment to helping out journalism in whatever field and sector. With Sunlife, your future is not only secure. They also help out in a person's personal growth, be it in business, writing, or other fields. Now that is truly a selfless way of giving back.

The story in pictures:

Ms. Riza Mantaring, President of Sunlife - introducing the winners for the various categories of journalism

The awarding ceremony being conducted

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Xiao Nan Men: Chinese/Taiwanese delights in the heart of Banawe

Taiwanese food is aplenty these days. Hence, customers are now discerning with the taste, presentation, and the quality of the food they eat. Fortunately for me, I was able to try out  one of Banawe's best joints: Xiao Nan Men. The restaurant was located in Z Square mall, a haven for food lovers. 

According to the owner, Xiao Nan Men had its roots in Taiwan. They took over the Philippine branch and served the favorites that was so well loved by the Taiwanese.

We started off with the Deep Fried Pork Belly. This is the Taiwanese version of the Asado. It consisted of deep fried reddish meat with a crusty breading. It came with its own special sauce, though I liked it better with chili. The meat was pretty crisp yet a bit tough.

Stir Fried Taiwan Sausage. While not a staple in traditional Chinese cuisine, this fried favorite is bowl of thinly sliced Chinese sausage topped with leeks and onions. It wasn't especially sweet though and served just the way I like it.

Three Cups Chicken was braised Chicken pieces in black sauce and mushrooms. These were easy to chew and tasty too. The sauce was a mix of salty and sweet tastes. In addition to it, there was a 

King Fish in Mango Chili Sauce reminded me of the sweet and sour fish usually served in Chinese restaurants, yet the fish used was a kingfish, not the standard Lapu-Lapu. The fish is fried then topped with the special sweet and sour sauce and mango chunks. This was, by far, their best seafood dish. The mango and the sauce give the fish a lively, full bodied taste. 

Deep Fried Stinky Tofu was more of an acquired taste. This Taiwanese favorite was a fermented tofu slab that was served after a few months in preservation. I found it to be pretty awful due to the strong taste and smell; yet I managed to swallow one. It was truly an acquired taste.

Deep Fried Porkchop was their standard pork dish. It was reminiscent of Taiwanese style porkchop that was usually served huge on top of rice. It was really crispy too. I also liked its slightly salty taste plus the crispy pork breading used on it.

Sliced Beef Fried Rice with Bell Pepper was the tastiest rice dish in the joint. It was pan fried rice with crispy beef and bell peppers. I love the fact that the dish is also a meal in itself.

Scrambled Egg with Special Sauce is their in-house omelette specialty. It was a humungous fried delight with lots of bean sauce on top. I liked to top this on the Beef rice to improve the flavor.

Xiao Long Bao was pretty tasty. This broth dumpling has been usually served with ginger and black vinegar. This long-time favorite is excellently served at this place piping-hot and in big numbers. I enjoyed savoring every bite of this dish.

Ta Chang Noodles was a beef broth topped on boiled noodles in order to be cooked. It was truly a rich and tasty soup dish that was a refreshing addition to all the rice meals.

The Taiwanese/Chinese mix of dishes were a sight to behold. Their wonderful presentation and their excellent taste are great for groups of people who want high calibre Taiwanese dishes.

The story in pictures:

Xiao Nan Men Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bao On the Block: the newest Bao place in Quezon City.

We only know the siopao, siomai, and those streotypical Chinese dishes copied by lots of restaurants in Metro Manila. However, we don't usually hear of the Bao. Fortunately, the owners of Bao on the Block seek to introduce Bao to the general public. Bao is actually steamed or fried dough that is usually filled with meat. Traditionally it is mixed with asado sauce. However, the owners thought of different toppings that can be used with this lesser known Chinese snack.

The dishes are usually composed of steamed dough topped with a variety of viands. The pictures below will show you their delectable selection. 

Botb classic. This dish is a combination of fried pork, hoisin sauce, and nuts. The hoisin sauce and pork make a wonderful combination that is sure to whet someone's appetite.

The chicken chop rice bowl is for those who prefer rice over the bao. It is composed of deep fried chicken with fried wanton wrappers and fresh vegetables.

The customary pork siomai at Php 85 for 8 pieces. It is a good accompaniment to the bao dishes.

Dragon Bao Z. This spicy offering has a lot of kimchi, pork, and spring onion relish. This is perfect for those who want a lot of spice in their meal. 

The stylish wall deco.

Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl. This has special teriyaki sauce. I find this one better than the ordinary chicken chop due to the sweet teriyaki sauce. It still comes with the standard vegetables and chips.

Another shot.

The customary sharksfin siomai. The fish based version is as good as the pork siomai.

Fish Bao with You. For those who have no inclination to eat pork or chicken, the fish version is for you. This is composed of fried fish, wasabi, mayo, and nori. The inclusion of wasabi might be a bit extreme for those who don't want spicy, but the taste is agreeable nonetheless.

The Bao selections. All come with fried wanton wrapper chips. It costs 89 Php for 1 pc., Php 159 for 2 pieces, and 379 for 5 pieces.

Back to the Baosics. This one is a chicken based alternative to the Botb classic. I prefer the pork based one; but this is still good. It has lots of coleslaw, though.

To cap it off, we had a bottle of China's most popular beer, Tsingtao. At 120 per bottle, this is actually good for two people. Way to end the night!

Bao on the Block truly satisfied my curiosity as to what could be done with the traditional Bao. It truly has gone a long way from the typical ones I used to eat at restos. 

Bao on the Block is located at 52 Sgt. Esguerra St., Scout Triangle, Quezon City.

Bao on the Block Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

LAVA Resto Bar and Grill: one of Timog Avenue's secrets

Timog Avenue is home to some of the best drinking places and grills in Quezon City. LAVA Resto Bar and Grill is one of the newer grills in the area. Fortunately, I got a chance to experience the place to check its dishes.

The grill had this art deco/ hispter feel. There was a freedom wall where diners posted pictures and messages. Also, they had the logo painted in black and white in one of the walls. The furniture even reminded me of one of those classic bars in Manila.

The place has been around for a year. According to the owners, their specialties are more on American themed dishes with emphasis on meat. As a meat lover, I surely couldn't wait to taste what they had to offer. The menu included BBQ Pork Ribs, Seafood in Olive Oil and Garlic Pasta, Savory Chicken, Classic Burger, and Buffalo Wings. Plus a bucket of Brew Kettle.

We started with their appetizers. The Buffalo Wings had this mildly spicy taste and delicious barbecue sauce. It was also in generous servings. I'd say that the skin was pretty remarkable. It was chewy and savory. The Seafood Pasta was less remarkable. The dish was pretty salty; and the seafood wasn't so fresh anymore. This, however, was redeemed by the BBQ Pork Ribs. The sauce was excellent. The servings were also good. It was also topped with garlic rice. Furthermore, the meat can easily be stripped off the bones without any difficulty. The Savory Chicken was well cooked. The meat was tender. Also the skin was tasty. The Classic Burger was also well-cooked. It had a thick patty generously topped with big buns and piping hot mozzarella cheese. In sum, I'd say that their dishes were pretty notable. But I must say that they need something to mark the distinction in their meals. The prices are quite reasonable as well. 

LAVA Grill seems to be one of the more discreet places to share a drink or meet friends or family. The quaint ambiance and casual interiors can serve to soften the mood and promote a fun and friendly conversation. LAVA Grill is located at 79 Timog Avenue, QC (In front of Buddy's)

The story in pictures:

The entrance

The freedom wall

The Lava logo painted.

The classic burger

Buffalo Wings

The menu

The BBQ Ribs

The Savory Chicken

Lava Resto Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato