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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

“The World’s Cheapest Michelin Star Meal in the World”

Aloha Everyone,

This is a story of where East met West and guess who came away with a shorter end of the stick. Original fast food owned by a Malaysian Chef Hawker Chan, who established himself a tiny outdoor food stall business in Singapore with chicken, rice and noodle dishes.

His successful business venture was noticed and in 2016 awarded one star by Michelin. Most restaurants and chefs regard receiving one Michelin star as an epitome of his career. However Chef Chan was inundated by customers and he tried to return the Michelin star.

There are different stories of what followed. Chef Chan partnered with international entrepreneurs and franchised his Michelin winning chicken, rice and noodle dishes operation to a quick fast-food restaurant business in Singapore as well as other Asian cities.

The restaurant located across the street from The Landmark is well maintained and their employees are trained with Singaporean efficiency. It took 30 minutes to prepare our orders. My steamed chicken dish was excellent. Reminded me of Singaporean Hainanese Chicken.  We definitely will go back again, but next time I will ask for no sauce on my rice.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, November 28, 2022

“I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”

Aloha Everyone,

Christmas is officially here in this tropical country. As recent as a few days before J.J. and I celebrated Thanksgiving holiday, Bing Crosby’s old time favorite song has been heard everywhere as shoppers hurry to find Christmas gifts and Black Friday specials. Establishments go all out to decorate their premises. People dress in winter sweaters and snow caps. Really, outside of our cool air conditioned condo unit, it’s 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

We purchased 3 non-slip mats from The Landmark Department store located nearby. Our hardwood floors are beautifully polished but it can be slippery. Difficulty is standing from the living room couch and bed. These non-slip mats will prevent us from slipping, thus keeping us safer.

It appears that we need to refill our WiFi. The 250 peso (about US$4.50) we paid 5 days ago needs to be “topped off.” It costs us $.90 per day to use 4 devices. Far better than on Princess Cruise where we paid $10 per day to use unreliable WiFi. That’s a 50% discount from the cruise line’s normal $20.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Legazpi Sunday Market

Aloha Everyone,

We heard about two weekend Farmers Market from Marita and Dolores. But when we tried to ask for a taxi to take us, no one at our condo concierge or security staff heard of them.

Our taxi driver, a jolly man also has never heard of Legazpi Sunday Market. He drove to Legazpi Village park and told us, ”See there’s none. Shall we just go on a city tour?" J.J. instructed him to go around the park and drop us off and there it was, a big farmer’s market.

So many enthusiastic vendors representing multi-culture and ethnicity hawking their produce and cooked foods.  Equally amazing were buyers who purposely navigated narrow lanes making large purchases with their servants behind carrying ice chests.

Paella Valenciana, crab prepared in salt and garlic made for a sumptuous dinner — for J.J.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Small Indulgences

Aloha Everyone,

Rocky at Nespresso kiosk located inside Greenbelt 3 was extremely eager to make a sale. When he realized that J.J. is a potential buyer, he tried to promote individual flavors of Nespresso pods. Rocky in his enthusiasm even suggested that drinking 3 cups of coffee a day is too much :-). So as not to turn off J.J., I informed Rocky that my husband knows his coffee and it’s best to make him decide. Two packages of Nespresso box contains 10 pods. It comes to about US$ .70 per cup.

I have been drinking Genmai Cha with matcha powder. The product, imported from Japan cost about US$10 which is what I pay in a Japanese Supermarket in Torrance, CA.

These are small indulgences the two of us enjoy.

Too much Shaun-Shabu affected our stomachs. The two of us pretty much stayed in the condo trying to stabilize our digestive systems with crackers and bottled water.

I ventured out to 7-Eleven to purchase cans of Coke and 7-up. Two boiled eggs and a few other “safer” food came out to US$3.73. We joked that this was the cheapest meal we had so far since arriving in the Philippines.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, November 25, 2022

Shabu-Shabu for a Day After Thanksgiving

Aloha Everyone,

Shabu-Shabu is a Japanese hot pot dish with thin sliced meat or fresh seafoods and vegetables boiled in water. Dipping sauces can be made with soy sauce, ponzu, grated sesame seeds with chopped green onions. Taste is usually less sweet than Sukiyaki as no sugar or rice wine are added.

Shabby-Shabu, onomatopoeia, derives from the sound you make when cooking in the boiled water, “swish-swish”.

The food was excellent. But taste was far removed from the Japanese origin. First of all, the boiling water already had taste - we choice beef sauce. Then the table top range started to boil and until we asked our server to turn off the stove top, it kept on boiling.

Dipping sauce made of peanut paste, variety of chili peppers, cilantro, chopped green onion resembled Singaporean or Vietnamese.

We ordered two single portions which we weren’t able to finish. Wonderful eating experience. My mouth felt like it was on fire with so much pepper and hot food.

Our dessert from a nearby food vendor was Ube HaloHalo (Filipino dessert made of purple yam.)

Meals for two have been averaging US $20 to $25 or about US $50 per day. This amount is comparable to Greece, Turkey, Spain, as well as in Mexico and Ecuador. 

Aloha -- Cathi