Myron’s: Steak perfected

 

I love steak. I like it medium and seasoned perfectly with salt and pepper. I like it with a side of roasted vegetables and rice or potatoes. Sauces are optional because you don’t need a sauce with a good steak.

I remember eating my first wagyu (or some kind of high grade Japanese beef) at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati years back and it was so good. Every bite was like heaven in my mouth.

Then one of the first steak houses I ever dined in was Myron’s Steak, Ribs and Seafood at Power Plant mall in Rockwell. This was 10 years ago (I think) and the steak house was pretty new then but they served good steak.

Since then, I have consumed many more steaks—bad, okay, good, great—but those two first experiences for me are the most memorable and delicious.

SB Cappuccino of mushroom soup
Cappucino of Mushroom

A little over a week ago, I was able to go back to Myron’s after many years. The restaurant has a new home, at the 6th floor of The Ascott Residences in Makati, moving from Greenbelt 5. The restaurant now serves as the property’s breakfast restaurant and they basically operate Ascott’s food and beverage (F&B) needs.

This is a big challenge for owners Ramon and Monica Eugenio considering that they started in food business at a small stall at Salcedo’s weekend market. Both experienced chefs, the couple started selling their Angus roast beef at Salcedo market in 2005. A year later, they had an opportunity to open their first restaurant at Power Plant mall. The couple partnered with friend and kitchen colleague Melanio Resuma to kick start the steak house.

SB Fusilli with grilled chicken and blue cheese
Fusilli with grilled chicken and blue cheese

After 11 years of operations, the restaurant has grown significantly and turned into a company running several restaurants including The Flying Pan, Franco’s, and Miguelito’s.

“As you can see it’s a bigger opportunity for us. I think it’s the biggest challenge for Monique and I. We started at the Saturday market and then after 10 years we were able to move from a stall in Salcedo to running the F&B department of one of the major players in Makati,” Ramon said.

One of the factors why Myron’s have lasted this long is because of a loyal following. Another is simply because they make good food.

For starters, the restaurant offers a variety of appetizers but the must tries are the caesar salad that’s freshly made beside your table and the delicious cappuccino of mushroom. It’s a mushroom soup that is creamy and foamy, giving that distinct cappuccino texture. The fresh mushroom flavors are there, not the kind you get in a can. It’s also adorably served in a coffee cup with a thin bread stick on the side.

SB Tiger prawn and US sea scallops with roasted pumpkin and scallion sauce
Tiger prawn and US sea scallops with roasted pumpkin and scallion sauce

If you’re a pasta lover, try the fusilli with grilled chicken and blue cheese. Yes, I know, blue cheese is notoriously pungent but this dish has no moldy aroma, whatsoever. It’s a surprisingly light pasta for a creamy dish and the grilled chicken complements it very well.

For people trying to stay away from carbs and want to eat “healthy,” try the tiger prawn and US sea scallops with roasted pumpkin and scallion sauce. I love seafood so this dish pleased me a lot, gastronomically speaking. The huge grilled tiger prawn has perfect charred sides and the scallops beautifully seared—both protein are very tender and well seasoned. The roasted pumpkin adds a smoky sweetness to the dish. All of the components are tied together by a creamy and delicate scallion sauce.

For the main event, Myron’s signature steak was served, called The President. It’s a US ribeye cooked medium and was served already sliced. It has a pink Himalayan salt topping and served with a side of steamed French beans. The sear was perfect and the seasoning was on point. I get why this steak is popular dish. This is best eaten with Myron’s rice, which is like fried rice but using steak drippings.

SB The President ribeye steak
‘The President’ ribeye steak

Although this was not the steak that I ate back then, it still brought back memories. Also, The President doesn’t need any sauce because it’s perfect as it is.

We ended the meal with an intricately plated chocolate cake. Ramon said that their pastry chef was formerly from Mandarin Oriental so the execution was very hotel-y. It was nice but I would have preferred the bread pudding.

The steak house is the living legacy of the man behind the name. Monica’s dad, Myron Papa is a big part of the concept when they envisioned the restaurant over a decade ago. The couple described the late stockbroker as someone who loved to entertain and feed people.

“He loved to entertain people with only the best food and wine,” recalled Monica. “When it came to get-togethers at home, he was very conscious about the quality of food being served, and very generous with the servings. You go home happy and well fed after a date with Myron.”

SB The Marianito
Marianito cocktail

This father’s day, Myron’s will celebrate with an addition to its bar menu. A new signature cocktail will be launched on June 18. Called the Marianito, it’s a classic Spanish cocktail made of vermouth, gin, campari, and angostura bitters.

Read my Manila Bulletin Lifestyle article here.

Myron’s, 6th floor The Ascott Residences, Makati City / +632 755 8898 / reservations@myronsph.com / Facebook and Instagram @myrons_ph

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Filipino-inspired Japanese-Peruvian dishes

Okay, that title is a bit confusing. How can food be Filipino, Japanese, and Peruvian at the same time Well, ever since Nobu opened here in Manila, foodies (myself included) have wondered how would it incorporate its cuisine with Filipino flavors. After all, it’s a common practice for international restaurant chains to include Filipino food/flavors on their menus when opening shop here.

For those who are unfamiliar with Nobu, the US-based restaurant’s cuisine has Japanese and Peruvian influences, thanks to its genius founder, chef Nobu Matsuhisa. His fusion food is the reason why restaurant is so successful, which first opened in Los Angeles, California. The restaurant is so good, Hollywood actor Robert De Niro invested in it and he eventually became a business partner of Chef Nobu. Now, the restaurant has several branches worldwide.

A selection of sushi
A selection of Filipino-inspired sushi.

Two years ago, Nobu opened here in Manila, not just a restaurant but a whole luxury hotel. It’s Nobu first hotel in the world. Although the hotel opened with a rocky start, the restaurant proved why it has been successful around the world.

Last April, Nobu launched its special menu, a collection of Filipino-inspired dishes. For a chef, this is a tough menu to make especially when the restaurant’s cuisine is already fusion. Adding another cuisine to the mix can be daunting.

Kurobuta and foie gras sisig bao
Kurobuta and foie gras sisig bao

But Nobu Manila’s head chef Michael de Jesus is no stranger to Filipino food because Pinoy blood runs through his veins. Coming from Nobu Las Vegas, chef Michael joined Nobu Manila last year.

“The challenge is to marry almost three different kinds of cuisines but still holding our identity because Nobu is Japanese-Pervuian. And now we try to add a Filipino aspect,” the Filipino-American chef said.

The special menu took a cue from the very successful Filipino-Japaese omakase dinner by chef Michael and Nobu NYC executive chef Ricky Estrellado last year. Chef Michael, through the help of his Filipino team, chose popular Pinoy dishes and translated them to their food—Filipino with a Nobu flair.

Uni palabok 02
Uni palabok

The nigiri and sushi selection is a clear standout. One nigiri features a lightly seared tuna topped with a “ginataan” sauce. The flavors were on point. The familiar creamy flavor of coconut milk with ginger, garlic, and added heat from chili peppers. Another standout is the tuna sisig roll, a sushi roll made of cooked tuna—sisig style—with cucumber and peppers.

The most impressive dishes on the menu are two Filipino classics, palabok and kare-kare. The uni palabok is a rich comforting dish on its own. Instead of a shrimp-based sauce, chef Michael used uni or sea urchin roe, giving the sauce that rich yet familiar seafood flavor. Instead of rice noodles, udon was used and is topped with prawns, onsen eggs (Japanese soft boiled eggs), and Nobu’s version of crushed chicharon. The finely crushed “chicharon” is actually made of bacon, seaweed, and sesame seeds.

Wagyu beef short ribs kare-kare anticucho
Wagyu beef short ribs kare-kare anticucho

The wagyu beef short ribs kare-kare anticucho on the other hand, is an elevated version of our beautiful peanut stew. Using high grade beef, the peanut sauce is mixed with the Peruvian anticucho sauce which is made of lemon, vinegar, and various herbs and spices. It’s also presented beautifully with steamed vegetables on the side like Japanese eggplant. You would need a cup (or two) of rice for this.

Chef Michael was able to fuse together the flavors from the three cuisines. The special menu is a definite must try for foodies and especially for the fans of Nobu.

Read my Manila Bulletin Lifestyle article here.

The Filipino-Inspired Nobu Specials is available until June 30, 2017 / Nobu Manila, Level 1, Nobu Hotel Manila / +632 800 8080, +632 6912882 / guestservices@cod-manila.com / cityofdreamsmanila.com

Experience teishoku-style dining

It’s no secret, I love Japanese food. So, every time there’s a new Japanese restaurant opening, I get really excited. The current situation in the local food scene means I get excited a lot. There are so many restaurants putting up shop, including Japanese restaurant chains, that sometimes it’s hard to pick where to dine first.

The newest addition to the market is Yayoi Japanese Teishoku Restaurant. Brought in by business partners Yvonne Yao and Jacqueline Gobing, Yayoi is a Japanese resto chain that already has several branches in different parts of the world. It mainly serves teishoku-style (set meal) dining.

sb-namban-teishoku-chicken-steak-with-special-yayoi-tartar-sauce
Namban teishoku (fried chicken steak with tartar sauce), P450

Set meal dining is very popular in Japan because it’s convenient and filling—one meal consists of one main dish, an appetizer, a cup of rice, and a soup. It’s essentially an upgraded value meal, which Filipinos are already used to.

Let me give an example. During the launch of the restaurant, I ordered the hitsumabushi or grilled eel, which I really enjoyed. The meal comes with grilled eel on top of rice and egg, a dashi broth, a kind of tofu appetizer, and Japanese pickles. This dish is special because it comes with an instruction card that advises diners that they can enjoy the meal in three ways. You can divide the grilled eel into several portions and enjoy them differently. One, you can eat it as it is; two, with wasabi and spring onions; and lastly, with the flavorful dashi broth.

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Hitsumabushi (grilled eel), P450

There are several set meals available that Filipinos are already familiar with like the sukiyaki teishoku, ton katsu teishoku, kara age teishoku, teriyaki chicken teishoku, teriyaki salmon teishoku, and many more. Then there’s also the new ones like the namban teishoku—fried chicken steak in sweet and sour sauce and topped with a special tartar sauce. Then there’s the wafu hamburg teishoku, a burger steak with Japanese-style sauce served with freshly grated daikon.

What the restaurant hopes is that they would be known as an authentic teishoku restaurant. According to Yvonne, the food is as authentic as it gets because they did minimal adjustments when it comes to flavors and they use ingredients sourced from Japan.

sb-matcha-ice-cream-with-matcha-mochi-cubes-and-sweet-azuki-beans
Matcha ice cream with mochi cubes and sweet azuki beans

“I have observed that the local concepts and franchises here, the food is already fusion and you don’t get authentic Japanese taste. I understand they have to adjust to the Filipino palate, but that’s not fully introducing authentic Japanese,” Yvone says, Yayoi Philippines managing director. “At Yayoi we adjust according to sweetness or adding more salt. Just little adjustments. We want to make it clear what Japanese food is really about.”

Yayoi, however, do not only serve teishoku but also a la carte meals as well. You can order appetizer separately like a bowl of edamame (steamed young soy beans) and different salads. The Japanese eatery also has a selection of delicious Japanese dessert like mochi, matcha ice cream, ohagi or steamed sticky rice ball covered in sweet azuki beans, among others.

sb-yayois-ipad-ordering-system-01
Yayoi’s iPad ordering system

But probably one of the best features of the restaurant is you get to order your food using an iPad. You can scroll through the menu, pick what you want, and tap to order. Now, that’s very Japanese.

Yayoi, 3rd Floor, Bridgeway, Bldg. B, SM Megamall, Ortigas Center / http://www.yayoi.com.ph / Facebook/YAYOIPhilippines / Instagram @yayoiph

Food trip

I haven’t posted in a while, been busy lately but will post more recipes and stories soon. This one is about my trip last April in Southern Philippines. It was my first time in General Santos City, known as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines. Located in the island of Mindanao, which unfortunately has a bad reputation to tourists because of certain conflict areas, but generally speaking, most of the island is safe. In fact, in Region XII alone, the Department of Tourism recorded 3.1 million tourist arrivals in the region.

Greenleaf Hotel's tuna sashimi
Tuna sashimi by Greenleaf Hotel, General Santos City

General Santos is considered one of the business hubs of Mindanao. It is the southernmost city in the Philippines and is famous for tuna—its top export product. Its access to the waters of Sarangani Bay and Celebes Sea makes it a prime spot for its still growing seafood business.

The city is part of Region XII or what is also known as Soccsksargen or SOX, which is also composed of South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani. What the region is famous for is the food, raw export produce like pineapple, banana, and of course, tuna. Major importers of tuna is Japan and the US, while pineapple products are shipped across the globe.

Pineapple is one of Region 12's top exports because of the huge plantations of Dole Philippines
Pineapple is one of Region 12’s top exports because of the huge plantations of Dole Philippines

“We are no. 1 in Mindanao for rice production, no. 5 in the country; for corn, no. 1 in Mindanao, no. 2 in the country; for coffee, no. 1 in the Philippines. We also export meat like “pork in box,” which is exported to United Arab Emirates (UAE). Then, there’s organic rice, which is exported to UAE, Hong Kong, United States, Netherlands, and Switzerland. But two of our top exports are canned tuna and canned pineapple,” said DOT Region XII regional director Nelly Nita Dillera.

Dillera saw the potential of the food industry as a major player in the tourism sector. After the recently concluded Flavors of SOX, the region showcased several tour packages of the region that highlighted the eats instead of the usual sights. The Flavors of SOX celebration last April was the last leg of the Flavors of the Philippines, a program of DOT as part of its Philippine Food Month campaign.

Sarangani Highlands Garden tuna lechon
Tuna lechon of Sarangani Highlands Garden

The special packages include: the Gensan Tuna Food Tour, which explores the best product of the city through different offerings of several restaurants and hotels; Blaan Traditional Food Tour, a tour that immerses guests in the tradition and food of the Blaan Tribe; South Valley Food Tour, the tour that is all about the fresh fruits, which includes the abundant pineapple, that grows in the foothills of Mt. Matutum that covers Gensan and Koronadal City; Lake Sebu Culinary Experience, a territory of the T’boli tribe which is famous for its tilapia cuisine; T’boli Food Adventure highlights the traditional cuisine of the tribe; Halal Goodness that is all about the halal delicacies of Cotabato City and nearby areas; and the Gensan Agri Tour, which explores the bounty of the country’s southernmost city.

Although I was not able to experience all the tour packages, I was able to sample some of the eats and sights the region is known for.

T'boli heklafak and rice wrapped by a native leaf
T’boli’s heklafak or roasted native chicken

South Cotabato is known for its tribal roots and two tribes have opened their doors to the public so people can experience what life is like in a tribal community. Probably the most famous indigenous group in the province is the T’boli. Scattered around the province one of the tribe’s famous homes is Lake Sebu. Because of the place’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, it has become a prime tourist spot. The destination is famous for its natural sights but also because of the food. Several resorts and restaurants in the area offer different tilapia dishes. The fish is farmed in the lake as one of the community’s main source of livelihood.

The Blaan Traditional Food Tour, on the other hand, lets tourists experience the culture of the Blaan Tribe. Lamlifew (lam-lee-fao) Village, located in Malungon, Sarangani province, welcomes guests to its community of more than 150 households. A producer of corn, organic rice, and cavendish, the tribe is proud of its rich heritage and food. One traditional dish is the llolot anok, a tinola-like chicken dish that cooks native chicken with local herbs inside a bamboo. What’s unique about this dish is the herbs the tribe uses, which are the sangig, a mint-like herb and Blaan sibuyas, a type of chive. Both herbs grow in the mountains and the community just cultivate it in their own backyard.

Blaan's Llolot Anok, native chicken cooked inside a bamboo with special native herbs
Blaan’s llolot anok, native chicken cooked inside a bamboo with special native herbs

“What we want is Soccksargen to be part of the Philippine tourism map. What the national government promotes are the established destinations. I mean these areas can stand on their own already. If they can graduate these areas and identify the emerging destinations. If this happens a lot of the stakeholders will benefit from it. It’s not just the sights, but the food and resources we are proud of. We have so much,” Dillera ends.

Inquire: tourism@dot12.org

Recipe: Mussel Soup with Moringa

Tinola is a staple Filipino soup dish that uses any kind of protein, like chicken, pork, or seafood. My favorite kind of this dish is tinolang tahong, which uses mussels. I love mussels whether in soup, baked, or grilled form. What I also like about this dish is it’s super healthy. Aside from the protein, vitamin B-12, and iron you get from the mussels, the moringa (malunggay in Filipino) leaves makes the dish even healthier. Moringa is a very common vegetable here in the Philippines and is used in many dishes. It is also considered a super food because it’s a good source of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, among others.

Ingredients

500 grams (1 lb.) mussels
1 cup fresh moringa leaves
4 cups rice water
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 thumb of ginger, julienned
1 yellow onion, chopped
Salt and pepper

Procedure

1. Wash mussels thoroughly. Let sit in salt water for 30 minutes to let mussels expel impurities naturally. Scrub any impurity on the shells.
2. Wash about two cups of uncooked rice in a bowl with 4 cups of water. Drain but save the water. This is the rice water. This is commonly used in vegetable dishes as it also helps thicken the soup because of the starch.
3. In a pot, saute garlic, ginger, and onion for about three minutes or until fragrant and onions are translucent. Then put in cleaned mussels and rice water. Wait until it boils. Mussels should open up, any mussel that does not open must be discarded. Season with salt and pepper.
4. When mussels are have opened up, turn off heat and add moringa leaves. Stir, cover, and let sit for five minutes. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Serves 4

Recipe: Classic Filipino Polvorón

Polvorón is a crumbly Spanish shortbread that uses three main ingredients—flour, milk, and sugar. The Filipino version uses the same ingredients but is cooked differently. The Pinoy polvorón is a crumbly, powdery dessert or candy that uses butter as its only wet ingredient, which means the milk it uses is in powder form. This candy is very dry (you need a lot of liquid when eating this) and has the consistency of pastry crumb topping. It’s like making a crumb topping and eating it as it is.

Ingredients

500 grams all-purpose flour
250 grams powdered milk
250 grams sugar
150 grams unsalted butter, chopped into cubes

Special equipment needed: polvorón molder

Procedure

1. In a big pan or wok, mix together flour, milk, and sugar. Then over very low heat (flour burns easily), slowly toast the powder mix, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture changes color to light brown. This will take about 30 to 45 minutes.
2. When it’s done, turn off heat and put in butter. Mix until well incorporated. This will bind the mixture together.
3. Then using the molder, mold polvorón. The molder comes in various shapes and sizes. Holding it like a syringe, push molder in the mixture and uses the sides or the bottom of the pan, push molder to form the mixture into a solid piece. Chill before serving. Enjoy!

Lights, camera, eat!

In light of the recent Oscars (and celebrating Leo Dicaprio‘s and Spotlight‘s win), it’s very timely to discuss movies. Yay, Hollywood! I’m no film buff but I do have my favorites. Most of my favorites are not critically acclaimed but nonetheless entertaining, for me at least.

The genres I watch varies, from Japanese animation to horror films. But one of the genres I’m sure to watch are films about food. When I was younger I already loved watching cooking shows, which is one of the reasons why I love food and preparing it. These days, I love watching TV series, reality shows, and documentaries about food like “Top Chef,” Netflix‘s “Chef’s Table,” PBS‘s “The Mind of a Chef,” among others.

In terms of full-length films, there’s a basket full of food movies that the entertainment industry has produced. While most of these films tackle different stories in their plots and not solely about food, they still deliver the kind of artistry a food lover would enjoy. Who would forget the crunching sound while biting off of the grilled cheese sandwich from Chef? The fish fillet swimming in butter on a copper pan from Julie & Julia? These films will surely make you feel hungry.

Here are my favorite films about food (in no particular order). If you haven’t seen any or some of the films, be warned, spoilers ahead.

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Julie & Julia (2009)

Julie & Julia (2009)

This one is both entertaining and critically praised. Nominated for and won several awards, this 2009 biographical film is about the early culinary career of American TV personality Julia Child (played by Meryl Streep) which is told alongside the life of writer and food blogger Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams). This Nora Ephron film playfully contrasts the lives of the two cooks—Child on her journey in studying French cuisine (and writing her cookbook) and Powell one her life as a struggling writer who finds comfort in cooking. Powell, a fan of Child, follows the recipes of the American TV cook through her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. While the film tells the stories, it perfectly visualizes (quite comically, too) the beauty of food and cooking, from the simple task of chopping onions to poaching eggs to the traumatic experience of killing lobsters.

Ratatouille (2007)

This Disney-Pixar hit, directed by Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava, made me question my hate for rats. Yep, I still hate rats. While I questioned the anti-hygienic nature of the film (I mean, rats cooking food for humans), which quite honestly made some people uncomfortable, the movie still delivered with the art and heart. The premise is a rat named Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) has the taste for gourmet food and the skill to cook it. It teams up with garbage boy Linguini (voiced by Lou Romano) and turns up a storm in (and eventually taking over it) the kitchen of famous French restaurant Gusteau’s. Magically controlling Linguini via his hair, Remy was able to fulfill his dream of running his own kitchen and becoming a chef, thanks to his mentor, the spirit of chef Auguste Gusteau (voiced by Brad Garrett). The Pixar stamp already assures viewers great visuals and the animation did deliver. The beautiful ratatouille dish has actually been created by various cooks and chefs in real life.

Chef (2014)

That moment when chef Carl Casper (played by Jon Favreau, who also directed the film) cooked that amazing grilled cheese sandwich, I wanted a bite so badly. The color, the cheese, the sound—perfect. In this film, Casper tries to change things up in a restaurant he has worked for for years to which his new menu was painfully rejected by the owner. The old menu proved to be tiring and unimpressive for one of the city’s infamous food critics played by Oliver Platt. The scathing review made Casper violently snap at the all-knowing critic, which ended up on YouTube making the chef super famous for all the wrong reasons. As he finds himself and tries to redeem his career, he went on a journey (literally) with his son Percy (played by Emjay Anthony) and sous chef Martin (played by John Leguizamo) on a food truck, selling Cubanos. This journey ultimately fixes his relationship with his family, especially his son. He found his way through the help of making Cuban beef sandwiches and selling them across America.

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

This film makes me want to buy a plane ticket and fly to Japan. This documentary, directed by David Gelb, follows then 85-year-old sushi master, Jiro Ono owner and chef of three-Michelin star restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro. The movie showcases how Japanese people take their work seriously. There’s a whole lot of art behind making sushi. While some restaurants have commercialized the world-famous dish, Jiro go to great lengths just to make sushi—from choosing the perfect fish to mastering its beautiful construction. This art takes practice, even Ono’s sons Takashi and Yoshikazu took years to master it. The film visualizes the process and beauty of making sushi.

Kailangan Kita (2002)

This is the only Filipino film I included on the list. This film, directed by Rory B. Quintos, made cooking and food sexy. Like Western films such as Chocolat and Woman on Top, the movie mixes romance with food. Kailangan Kita (I Need You) tells a story of a New York-based celebrity chef Carl Diesta (played by Aga Muhlach) who finally comes home to the Philippines after being away for many years. He travels to the province of Bicol, a very picturesque place, to say the least. The chef is marrying his fiancee in her home town where he meets Lena (played by Claudine Barretto), his fiancee’s sister. This simple rural girl with amazing cooking skills and the star chef fall in love with each other. This film is beautifully shot (especially the kitchen scenes) with amazing cinematography that stunningly showcases the beauty of the province, which is famous for its creamy and spicy food.

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

This film shows the journey of a culinary novice to becoming a world-renowned chef. Directed by Lasse Hallström, the story centers on the Kadam family. Forced to leave their home country, the family moves to a small village in France. A family who loves food, they decide to put up a restaurant in the town that has no clue what Indian food is. The problem, the property they acquired was straight across Michelin-starred restaurant, owned by  Madame Mallory (played by Helen Mirren). As the “restaurant wars” ensues, Mallory discovers the talented hands and palate of Hassan Kadam (played by Manish Dayal) whom she eventually trains and push to become a Michelin star chef.

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Burnt (2015)

Burnt (2015)

This is the most recent film on the list. Helmed by John Wells, this movie follows the life of Michelin-starred but troubled chef, Adam Jones (played by Bradley Cooper) who attempts to redeem his name by building a new restaurant and getting his second prestigious Michelin star. Burnt digs in deeper with its protagonist having multiple problems other than a critic not liking his food. Jones, although already sober, his alcohol and drug abuse still haunts him in the form of debt collectors running after him. Jones’ struggles explain the complexities of being a chef because giving in to the pressure of being on top can also be the cause of someone’s downfall.

This is my initial list because I have yet to watch all food films. If you have suggestions, comment it below.

Recipe: Hainanese Chicken

A Chinese dish that was popularized by Singapore. The Southeast Asian country even named it as its national dish. When visiting Singapore, your trip is not complete without eating this delicious dish at any of the many hawker centers in this small nation. Aside from the chili crab, which I love and hope to make one soon, the hainanese chicken is now a staple dish all over Asia (including the Philippines) because of its popularity. In my version, I did not put the chicken in an ice bath because I still like eating chicken hot or at least, warm. Here’s my version, tweaking this recipe from Epicurious a bit.

Ingredients

Chicken
1 whole chicken (1-1.5 kg./2.2-3.3 lbs.)
1 medium sized ginger root cut into ¼-inch thickness (you will need four pieces)
1 leek stalk
Water
Salt and pepper

Rice
2 cups Jasmine rice
1 small red onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
Chicken broth

Side
1 cucumber
3 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
Ground black pepper

Sauces
Chili
6 pcs. dried Thai chilies
1 small red onion
1 tsp. salt
Juice of one lime
1 tbsp. hot sauce (I used Tabasco)

Soy
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. Sesame oil

Ginger
1 small ginger root, grated
1 tsp. vegetable oil
½ tsp. sesame oil

Procedure

CHICKEN
1. Pat chicken dry and rub around a tablespoon of salt all over the chicken and its cavity. Slice leek into 3-inch lengths and put inside the chicken’s cavity along with two slices of ginger.
2. Get a pot that the whole chicken will fit in. Fill it with water and put the chicken inside. Make sure the water level barely covers the chicken completely. Put 1 tbsp. of salt in the water and another two slices of ginger. Put over heat and wait until it boils. Once it boils skim off the scum on the top of the broth. Lower hit and simmer for about 20 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and remove chicken from the broth and set aside. Season broth according to taste.

RICE
1. Wash rice in running water then drain well.
2. In a small pot, sauté garlic and onion in vegetable oil.
3. Pour in the washed rice stir well.
4. Get two cups of the chicken broth and pour into the pot. Stir, cover, and leave to cook for about 20 minutes over low heat. After 20 minutes, remove from heat and using a fork, fluff rice. Cover again and let it to steam further, about 10 minutes.

SAUCES
(Do these while chicken and rice are cooking to save time)
1. Throw in chilies, onion, lime juice, and salt in a small food processor. Blitz until well combined.
2. Put in a small bowl and add hot sauce. Stir and set aside.

Soy
Combine soy sauce and sugar, stir until sugar melts. Add sesame oil and mix well. Put in a small bowl aside.

Ginger
Combine all ingredients together, give it a stir, and set aside. Put in a small bowl or sauce bowl and set aside.

SIDE
1. Rinse cucumber well then using a kitchen mandolin or a y-peeler, slice cucumber into thin ribbons.
2. Combine water, vinegar, sugar, and pepper in a small bowl and mix well until sugar melts.
3. Dress the cucumber with the vinegar mixture, toss well until each ribbon is covered with the liquid. Drain excess liquid and put in a dry bowl. Set aside.

SERVE
1. Chop chicken into six pieces.
2. Plate rice, chicken, and cucumber. Garnish rice with coriander leaf and serve sauces on the side.
3. Enjoy!

Serves 6