Typical Pinoy Breakfast

“Mom, what’s for breakfast?”

Filipinos love to eat. We can have five to six meals in a day.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are the three major meals and 2 or 3 snack times in between. We love waking up early in the morning for a pre-breakfast snack. “Pandesal” or sweet buns with white cheese or a sandwiched slice of Dairy Cream butter dipped in a cup of coffee is the usual appy at around 6 o’clock in the morning. The moms usually prepare for the main meal while the rest of the family enjoys the early morning treat. On rainy days, we love going back to bed after a nice and satisfying “pandesal” treat.

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At 7 o’clock, breakfast is already served. School time is early and moms are used to preparing easy-to-cook recipes. The typical Filipino breakfast is usually fried rice and sunny side eggs with any of the basic breakfast favourites such as beef tapa, tocino, fried chicken, sweet sausage or “longganisa”, red Tender Juicy Hotdogs, marinated-deboned-fried milk fish, corned beef with minced potatoes, embutido and salted fish or “tuyo”. Spiced vinegar, banana ketchup, sliced tomatoes and pickled papaya are always good on the side.

Cooking the above mentioned favourites is a piece of cake, effortless. It’s just about heating a frying pan,  a tablespoon of canola oil and fry any of the dishes in 5-10 minutes.

ImageTapsilog means “Tapa + Sinangag + Itlog” (marinated tenderloin beef tips fried to perfection, garlic fried rice and sunny side eggs). Pampanga’s Best is a good brand for processed breakfast goodies or if you want you can make your own beef tapa as well. Tapa are slices of beef flank or tenderloin cut into thin strips marinated for 12 hours with a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, salt, lime and black pepper. It’s almost similar to beef jerky. The meat soaks all the flavours after immersion.

ImageTocilog means Tocino + Sinangag + Itlog”. Tocino is cured slices of pork shoulder blades that has a sweet taste. They are available in Filipino Stores as well but I prefer making it myself to avoid nitrites in our meal. I use the Mamasitas Tocino Marinade Mix, it makes my life easier. I sometimes add more sugar to the mixture to make it even tastier. It’s lovely with vinegar and soy sauce.

ImageLongsilog means “Longganisa + Sinangag + Itlog”. Longganisa came from the Spanish word Longaniza which pertains to a spicy pork sausage. Well, I don’t know how to make this one. It’s a bit complicated for me and Neil. It can be bought from a wet market in the Philippines and is also available in Filipino Stores. Longganisa is made up of ground pork mixed with minced garlic, sugar, black pepper, vinegar and salt. The combined ingredients are pushed into a hog casing and tied in knots at even intervals. Some are called “Skinless Longganisa” which are molded and without the sausage skin. They make different flavours such as sweet, garlicky, spicy and regular.

ImageCornsilog means Corned Beef + Sinangag + Itlog.”  We add diced potatoes and lots of onions to it. Sometimes we add a tablespoonful of soy sauce and brown sugar to make it more enjoyable.

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 Bangsilog means “Bangus + Sinangag + Itlog”. The Bangus also known as Milk Fish is scaled and cut into a butterfly form and marinated for hours with a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, black or white pepper and chopped garlic. After marinading for hours, it is fried until crispy. It’s one of my favourite. Pancake House serves the best Bangsilog, pricey but worth it.

ImageHotsilog means Hot Dog + Sinangag + Itlog”. The famous red Tender Juicy Hotdog in the Philippines is the best hotdog I’ve ever tasted. They have the brown ones as well with cheese in it and it was just divine. Any brand of hotdog would do to have Hotsilog for breakfast. This is the easiest one to prepare. It’s best when you have UFC Banana Ketchup on the side.

The other types of Silogs are : Chiksilog (fried chicken), Embusilog (embutido – sausage like) and Litsilog (lechon kawali), Spamsilog (spam), Dangsilog (with “Danggit” or rabbitfish) and Chosilog (chorizo).

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Aside from “Silogs”, Filipino’s also likes porridge. It’s not the oatmeal one but the sweet chocolate rice porridge. We call it Champorado. We have acquired it from the Mexican traders who stayed in our country in the early years. It is made by boiling a special kind of mucilaginous rice with cocoa powder or Milo (popular chocolate drink in the Philippines) which gives a chocolatey color. We usually add milk and sugar to make it taste sweeter and yummier. Some would add Tuyo or salted dried fish which contrasts the sweet taste of Champorado making it more enjoyable.

Filipinos love to have coffee as well with the breakfast and fruits are served after the meal.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for Filipinos. A heavy breakfast gives us energy to get through the summons ahead. A good breakfast gives brain power.

Pinoy breakfast is one of the world’s best. Simple buy delicious and satisfying.

One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.” 
― Robert A. Heinlein, Friday

Photo credits to the following :

http://kuboresto.com/, http://www.islakulinarya.blogspot.com, http://www.yelp.com, http://www.flicker.com, www.bubblenews.com, http://www.angsarap.nethttp://www.mommyandmatt.blogspot.com

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Kara-age Chicken : The Japanese Fried Chicken

I remember when Neil and I went to Guu Garlic at Robson Street in Downtown Vancouver, it was my second time in the restaurant and it’s Neil’s first time. I went to the original location on Thurlow just off Robson with my friends before and I was impressed with the food, though not everyone in the group agreed with me, I still enjoyed the experience. Guu is an authentic Japanese Izakaya with a set of traditional social customs. The servers are all Japanese if i’m not mistaken and they greet or welcome the customers, thank them and wish them well as they leave. Well I must admit, the greetings can sometimes get a little too loud but it’s tolerable and I kinda like it. It sure beats going to most western restaurants in Vancouver and getting totally ignored the entire time. I like the setting where customers can sit on the bar and have an ice-cold Dry Asahi or Sapporo (Japanese Beer). They have low tables and cushions on the floor. Customers who prefer a nice and quieter atmosphere can choose the upper level where the low tables are situated. One of the Japanese table manners is removing shoes before dining and using the chopsticks properly as it is essential for Japanese dining etiquette. Neil and I are not quite sure if the customers practice all the dining etiquette but we are there to enjoy the food and the company of each other.

We ordered a variety of food in their menu (which is so hard to understand) and we enjoyed every bits of it. One of our favorite was the Chicken Kara-age.

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Unlike other types of fried chicken, the Kara-age never left me with the greasy feeling at all and slightly gross afterwards. It was served with a cut of lemon and you have to squeeze liberally before eating. That could be one factor that made it so special. The mayo dip was divine too, it was not like any other local mayonnaise, on the other thought, it could be the chicken which made everything special on the plate.

The Guu Garlic experience inspired me to make a simple version that a beginner like me can make.

Kara-age Chicken

Ingredients (Serves 4)

6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, about 3 1/2 oz/100g each

4 tbsp shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)

4 tbsp mirin

2 tbsp finely grated fresh gingerroot

2 garlic cloves, crushed

oil, for deep frying

2 1/2 oz or 70 g or 1/2 cup potato starch or cornstarch

pinch of salt

lemon wedges, to serve

Method

1 Cut the chicken into large cubes and put in a bowl. Add soy sauce, mirin, gingerroot, and garlic and turn chicken to coal well. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in a cool place for 20 minutes.

2 Preheat a wok, then fill one-third full with oil, or use a deep fryer. Heat the oil to 350-375°F or 180-190°C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds.

3 Meanwhile, mix the potato starch with the salt in a bowl. Lift the chicken out of the marinade and shake off any excess. Drop it into the potato starch and coat well, then shake off any excess.

4 Add the chicken to the oil, in batches, and cook for 6 minutes, or until crisp and brown. remove, drain on paper towels, and keep hot while you cook the remaining chicken.

5 Serve with lemon wedges.

Some people like to add a sprinkling of grated yuzu peel and/or sansho pepper.