Chowking’s Chinese-Style Fried Chicken

Presenting Chowking’s Chinese-style fried chicken in real life:

Chowking Chinese-Style Fried Chicken

OK, it may look like your ordinary fried chicken but it’s not. But don’t get too excited about it. It’s what I’d like to call home fried chicken +. There’s nothing really special about the fried chicken they serve. No extra flavor, no extra tenderness, nothing totally different… just crispier skin. So, yeah, home fried chicken +.

Still, that extra crispiness is reason enough to purchase Chowking’s fried chicken over, say, McDonald’s chicken or Jollibee’s ChickenJoy. It’s not as spectacular as the ads would want you to believe, but it’s good enough to try at least once.

A gift from the heavens: Hormel 50% Less Fat Real Bacon Bits

Hormel 50% Less Fat Real Bacon Bits I love bacon. I am mad about bacon. I would eat bacon every day if I could, and if I ever encountered a breakfast buffet that includes a pan of refilling bacon, I would go out of my way to be at that buffet as often as I can. That’s why I look forward to doing a comparison of the way bacon is treated in local restaurants; for the most part, restaurants here appear to just slap them onto a pan for a few minutes then lay them on a sandwich, looking like a sad, pale lump of meat. I like my bacon dark and crispy.

But I will go into greater detail of my love for bacon in a future post. The star of this particular post is an amazing discovery I unearthed at the supermarket: Hormel 50% Less Fat Real Bacon Bits. It was a pleasant surprise to see that on a shelf normally featuring nothing but Bacos. At a price of P136 or $3.23, I felt it may be a worthwhile investment. So upon getting home, I popped that bottle open and inhaled—a seductive true bacon-y smell. Naturally, I had to sample it and the taste that met my mouth was awesome–real bacon, ladies and gentlemen. Of course, I wasn’t expecting it to be crispy. I look forward to drizzling it on top of salad or whatever cream-based pasta dish I’ll whip up.

Nuts About Nutella

Decided to grab our first bottle of Nutella yesterday while grocery shopping. Right now, I’m kicking myself for not trying it out sooner. All those wasted years without this bottled goodness…

Nutella

Anyway, I posted my newfound appreciation love for Nutella on Facebook and I got some suggestions on where to spread its goodness or what food combination is worth trying. Lynn and I decided to try some Nutella-smothered crepes from La Creperie. We didn’t get to take a picture of our meal but…

Oh, sweet Jesus. It was goooooooooooooooooooooood.

Fine vegetarian food at Pipino

Until recently, my vegetarian restaurant of choice was Corner Tree Cafe along Jupiter Street in Makati. I heard about Pipino Vegetarian Food from a teacher in the yoga studio I go to, though, and was determined to give it a try. Given the amount of meat we post on this blog, it might come as a surprise that I’m extremely fond of vegetarian and vegan food, especially now that such restaurants are serving much more than salads.

So a couple of weeks ago, I took my mother to Pipino for dinner. The restaurant is located on the second floor, in the same building as Pino Resto Bar in Teachers Village; you have to enter the gate on the side of the building and head to the back, where you climb the stairs to Pipino on the second floor. The inside of Pipino is extremely light, welcoming, and pleasant. On one wall, you see flyers for cooking events as well as pictures of satisfied diners; presently, Pipino is also showcasing the works of Mio, a young boy fighting cancer. Some items on Pipino’s menu are chalked on the other side of the restaurant.

Pipino Vegetarian Food

Of course, Pipino’s offerings are much more extensive than what is displayed on the chalkboards. My mother ordered the Fried Eggplant, Adobong Kangkong and Brown Rice served with Nilasing na Mangga by Pipino (P155), which she loved for the subtle mix of flavors. The mango was particularly tasty, she said, and perked up the mildness of the eggplant.

Fried Eggplant, Adobong Kangkong and Brown Rice served with Nilasing na Mangga by Pipino

I ordered a bowl of potato soup (P40) to kick off my meal. For my main course, I had the Stuffed Demi-Dried Tomatoes with Brown Rice, Mushroom Salpicao, and Orange Leek Salad (P225). I have no idea how the brown rice was prepared, but I was crazy about how it tasted. The mushrooms were nicely cooked and the oranges added some sweetness. It was extremely filling; I couldn’t even manage to scarf down the tomatoes anymore.

Potato soup by Pipino

Stuffed Demi-Dried Tomatoes with Brown Rice, Mushroom Salpicao, and Orange Leek Salad by Pipino
Naturally, I thought I absolutely had to go back, so last Friday, Tj and I stopped at Pipino for dinner; I’m really glad he gave in, since I was pestering him about going there for quite a while. He ordered the Vegetable Kare-Kare with Vegan Bagoong Brown Rice (P165). After his first bite, he looked up at me and said, “This is really good!” and spent the rest of the meal chewing in silence, scooping up the remaining sauce when the entire plate was wiped out. He commented that the kare-kare reminded him of the one his mother cooks, and that the vegetables were properly cooked and not soggy at all.

Vegetable Kare-Kare with Vegan Bagoong Brown Rice by Pipino

I didn’t feel like having a huge meal that night, so I just had their Mac n’ Cheeze (P165). I’m not sure what cheese substitute they used, but hey, it was good enough to make me happy even if I knew I wasn’t eating real cheese.

Mac n' Cheeze by Pipino

We also planned to try out their ice cream, which is “made with cashew milk and sweetened with maple syrup”, as indicated on their chalkboard. We had the Fresh Lemon Ice Cream (P40) which included a honey-free graham cracker in the shape of a heart. The lemon flavor is pretty sharp and tangy, so make sure to only take small bites while eating or spoon it on a piece of graham cracker. The texture was also quite gritty, but we liked it nonetheless. I’m looking forward to trying the dark chocolate ice cream next time.

Fresh Lemon Ice Cream by Pipino

So has Pipino taken over Corner Tree Cafe’s space in my heart? I’d say they’re on a pretty even footing. They both have great takes on vegan and vegetarian dishes; Pipino just has an advantage since it’s a lot closer to where I live. I’m also amazed by the prices. The most expensive item on the menu costs P260, and their iced tea costs P35–not really the kind of prices people generally associate with organic or vegan food items, so that will come as a nice surprise to those who will eat here for the first time. I’m really looking forward to going back to Pipino. Now my only problem is deciding which dish I’ll order next, the vegetable lumpia or the banana polenta?

 

Pipino Vegetarian Food
Address: 39 Malingap Street Teachers Village, Quezon City
Phone: 4411773
Web: www.pipinovegetarian.com