Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie

In the Philippines, Christmas season, including the spillover days after New Year, is all about food. If I had been a diet fanatic or health buff, I would have committed suicide. lol. Kidding aside, since it is a time for various family gatherings and celebrations left and right (yeah because we have branches on all sides of the family, circle of friends, colleagues, etc.).

Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie is one of the restaurants we binged on this holiday. And we sort of celebrated in advance Ma and Dad’s 45th anniversary. I would say that the Chinese Hongkong style comfort food they is…comforting. Hehe. I had noodles of course. Noodles make the world go round for me.

Cantonese Seafood Pan Fried Noodles
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Laksa
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Baked almond fish fillet with pesto sauce
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Chao Chou Style Dried Fish and Minced Pork Soup
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Y2k Talabahan

In one of our trips to Iloilo City, we stuffed ourselves with one of the most delicious native chicken dishes I’ve ever had. It was straight up adobo with generous amounts of toasted garlic. There must be some gayuma in here, it was indecently good.

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We had this at a restaurant called Y2K Talabahan, which is located at Atria, a spanking new place in Iloilo City. The Atria is a lifestyle complex developed by Ayala Land that boasts of restaurants, retail stores, the Seda Hotel, and a condominium for the middle and upper classes of the city. I liked it! It’s too bad that I am at the tail end of the project which had me coming to Iloilo all the time (my eldest is already complaining!). It is a breath of fresh air in the slowly becoming crowded city.

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Back to Y2K, we also had this wonderful squid to go along with the whole chicken.

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Next time, I have to have the oysters!

Nutrition program

This year, we decided to enroll Mischa in the school’s nutrition program. Supposedly, it is designed to address the nutritional deficiencies of kids by creating a well-balanced menu for the whole school year. As it is quite heavy on the pocket, we are now testing it out for the first term. Here is the menu from the last week of June until July.

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We will see if we will continue in the succeeding school terms. My take is that at least, we have started doing away little by little with free radicals in hotdogs, chicken nuggets, ham and other kid-favorites. We now have more choices of “real” food, and I can see that she has started expanding her horizon when it comes to food. I don’t have to rack my brains about what to feed her picky appetite. Yay!

Akean food trip

Still in connection with my trip to Aklan, we also had a chance to eat at a couple of restaurants that featured both native Filipino dishes (not necessarily Aklanon) and international cuisine.

On our first night, we took a tricycle ride to the nearby town of Numancia, to have dinner at their famed Niño’s Ihaw Ihaw. We just had to try their seafood specialties. My favorite from among this batch is the crispy shrimps.

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The next night, we were gunning for Saylo, supposedly another one of the better restaurants in Kalibo. Unfortunately, it was closed (not sure if permanently or temporarily). So we went to the next good thing, which is nearby Latte. It was good enough, what with a great ambiance, soft lighting and comfort food. I only had fish and chips that night. I should have tried their variety of cakes and desserts.

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On our last day, we drove for almost an hour in our rented tricycle trying to get to the Residence River Restaurant. We were going in circles, even traversing the narrowest barangay streets of New Washington trying to locate this joint. It was a good thing we had time to kill before our evening flight. It was right on the highway and we completely missed it twice because it had an obscure signage and you either have to know it’s there or you should be looking very, very closely.

And in the end, all the travel was worth it. The restaurant rests on the banks of the Aklan River, and we dined with a beautiful view of the sunset while listening to the calming sounds of the water and the crickets abound.

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Beni’s Falafel

One night, we tried to go vegetarian, and I actually kind of liked it. If you know me real well, you would know that vegetarian doesn’t sit well with me. I have this notion that it is normally tasteless, which leaves me unfulfilled. But decided to give Beni’s Falafel a chance because 1) it looks cozy and 2) it wasn’t crowded. There were only around six tables and everyone was busy with dinner, quiet conversations or their gadgets, which suited me just fine!

Well, it turned out to be a good choice after all. We were both happy with our orders (he had the falafel balls in a pita while I had idam, or spicy tuna in a pita). Price wasn’t also that bad. The mediterranean salad was a letdown, though. It was just like an ordinary salsa.

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Sarsa

We finally got to try Chef Jayps’ Sarsa restaurant in Mall of Asia. When it was newly opened, the restaurant seems almost always full to the brim. So I was delighted when we dropped by on a Saturday noon at that, that we were immediately accommodated. I was even surprised that the restaurant is very spacious inside pala. We got one of the better seats in the middle, almost right alongside the bar. Interiors were okay, however, it was a little smoky from all the cooking and grilling. Not good when you have babies and kids with you.

Had a little hard time choosing what to order because I wanted to try a lot. But since it was just me and the hubby and Mischa who will eat, had to pick mostly based on the hubby’s preference for “healthier” foor (read: no meat, less oil). So we were down to these:

Bangus Belly Salad, Grilled Vegetables and Crispy Cheese with Honey Mansi Dressing
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Tuna Sisig with Tuna Chicharon, Lambanog Onions and Atsuete Aoili
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Tortang Talong with Crispy Sardines and Kesong Puti
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They were all good! I was even surprised with the salad. I especially liked the torta (fritters) because of the nice blend of the eggplant, sardines and cheese. All their dippings were just a little on the spicy side, though. But all of the food barely needed dippings anyway as they were all delicious.

Would try their other bestsellers soon when I have some carnivores with me. The pritchon pancakes, batchoy, sizzling kansi, liempo (with native coffee), and bacon belly kadios are definitely begging for my attention.