At my housewarming

Picture I took of the house a week before I moved in. ... It still looks like this hahaha...

Picture I took of the house a week before I moved in. … It still looks like this hahaha…

Given that I am a Tribute Thursday behind, posting photos of food served at my housewarming last Saturday. This is sort of cheating, because creamy pesto is not exactly Filipino food, but it’s food I used to eat during parties in the Philippines, so there.

My finger food consisted of nachos and green salsa (a Joelle and Jacqui favourite even when there’s nothing to celebrate) and my mom’s tuna salad to be eaten on crackers with feta cheese.

(A side note, heck there are no Skyflakes in Malaysia!!!! Nothing similar either! What the #@$^%^&(&%^$#^)*!!!)

Filipino food isn’t really party food. It’s a lot of soups and stews and elaborate fried things that go with rice. This is what I was going to say to June when she said she thought I was going to serve Filipino food. I started with, “Filipino food isn’t party food, it’s comfort food.” Then looked at Bilqis’ big pot of chicken and sausages stew and shut up.

View this post on Instagram

Party?! #moby #housewarming

A post shared by Joelle Jacinto (@joellebjacinto) on

Since I couldn’t fry up some sisig or lechon kawali, I did a veggie stir fry, with sambal belacan, which, yes, is NOT Filipino at all anymore.


A Filipino party tradition definitely is for the guests to bring cake. So it sorta felt like home. Except now I, who doesn’t eat cake, am currently forcing some Chocolate Indulgence down my throat.

The point however is, my friends have helped me warm my house, and I shared with them some of my favourite party food that I used to enjoy in my house in the Philippines. It was definitely a nice Saturday.

The next morning, these two guys on bikes were going around the neighbourhood offering to cut lawns for people. I felt so homey, after, I wanted to go out and buy a garden set.


Happy Holy Thursday, Philippines #tributethursday

In an email conversation with my mom today about how I was settling down in Malaysia, we talk about how they don’t seem to be celebrating Holy Week here – imagine, my Malaysian friends, how everything shuts down during Chinese new year. Anyway, she ends her last email by saying my sister will be posting pictures of what they had for lunch on Facebook, and warned me, “Bawal mainggit.” (I am forbidden to be envious).

This is what my sister posts on FB via Instagram:


Thanks a lot, Mom.

This is my Tribute Thursday for this week, albeit late in coming, sharing what my family had for lunch on the weekend that they’re not allowed to eat pork. I know, I know, the abstinence from pork should be sort of a sacrifice, as Jesus sacrificed for us, etc, and looking at that spread, it’s kind of difficult to see the sacrifice. But then, this is how religious my family is, taking some rules and bending them creatively to create sumptuous meals. Hey, we like to eat.

In that collage is clockwise from top left:

Grilled fish – argh, I can’t remember what fish this is. Basta, it’s special. And huge. And absolutely yummy when grilled and dipped in lemon butter sauce.

(Bilqis and I went to Cherating two weekends ago and drove around Kemaman looking for grilled fish. We found some, but not to Bilqis’ liking. I’m wondering if she would like this one.)

Obviously, steamed crab. As long as there is crab, my family will steam it.

Escargot cooked in coconut milk. Aaaah, I want.

Lato salad (edit after Paul Catiang reminded me what it is) – it’s a seaweed that is dressed with vinegar and eaten as a salad. When you bite into the bulby things, the ocean explodes in your mouth. It is awesome.

Posting a photo of more crab from my sister’s birthday lunch in 2007. Because crab.


I have to find crab here soon.


Tribute Thursday: Adobo

Going home from work the other evening, Prof asked me if I cooked Filipino food in my new house (more on that in another post). I was quite embarrassed to admit that the only Filipino food I know how to cook was Sinigang (sour soup) and I can’t do that here unless I find tamarind I can boil and squeeze the pulp from. And even then, I’ve never done that before. Oh Knorr Sabaw ng Sinigang, you spoiler you.

Then he says he has cooked adobo and it’s somewhat challenging because the vinegar here is not as sour as the vinegar in the Philippines. I was bewildered at that, because he was very much Malay, until I realized he was talking about CHICKEN adobo. Well, of course he was. I wanted so much to tell him how chicken adobo pales in comparison to its more popular brother, but you don’t say such things to a Malay.

And yet, dreams of adobo (the non-halal kind) have been haunting me the last couple of days. Prof asked me how I cook adobo. I said in my household, Mom cooks it with a lot of oil/sauce, which is how my dad likes it, and fries the leftovers to extra crispy, the way I like it.

No, chicken adobo just doesn’t have the same effect.


TributeThursday: Ilocos Empanada


This is still a reference to that girl (at the risk of sending her more traffic), who posted photos of this lady making Ilocos empanada with her bare hands. I have it on good authority that there is a strict rule where Ilocos empanada needs to be created with gloves on, and when I checked my old photos of an Ilocano food festival in Robinson’s Forum in Mandaluyong (yes, a mall, haha), yup, naka-gloves si Ate (Big sister is wearing gloves). Just want to address that and reiterate, Ms Rather Go Hungry is just trolling the internet for clicks. We rise to the bait, hmm.

Ilocos empanada is a meat pie with egg, shredded cabbage (I think), minced meat and Vigan longganiza (don’t you love it already), eaten hot off the fryer, dipped in vinegar. It’s best eaten in Ilocos, and I’ve never had that privilege (have only had it in the mall, and from that stall along Katipunan), although my sister and some of my friends do swear by it. It’s on the bucket list.


TBT: Vigan Longganisa is Love

This blog post pissed me off today. The food and travel blogger went to the Philippines and was disappointed in the “gross, unhealthy food.” She also says in the comments that she went to the cheap eateries to get the real local experience. I understand why she would think that way, because that’s how it is here in KL. All my friends think nothing of eating at a stall on the street. From my own upbringing in Manila, I was at first hesitant to eat KL “street food,” because, eww. Dear miss worldly-wise blogger, _I_ wouldn’t touch Manila street food with a ten foot pole. But I’m told by braver friends and family with tougher stomachs that it can be quite good – if you know where to get it.

If she wanted real Filipino food the way the locals experience it, she should have gone to a mall and eaten at Dencio’s, or Rodic’s, or C2, or the food court, for crissakes. Deadma na ang Sentro, Mesa, and Abe diba, deadma na ang Cabalen and Barrio Fiesta. If she truly wanted real Filipino food, she should have made friends with somebody whose mom/dad/yaya is a wizard in the kitchen and had dinner at their house. This is the real Filipino food experience. I read this article somewhere before that Filipino food isn’t palatable enough to make a fine dining restaurant because it’s mostly comfort food. And it’s true. You go home after your long day at work, reheat your Mom’s sinigang, and wow, all is right with the world.

This has inspired me, however, to do a throwback Thursday weekly special on one of the things I miss about my beloved country: the food. While I am LOVING Malaysian food, so much that I can see a whale emerge when I look in the mirror every morning, I cannot say it is better than Filipino food. My friend, June asked me what Filipino food is like, and I had a hard time describing in detail. And since I won’t be having some soon, might as well do a photo blog tribute.

This first appeared on my Instagram, months ago. Mom cooked it for breakfast.

This first appeared on my Instagram, months ago. Mom cooked it for breakfast.

This is Vigan longganisa. Longganisa is stuffed sausages (mostly pork). While there are different variations of longganisa depending on which part of the country you’re in, there are generally two kinds: recado (garlicky) and hamonado (sweet). Guess which kind I like, hehe. My absolute favorites are Vigan and Lucban, named after the places they originated from, as with most longganisa in the Philippines. They are an awesome breakfast food that you should eat with eggs and rice (preferably fried in garlic), and dipped in vinegar. I can eat this any time of the day. My mom buys them in the local supermarket and fries them when she knows I’ll be home for breakfast or dinner, mostly because I’m the only one in the house absolutely crazy about them. It is impossible to buy them in 7-11.


This entire week, I’ve been hyper acidic. I think it was a lot of coffee, plus a lot of bad eating habits. It’s not the first time I’ve been hyperacidic, and this is mild compared to when I had acid reflux last December, but back then I could blame my acid reflux on work stress. This time around, it’s really just I eat the dumbest things. I looked up “Food to avoid when you’re hyper acidic,” and it’s basically all the food I eat. Gad.

Let’s go down the list:

1. Acidic fruit – let’s skip this, I’m not a fruit girl and I haven’t been eating the fruit I am into, i.e. strawberries and mangoes. But what sucks is I can’t have calamansi.  Aaa.

On the upside, fruits that are good for hyper acidic stomachs are melons (yay) and bananas (meh). I have a lock and lock full of melon in the ref right now.

2. Onions, garlic, leeks. Waaah.

3. Hot and spicy food. This makes me cry.

4. Dairy products. Except for skim milk and low fat other stuff.

5. Heavy grains and similar by-products. PASTA. I DID NOT HAVE PASTA AT MY MOM’S BIRTHDAY DINNER. Tragic.

6. Sweets and desserts. Meh, but potato chips is under this category because they have too much sugar and too much fat. Basically too much fat is too bad. Basically I ingest TOO MUCH FAT. And I wonder why losing weight is such a challenge.

7. Alcoholic beverages, coffee, sodas, tea. Coffee – well duh. 4 cups a day, most likely. Last week, I would just fill up my coffee cup with fresh brew throughout the day while I was writing. Hence.

8. Great quantities of food. Yes, I overeat.

So now, I’m on the weirdest diet. I hope I get okay soon because the lack of coffee is very bad for me – very bad headaches all around. But I do think I’m on the mend, because I had a chai tea latte this afternoon and avoided a caffeine-deprived migraine.

But yes, willl learn my lesson and start eating healthily from now on. Huhuhu.


Broccolli is good for hyper acidic stomachs. The garlic doesn’t help, though.