Thursday, 30 August 2012


Filipinos share the love for the pig belly with the Americans. If the Americans love bacon to the max, Filipinos love belly pork in all forms. Yes, we are liempo-maniacs. Liempo is the Tagalog word for pork belly, the most used part of the pig in the Philippines. Be it a soup, stew, roast or even vegetable dish, the ingredient is always liempo. Such is the affliction of liempo-ma: death by pork rather than by chocolate. Pork is so delicious, fatty, addicting and bad for you that it's almost obscene to eat...and there lies its charms.

Monday, 27 August 2012


Pancakes and bacon are a perfect team in any way it is interpreted. This pancake may sound like your usual breakfast grub and the addition of spring onions may raise some eyebrows.

Let me explain. This is actually my version of Chinese spring onion pancakes. It is not at all your typical soft and fluffy American pancakes. It is made with a dough, not batter. Probably the only similarity is that they are both flat and fried in a pan.

The classic Chinese spring onion pancake is firm rather than soft. It might seem bland but this is actually the sort of food that is appreciated for its simplicity and clean fresh taste. It is usually eaten as a snack, with fresh brewed Chinese tea.

The traditional process for making these pancakes involves making a dough with flour and boiling water then rolling the dough, sprinkling with the spring onions and rolling like a jelly roll. Portions of this dough are flattened and pan fried. 

Although, this traditional method results to delicious pancakes, I personally do not like its texture. Parts of it are crisp and parts are dense and a touch chewy.

I love spring onions and I thought I must make a pancake that will be perfect for my taste (hence the addition of bacon...kidding). After a few tries, taste tests and reviews, this is the one that the panel (my family I mean) chose (or rather didn't criticise). This is an abbreviated version of the spring onion pancake. It is a quick stir and mix method and results to crisp, tender crust pancakes with bacon and spring onion studded centers.

It is nice on its own but, hey, since we're making a twist why not add a dipping sauce, like the one for Korean spring onion pancakes. I thought it is just apt to have maple syrup in the sauce. I never thought maple syrup would go so well with soy sauce. It was just the perfect dip for the pancakes. 

This recipe makes 6 small pancakes, good for 4 servings.


8 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
3 tbsps. of oil rendered from the bacon
2 c. plain flour
2 tbsps. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. finely sliced spring onions
1/2 c. + 2 tbsps. water
cooking oil for pan frying


Heat up a frying pan. Add the chopped bacon when hot. Fry the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp and browned. Strain. Keep the oil that has been rendered.

In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder with a whisk. Add the spring onions and browned bacon bits and mix again.

Make a well in the center and add the water and 3 tbsps. of the bacon fat. Mix gently until it forms a medium soft dough ball.

On a lightly floured board, roll each piece into a rough circle approximately 6" in diameter.

Heat up a pan and add about 2 tsps. of oil. Pan fry the pancakes until it has brown spots and is slightly puffed up, about 3 minutes on each side. 

Cut each pancake into 4 wedges and serve with the dip.

For the soy and maple dip:

2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
2 tbsps. malt vinegar
1/2 tsp. sesame oil

Mix all of the ingredients together and serve as a dip for the pancakes.

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Thursday, 23 August 2012


HSBC's advert with a pretty little girl behind a lemonade stand is so charming. Talk about pushy Moms (why are we always the bad guys?), but it is her Dad who makes her lemonade. It is so sweet that she is so business savvy. It is so sweet that she is multi-lingual at a very young age, such a good foundation for a future business mogul. It is fascinating that though the street is an ordinary residential area, it is the on the tour bus route. It is so clever that none of the neighbours have noticed the business opportunity except this cute little girl.

Monday, 20 August 2012


When the weather is warm or at least dry, we barbecue. The word barbecue may mean a full blown grilling extravaganza to some but for us who originate from the tropics, it is just a way of cooking. We char grill or barbecue instead of frying or baking or boiling. 

In the Chinese concept of yin and yang, barbecues have yang properties. They induce heat in the body. Salads on the other hand have yin or cooling properties. Made into summer rolls, barbecued meat achieves a perfect balance. 

Thursday, 16 August 2012


Umami is yummy. Simply defined as a meaty savoury taste but it actually comes from glutamate, one of the building blocks of proteins, not necessarily from meat. I know that that still doesn't explain much. But just think of it as extra yumminess. 

Sunday, 12 August 2012


My teenage daughter had dinner with some friends at a Thai restaurant recently. She loves Thai food and was looking forward to the meal as well as the company. She ordered Thai beef salad and thoroughly enjoyed but said it was a bit too hot for her taste. We are all fans of Thai food but can't hack the heat sometimes. It is the birds eye chillies that they use that can leave bit of sting on the tongue.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


I don't know what to say. After coming up with a recipe, cooking it right and shooting the photos, I hit a blank wall as to what to write to begin the post. This happens a lot of times, not often, but a lot.

Monday, 6 August 2012


Eating with our fingers is a primal instinct. We first learn about food by touching. By instinct we know how to make our fingers lead food into our mouths. Alas, when we learn the joys of eating with our fingers we are told not to do it.

Thursday, 2 August 2012


Some people plan their meals before heading to the shops. I, on the other hand, belong to the other group of "some people" who usually plan my meals according to what I have. My freezer is usually full of an assortment of meat cuts and joints among other things. Faced with a beef brisket joint, there are a lot of ideas that come to mind. Being of Asian origin, my inclinations tend to veer towards that direction.