Friday, November 28, 2008

White-peppered Pork

My husband loves pork chop very much that it is served every week at home. They are tasty on their own, but I have to say that they're even tastier when they are marinated before cooking. Soaking the pork in basic marinade such as soy sauce, lemon, and sugar, gives a better flavor to the meat.

I have to admit though that it gets boring after a while making the same pork chop over and over again. It challenged me so much that I scoured the Net for more ideas and, luckily, I stumbled upon this exciting recipe (and bookmarked it), white-peppered pork slices, from the Cooking Ninja.

I tried it not long ago and I am happy to say that my husband loved it! In fact, he asks for it every week :) So I paid another visit to the Cooking Ninja to tell her how we love her recipe and to ask if she would allow me to post her recipe here. I'm glad that she gave her go-signal ... big, big thanks!


* Pork (cut into big slices)
* Ground white pepper
* Black soya sauce
* Potato flour or cornflour
* a bit of sugar
* oil (for frying)


1. Tenderize the pork slices.
2. Coat the slices with ground white pepper (to your desired amount).
3. Add some dark soya sauce, and a little bit of sugar on it and marinate them well with your hands.
4. Then sprinkle some potato flour on it and mix them well.
5. Heat up some oil in a frying pan or wok till hot, fry the marinated pieces for a few minutes or until cooked. Then drain it on paper towel.
6. Serve it while hot. Can be taken as part of the main dishes.

Cooking Ninja's original recipe didn't include minced garlic but we at home love garlic so much I had to add it in. I marinated it overnight and the result - a succulent, sweet, garlicky flavor. It did remind me of tocino, the sweetened cured pork native to the Philippines, but the white-peppered pork is spicier (superb) and more flavourful. For my husband, I served it with chips (french fries to our American friends) - it was an instant hit - while I prefer mine with steamed rice and a side dish of sliced tomatoes and cucumber.

Again, many thanks to the Cooking Ninja for sharing me her recipe (and the photo above) and for letting me share it to others through my blog. For more exciting recipes, visit the Cooking Ninja's blog.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #21: Bok Kapik

bok kapik

... a classic Khmer dish.

A medley of raw vegetables - usually cucumber, mango, string beans, cabbage, winged beans, and baby eggplant - dipped in ground pork, kapik (shrimp paste), fresh chilli, garlic, and galangal mixture cooked in coconut milk and other Khmer spices.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Experiencing old-world Nepal

... at Dwarika Hotel.
Okay, I didn't actually stay there but I did dine there on one occasion with my colleagues.

After a 30-min ride from Hotel Yak and Yeti, where we were staying, we were dropped off in the street amidst the hustle-bustle of the evening rush hour. It felt odd that we were standing out there in the biting cold of the night and in front of a nondescript doorway.

We reluctantly stepped in, not knowing whether we were in the right place at all. Once inside, we were all surprised at what we saw!
classical nepali architecture2
It felt like I was in a different world.

Dwarika is a beautiful product of a restoration effort spanning 25-30 years.
Built of brick and having ornate architectural bits and pieces added (hand-carved windows, door frames, pillars, etc.), all of which were obtained when old traditional buildings were torn down long ago. Additional wood carvings on the windows, the ceramic sculptures, as well as the pottery were all made in a workshop inside the premises. The result is a gorgeous piece of property providing a luxurious, old-world oasis from the chaotic capital; no wonder Dwarika was chosen as one of the World Heritage sites in Nepal.

We waited for the others at the lovely courtyard surrounded by amazing structures...

classical nepali architecture

classical nepali architecture4

Warming our hands...(secretly hoping for a Gurka soldier to come out of nowhere!)
Of course, some of us couldn't help but take photos.
warming our hands

... while a lone Nepali dancer provided entertainment as we waited to be ushered in to Krishnarpan restaurant.
nepali dancer

On our way through, we passed by a beautiful swimming pool. It must be great to come back to this hotel from a whole day's exploration/sight-seeing of Kathmandu, or after a few days of tough trekking, and relax in the pool's warm embrace.
swimming pool

Our dinner at Krishnarpan Restaurant restaurant, located inside Dwarika's property, was an event in itself. We were greeted by pretty restaurant staff clad in different costumes representative of the different ethnic groups of Nepal. Before entering the restaurant, they help you wash your hands in a large bowl placed against a wall adorned with pictures of international celebrities and important people who have dined in the restaurant. I can lay claim that I was in the same spot where Prince Charles of England stood and washed his hands. Haha... as if.
wash hands before eating

Inside were rows of low tables tastefully decked in a red and black motif. The picture below didn't capture the lovely setting well.
Notice the intricately-carved mirrors and wood-work?
inside krishnarpan

We sat on the floor with cushioned low chairs and the restaurant staff provided aprons so that we didn't get food on our clothes.
wearing the apron

gerth and me

Food was served in antique, traditional bowls and with heavy old silverware.

We had a six-course meal - there was a choice from 6 to 22 course meals, vegetarian or non-vegetarian - and every course was a satisfying gastronomic experience.

Samaya Bajee, an assortment of food - lentils, potatoes, rice, etc., usually served as appetizer during religious ceremonies.

Roti, Nepali griddle bread served with roasted mushroom & sautéed spinach)
nepali dish

Momo, steamed dumplings stuffed with minced meat served and with silam sauce
nepali dish2

Bodi Soup, bean soup cooked with aromatic Nepali herbs
nepali dish3

Traditional Nepali rice wine and Lapse Achar, loquat pickle
nepali dish4

This is how they served wine...
wine is served

Sada Bhuja, steamed Himalayan long-grain rice; Dal, lentil tempered with Himalayan herbs; Bhanta Ko Tarkari, aubergine curry; Mis Mas Tarkari, assorted vegetables cooked with Nepali herbs; and Kukhura Ko Masu, cubed chicken, also cooked with Nepali herbs
nepali dish5

Malpuwa Khuwa, Nepalese mini pancake topped with Khuwa
nepali dessert

I finished my meal with a nice cup of masala tea which I enjoyed tremendously. The delicious food, the visual delights, and the olde-worlde feel of the restaurant made for a unique dining experience. As an added touch, the restaurant printed our names individually on the menu (excellent for a souvenir) and handed out a give-away just before we were led out the door.

To think, I had only been in Krishnarpan restaurant and had a look around the premises on our way to the restaurant. I had not actually been inside the hotel itself and I can only imagine the same opulence and atmosphere inside the hotel, especially in the rooms. Obviously, Dwarika is not for budget-travelers, but the glowing feedback from very happy guests prove that the $$$ rates there are worth every single penny.

I have to agree.
I might not have spent a night there, yet, but the memorable dining experience I had that night made me want to come back. So now I am fervently hoping to return there with R for an anniversary getaway! Libre naman ang mangarap e, di ba?


I am currently doing a template make-over. As of now, I am still tweaking a few things here and there and so excuse the messy lay-out. I hope to finish at the end of the day. Till then.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #20: Ampao


This is my favorite childhood treat, ampao, or rice crispies, in the Philippines. Growing up in the province, chocolates and other branded sweets were a rare treat. I remember getting chocolates only on Christmas, during birthdays, and other special occasions (they are expensive) or when a relative from abroad returns home. Rice crispies, however, were our everyday treat simply because they are very affordable. They are sweet and crunchy, sometimes sprinkled with peanuts. It is rectangular in shape, about half an inch to one inch in thickness (depending on who makes them) that one has to open its mouth wider than usual to have a bite of it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #19: My version of Malaysian laksa

The first time I went to Malaysia, my Malaysian friends brought me to one of KL's food strips and was introduced to laksa. The verdict - I instantly liked it! I love the mix of spicy, aromatic, rich and creamy (coconut milk) flavor bursting in my mouth. Some people I know complained about getting sick of the gravy after just a few spoonfuls of it but not me :) So one day while I was surfing the net, I came across a blogger-friend professing his love for laksa and reading his post, I couldn't stop craving for it.

my version of laksa

So this is my version of Malaysian laksa. If you noticed the ingredients are not quite the same as the Malaysian version (and it is dry) but at least I got the spice and coconut flavor right :)

Tokyo hotels (Shinjuku and Asakusa areas)

Two years ago, I set foot in Japan for the first time through an invitation from the Japan Environmental Education Forum. Seeing Japan, especially Tokyo, for the first time, I marveled at its beauty, culture and people. Instantly I decided to extend my stay for two days more to do some sightseeing. I was glad that our organizers, the JEEF, were kind enough to re-book my flight two days later.

I was billeted at the Shinjuku Washington Hotel all throughout the duration of the workshop. The hotel is reasonably-priced and although the room I stayed in (16th floor) is small, it was not claustrophobic at all. The bathroom is also small so I was surprised to see a mini-bath-tub in it! However, the bathroom is very clean and fitted with nifty modern gadgets. Free breakfast is served and guests have a choice between the traditional Japanese and western breakfasts. What's more, it's in the middle of a great location as electronic stores, malls, restaurants, bars, pachinko parlors and the Shinjuku station are just mere 15min walk away. Interested? Go check it out at Washington Hotel Tokyo.

I was thinking of staying in this hotel the whole time but, apart from its expensive rate, I wanted to be near the famous Tsukiji market so I decided to move somewhere else. I reckoned that no trip to Tokyo is ever complete without visiting Tsukiji market. After a lengthy search on the net, I ended up staying at Ryokan Toukaisou right in the middle of Asakusa district where it is just a train's ride to Tsukiji market through the Ginza line. The rooms at Toukaisou are distinctly traditional, small space, with fluffy futons and tatami-floors which suits me just fine as I wanted to experience something that is truly Japanese. And so with my accommodation sorted out, I set out to Tsukiji market for some delightful sushi meal!!

For those who have discerning tastes, there are a lot of hotels in the area that offer more spacious western-style rooms, go check out for other hotel options. While there, you can also compare with other hotels in the list not only the price but also the amenities (internet, most importantly!) and general information of the hotel location. It could save you money as well as time.

Also important to remember while in Japan, make sure you have enough yen wherever you go as all establishments here do not accept US dollars, unlike here in Cambodia where the greenback is widely accepted. Also keep some coins with you as there are lots of vendo-machines all over Tokyo for almost anything you need.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #18: Nepali appetizer


When I was in Kathmandu last year, our host, the Nepal Chapter of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television, hosted a welcome dinner for the delegates from the different IAWRT chapters all over Asia and Africa. The dinner was at the classy Krishnarpan Restaurant, located inside the beautifully-restored and luxurious Dwarika Hotel. Krishnarpan Restaurant serves the most delicious Nepali food in a very old-world Nepal setting. And they would even print your name in the menu (excellent for souvenir). Above is just the appetizer, Samaya Bajee, an assortment of food - lentils, potatoes, rice, etc. - usually served during religious ceremonies.

More Wordless entries here.