Food · Memories · Personal · Travel

A (Food) Trip Down Memory Lane

When you love something with blinding passion, you would loathe the day it would be taken away from you.

That is especially true when it is stolen by family and friends, just like in my case.  The people I trusted revealed themselves as filthy thieves, robbing away the thing that I love the most.

They steal my food!

Some are hungry foxes, who check if the coast is clear before zeroing in on their targets: the refrigerator, where I keep my leftover pizza. They have mastered the art of not getting caught and feigning innocence.

Some are shameless swindlers who commit the crime right in front of my face. The moment the waiter comes to take our order, the deception begins.

While I order food for myself, the thieves will say he or she is “not hungry”, and will just order water. But when the food arrives, they will distract me with an amusing chat, and before I know it, only half of my order remains!

Oh, you thought when I said “tara, kain (let’s eat)”, that was a serious invitation? I was just following the Filipino custom of politely offering food when someone catches me eating.

Get your own food. What’s mine is mine.

Food is a personal matter. I believe what makes it so are the memories associated with it. The exact same food may taste different to you and I, not just due to preferences, but because of memories.

For example, no matter how many types of food we are able to taste in our lifetimes, home-cooked meals will always have a special place in our hearts.

For me, sinigang cooked in our home will always be the best. Sinigang is a Filipino stew which consists of pork, vegetables, and tamarind.

Sinigang! (Photo is from Credit belongs to the owner. See the recipe for sinigang here.)

The mention of sinigang evokes memories of sitting with one foot up the chair, temples dripping with sweat as one savors a bowlful of effort and thoughtfulness.

Home is where pork is tenderized for hours, and soup is made extra sour– sinigang cooked just the way I like it.

In college, I became an exchange student in South Korea for a year. For some time, home-cooked Filipino meals were replaced by Korean food. Interestingly, the dishes I remember from the country are not the most sophisticated ones, but those filled with memories of time spent with friends.

Our favorite midnight snack was KFC– Korean Fried Chicken! It’s a party at every pop with its endless flavor variations:  pizza chicken, soy chicken, spicy chicken, snow cheese chicken, spring onion chicken, and so much more!

chicken menu
Choose your dream-come-true. (Photo from from this article. Credit belongs to the owner.)

Fried chicken is celebratory food, whether enjoyed in Korea at 4 o’clock am while playing with board games, or home-cooked in the Philippines and eaten with dollops of banana ketchup.  No occasion needed; being together is reason enough to celebrate!

Another food I remember was Chicken Mayo, served in our school cafeteria. Chicken Mayo consists of chopped chicken nuggets, shredded dried seaweed, mayonnaise, and special sauce, topped on rice— basically deconstructed rice balls, simple ingredients who would have thought would go together so well?

Not exactly gourmet and not even a distinctly Korean cuisine, I love it because it’s reminiscent of the food concoctions my sister and I used to make at home when we were young.

My sister and I pretended to have our very own cooking show, acting in front of the camera as we demonstrate how to prepare a dish we invented.

On our menu: corn chips with jelly, sweet potato with crackers and cheese spread. Like chicken mayo, the combination doesn’t have to make sense, as long as it tasted good— or at least, we are having too much fun to double check if it truly does!

Finally, my favorite Korean sweet treat, hotteok (sweet pancakes with brown sugar filling). For me, the hotteok from Sambodang Insadong is the best.

The beeeeeeeeeest. (Photo is from, from this article. Credit belongs to the owner.)
Hotteok. A nutritionist’s nightmare. Still salivating. (Photo from from this article. Credit belongs to the owner.)

Served piping-hot, with generous filling and just the right fluff, they are the chewiest hotteoks I have ever tasted. Definitely worth scalding your palate for!

I have eaten that particular Hotteok in Insadong thrice, and all were good moments.

First, on a fieldtrip to Seoul.

We were staying in Korea for just a few weeks by then. A bite of hotteok was a surprise, a new type of sweetness I didn’t know was possible. A taste of wonder, a whiff of newly-opened suitcases and flowers that bloomed after a long winter.

Second, with my sister and her now husband, as they visited me in Korea.

By this time I had been in Korea for several months already. The hotteok tasted of finding solace in both the good and the bad.

Third, on a solo trip in Seoul a few days before our flight back home.

Longing for both the place I will soon leave and a home I haven’t seen in a long time, hotteok has been a sweet, warm comfort as I deal with bittersweet feelings. The hotteok was made exactly the way I like it, as if it was made just for me. As if it was made at home.

Then that’s when it hit me: Korea is now also my home.

Isn’t it fascinating? One goes out to explore what lies beyond the home, but in the end, finds home in every place, before even attempting to search for it.

There is no such thing as home away from home, because through food, anywhere in the world can be a home.

Because now I enjoy food not just through myself, but through the people I eat it with.

Food can be enjoyed alone, but food is best shared. Because anywhere you can enjoy food with the people you love can be home.

Home is not minding if someone ate the food you kept in the refrigerator, because that person may be hungry and too tired to cook something for herself.

Home is ordering a bit extra because perhaps, the friend just did not have money to buy her own.

When I say “tara kain”, I mean it. What’s mine is yours. We’re home.

Tara, kain!


Katsu Later! Yahoo for Yabu ^^

My boyfriend received his first salary from his new job, so he treated me to a delicious meal!

We went to Yabu at SM Megamall for a late lunch at 4pm (!!!).

Of course by this time we were starving: we were so close to licking the pictures on the Yabu menu! But we managed to remain civilized and ordered two things: Rosu Katsu Set (80g), and Hire Katsu Burger. I chose them carefully, considering umami taste, crunch, and mouthfeel. (Not really, they were just the cheapest LOL.)

Rosu (Pork Loin) Set: Katsu with shredded cabbage, rice, miso soup, and pineapples.

On the menu, Rosu (Pork Loin) Set is described as Thick & juicy pork cutlet with a trimming of fat. This set comes in 180 grams, 120 grams, and 80 grams. We ordered the 80 grams. I worried that it would be too small for my humongous hunger, but it wasn’t; it was enough to split between us, without us feeling deprived!

The description said the katsu said it comes with a *trimming* of fat, but I, with my trust issues and all, thought it has a substantial amount of fat. I guess I’m so used to karinderya porkchops which are mostly thick slabs of fat with a bit of meat. Good thing, I didn’t feel the fat in the Rosu katsu at all. I didn’t get distracted by the jelly-like texture of fat, which I don’t like. Perhaps it was only a thin layer, which only deepened the flavor of the katsu.

Yabu serves unlimited rice, cabbage, soup, and fruits with its set meals. Of course we had these refilled, as we never fail to take advantage unlimited food!

Our other order was the Hire Katsu Burger:

Hire Katsu Burger

According to the menu, the Hire Katsu Burger consists of 3/4-inch thick, crunchy and juicy pork cutlet topped with shredded cabbage, shiso leaves, Japanese pickles, drizzled with soy butter, sando sauce and onion jam, in a brioche bun.

To be honest, I didn’t really read this before ordering. I was too hungry to care. Anything with “burger” on its name can’t possibly go wrong. I researched these ingredients as I was writing the blog. I just expected lettuce, cheese, and ketchup, but when it was served, and when I took my first bite, I was taken by surprise.

Now that I knew the ingredients, it all makes sense now; no wonder the burger is so tasty! It has so many ingredients on it, and most are unfamiliar to me.

The burger arrests the appetite with its unfamiliar, yet mouthwatering, aroma. A bite is an explosion of tastes; a festival for the senses.

A place with katsu as its specialty better be sure it has damn good katsu, and in terms of that, Yabu did not disappoint. Also, with the unlimited rice, cabbage, and fruits, it is assured that you will have your fill and value for your money.

The servers were attentive and polite. They refilled everything without being told.

Of course, the experience was also made special by celebrating with a loved one!

I also had fun because I played a bit. I challenged myself to pick up the smallest bread crumb possible, using chopsticks. People say don’t play with food, but I was just trying to eat slowly, and also buy time and make the moment last longer.

Overall, it was a yahoo for Yabu!

Goodbye for now, katsu! Kastu later!

Yabu: House of Katsu has several branches spread across the metro. Check out their facebook page here!


Pepero: Peppered with Memories

Yesterday, my boyfriend gave me a box of Pepero. It’s almond, my favorite Pepero variant! And it has this adorable pun at the front of the box:

Isn’t he the sweetest? And isn’t this the cutest? ^^

I turtley love it!!!

Like most Pepero boxes, it has a portion at the back of the box where one can write letters. I think Pepero is a thoughtful gift for special occassions.

For those who are unfamiliar, Pepero is a sweet snack that looks like this:

images (5)
Pepero Almond. Image taken from

Basically, they are biscuit sticks coated with chocolate or something else, depending on the flavor. There’s chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, and many more!

As I mentioned, almond is my favorite because I love the crunchy almond bits, which go so well with the chocolate.

Pepero is memorable for my boyfriend and I because I gave him one on the day I agreed for us to be officially a couple! ♥♥♥ I gave him Pepero because the date then was November 11, or Pepero Day.

Pepero Day is observed by some people in South Korea. Those who celebrate it give Pepero to their loved ones on this day. The exact origin of the event is unknown, but one of the most popular stories is that it came from the date it is celebrated, November 11, or 11/11. The number ones on that date resemble the Pepero, that is why it is celebrated on this date.

Besides our anniversary memory, and the recent pun-ny Pepero moment, I also had other Pepero moments in the past.

My guy friend gave my friends and I Pepero on Valentine’s back in 2013.

That was so sweet, especially I was single back then, so I wasn’t expecting to receive any sweets. The sweetness of both the Pepero and the gesture almost made me forget of the bitterness I felt for being single.

Also, I buy my mother Pepero as pasalubong whenever I can. Almond is her favorite, too!

My mother loves Pepero. She often has a stock of it in her room’s food stash, which I am guilty of periodically raiding.

My mother never gets fat even if she loves chocolates and snacks! Lucky her! I’m so envious. T-T But maybe I get fat because I eat most of her food. :))))

Pepero has been present in many sweet moments in my life. I’m looking forward to more memories we will have with Pepero!

To know more about Pepero and other products from Lotte, visit


Review: Tokyo Bubble Tea Sakura Unicorn Milkshake

You mean, it’s instagrammable AND yummy?!

I avoid milkshakes because I hate getting sore throats whenever I drink too much of them.

But then, I saw this image from facebook:

Image taken from Tokyo Bubble Tea Ph Facebook page.

Look at those colors! It’s what childhood dreams are made of! How can I resist?!

I did try. But after seeing several friends posted pictures of the Sakura Unicorn Milkshake on Instagram, I was too envious. I just had to have some,too!

So, my boyfriend and I went to Tokyo Bubble Tea at SM Megamall.

We had two flavor choices for the Sakura Unicorn Milkshake: Strawberry and Taro. Since taro is less common, we decided to order this flavor.

We order the large size and shared it between us, because we are a sweet, #relationshipgoals couple like that. Actually, we’re saving money LOL! Also, I’m making myself believe I’m on a diet HAHAHA!

So this is how our Sakura Unicorn Taro Milkshake looked like:

FRONT VIEW. They didn’t put it in a tall glass like the ones in the poster. This one looks like a beer mug. Maybe because it was large sized? Good thing it’s still pretty!
TOP VIEW. Edited with one of my favorite facebook sticker packs,  Emoticat.

The Sakura Unicorn Milkshake consisted of:

  • Taro milkshake (purple)
  • Tapioca balls
  • What I believe to be ice cream (pink, blue, and green)
  • Vanila ice cream
  • Pink, round candy sprinkles
  • The bottom of a cone,coated in white chocolate and rainbow candy sprinkles
  • Edible golden ball. We’re so rich like that, we eat gold! Haha!

It sure looks good, but how about the taste? The Sakura Unicorn Taro Milkshake was creamy and milky. It tastes like molten ice cream! It was sweet, but not too sweet. I expected its sweetness to be overpowering, but it wasn’t, which is a plus!

The Sakura Unicorn Taro Milkshake tasted more like milk than taro. Not that I’m complaining. I wasn’t particularly craving for taro, I just wanted a pretty drink which tastes good, and the Sakura Unicorn Taro Milkshake (yes, I have to include the “Sakura Unicorn” part all the time, because when can I type these words together again? ♥♥♥) deliciously delivers.

The Sakura Unicorn Milkshakes sell for Php155 for medium and Php165 for large, for both strawberry and taro flavors.

By the way, there’s an additional service charge. We ended up paying around Php180, so just do the math, I’m not good with numbers LOL. XD

But it’s okay, the servers were attentive and courteous. They refilled our water multiple times even before we asked for it. I hope they get paid well with the service charge and all, ’cause waiting tables is a hard job, and they have to serve rude customers sometimes too.

I just suggest that if Tokyo Bubble Tea will continue this line of drinks, and not make it a limited edition flavor, then they should invest in more attractive glassware that will go better with the drink. The beer mug just doesn’t suit it that much.

But the drink was a real treat. Overall, we had a good time!

For a list of their branches, and other drinks and food they offer, check out the Tokyo Bubble Tea Ph Facebook page!