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Convenient Food (Pansit/Pancit)

 

Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Having visited the  Philippines  in the mid-to late 70’s often, and then lived and worked there for 4 years during the early 80’s, my eating habits have been strongly influenced by its wonderful food, especially the appreciation of fresh, well-seasoned vegetables and a myriad of exotic fruit.
While there are too many favorite dishes to mention, three groups of dishes stand out –
Roasted pork in its many forms,
Vegetable dishes with steamed rice in great variations,
– and, of course,
Pancit, in its countless, tasty incarnations. 🙂  (See a list of many different pancit at the bottom of this page)
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In Filipino cuisine, pancit or pansit are noodles. Noodles were introduced into the Philippines by the Chinese and have since been adopted into local cuisine. The term pancit is derived from the Hokkien pian i sit (Chinese: 便ê食; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: piān-ê-si̍t or Chinese: 便食; pinyin: biàn shí) which literally means “convenient food.” (Wiki excerpt)
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My version today is a typical “homestyle pansit”, in that one uses pansit noodles with some protein (optional) and some vegetables, whatever one finds in the market that day. (When I was living there, regular folks bought all food that was not dried, fresh in the market every day. Few working -class families could afford a fridge, never mind a freezer. By the way, it was the same when I was a small kid back in Germany, my mom got her first fridge when I was about 6 years old. We did, however, have a freezer, albeit only during winter time –  it was the shelf in front of our kitchen window which during the rest of the year held plants and flowers 🙂  
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The great convenience of pancit noodles is that you cook them right in the stock you are using. The noodles will keep their “al dente” texture even if you add a bit too much stock or if you cook them a minute longer as you should. They will soak-up all the stock and its flavor, as long as they have simmered for a few minutes and then rest in the stock until done. Convenience food ! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Wiki excerpt:

  • Buko Pancit (coconut strips are substituted for noodles, a specialty of Quezon province)
  • Pancit Abra (common in Northern Luzon particularly in the province of Abra)
  • Pancit Alanganin
  • Pancit ni Juli
  • Pancit Alahoy
  • Pancit Batchoy
  • Pancit Bato is local to the Bicol Region; especially the town of Bato in Camarines Sur.
  • Pancit Bihon Guisado
  • Pancit Bihongundoy
  • Pancit Cabagan
  • Pancit Canton (Lo mein and chow mein)
  • Pancit Canton Ilonggo
  • Pancit Chami (Lucena City, Quezon)
  • Pancit Estacion (Tanza, Cavite)
  • Pancit Habhab (Lucban, Quezon)
  • Pancit Kilawin (a variety pancit originated from Rosario, Cavite. In lieu of pancit noodles, shredded unripe papaya fruit is used cooked with vinegar and fish. Usually partnered with Dinuguan dish)
  • Pancit Kinalas (Naga City, Camarines Sur)
  • Pancit Lanu (San Vicente Street in San Pedro, Laguna)
  • Pancit Lomi (Batangas)
  • Pancit Lucban
  • Pancit Luglog
  • Pancit Malabon
  • Pancit Mami (round egg noodles)
  • Pancit Mayaman (Guinayangan, Quezon)
  • Pancit Miki (round egg noodles)
  • Pancit Míki-Bíhon Guisado (round egg noodles + bihon)
  • Pancit Olongapo (Pancit Miki with Sarsa sauce. Miki cooked in tradition added with sarsa a thickened chicken and pork broth, darkened a little with soy sauce of choice)
  • Pancit Molo (wonton soup with wonton wrappers added to the broth, serving as its “noodles”)
  • Pancit Moròng
  • Pancit Palabok
  • Pancit Pula (variation of Pancit Miki from Batangas City)
  • Pancit Pusit
  • Pancit Sotanghon
  • Pansit Sabaw (Pansit Miki with soup)
  • Pansit Tuguegarao or Batil Patong
  • Pansit Sinanta (also from Tuguegarao, consists of flat egg noodles, bihon, clams and chicken, with broth colored with annatto)

Pancit bihon (bijon)

Pancit bihon (aka bijon) is the type usually associated with the word “pancit“, very thin rice noodles fried with soy sauce some citrus, possibly with patis, and some variation of sliced meat and chopped vegetables. The exact bihon composition depends on someone’s personal recipe but usually, Chinese sausage and cabbage are the basic ingredients in a pancit bihon.

Pancit palabok and pancit luglug are essentially the same dish, the difference being primarily in the noodles used in the recipe. Luglug uses a thicker noodle than the traditional bihon of a pancit palabok. Both pancit dishes use a round rice noodle (often specifically labeled for pancit luglug or palabok) smothered with a thick, golden shrimp sauce or other flavored sauce, and topped with:

  • Shrimp, (the size and shell-on or shell-off depending on preference)
  • Crushed or ground pork rind
  • Hard-boiled egg (sliced into disks or quartered lengthwise or chopped)
  • Tinapa (smoked fish) flakes
  • Freshly minced green onion

Pancit palabok/pancit luglog and pancit canton are communal comfort food, and can be found at nearly all Filipino potluck parties. They are best made and eaten in batches for they are easily consumed.

Pancit sotanghon is a cellophane noodle soup with a chicken broth base. It may include some kind of meat and vegetable. A typical sotanghon is made with calamansi, sliced straw mushrooms, slivered dark-meat chicken and green onion.

Batil patong is not commonly known outside of Tuguegarao in the province of Cagayan in Northern Luzon, Philippines. It is an unusual noodle dish with a sauce based on soy and “cara-beef” beef broth. It is served with two piquant side dishes: a cup of egg-drop soup made with the same cara-beef broth; and a dish of chopped onions, vinegar or calamansi, chili peppers, and soy sauce. The noodles are usually wheat-based and are topped with ground cara-beef, pork liver, mung bean sprouts, and poached egg from whence the name batil patong literally “scrambled and placed on top” is thought to be derived. Sometimes, other vegetables, crushed pork-rind cracklings or chorizos are also added on top.

Pancit Lomi Originally from Batangas, Pancit Lomi is usually sold in eateries across the province. With the mobility of the Filipinos; however, other people got wind of pancit lomi and now you will see different lomihans (eateries with just lomi) whipping up their own pancit lomi, panciterias (eateries specializing in pancit) adding it in their menu, and carinderias (which are usually offering the usual viands and not pancit) starting to offer it alongside its other rice-based meals.

Seaweed pancit

Tiwi, Albay residents created a new pancit made from seaweed, which has health benefits. It is rich in calcium and magnesium and the seaweed noodles can be cooked into pancit canton, pancit luglug, spaghetti, or carbonara.

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Bone-In Rib Eye With Sautéed Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts

Bone-In Rib Eye With Sautéed Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts

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A  dish like this demonstrates to the foam and tweezers-camp cooks why good, old-fashioned, well-established and expertly prepared great food will never die!
Give me this over a plate of  “edible earth, foraged spring moss, chocolate covered ants topped with wheat-grass foam”, anytime ! 🙂
But then again, maybe that’s just me……?
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Bone-In Rib Eye With Sautéed Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts

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Caramelized Onion Slice

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Bone-In Rib Eye With Sautéed Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts

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Preparation :
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Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

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Dinner  tonight was dictated by three factors :
# 1 – I had a big craving for soup.
# 2 – I had a lot of slightly over-ripe, soft tomatoes in my fridge.
# 3 – I was too lazy to prepare anything that kept me in the kitchen more than 15 minutes.
This bisque was the perfect solution. It only took a few minutes to chop the veggies, and once they were on the stove simmering away, all that was left to do until it was time to purée the soup after a couple of hours slowly simmering away, was to cut a few slices of white bread, butter them lightly on both sides, top it with some thin slices of gorgonzola and bake them for a few minutes in a 375F oven until the cheese melted and the underside of the bread was lightly toasted, then remove and let cool to room temperature, sprinkle with chili flakes and chopped Italian parsley. Done !
Total prep time for the soup and croûtons – about 15 to 20 minutes.
Total time from start to finish – about 2,5 hours. (The longer you simmer the soup, the more the tomato-taste intensifies ).
Enough soup for today’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch. Good Stuff 🙂

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for Tomato Bisque Recipe  on  ChefsOpinion
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Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

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Bella’s Fault ! (“Any Cook Can Turn Gold Into Crap, But Only A Good Cook Can Turn Crap Into Gold”)

Greek Lamb Sandwich

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So  today, at around noon, I seasoned and seared this wonderful boneless leg of lamb I bought earlier, then put it in the oven to roast it slowly until rare, let it rest a bit, then serve with a nice salad for a great lunch.
Well, THAT did not happen ! 😦
As soon as I’d put the meat in the oven, Bella insisted that we go for a walk. I thought to myself ok, just around the corner, then back to take care of lunch.
But, as soon as we started our walk, she pulled me towards the park by the lake and I forgot all about the lamb in the oven. Needless to say, when we got back 1.5 hours later, the meat was well done. After kicking myself (mentally), I cut the leg into smaller, flat pieces, wrapped them in alu-foil and put it back into the oven at 375F for another 2,5 hours, at which point the meat was very tender and almost falling apart. I let it cool off a bit, then pulled it into fine shreds with two forks, seasoned it with olive oil, kosher salt, cumin, cayenne, oregano and voilà – the perfect topping for a Greek sandwich.
When I was an apprentice, my chef, Herr Mueller, used to say about cooking:
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” Any Cook Can Turn Gold Into Crap, But Only A Good Cook Can Turn Crap Into Gold. “
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And there you have it ! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Lamb  on  ChefsOpinion
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Greek Lamb Sandwich

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Greek Lamb Sandwich

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Preparation :
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Grilled Pork Chop, Caramelized Lemon, Baked Potato And Mast-O Klar

JUICY ! grilled pork chop, cooked all the way 🙂

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To  all the wannabe “Chefs” out there who insist that pork, poultry and fish has to be undercooked to be juicy – look at this piece of well-cooked pork, then please go back to school/apprenticeship and let a REAL chef teach you how to cook !!!
As Chef Susser used to say:
Cooking is easy – IF you know how to do it 🙂
(However, if you just happen to like the awful texture of undercooked pork – pls go ahead and enjoy) 😦
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Pork  on  ChefsOpinion
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Grilled Pork Chop, Caramelized Lemon, Baked Potato And Mast-O Klar

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Grilled Pork Chop, Caramelized Lemon, Baked Potato And Mast-O Klar

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Preparation :
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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew


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Chances
 are that if you love seafood and have traveled in Spain, especially in the provinces of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona, you have at one point or another had an encounter with the dish featured here. It represents the philosophy of both old and new cooking styles one finds all over this area and in fact, in most parts of the Mediterranean coastline – a few first-class ingredients cooked without fuss and pronto- Life is Good !
A wonderful meal, ideally shared with great company and a glass (or two) of the local wine, and, if on top of that you are lucky enough to sit in a cozy little restaurant by the sea, life is as good as it gets.
Somebody gifted me with a small bag of mussels on Sunday, which by itself would have made a great appetizer. But because I always have shrimp in the freezer (today I had two different types,  small/ peeled,/ tail-off and large/ tail-on), and because I wanted to have something a bit more substantial for dinner, I thought this seafood stew would do the trick. And indeed, it did 🙂
Great taste, easy on the eyes and a snap to prepare, both Bella and I were completely happy with the way this turned out 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Since I don’t drink/use alcohol, I have started to use apple cider as a substitute where wine is called for.
Works out great for most dishes, both in the food and with the food 🙂 Cheers !
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Click here for more  Seafood  on  ChefsOpinion
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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

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Preparation :
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Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccolini And Straw Mushrooms

Meanwhile - in Florida..........BBQ Floridian Style

Meanwhile – in Florida……….BBQ Floridian Style

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OK,  while you let this sink in, let’s move on to today’s featured dish :
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If  you are not used to VERY hot food, don’t try these noodles !
If you love bland and boring noodle dishes, don’t try these noodles !
If you don’t want to open your mind and taste buds to new sensations, don’t try these noodles !
But, if you love the sensation of flaming hot (spicy) food and the incomparable mouthfeel you get when the pain of the first few spicy bites subside, to be replaced by the warm, slight numbness which can only be achieved by eating large numbers of chilies, then this dish is for you. (Think Szechuan hot pot)
While I don’t eat VERY spicy food as often as I used to, once in a while I need my fix, and today was the time to get it. 🙂
A wonderful dinner, a full belly and clear sinuses – another great and very enjoyable evening !
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccoli And Straw Mushrooms

Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccolini And Straw Mushrooms

 

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Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccoli And Straw Mushrooms

Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccolini And Straw Mushrooms

 

 

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Preparation :
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Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd's Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

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Shepherds Pie  is such great comfort food.
Meat sauce, mashed potatoes, and cheese – who could resist ? 🙂
However, there is one flaw in shepherds pie which diminishes its enjoyment a bit for me – it is entirely soft in texture and usually, the sauce is a bit bland and the whole thing, therefore, often resembles baby food 😦
Let me come to the rescue with this new recipe.
Instead of mashing the potatoes to a puree, just break them up a bit into med-sized chunks. Adding the peppers and lots of onions and garlic to the meat sauce will further increase the taste and texture of the filling of the potato shells, which will result in a dish who’s taste still resembles shepherds pie but at the same time is so much more interesting and TASTY !
Overall, this “fully loaded” baked potato is without a doubt one of the tastiest incarnations of the lowly baked potato as well as the ordinary shepherd’s pie.
While I have prepared and created dozens of variations of twice baked potatoes over the years, some more, some less exotic, some over the top and some down to earth,  using all kinds of additions to the stuffing, such as shrimp, smoked salmon, ham, different vegetables, cheese, yogurt, herbs, etc, etc., the ones I prepared today are the very best of the best 🙂
Although very simple and easy to prepare, the texture, taste, and looks are just perfect and go to show that uncomplicated food, if done right, can take the price over complicated and elaborate any time ……..
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more Twice-Baked Potatoes  on  ChefsOpinion
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Twice Baked Shepherd's Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

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Twice Baked Shepherd's Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

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Preparation :
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And The Oscar Goes To …………This Salad

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Salade Oscar

Salade Oscar

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No – I did not watch the Oscars tonight.
In fact, although I am a huge movie fan who watches at least one movie per day, often two and sometimes three, I stopped watching the once glamorous and exciting Oscars years ago, when it had become a boring, extremely drawn-out and pointless parody of its former glory.
So, in order to have my own little oscar celebration, I created my personal version in form of a great dinner, replacing the little statue with the best dish of the night.
While avocados, nectarines, red onions and pears in a dressing of lemon juice and sweet Thai chili sauce might not seem to be nominees that fit into the same (salad) category, here they share the top honors for my new favorite salad 🙂
For obvious reasons, I’ll call this salad “Salade Oscar”
Best supporting actor – bone-in rib eye steak 🙂
In the end, a great (show) dinner, lots of applause (Bella, for the steak) and I walking away with yet another trophy (salad) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for last years  “Oscar”  on  ChefsOpinion
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Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

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Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

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Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

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Preparation :
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Pork Sinigang (Sinigang na Baboy)

Yesterday  I had a long-standing wish fulfilled 🙂
(Mind you, there are “BIG WISHES” in life and then there are “small wishes” This was a small wish, but nevertheless, I am happy that it finally came through)
For years, I wished there’d be a good Filipino restaurant in my neighborhood, but there is only one that I know of within a few miles around, and frankly, that one sucks!
I don’t want to go into details, but believe me, if it would be halfway decent I would still go there. I have tried it three times, but all three times it was VERY disappointing, so I stopped going there and gave up hope. Whenever I needed a Pinoy food-fix, I had to prepare it myself.
So yesterday I went to do some errands in a close-by shopping center to which I have been going for more than 15 years. Much to my surprise, I saw a “new” restaurant named Manila Grill&BBQ  tucked away in a corner. (I asked an employee how long they’ve been open and he said more than two years)
I had never noticed it before, maybe because what sticks out on the sign is  Grill & BBQ,  so one does not quickly associate this with Pinoy food………..
The place is very clean, simply but nicely appointed and the employees are very friendly, attentive and professional.
The food, THE FOOD 🙂 – it was absolutely delightful, very authentic, nicely presented and wonderfully tasty. The prices are moderate and overall, it was one of the best lunch experiences I had in any restaurant in Miami in years.
You can read more about it here: Manila Grill & BBQ, Pembroke Pines, Florida
So now, back to the dish at hand,  Sinigang Na Baboy
Sinigang is a sour soup native to the Philippines. Beef, pork, shrimp, fish, and even chicken (sinampalukang manok) can be used. The one featured here today uses pork as the main ingredient. One can use boneless pork, though bony parts of the pig known as “buto-buto” are usually preferred. Neck bones, spare ribs, baby back ribs, and pork belly all can be used.
The most common vegetables used are egglant, okra, onion, green beans, tomato and taro root.
The most common souring agent is tamarind juice, (sampalog), but if not available, you can use calamansi, lime, lemon,  guava, bilimbi (kamias), green mango, pineapple, and wild mangosteen (santol) To go an even easier route, you can buy instant “Sinigang Mix” ready to add to the stock while cooking. (For my personal taste this is too salty and not sour enough)
Today I went to look-up the sinigang I posted before on ChefsOpinion, but much to my surprise I could not find a single post, although I cook sinigang quite often. I then checked my folder of unpublished posts and low and behold, there was a bunch of pics of a sinigang I cooked about 6 years ago but never published. Looking at the quality of the pics I understand why I hesitated, but what the heck, here it is:
Sinigang na baboy from the distant past 🙂
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Masaya Ang Buhay !   Kainan Na !
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Sinigang Na Baboy  (Pork Sinigang)

Sinigang Na Baboy (Pork Sinigang)

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Sinigang Na Baboy  (Pork Sinigang)

Sinigang Na Baboy (Pork Sinigang)

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Sinigang Na Baboy  (Pork Sinigang)

Sinigang Na Baboy (Pork Sinigang)

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Preparation :
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