Food is part of travel and I always love trying out different food recipes, but then I have sensitive buds. I’ve learned that I am one of those 30% of the population with a stronger sense of taste than the rest of the world, called supertasters. I have an aversion to certain foods especially those with black olive-like taste, and some vegetables like brussel sprouts, cauliflower, radish and celery. So I am a ‘picky-eater’ most of the time when eating outside.
When I was 14, while attending the christening celebration of my cousin’s little child, I vomited after tasting what I thought a dessert. I had no idea it was wasabi, looking deceptively appetizing like a light green cake. It made me teary-eyed and had my sinuses explode with just a finger-swiped taste. Well, I tasted it the wrong way: I did not eat it with sushi. Drinking lots of water or iced tea didn’t help and I went home early with a runny and stuffy nose and a headache!
On a different note, why not spend less and eat at home. Cook for yourself because like they said, “home cooked meals are always the best”. I don’t really cook and I admit not having superb kitchen skills but I’ve been trying to learn a few dishes, especially if my mom is not around. She’s the one who prepares tasty meals and these ones never fail to satisfy my appetite.
So here goes the list of my favorite home-cooked meals:
Adobong Kangkong. This water spinach is nutrient packed plus it has low calories. I want it with oyster sauce and lots of roasted minced garlic. I also love Krispy Kangkong.
Escabeche. This classic Filipino Spanish dish with subtle sweet flavor is super filling, especially when the carrots and ginger are thinly-sliced. The kind of fish matters less, but Tilapia is great.
Bangus na Inun-unan. This is milkfish cooked in a clay cone. Eating the fat belly is incredibly luscious plus it’s rich in omega-3.
Omelet. I know this is very simple to cook. All you need are chopped onion leaves, tomatoes and pepper. Even the simplest sunny-side-up eggs make me all good for the morning. Definitely a lifesaver easy-to-prepare nutrient packed food when you’re hurrying to work.
Buttered Chili Garlic Shrimp. Sauteed in butter with lots of minced garlic and a dash or two of chili pepper is the best way to serve shrimps at lunch or dinner.
Grilled squid. Grilling is the best way to enjoy this sustainable seafood. If dining out, Gerry’s Grill Restaurant prepares this perfectly.
Patatas. I love potatoes! Be it in the form of french fries, mashed potato, baked, or with soup.
Tinunu-an na nangka or kalabasa. Mom don’t really cook this at home because you have to buy and prepare the coconut milk, but if I see it on a karenderia (cafeteria) for lunch, I will most likely order a small serving. It’s cheap and has a pleasant taste. It actually taste better if you both have unripened jackfruit (nangka) and squash (kalabasa) mixed in creamy coconut sauce.
Talong / eggplant. I don’t care if it’s sinugba (smoked), stir fried or torta (omelet), this fruit-vegetable is simply appetizing to me.
Mixed Vegetables. If there’s anything healthier that I want, it would be a soup with all these nourishing ingredients: Kabalasa (red squash), talong (eggplant), gabi (taro), alugbati (malabar spinach), repolyo (cabbage), okra (lady’s fingers), or this stir-fried one:
Adobong Alugbati. This dark green vegetable is so tasty when sauteed with garlic and flavored with oyster sauce. It’s a superfood!
Sinabwang Manok (Tinolang Manok), our local chicken soup. I want it the home-cooked way by putting not much kamunggay (horse radish leaves), tanglad (lemon grass) and sayote (chayote) or preferrably green papaya if available. It is a heart-warming soup can nourish the soul.
Ampalaya. As its name suggest, bitter gourds are bitter. For me it is way too bitter but it’s great with suka (vinegar), kamatis (tomato), and luy-a (ginger) after being thoroughly washed with salt and water when eaten raw. When cooked, I love it mixed with egg and oyster sauce because it masks the bitterness. This one is good for my dad’s diabetes so mom likes preparing it.
Sinungbang Isda. When isda-sa-bato aka mol-mol (parrot fish) or lapu-lapu (orangey grouper fish) or other good-to-grill fish is on our table, I can’t seem to hold back from eating more rice. It’s perfect when you have it stuffed with tanglad (lemon grass), tomato and onions.
Pancit Bihon. This is one of mom’s favorites and she loves cooking it. Always great when mixed with vegetables like cabbage and carrots.
Stir-fried Mushroom. It tastes like meat, yet very light. I prefer the oyster mushroom–it is rich in iron. I am dreaming of getting a mushroom farm :p
Monggos or Mung Beans Soup. I just had a small bowl of mung bean stew with kalamunggay (horseradish) and alugbati (malabar nightshade) with no meat.
Find out how sensitive your taste buds too! I’m a supertaster and that I experience flavors, especially umami and bitter tasting foods with greater intensity than average. Now I learned to train my mind to think of benefits (nutrients), instead of just caring about the features (taste and presentation). I only started to appreciate dark green veggies almost three years ago. Also, I now love my coffee black but I still love hazelnut latte served hot.