Author

Anton Diaz

#Travel, Food

SINGAPORE FOOD TRIP: Makan Food Trip – My Top 10 Favorites!

I always dread going to Singapore because I thought the place is so boring and the food is uninspired. I was only exposed to my usual routine of hotel to office and eating in Orchard Road, Clark / Boat Quay, or Suntec City Malls, the usual tourist route. Boy, was I dead wrong.

Singapore is a foodie haven! My taste palette just got expanded when I tasted the best of Singapore Makan delights. In fact, Singaporeans are known for their 24-hour passion for makan — the malay word for “food” or “eat”. Armed with a Uniquely Singapore Makan Delights brochure, a popular book called Makan Sutra (singapore makan bible), and a singapore local foodie, my family went on a makan food trip in Singapore. I now respect and appreciate Singaporeans passion for food and as they say, the best food is found along the streets. That I would have to agree 100%!

Here is my top 10 Makan Favorites! For those who will have a chance to go visit Singapore, you have to seek out these Makan Delights! Just an additional tip if you are going on a Makan food trip: a) bring your own tissue/ water and, b) you can say no to the wet towels and peanuts which usually comes with a fee.


1. Bak Kuh Teh — This is the Singapore/ Malaysia version of our Bulalo. There are two versions the one with clear, aromatic broth that is full of garlic and white pepper and the one with a dark broth full of Chinese herbs that is good for your health. I like the latter one (dark broth) and it is usually served with white rice, yu tiao (chinese fried dough fritters), sliced red chillies in soy sauce, and a pot of Chinese tea.

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#Travel, Food

Shanghai Si Chuan Surprise :)

Hi! I just got back from the young and vibrant Shanghai City. I was smitten by the beauty of Shanghai and if ever I would leave Manila for an overseas assignment, Shanghai is on top of my list. The Shanghai city skyline is one of the best in the world. I was fortunate to have seen this magnificent beauty and capture it with my camera. It was a short business trip so I did not really have the time to explore. I have a few photos to share with you and I do hope I get to have a chance to go back to explore this city. I love Manila but Shanghai is number 2 in my list of favorite cities in the world.
Just one unsolicited advice, the new generation of Filipinos need to learn Mandarin. There is no doubt in my mind that China will be the next economic super power and Shanghai is a glimpse of China’s dominance in the future. The next generation of global Filipinos will be speaking three languages English, Tagalog and Mandarin to become successful in this information age. I would make sure that my son, Aidan would learn to speak Mandarin. ( Let me know your reaction to this… )

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Ilocos

Blue Lagoon Cove, Maira-Ira Beach, Pagudpud

Are you going on a road trip to Pagudpud? Download this Infographic Guide before you go…
Infographic: Your Awesome Journey to Pagudpud

My ultimate motivation in going to Pagudpud was to see the once secret beach known as Blue Lagoon which is becoming popular lately. Saud beach is a nice place to stay but Blue Lagoon beach is the most beautiful beach in the North. The sand quality is not entirely white but it has an off white grainy quality that would be similar to the sand in Boat Station 3 in Boracay. The best thing about Blue Lagoon is that it is like one large blue swimming pool! The water is bluish, the entire sea is calm and the underwater floor is deep but purely sand. The cottages are exotic and you can rent a water cottage and have fun diving in the water. There are no resorts in the area which is good in the sense that you only go here to purely enjoy the beach. Downside is that you still have to drive an additional 20mins to and from the main Saud beach in Pagudpud. There is actually a resort near the place called Kapuluan Vista Resort and Constantine have some resort shots. Another thing, one of my criteria for a great beach is that the sun sets in the horizon, unfortunately, Blue Lagoon is situated where the sun sets behind its back covered by the mountains.

Overall, I love Blue Lagoon! We had a fun time having photo shoots and just enjoying the beach. Check out these photos…


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Ilocos

Bangui Windmills [Flickr Phils North Expedition #1]

Are you going on a road trip to Pagudpud? Download this Infographic Guide before you go…
Infographic: Your Awesome Journey to Pagudpud

This is a tribute to the 15 most beautiful white structures I’ve ever seen in the Philippines. I can’t believe my eyes seeing for myself these 23 storey high windmills along the 3km Bangui Bay. They are so beautiful and I can’t help myself but to shoot with awe and jump for joy. This is my humble attempt to capture the beauty of these structures. I was blessed with good weather and nice sky during my visit. The windmills of Bangui appears to be planted by aliens in the Ilocos Norte and the place is so surreal. The trip to Pagudpud just got better and you should not miss visiting these 2 year old wind turbines.

By the way, I’m starting a series on the first Road Trip of the local Flickr Philippines community last June 12 weekend. I can’t help but post these awesome windmills first and share with you the beauty of the Bangui coast! Check out these Banqui windmill post cards…

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Food

Cyma in Manila!! Opa!!

Related Blog Post: SOUV! by Cyma with Chef Robby Goco’s Culinary Magic!


O-pa!! Cyma is now in Manila and for anyone who have been to this bora resto favorite (see related article: Top 5 Bora Resto), you can’t help but it but to say O-pa!! Opa is a greek cheer and it is such a happy greeting that would make you feel at home in this 2 week old resto in Edsa Shangrila Mall. In Bora, it is hidden inside d’mall and sometimes you’ll get lucky to be eating with famous people, actors/ actresses, who frequent this greek restaurant. This is indeed a “flourishing” resto as its name suggest in greek, and anybody can attest that the food is great 🙂 Although the food are a bit on the expensive side and not to mention that they increased the prices by 10% in their mall outlet.

These days, there is almost no reason for you to go to Edsa Shangrila mall with the Edsa and mall traffic. I would prefer to go to Mall of Asia than meet somebody in Edsa Shang Mall. At least in Mall of Asia, once you figure out the technique of how to park and navigate your way through the maze, then it would be a pleasant experience for you. (Note: only on weekdays 🙂 But Edsa Shang gave me enough good reason to brave the Edsa traffic and park on the 6th floor cinema level with its steep long winding road just to enjoy the dishes of Cyma. This is a good way to satisfy your Cyma craving rather than waiting for summer next year to fly to Bora. By that time, we would have moved on to the next resto fad in bora.

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Food

The Legend Hong Kong Seafood Restaurant

I’m always on a lookout for good chinese restaurants in the Manila area. Normally, I prefer not to blog about them because there are too many of them. Although if you are tired of always eating at Gloria Maris or Emerald Garden for that special occasion, maybe you might want to try out the new Legend Hongkong Seafood Restaurant in Boom na Boom complex in CCP. It has a nice ambiance for a chinese restaurant and the food is good chinese cooking by a Hongkong trained chef. This is their first store in Metro Manila but they have branches in Malolos, Bulacan; San Fernando, Pampanga; Tarlac and the most popular one in Angeles City. We treated my parents-in-law and the food passed their taste buds. I’ll tell you that they are a great critique about chinese food (they know what good chinese food is) and they can certify that the food was cooked by what my father-in-law calls as a Hongkong Boy 🙂

Overall if you are looking for a good cantonese Hongkong-style chinese food, your budget is P300/head and you are escaping the madness in Mall of Asia, then it is worth to try out The Legend Hongkong Seafood Restaurant in CCP. Check this out!

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Food

[BigBinondoBowl2] Culinary Secrets of Binondo!

I’ve always wanted to explore the culinary secrets of Binondo. I always knew that Binondo has a lot to offer aside from the all time favorite Eng Bee Tin Hopia stop, or eating in the exotic Estero, or grabing a quick chinese fix from your chinese fast food chain like tasty dumpling or the usual President chinese meal. This tour is also not about the original Diao Eng Chay (popularly known as DEC) store or the famous Quan Yin Chay Vegetarian in Binondo. I got curious with the Big Binondo Bowl streetwalk tour by Ivan ManDy ever since Marketman’s Binondo Food Tour post last Sept. 2005. There are a lot of articles already written about this tour and the background story about Ivan’s streetwalks which I will not attempt to duplicate. What I like about this tour is that you can see and feel Ivan’s advocacy on the Filipino – Chinese’s rich history. At the risk of divulging the entire tour, I’ll just give you a glimpse of the tour, the food stops, and try to compress the 4 hour streetwalk into one blog post. Hopefully it would also have the same effect that after reading through this post, you will say “So when is the next tour?”

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Food

[BigBinondoBowl1] The Mystery of Binondo…

Binondo is Manila’s Chinatown. As you passby Jones bridge into the plaza leading to the Chinatown welcome archway, you get transported into a different world. Ever since I was a kid, my mom used to bring me to Escolta during her PNB days and I’ve never understood and get to appreciate what Chinatown really is. The history behind it, the culture, and the oddities have always been a mystery to me. I’ve always been fascinated by Binondo but at the same time scared because of the horror stories that can happen with you in this place.

Thank you to Ivan ManDy, the self proclaimed Street Walker in Old Manila, who passionately organized the Big Binondo Bowl walking tours to show people what Binondo really is. You would completely feel safe when you are with Ivan in Binondo. Who wouldn’t be, since Ivan seems to know half of the people in Chinatown. It is like going into a college campus where he would say hi to most of the people walking in the streets. I was always afraid to bring my huge camera with me in Binondo but during the tour, I really took the opportunity to shoot and shoot. The Big Binondo Bowl started as an architectural/ cultural tour of Old Manila but it got popularized into a culinary tour of Binondo.

Each of the Binondo scenes below have interesting stories to tell. I would not attempt to tell it since only Ivan can do justice to the stories. Check this out…

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#Travel, Food

[Los Angeles vs. Manila #3] Porto’s Cheese Roll


I still can remember a couple of years ago when eating a carbo-loaded krispy kreme donut is a cool thing when you visit the US. Now, that’s a thing of the past, and Porto’s bakery is a better alternative. Its famous cheese roll is a must try along with the other cakes and other pastry delicacies. The cheese roll taste like Otap baked to perfection with cheese inside it, similar in texture to a croissant. It’s super addicting and I easily ate 5 pieces in one sitting. Porto’s Bakery is a cuban family-owned and operated business that has served Glendale and its surrounding areas for over 35 years and they recently opened a beautiful new store in Burbank.

One could argue that Becky’s or Conti’s taste a lot better, but the I’ve never tasted a cheeseroll as delicious as porto’s. If you can manage to bring one home as a pasalubong, it is highly recommended.

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#Travel, Food

[Los Angeles vs. Manila #2] Hollywood’s famous Pink’s Hot Dog


This is one of the famous must-eat destination in LA, and I was extremely curious why a chili dog can be this famous for 66 years! Paul Pink started this hotdog stand in 1939 and it stood on the same spot, giving the same quality of hot dog for years. I’m glad that Atty. Joseph Joson who was kind enough to accompany me to eat in this so-called hot dog to the stars. The hot dog heritage is a great marketing sell and they have photos to prove it (amazing)! I’m not really fond of hotdogs and I’m eating a vegetable rich diet lately, but this one is a must try (not to mention my weakness is chili). In the Philippines, we don’t really have something equivalent to this and Ogie Doggie would be the closest but far from the heritage that Pink’s hotdog built over the years.

The verdict: The chili is phenomenal, polish dogs are the best! Read on…

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