Anton Diaz


The FunnelCake Factory

Lately, I’m getting education on different types of cakes that are available here in Manila. The lesson for today is all about funnel cakes. For me, it is the cousin of pancakes and waffle. It taste like Maruya (a local delicacy of fried banana in flour) and it has the same consistency. It is fried and crispy. Usually it can go with any sweet toppings like chocolate, cream and fruits. Some of the existing flavors include, caramel almond, cinnamon, nutty choco loco, peanut butter banana, mango graham and tuna cheese. Funnel cakes are associated with Pennyslvania Dutch region of the US and popular around ball parks, country fairs, and festivals.

The funnel cake factory used to have a stall in the Fort strip and they transfered to the third floor of Festival Mall. Finally, they setup a 45 sq meter dining resto along President’s avenue in BF. We were surprised that they were opened on a Fri and Saturday night until 12 mn when most of the shops would already close by that time. For late night desserts, they have a funnel cake fondue composed of three-piece fun-size funnel cake topped with banana and powdered sugar. They use toblerone for their chocolate and this would costs around P150 net. Here is a copy of the menu since they also serve sandwiches and coffee –> Funnel Cakes Factory Menu.

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#Restaurants, Food

Hula Hula @ Westgate

I must admit if not for my readers, I would have miss visiting this place @ Westgate in Filinvest, Alabang. From the outside, you only have a glimpse of the white staircase and there are no visible signs of happy eaters. The name sounds cheesy and childish that you will make you think twice if you want to eat here. The place just opened in June so for the record, it was ahead of the hawaiian resto — Polu Kai in Serendra.

It feels like Gerry’s grill with Japanese, American, Portuguese and Asean cuisine fusion. Is this really how Hawaiian food should look and taste like? Polu Kai actually beats Hula Hula in terms of ambiance, warm welcome and space (*** it feels like it since Hula2 seems to be crowded). But this Hawaiian inspired resto in Westgate, is definitely much more affordable and you won’t complain about the quality of the food. We were tempted to order the Luau feast which is good for 3-4 persons and the price ranges from P550+ for the Bora Bora to P695+ for the Japanese Hawaiian. The Luau feast is quite innovative since they put composition into the arrangement of ordinary food and it appears like food painting from the distance. Since it is only me and my wife, we decided to try the best sellers of the house which includes the Mess of Steaks and the Paella in Bamboo Sticks (this turned out to be more expensive though).

Overall, great affordable food that you would come back for more. I usually have a rule that once I’ve eaten in a resto, it is seldom that I go back since I would like to save our resto money for other new places out there. But for Hula Hula, we’ll make an exception since by the looks of the Luau feast, not only is it a good photo opportunity but you can also see the happy faces of the people eating it 🙂 Lastly (huling hirit na), this is a good place to treat your friends or family on your birthday or celebrating milestones like graduation.

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#Restaurants, Food

TheFrench Corner

October 18, 2006 Update: Formerly Voulez Vous which means “Do you want? “, I just recently went back to Westgate and realized that this place has a new permanent name “The French Corner”. Here is my original post on Voulez Vous and I was wondering if only the name was changed or is there also something different with the menu and the chef?

Original Post Title: Voulez Vous? Do you Want? (January 17, 2006)

Formerly C’est si Bon (which was registered already to a pastry store) , Voulez Vous offers Mediterranean cuisine — I crave for this type of food 🙂 This is manned by Billy King’s proteges Larry Cruz and Chef Mauro Arjona. Billy King’s claim to fame is having worked as the executive chef of Le Souffle which is one of Manila’s Best Fine Dining restaurants. This is located in Westgate Filinvest, Alabang and if you look at the building structure, you won’t be immediately attracted with its weird shape building facade.

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#Restaurants, Batangas, Food

Kainan sa Dalampasigan!

3/17/15 Update: KAINAN SA DALAMPASIGAN: A Must Stop Over Filipino Restaurant in Nasugbu! 

A Warm Welcome to Kainan sa Dalampasigan!

Doesn’t this remind you of a scene in The Lord of The Rings?… These hanging vines are enough to set the tone for a lunch/dinner in a middle of a rustic garden. The nearest beach places in Manila are the ones in Nasugbu or Calatagan Batangas. I like going to these parts of Batangas, because it passes by Tagaytay. So almost, always, Tagaytay is the setting for Breakfast on the way to Batangas and for Dinner on the way back home. I’ve always been on a look out for a good lunch place within the Nasugbu area. The ones that gives you a give provincial feel/ welcome, with a nice ambiance, good food with a good value for money. I’m glad we found Kainan sa Dalampasigan right in the heart of Nasugbu Town.

I would recommend this place as a good stop on your way to Punta Fuego or the Calatagan Beaches. The places serves home cooked food with Tangingue steak as the main attraction. The ambiance is quite nice and they took time to invest on the ambiance to compete with the beach resorts to attract the beach goers for a lunch or even merienda affair. I must admit this place has been in existence for a long time now, but they just renovated recently so during my first visit — I was happy to find this garden place. Of course, this wouldn’t compare with Sonja’s garden or Antonio’s but you can say that this is more of a provincial version of a garden leaning towards a rustic feel to its ambiance.

I was just excited to see the hanging vines and I took a picture above to remind me of the opening welcome scene when you arrive at this place.

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#Philippines, Balesin

A Balesin Escape

UPDATE 11/6/13: Check out the latest blog post on Balesin Island Club developed by Alphaland:
BALESIN ISLAND (ALPHALAND): Food Tripping Around the World in 7 Beach Resort Paradise!

I want to share with you my excitement. I wrote an article on Balesin and hopefully it will be published soon in a new Travel/ Lifestyle Magazine. It will be a Nov/Dec issue and will be released by the end of October. I can’t wait to see the final printed article. Thanks to the managing editor for fulfilling one of my dreams of being published 🙂 Can you guess what’s the name of this new magazine?


#Restaurants, Food

Bistro Filipino by Chef Laudico — Best Filipino Fusion Food!

 UPDATE March 6, 2014:  This restaurant is now closed 🙁

I can still remember celebrating our first year wedding anniversary last January 2004 at Chef Laudico’s house in Urdaneta, Makati. At that time, it was still a secret or only a few people knew about it. We loved it and I earned a lot of brownie kisses for it. So when I learned that Chef Laudico will be opening a Filipino restaurant in the Fort, I was excited and the timing was perfect for my wife’s Birthday last October 1. Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino soft opened last Sept. 27, 2006. After 3 days of operation, it was already a witness to the strongest typhoon that hit Manila in past 11 years, and a Christian wedding/ reception which was celebrated last Saturday (maybe you would know who it was).

Bistro Filipino by Chef Laudico serves Filipino fusion food and these are the sort of food that could take off in the international scene. I saw a lot of expats and sossy people eating here because dining here would costs you around P1,500ish easily. I love the Filipino fusion food by Chef Laudico and the desserts by his wife, Jackie! These are the kind of food that won’t make you feel bad spending that much. The interiors are designed by their mom with contributions from the family which made the whole establishment a true family affair. I’m sure you’ll love this too and Je Suis Gourmand (JSG) would now have a match in the Fort 🙂 It is literally two blocks down from JSG and it is located in Net One building along the same road as JSG. One can just walk whenever one restaurant is full but I don’t advise you to do so because I’m sure that both would be full especially on a weekend.

I know you will love this and they will have a grand opening on October 8, 2006. Here is our experience and share with us your food experience at Bistro Filipino. Thanks to Anna Ria for the tip on Bistro Filipino’s opening.

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#Travel, Food

Josephine’s Restaurant — a Filipino Resto experience in Central London

I had an argument with my brother before I finally convinced him to go to this only Filipino Restaurant in London. It was a first time for both of us in Central London. We spent two and a half days, going to the different tourist places and usually we eat on the go to save time. We were debating on why do we need to eat in a Filipino restaurant in London. First of all, eating in a restaurant would set us back at least 2 hours and why do we need to eat Filipino cuisine in Central London when I am from the Philippines and going back the next day! Endless discussion but in the end, my argument of loving our own and supporting our fellow kababayans outside our country won. Also, I’ll tell you an open secret, the Londoners have no food that they can call their own — except for Fish and Chips. I hated all the food I ate and I was dying to eat Filipino food. After having the food trip in Singapore, I thought I would also be able to do this here but I was dead wrong! I was already dreaming of eating at least a decent meal in a Filipino restaurant only to find out that there is one and only Filipino restaurant called Josephine’s somewhere around the Oxford shopping area.

If you are a tourist and you only have two days, would you spend the time to eat in a Filipino Restaurant in Central London? Or, maybe I’m just weird.

Josephine’s Restaurant was a 5 minutes walk from Tottenham Court Tube station corner Oxford street. It was the best meal I had in London, and my brother would agree. The food is home cooked Filipino Fusion that could rival Guava or Filos in the Fort. They have been operational for 10 years now this September.

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#Travel, Food

SINGAPORE FOOD TRIP: Makan Food that did not make the cut

1. Fish Head Curry — My wife wanted to try this out and so we did. It was just okay, nothing to rave about or maybe we just had too much of everything that night. The huge snapper head served was enough for the three of us but with the other food on the table, it was way too much. There was so much fish meat that i thought it was an endless eating. Cooked in a spicy, tangy, tamarind curry with okra and tomatoes.

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#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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