Good Food Sundays

It started last Sunday. Bookshop and bar Uno Morato and Good Food Community, which supports small organic farmers through community-shared agriculture, launched Good Food Sundays.

Good Food Sundays is a small weekend market for fresh organic produce and local food products. There are only a handful of stalls, a far cry from the other weekend markets, which I also love (hello, Salcedo!) but sometimes find a bit overwhelming in terms of choices and scale.

This Sunday market is more of an intimate affair. Feel free to chat up the folks behind the stalls and there are only six: get organic vegetables from small farms in Tarlac that Good Food supports; sample (and buy!) Philippine specialty coffee from Kalsada; fill your bag with different types of  bread from Manila Bake; pick up some of a Ritual’s butter, sea salts, different types of local vinegar, Malagos chocolates and cheese, and homemade kimchi by The Wandering Chew (I’m looking forward to their caramelized onions next Sunday!); another stall sells rice, beans and other sorts of grains, honey, and pickled goodies; and if you haven’t had your breakfast yet, there’s a table where you can buy hot Malagos chocolate and pan de sal with kesong puti to start your Sunday morning. (Updated the photos below with a few new items from the market)

Find fresh organic veggies

Find fresh organic veggies in the Good Food Community stall

The latest crop of vegetables

The latest crop of organic vegetables from Good Food Community: shiny plump eggplants, baskets of greens, and on the middle plate–a handful of cherry tomatoes with the smallest cucumbers I’ve ever seen

Kalsada Coffee

Kalsada Coffee

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Get your grains!

Get your grains!

Taste test!

Sample some good bread and butter

Love this bread from Manila Bake

Love the Brown Rice, Shallot and Rosemary Boules from Manila Bake

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Can you tell I gravitated toward the stall with all the baked goodies?

The Wandering Chew

Bottled goodness from The Wandering Chew: Onion jam, calamansi curd, and dulce de leche

Good Food Sundays happens just outside Uno Morato, at the back of Sabroso Lechon, corner of E. Rodriguez Avenue and Tomas Morato. Stalls are open from 7 am to 1 pm, every Sunday (updated) until December. There are a few parking spaces in front of the bookshop for customers. 

What to love about Osaka and Kyoto trains and stations

With Osaka as our base all throughout our trip to Japan last March, we spent an ample amount of time in trains and train stations, going to Kyoto, and around Kyoto and Nara. Aside from the Japanese railways’ efficiency, these are some of the things that made my train-loving heart geek out: some cool-looking trains, delicious station eats, and abundant opportunities to people watch.

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Osaka Loop Line. In Tokyo, there’s the Yamanote Line. Osaka also has its own loop line, which has stops in major stations Umeda/Osaka and Tennoji. The line also stops in Osakajokoen, which is the closest JR station to Osaka Castle; and Bentencho, which is two stops away from Osakako (Osaka Aquarium) on the Chuo line.

Hankyu Kyoto Line to Arashiyama. We decided to take the Hankyu Kyoto Line from Umeda (Hankyu) station in Osaka to Arashiyama just because it was the most direct route from where we were staying (in Kita-ku). And the minute I saw the train, I was happy with our decision. It was an old maroon four-car beauty. A Hankyu 6300 series, I found out later on, that has been around since the 1970s and was supposedly refurbished five years ago. Continue reading

Make your own cup of noodles at the Instant Ramen Museum

Open lid. Pour powder from the packet into cup. Pour hot water. Close lid. Wait for three minutes. Open lid again and have a quick and hot filling cup of instant ramen.

This was how I was introduced to ramen. Since our comforting noodle soups here in the Philippines are of the batchoy and mami varieties (both must-tries if ever you find yourself in the Philippines), my first slurp of the Japanese noodle soup was from a styro Nissin Cup. I didn’t love it but I thought it was genius. No cooking involved! It’s like being 16 and letting that boy you sort of like hold your hand just because you think holding hands is the best thing ever. (That’s acceptable behavior, right?) And then you get to taste the real thing. Authentic ramen from its motherland, fresh noodles, broth that has been deliciously boiling for hours, mouthwatering slices of chashu, the seductive aji tamago… And you fall in love.

On the trip to Japan last March, we made the pilgrimage to Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum. As the name suggests, it’s a museum dedicated to instant noodles and cup noodles and to its creator Momofuku Ando. For all my current indifference to instant ramen, I have to admit, it has provided many bellies (mine included) sustenance in a fast and cheap way. We had to pay our respects! Also, my husband likes the stuff to this day.

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Located in Osaka, the museum is around a five-minute walk from Ikeda Station (directions below). We went there on a Sunday and the streets leading to the museum were quiet, empty, and in typical Japanese fashion, very clean. There was just a number of families coming from the museum (the giveaway was that they were lugging around the plastic bag with the instant ramen cup). When we got inside, there were even more families–Japanese parents with their little ones in tow. I guess, the education about instant ramen has to start early on. Continue reading

How to keep the kuidaore spirit alive in Dotonbori

Eat. And eat some more. And it’s easy to do in Dotonbori.

Dotonbori in Minami is probably one of the most recognized places of the city aside from Osaka Castle. Sure it’s crowded, touristy and there’s enough blinking neon signs (hello, Mr. Glico running man billboard) to likely light up an entire town. But it’s also one of the many places in Osaka where you can embrace kuidaore in all its gluttonous glory.

A Japanese word meaning to ruin oneself by extravagance in food and drink, kuidaore has long been associated with Osaka, a city that prides itself for its obsessive love for food.

The Glico Man and the rest of them neon lights welcome you

The Glico Man and the rest of them neon lights welcome you

We get there in the late afternoon after an hour spent in the cat cafe earlier. While there were no crazy neon lights yet, there was already a crowd spilling over from Shin Saibashi-suji and Ebisu Bashi-suji shopping streets. We ducked inside a couple of shops, but there seemed to be more people with the goal to ruin themselves with extravagance in shopping.

Dotonbori has been around since the 17th century when it served as an entertainment district housing several theaters. According to guide books, even back then there were many restaurants to cater to the  mass of tourists and theater-goers taking over Dotonbori every evening.

Walking around

Walking around Dotonbori in the late afternoon as the signboards that line the street start to light up

Minus the many theaters, it seems not much has changed. There’s still a mass of tourists… only this time we’re making the culinary pilgrimage to the birthplace of okonomiyaki (pancakes filled with veggies, seafood or pork), takoyaki (octopus balls) and kushi-katsu or kushiage (deep-fried battered skewers of meat or veggies). Below are where many people stop by to pay their respects…to eat and eat and eat.

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Pinoy bread favorites from the humble panaderia

A couple of boulangeries have recently opened in Manila (hello, Paul and Eric Kayser) and there’s even an honest-to-goodness New York-type of bagel place (you must try L.E.S. Bagels!). They’re typically located in the more upscale parts of the metropolis or posh shopping malls, but for homegrown types of bread, you only need to go to a panaderia or local bakery.

A panaderia in Kapitolyo, Pasig

This panaderia in Kapitolyo, Pasig sells delicious putok, which they take out of the oven at around noon (And like many other panaderia, they still put your bread purchases in a brown paper bag)

As someone who dearly loves bread, I grew up looking forward to merienda or after-school snack when my dad would buy something sweet or carb-y or both from the bakery three blocks away from the corner of our street in our old neighborhood in Manila. I loved it when we could go with him and I could inhale the wonderful aroma brought on by the mixture of flour, water, eggs, yeast, and shortening.

Behind the glass case of that corner street bakery would be trays of warm pan de coco, monay, putok, Spanish bread, those local sugared-dusted doughnuts, and ensaymada. The pan de sal would typically be at the back, freshly baked and waiting to be picked up and encased in a brown paper bag for you to bring home. There are many other types of bread in the baking scene now, probably considered more sublime, complex or even more mind-blowing (yes, I don’t doubt bread can be any of those things), but these ones from the humble neighborhood panaderia are likely the ones that have shaped many Pinoys love for bread and nourished many other kids during breakfast or merienda. It did that for me. And all I need now is a glass of Tang and my dad calling us to the table to have some bread. Continue reading