Kessaku: A Japanese Fusion Restaurant in Alabang

Ground Floor , Commercenter Building , Filinvest Avenue, Alabang 1781, Muntinlupa City- Philippines
restaurant facade
Kessaku in Nippongo means  ” Creating a Masterpiece,” according to Ms. Yums Sahgabao, one of the managing proprietors .  The restaurant has a sister  restaurant of Jozu Kin located in Burgos Circle and  Yumi Japanese Restaurant  in Promenade area, Greenhills, San Juan City- But Kessaku menu are different and are specially made to suit the Filipino palate and the international community which lives nearby.
      ground floor area
The ground floor can accommodate around 50 people while the second floor can accommodate  25 to 30 people at any given time. The restaurant opened its door to the public last September 2013 .
spacious ground floor viewed from second floor
The restaurant is located along Filinvest Avenue and a short distance from Acacia Hotel , South Supermarket Mall or Filinvest Mall
stylish and simple table and chairs
I admire the simple and stylish interior of the restaurant . ( modern minimalist style)
four season shake
One must try their four season shake , They use all natural ingredients and one can taste the real pineapple tidbits and cherry toppings . Not too sweet and the flavor blends really very well.
grape shake
This is another one in the bucket list ! I think it is about the freshness of the seedless grapes ( not too sweet )
green mango shake and dalandan shake
amuse-bouche or complimentary light snacks
Amuse -bouche is served in zhōngshì tāngchí  or Chinese -style soup spoon elegantly rolled crab-stick ( kani ) with kewpie or Japanese mayonnaise topped with chopped spring rolls  . This is good light snack to clean the palate while waiting for the dishes .
salmon sashimi
 This particular sashimi is made with superior grade Norwegian salmon .  The restaurant’s executive chef would inspect all the salmon during the delivery and they would choose the top most quality ( freshness and high grade salmon)  Additional garnish includes freshly picked lettuce , bean sprouts , finely grated carrots with wasabi paste and lemon .  To fully enjoy the quality of the sashimi, you need only to dip the tip and not drown it with the sauce.
Salmon Sashimi – Small ( Php 125)  Large (P265).
Usi Ebi or Sunburst Salad
 Sunburst Salad is an assortment of vegetables -lettuce, cabbage , carrot with two kinds of grapes , strawberry , sliced apple , bits of mandarin oranges,   tiger prawns tossed with salad dressing and bits of sesame seeds.
This is good for 2 to 3 people sharing
California maki topped with flying fish roe and grated pepper
California maki taste very different from the other more traditional maki that i have tasted in other Japanese restaurants. The kani , sweetness of Japanese mayonnaise, lettuce , mangoes , sliced red pepper strips, black flying fish roe adds to the overall flavor of the California maki ala Kessaku . Based on the ingredients , you can see the fusion of other ingredients which make it among the top sellers.

Unagi with Foie Gras
Foie Gras is from fattened duck or goose liver , eel and Japanese sticky rice rolled with nori strips (seaweed wrapper)  topped with sesame seeds and with wasabi paste
The Foie Gras really melts on your mouth and the eel taste crunchy .  The soft texture and mixing of the two really compliments each other .   Another MUST recommended dish , a visit to the restaurant is not complete without ordering this dish. You can share this with 2 to 3 people Php 350

Spider rolls

Spider Rolls is made from soft- shell crabs ( a culinary term for crabs that had recently molted their exoskeleton ). This means that almost the entire crab can be eaten, rather than having to shell the animal to reach the meat. The crab is finely chop into bite size bits fried with minimal batter or coating , wrapped on a sticky Japanese rice with special sauce and nori sheet and additional lettuce leaves with bean sprouts and  pepper strips as topping

Maguro tempura maki

Tiger Roll  is a mixture of ebi tempura , fresh tuna, sticky rice , creme cheese, avocado , dazzled with creme cheese , bean sprouts , sesame seeds and lemon

This tempura dish is a combination of sweet, sour and creamy , perfect for those who like creme cheese . The creme cheese does not overpower the tempura and you can still taste the fresh ingredients !

Symphony

Symphony it is a layers of  fried sushi rice, layers of spicy tuna, spicy salmon and crab-stick ( kani) with Japanese mayonnaise , topped with red and black  fish egg roe with Katsuobushi shavings and spring onion leaves an effortless medley of spicy , sweetness and savory.

It is meant to be shared with 2 to 3 people so it is okey not to cut them like cake , it can be quite messy but it is like mixing all the desired flavors . Php 380

Sukiyaki
Sukiyaki  is a hot pot  dish,  It has a sweet and salty flavor a little bit like teriyaki sauce , Japanese wine which add sweetness , but with tender angus beef and vegetable in the mix like carrots, cabbage , spring onion , It is a perfect dinner for family or great food to enjoy with guests.
 
Chicken Yakitori
  Chicken Yakitori Barbecue marinated with special sauce topped with finely chopped spring onion leaves with side garnish of fried thin noodles, red and green cabbage , carrots thinly sliced.
The chicken is tender and it almost melts in your mouth . It is well marinated ( special sauce)  and ideal for 2 to 3 people sharing. Don’t forget the side garnish , They are perfect combination ! This is also a MUST for barbecue and chicken lovers !!!!!
Shishamo
Shishamo is a Japanese smelt fish with roe ( eggs ) fried  with lemon , fried noodles and finely chopped vegetables as garnish or side dish .
The dish can be compared with our own tinapa –  but minus the heavier smoky taste and can be shared with 2 to 3 people.Php 295
 Angus Prime Cha han
Angus Prime Cha- Han is the Japanese version of fried rice , but they use the  sticky rice , less soy sauce ,  angus beef , vegetables and sprinkled with chopped spring onion .
This is a complete meal or can be shared with 2 people .
Ebi Tempura
 Tiger Prawn Tempura  is coated with  simple batter then deep fried in hot oil  .  It is best dipped with simple lemon and rock salt which brings out the taste. the dish also comes with special tempura sauce.
Shared with 3 to 4 people. It comes in small, medium and large order .
Soft Shell Crab Tempura
Soft Shell Crab Tempura is coated with simple batter then deep fried to perfection .
When you eat this tempura, you can eat the entire shell without any fear  of indigestion , The crab carapace is soft and similar with fried talangka . Can be shared with 2 to 3 people. Perfect with its own tempura sauce or simple lemon and rock salt mixture will bring out the taste.
Kaikage Teppan
Kaikage Teppan or Fried Oyster in Batter  with fried noodles and thinly sliced vegetables perfectly compliment each other . I remember its Chinese version,  the Oyster cake which we always love to eat in Binondo , The Japanese version is different since they are individually coated with batter and deep fried with special sauce topped with chopped spring onion . Ideal for 2 to 3 people.
Mixed Kamameshi
Mixed Kamameshi is a traditional rice dish cooked in an iron pot.   which includes thin strips of carrots and sweet potato, boiled shrimp,  mushroom , beans , pork and beef that’s mixed with rice flavored with soy sauce. Guests can do the mixing or ask the server to do it.  (P450), Ideal for 2 to 3 people.
from the facebook page of Kessaku
Celebrity spotted- Ms. Jodi Santa Maria , Mr. Jolo Revilla  , Mr. Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales ,  Ms. Nikki Valdez , Ms. Ellen Adarna were among the celebrities that are spotted eating at this restaurant .  This is aside from the expats and foodies who want a different taste.
food and lifestyle bloggers
* Note : I must ” Thank” Ms. Kathy Kenny Ngo – food connoisseur for organizing this food tour and to the owners of Kessaku for the warm hospitality to the group ” Maraming Salamat Po” 
I must give Kessaku a rating of 9.25 out of 10 for the ambiance, food , presentation and service !
vicinity map
How to Get There:
1.) Metropolis Star Mall  – 1 ride Baclaran, Alabang jeep then go down to Caltex station cross the intersection ( Alabang-Zapote Road ) then a short walk toward Acacia Hotel
2.) Alabang Terminal Station – Jeep going to Alabang Filinvest , then go down to Caltex station cross the intersection ( Alabang-Zapote Road )  then a short walk towards Acacia Hotel
  3.) Baclaran , Sucat – 1 ride going to Filinvest Alabang then go down to  Filinvest Avenue  then a short walk towards Acacia Hotel.
Private Cars – Take the Filinvest Exit of South Luzon Expressway  then look for Commerce Avenue. For commuters, the best way is to use the Chef’s Avenue exit of Festival Super mall (until 9pm) then the straight pathway will lead you to Commerce Avenue. It is around about 500 to 600 meters from the mall.
Address : Kessaku Commercenter Alabang
Filinvest Corporate City, Muntinlupa City-Philippines
Call 403-3445

Jar’d In Salad House Rainy Day Special Treats

Good News ! to avid salad and health buffs people within Project 8, Bahay Toro, Project 7, Congressional Village, Mindanao Avenue, Novaliches, West Fairview and Muñoz area in Quezon City.

The price is affordable and the selection also includes smoothies, tea and fruit juices.
Jar'd In Salad

Jar’d In Salad

Salad

different kinds of salad

Promo
Jar’d In Salad House had a tie-up with delivery companies  had a rainy day special 20% discount promo on their salad.

Banhmi
Vietnamese Banhmi salad – This is one of my favorite salad. This had a right combination of meat, pomelo, vermicelli noodles, corn kernels,peanuts, slices of ham, slice picama ( singkamas) and dressing.

Burrito Salad
Cancun Barbecue Burrito salad – Romaine lettuce, red rice, roasted chicken breast, cherry tomatoes, corn, black beans, red onions, barbecue sauce, nacho chips with pesto yogurt dressing.

Crispy Chicken
Cowboy Crispy Chicken salad – Romaine lettuce, fried chicken, hard boiled egg, crouton, bacon bits, parmesan cheese toppings.

Greek Salad
Greek salad is one of the customers favorite. This had a right combination of fresh ingredients like fresh lettuce leaves, slice cherry tomatoes, onions, walnuts, watermelon, grapes, arugula, sliced bell peppers, topped with roasted chicken breast, feta cheese and their own salad dressing.

Japanese Noodles
Japanese salad – This is their newest line of salad. This had a perfect combination of green lettuce, diced mangoes, slice cucumber, carrots, two types of cabbage, Japanese noodles, Japanese seaweed ( Nori sheet) with sesame seeds and their special dressing.

Power Grain Salad
Amazonia Power Grain salad – Consists of two kind of lettuces, corn kernels, cherry tomatoes, chopped onions, chicken topped with organic violet rice from the Cordillera region. This also comes with their version of dressing.

Fruit and Vegetable

Different kind of fruit and vegetable combination mixture

Salad Promo

Note: Jar’d In salad had a special in house promo of 20% , Please try to visit their FB, Instagram account for more details.

Address:  Jar’d In Salad House -Mc2 Building ground floor ( beside Paras Alter Station and Tailoring), Congressional Avenue corner April street, Barangay Bahay Toro, Quezon City.

Operations: Monday to Sunday

Operational Hours: 10:00 am to 8:00 pm

Savoring Pancit Liliw at White House Bistro in Laguna

White House Bistro is an ancestral house converted into Filipino dining restaurant. The house is also known as Polistico Mansion which was built in 1938 and reflect the art deco architecture style.

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White House Bistro also known by locals as Polistico Mansion

The ancestral house stood near the Liliw Church and footwear stores within the main street of the town.

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friends from San Mateo, Rizal province

In a recent tour of Tito’s and Titas of Manila which encompass the towns of Majayjay, Nagcarlan,Los Baños and Liliw in the province of Laguna.  Our group decided to have a light afternoon snack at this restaurant.

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collection of Asian mask and family photos hung in a portion of the wall

I think Chef Justin Sarabia of well- known Rural Kitchen in Makati is related to the owners of the mansion.

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menu board

The former ancestral house was converted into a restaurant and bistro around May 2015 and focused on serving Filipino specialties.

White House Bistro

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The white house bistro had several rooms which can be use to host between 12 to 25 people at any given time.  The entire restaurant can accommodate between 70 to 100 people at any given occasion.

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According to one of the servers, They are open for reservations and other functions.  The group tried pancit liliw, club house sandwich, pancit habhab and softdrink.

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They also serve value or combination meal. The furniture and fixture reflect a gentle era and minimal use of electricity with large windows and high ceilings.

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There is also a pasalubong corner where one can buy their special honey in bottle.

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Pancit Liliw

Pancit Liliw– This combines two types of noodles, sotanghon and miki noodles with sliced carrots, beans, slices of meat topped with chopped spring onion leaves. Php 250 per order ( can be shared between 2 to 3 people).

Some of their specialties includes fried chicken, crispy pata, beef kare-kare, tortang pako, chopseuy and Pancit Lucban.

According to the manager, The restaurant also serve Japanese dishes and there is a ice tea stall located at the ground level of restaurant.

Address: Gat Tayaw Street, Liliw, Laguna province

Contact Persons: Ms. Marianne Polistico or Mr. Christian Villegas Polistico

Contact: 0917-532-8075/ 0956-1290931

Operations: closed during Mondays, Operating Hours: 10:00 A.M. to 7:30 P.M. from Tuesdays to Fridays. However, it varies during weekends and holidays.

Due to COVID 2019 restrictions, the restaurant will only have take out and delivery.

Note: The author is not connected with the management of the restaurant. Menu prices quoted are subject to change without prior notification.

Eat All You Can at Yakiniku Fusion Buffet at Dr. Lazcano Street

Tucked away at the cultural, entertainment and food district near Tomas Morato in Quezon City recently open Japanese, Korean fusion food during the first week of December 2019.

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Yakiniku grilled meat, shrimp, skewers, side dishes

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Dr. Scout Lazcano street corner Tomas Morato street

Yakiniku Fusion Buffet name is a combination of the Japanese words “yaki” (which means “grilled”) and “kai” (which translates to “meeting or gathering” place).

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Yakiniku Fusion Buffet facade

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ground floor

The two story former ancestral house was converted into a restaurant, with dining area,  second floor with two room and an al fresco area. It had a sitting capacity of between 140 to 160 people at any given time.

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second floor- second room

There is a buffet table and an area where one can see the dishes are prepared. The area is well lighted and atmosphere is conclusive for family gathering.

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cooking area

The fixture and figurines are from South Korea and Japan which makes the place interesting.

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buffet and preparation area

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second floor- first room with smaller sitting capacity

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grilled green mussels with garlic and chopped spring onions as toppings

Eat All You Can

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deep fried vegetables and corn

We like the vegetables tempura, pork skewers, shrimp tempura, beef bulgogi and eggplant teriyaki.

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pork skewers

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corn with butter

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dishes at the buffet area

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sushi rolls

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different array of sushi rolls

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kimchi

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cucumber and vegetables

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eggplant teriyaki

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noodles

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potatoes

Yakikai’s Opening Promo, One can enjoy on its set meals at discounted rates this until January 31, 2020 !

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Premium Set (Php339 from Php499). Includes chicken teriyaki, spicy chicken yakiniku, samgyupsal, galbi sauce pork, peppered pork shoulder loin, sliced beef, beef tare yakiniku, spicy beef and fresh shrimp.

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Emperor Set (Php599 from Php699). Includes chicken teriyaki, spicy chicken yakiniku, samgyupsal, spicy samgyupsal, galbi sauce pork, peppered pork shoulder loin, sliced beef, beef tare yakiniku, spicy beef, fresh shrimp, beef steak (chuck eye roll), jjamppong nobe, salmon sashimi and ebi tempura.

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group

Both meal sets include unlimited refills of cheese as well. It also comes with soup and unlimited rice.

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Promo and other Discounts

A birthday celebrant can eat for free within their birthday month as long as they’re accompanied by seven full-paying adults and can present a valid ID.

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salmon sushi

Another suggestion for dine-in customers to to make reservations days or weeks in advance to avoid inconvenience.

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Yakikai Buffet Restaurant 

Address: 122 Dr. Lazcano Street, Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City,

Operations : Everyday from 4pm to 2am.

For inquiries and reservations, call +63 927 1383980 or +63 929 8235452.

Savoring the Heirloom Dishes of Aling Ika’s Carinderia

A trip to Cavite City is incomplete without a stopover at Aling Ika’s Carinderia sometimes called Aling Ica Carihan which is located within Pamilihang Bayan ng Lunsod ng Cavite ( Cavite City Public Market).

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left to right- lumpiang shanghai, tortang alimasag, pancit puso ng saging, lumpiang sariwa

They would start the day at around 6:00 am and would remain open until past 2:00 pm. Most of the well-loved dishes and desserts would run out by 10:00 am.

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Cavite City Public Market ( Pamilihang Bayan ng Lunsod ng Cavite) early dawn

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Pamilihang Bayan ng Lunsod ng Cavite

I took a chance to travel and waited for at least 10 minutes at the Plaza Lawton Ferry Terminal in order to take the first ferry ride to Cavite City but unfortunately DOTR schedule had changed few days ago, the security guard manning the terminal told me that the first ferry ride to the city would be past 6:45 am, instead of what was originally posted ( 5:15 am).

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Aling Vherna busy taking orders and preparing pancit puso

Then rode the Saint Anthony bus bound for Cavite city at around past 5:15 am. I happened to meet a fellow passenger Kagawad Rogelio Cruz of Barangay 471 zone 46 of Sampaloc. He paid Php 50.00 ( senior citizen) and i paid Php 63.00 regular fare which ply the Lawton -Cavite city route. Traffic was surprisingly light and the leisurely ride only took less than 1 hour.

After arriving at the intersection of P. Burgos corner Molina street. We took the Dalahican jeepney, took off near Dizon Bakery then walked a few meters towards the public market. We bid farewell and Kagawad Rogelio Cruz also told me that he had a relative who is also a kagawad of San Antonio.

Aling Ika’s Carinderia Dishes

Aling Teodorica Samson-Bautista more popularly known as Aling Ika was considered as a culinary icon of the city.  She was a pioneer woman during her days. Earn a living by selling lutong ulam/ bahay ( home cooked meal viand) during the early 1920’s. Unlike ordinary housewives who would rely on their husband earning, Aling Ika was a business minded person.

She was resourceful and use the local ingredients or what is available and abundant. The local workers or trabajador would knock at their house would buy the home cooked meals before going to work at the city or at the naval base.

She would wrapped the meals in banana leaves because banana was abundant within the province. The leaves would add additional flavors to the meal.

The family legacy was eventually passed to Mrs. Lolit Alejo, now 84 years-old who learned how to make Bibingkoy and other dishes that you can only find in Cavite City.

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Ms. Vherna B. Alejo a third generation descendant, would supervise the operation of the carinderia.

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Bibingkoy

Bibingkoy is like a combination of Japanese mochi, bibingka and ginataan sa sago. It is filled with sweetened boiled mung beans. The ingredient uses sticky rice.

Instead of being fried like the buchi, it is cooked pugon-style using the traditional charcoal which heat on top and at the bottom, much like a typical bibingka is cooked.

A thick coconut creme made with combination of coconut milk extract, langka/ nangka (jackfruit), and tapioca pearls (sago) is slowly simmered over low heat and is poured over the Bibingkoy before eating.

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Bibingkoy with gintaan

The best way to eat the Bibingkoy is hot with the sauce then best pair with tea, coffee or local chocolate. Php 50.00 per serving while a large bilao cost Php 550.00. 

I remembered that an uncle who used to live in Cavite City would bring Bibingkoy when he would come and visit our home before.

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Lumpiang Sariwa ala Aling Ika

Lumpiang Sariwa– Aling Ika’s version is wrapped with lumpia wrapper with fresh lettuce leaves, mung bean sprouts, carrots, pechay, cabbage,tofu, beans. However the vegetables were a little bit overcooked.

The annato or achuete adds flavor and color to the lumpiang sariwa. It is topped with crushed crushed peanuts, chicharon (crushed pork rinds) and minced garlic. It only cost Php 30.00 per order. Used to be lot cheaper few years back.

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Tortang Alimasag

Tortang Alimasag or Crab Omelette. They sell this at Php 50 per slice and this is best paired with tomato ketchup, vinegar or banana ketchup.

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Lumpiang Shanghai with special sauce

Lumpiang Shanghai – Deep fried spring rolls which is sold at Php 10.00, They also have Lumpiang Frito which spring roll filled in with vegetables then deep fried.

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Pancit Puso ng Saging

Pancit Puso ng Saging or Pancit Puso– This noodle dish combines two types of noodles; miki and bihon. It includes a generous mix of fishball, tofu, kikiam, shrimp, chicken meat, chopped carrots, chopped onion, beans, chorizo, chayote/ sayote, cabbage, coriander and pechay.

It is seasoned with shrimp stock, salt, black pepper and annatto / achuete. Aside from coloring, achuete would also add distinct flavor to the dish.

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miki, bihon and vegetables of lumpiang sariwa

The chopped banana blossom is prepared by boiling it in a combination of vinegar and salt. Banana blossom is cheaper compared to calamansi hence it was used by Aling Ica or Ika. It was used as a souring ingredient in the noodle dish.

The noodle is topped with crushed pork rinds, deep fried garlic and onions. It cost Php 30.00 per serving while a large one (bilao ) good for sharing between 30 to 35 people and cost Php 800.00.

Best way to eat the noodle dish is by mixing the noodles well before eating. It balances the flavors.

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Ube Kalamay

Ube Kalamay – This is another specialty of the carinderia and this is sold per slice. One can pre-order in advance for large orders.

The carinderia had more than two dozen dishes at any given time, worthwhile mention are adobong pusit, pancit pusit/ pancit choco en su tinta ( seasonal), pancit palabok, fried rice, beef kaldereta, pork barbecue among others.

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UNTV channel 37 staff and program producer

Met the staff and producer of UNTV channel 37 while they were filming at the carinderia / eatery. The station will be having a new travel and lifestyle program which will air on the early January of 2020.

Also met Professor Zarny Zarragoza of San Sebastian College -Recoletos de Cavite who hails from Cavite City, He bought some of the well-loved dishes before going to work.

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Those planning to order in bulk their Bibingkoy and other dishes, must order at least 1 to 2 days in advance and do not forget to bring plastic container. Cavite City Public Market had an ordinance of minimizing single use plastics.

Aling Ika’s Carinderia

Stall #9 Pamihilang Bayan ng Lunsod ng Cavite

Contact Person : Ms. Vherna B. Alejo (0916-679-5916)

Operations: Everyday from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm