New at Far East Plaza: Pearl River Deli and Lasita

I haven’t been to the Far East Plaza since 2019. Whenever I go, there’s something new. I don’t see some of the spots I used to frequent. And I also missed the opening of Pearl River Deli by the same chef of the famous Hainan chicken rice place in Arcadia, Side Chick. So Chef Johnny Lee is now closer with PRD, but his Hainan chicken is available only on certain days. I got lucky that one of his weekend offerings was something perfect for my special diet. Dieting was never in my vocabulary before. Now, it’s my number one concern. I literally want to live longer as in longevity is something I’m working on currently. It has turned into a full-time career, taking care of my health. Back to what I ordered, I was so happy with my lamb neck pancake wrap — well-seasoned, tender lamb bits with a nice, chewy, flaky pancake underneath.

My lamb neck wrap.

Alex and my mom enjoyed char siu on rice and silky shrimp scramble. Amazing that they have vegan options, so I tried the healthier mushroom chow fun which turned out to be a great alternative for beef chow fun.

Alexa’s char siu over rice.

The cooking was distinctively Chinese, but you’ll know it comes from a different level, like it’s not your typical grandma’s style. It has that modern flair and youngish vibe to it that someone like my mom could still appreciate. Happy she was happy.

For dessert, we went to Lasita, the space that Filipino restaurant Lasa used to occupy. One of the chefs is still the same one running Lasita. I will need to go back for the chicken inasal which is a family fave.

The Tita Mel halo-halo by Tito Rudy.

I was drooling while looking at my mom’s white halo-halo with a modern mix of melon, sago, honey brittle, melon horchata (instead of milk), chia seeds and pinipig. It sounded definitely more interesting than the classic halo-halo with ube ice cream. She said it was good. Again happy that she was delighted with my pick. We were lucky to have chanced upon Tito Rudy’s halo -halo pop-up.

Until our next food adventure. I wish to blog more often now that I have more time doing nothing.

Oh, thanking you for dropping by BlauEarth after all these years. I hope you are all healthy, safe and vaccinated. Keep your masks on peeps!

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Saté, new and the only Indonesian restaurant in Ilocos Norte

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Last night we were brought to Indonesia via Saté, an authentic, I repeat, a real deal Indonesian restaurant that opened in San Nicolas just a few days ago. Of course, nasi goreng and sate (satay) ring a bell, but on my latest gustatory adventure, my taste buds were treated to a higher level — a full course dinner prepared by Indonesian Chef Robby Satiawan, a former executive chef at Banyan Tree in Macau, who has also worked in other parts of the globe like Maldives, and Qatar, where he met his Filipina wife, Marie. Looks like they are loving their new home, as I feel the excitement radiating from them.

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How we found ourselves at Saté was by accident, utter serendipity, as my besties Marla and Louie and I planned to go to another resto, then we changed our minds in the car ‘coz someone said there’s a new Indian or Hindustani resto in the next town, then we were thinking yogurt-based, masala and so on, and then I realized Brandon told me about an Indonesian restaurant he saw last week, but couldn’t remember the exact location (he said he went to so many places that day, if that’s not premature Alzheimer’s).

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The diverse menu says a description of every dish, so ordering is easy. Found Ilocano gado (gado-gado/salad), but desired all traditional. We started with brief dishes (a la banchan) of veggie appetizers. Our fave was the pickled Ilocos ampalaya (bittermelon). By the way, Chef Robby buys everything from the tiendaan (public market). Another appetizer, perkedel, a fried corn dumpling that reminded me of our very own squash okoy, when topped with the shallot-sambal condiment (something like a spicy atchara), made beautiful contrast.

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I love unusual drinks, so hot bandrek, a black pepper pandan drink with coconut bits, traditional in Indonesia the chef said, was surprisingly refreshing. Imagine a spiced sago at gulaman (the liquid).

Chicken sate and kukus (steamed chicken marinated in chili and sambal) went great with coconut rice. If you’re a chicken lover or on a diet, I highly recommend kukus, easily our favorite. Isi tahu (stuffed tofu) was also light and lovely.

kukus

The langka (jackfruit) sweet course on the menu was not available, but my discontent vanished as soon as we scooped out the flavors of the two other desserts. Penyet, grilled bananas with toasted coconut flakes and cubed jelly (with the texture of Turkish delight) sent me to cloud nine. A West Javanese treat, sarang burung, which means bird’s nest, but had pseudo bird’s nest (agar-agar) has Chinese influence. I remember to have tasted a cold sweetened bird’s nest soup back in the days when I was eco-ignorant.

Chef Robby’s cooking has fantastic balance, nothing overly seasoned nor cloying, aromatic yet delicate. And spiciness was tempered as he is still in the process of feeling the local palate. But I’m sure you can request your level of hotness.

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Had to have a photo with my FB friend Trixie Ablan, who is apprenticing with the Indonesian chef.

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Ending this post with a message to Chef Robbie and Marie, naragsak a isasangbay idtoy Ilocos!

Sate Modern Indonesian Dining
NationaL Highway, Barangay 1-San Francisco, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

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