A Malaysian chef finds home in Baguio

Chef's Home

The husband took the weekend off to bring us to Baguio. The cool summer weather was gorgeous, but then it’s not the best time of the year to be in the mountain city. Tourists were everywhere, traffic was terrible and parking was far from easy. We’re fortunate to have local friends who know the husband’s uninhibited taste, letting us save time and enjoy more of our brief stay.

For Saturday’s dinner, we were directed near The Mansion House. It so happened, it’s the same Asian-something restaurant that I’ve been trying to locate for more than a year now. It’s the Chef’s Home which closed temporarily before moving back to its original address four years ago.

Malaysian chef Alvin Amuang, who has worked in Phuket, Thailand, likes it so much in Baguio that he never left his post — that is constructing Asian flavors for the Filipino palate. Complementing Chef Alvin, wife Gina (a native of Bacnotan, La Union) backs him up totally. You see them entertaining guests at their humble home of a restaurant.

Chef's Home

Chef’s Home was adjudged one of the best new restaurants in 2013 by Esquire Philippines.

Thai Fried RiceSmoked Oysters

I had the privilege of ordering dinner — boneless chicken with 3-sauce and Thai fried rice for picky Alexa and steaming hot tom yum soup, prawns in salt and pepper sauce and smoked oysters drowning in salsa for everyone else.

The hungry husband eats in silence.

Malaysian FoodSalt and Pepper PrawnsSago Gula MelakaSago Gula Melaka with coconut milk and caramelized coco pandan.

Chef Alvin and Gina offer more soup.

The husband picks up the bill and then he introduces me to Gina as a food blogger. Gina says, “nakakatakot naman.” She meant scary. I told myself, the husband is the better restaurant critic.

We were the last guests before they pulled the doors close. We almost didn’t make it as the chef’s Sundays are sabbatical.

The husband won’t stop raving about the food and he brings it home.

Alex

Chef’s Home
No. 13 Outlook Drive cor Romulo Drive, Baguio City CP #: 0916 444 5756
Lunch: 11 AM-2:30 PM / Dinner: 6 AM-8:30 PM Mondays to Saturdays
Accepts cash only

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Kung Jeon Korean Palace Buffet in Baguio

Baguio Korean Palace

I don’t know what you think about buffets. Overindulging once in a while is venial, but excessively fancy overindulgence is mortal sin.

Edzel and Gayle brought us to try the sanely priced all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue with matching banchan. At 390 Php. you’re in for limitless meats. sushi, kimchi, veggies, rice, etc. It’s worth every cent ‘coz you get to cook your own, so it’s you in the end. Most meats are premarinated, ready to grill, but condiments are also laid on the buffet table. I think I had too much pork liempo and beef belly dipped in my own sweetish toyo-oil-pepper concoction. The beef and spicy bulgogi were okay unenhanced.

Korean BuffetChopsticks

The “palace” is a big traditional Baguio home. Decor is normal-nondescript. In a corner, racks of Korean costumes smile at you, hahah, selfies!  There’s also a patio outside for those who like al fresco.

The Baguio Korean community is getting bigger through the years.

BibimpopAlexa’s too little, so she had bibimpop with soup.

Korean Barbecue

Kung Jeon Korean Palace 38 South Drive, Baguio City, Philippines Phone. Nos.: 074 446 7557 / 0927 321 6375

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Best of Baguio’s Homegrown Eats – Part 2

Goto

I took the late night bus to Baguio to join the two men following the Norwesterniana speaking engagement. The temperature was freezing! At 5 AM, I needed something to wake me up. Good Taste was out of the way. I walked around the Central Bus Terminal, and noticed young Koreans swarming up at a goto kiosk. Like some stalker, I ordered what they were having. The lugaw was strangely very yellow. If the color is from margarine or chicken cubes, I’m not sure, but it was really delicious, especially with the extra heaping of fried garlic. I think I need to find ways of enjoying chewy tripe, other than in paksiw and callos.

Ketchup  Food Community

It took long to wake up the 2 men. We had the whole Sunday morning for a food adventure. My photos were actually rearranged. We had cold cakes first thing in the morning, then walked to the market to buy Tantamco’s ube jam, and then we drove to Good Shepherd to get Alexa her chocolate crinkles before heading to the Ketchup Food Communuty across the Wright Park.

Ketchup  Food Community

Ketchup Food Community is a cluster of restaurants with varying specialties.  The place is very charming. Noticed more Baguio locals than tourists, maybe because it was a Sunday and it’s a stone’s throw from the St. Joseph Church. The resident restaurants are Canto, Happy Tummy, Rancho Norte, Green Pepper and Rumah Sate. We chose to have just Indonesian sate barbecue at Rumah Sate.

Ketchup  Food CommunityKetchup  Food CommunityTapayaBatik and SilkMixed Sate BBQ

The laksa and mie goreng looked fabulous, but no one would share the humungous servings, and prawns were out of stock, so I just ordered three different kinds of skewered beef — sate padang in hot and spicy yellow sauce, sate ampat sasak  in spicy coconut cream and sweet and spicy sate manis and some iced lime tea. If you don’t like herbs and spices, this might not be the place for you. We did like the BBQ especially the one with curry. Prices are tourist friendly, kinda in the middle.  I’m  definitely going back to this place to try the other specialties like mie goreng and the fried fish with interesting sauce I saw on the other table.

Ketchup  Food Community

Happy Tummy is a Thai food place I’ve heard about from foodie friends. I also want to go there when I go back to the mountain city  in April.

BreakStrawberry VendorsVisco's Restaurant and Cake Shop

Visco’s Restaurant and Cake Shop is on Session Rd near Don Henrico’s. I’ve had their strawberry shortcake last year, but didn’t get to feature it ‘coz I left my cam in the hotel room and we were supposedly just going to check out the night market. Anyways, we went back to take photos of their bestselling strawberry shortcake, which is receiving so much attention as of late. I discovered though that strawberry tart is the better strawberry pastry. We ended up sharing two slices of the pie.

Strawberry ShortcakesStrawberry Shortcake and Strawberry TartStrawberry  ShortcakeStrawberry Shortcake

Visco’s strawberry shortcake is on the sweet side. The frosting is flavored as well as the sponge. My standard for strawberry shortcake is by Louise’s Trattoria, one of my favorite restos in LA. It’s really justa plain creamy cake with strawberries.

Strawberry TartStrawberry Tart

This is the insane strawberry tart! It’s not exceedingly sweet. The thin layer of bittersweet chocolate brings out the best in the sourish strawberries. Looove the cream filling! I don’t want to say much, ‘coz, sometimes, you know, taste is subjective. If you’ll notice, I rarely rave about food in my features.

Book StandPuto Bumbong

Puto bumbong in Ganza’s. It’s a Filipino delicacy that’s popular on Christmas time.

Tantamco's Ube Jam

Tantamco’s is our favorite ube jam. It’s such a hassle going to the market sometimes because of the parking problem, so Good Shepherd’s is another option.

WalisOn the CurbKalinga Civet Coffee

At Good Shepherd Convent, there’s this adobo roll at the kiosk that the mister loves a lot. They have really good brewed coffee here. I had the Kalinga musang (civet cat) brew with smooth, intense flavor.

Good Shepherd Adobo RollGood Shepherd Adobi Roll

He says it is the ampao-ness of the bread that he likes.

Philippine Military Academy

We reached the Philippine Military Academy trying to locate Palagana’s Bakery, famous for hotel quality raisin bread. One student was almost late for class picture. It reminds me of the sad fate of cadet Cudia.

Palagana's Bakery

We brought home a loaf of the raisin bread. Only 100 pesos. Try their awesome cinnamon roll!

Palagana’s Bakery is on 99 Loakan Road, Scout Barrio (right across the police outpost near the Camp John Jay entrance, or it it exit? It’s just a small bakery and the raisin bread is not even among the display.

Bakery Long Johns and Donuts

Mnnn, long Johns! Until my next Baguio food adventure this summer!

The Part 1 of this Baguio’s homegrown eats (here).

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014