Thursday, April 24, 2014

Villa Manila

Last week, Mr. K and I had dinner with Kirk of mmm-yoso and he suggested we meet at Villa Manila, a Filipino restaurant.

This was the first sit-down Filipino restaurant Mr. K and I have been to in San Diego, since most of the ones in the area are fast food set-ups. It was great to share a meal and catch-up.

Since he’s been here several times, we let him take charge of the ordering.

Chicharron Bulaklak (deep fried intestines)

Usually intestines are thick and chewy, but these were very thin and crispy. The offal flavor was also very mild, and pretty much disappeared when dipped in vinegar. I actually had a hard time telling that these were intestines but they were a definite enjoyable snack to start the meal.

Crispy Pata (deep fried pork leg)

This wasn’t a great angle I captured and doesn’t do the dish justice. When made right, the skin is extremely crispy, followed by a chewy gelatinous layer and then moist pork meat. I thought the restaurant served a pretty good version here, though it was a little dry and not quite as memorable as the versions I’ve had at Mr. K’s family parties.

Ubod Fresh Lumpia

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken (宫保雞丁; pronounced Gōngbǎo Jīdīng) is one of those Chinese dishes that has an authentic Sichuan version as well as a popular Americanized version.

This version is more akin to the Sichuan version. It’s a simple stir fry with very few ingredients, that is easy to put together.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bebe Fusion

I have a hard time finding good Taiwanese food, but I finally found a new favorite during my last trip to LA.

We had just finished dinner with friends, when one of my friends suddenly remembered that he had wanted to try out Bebe Fusion. After showing me a few photos, I immediately wanted to go. So what did we do? We decided to all go over and have a second dinner.

Marinated Cucumbers and Bitter Melon

Our meal started with some complimentary cold appetizers, which immediately made me feel like I was in Taiwan, especially the bitter melon.

Oyster Omelet with Fresh Oysters

Our first dish was the oyster omelet, a classic Taiwanese street dish. This was definitely the best version I’ve come across in the US. The sauce had just the right balance of sweet and tart, the texture of the omelet was thick but not too starchy, and the fresh oysters elevated it to another level. It wasn’t cheap ($10 with fresh oysters, $7.95 with canned oysters), but it was quite good.

Salt and Pepper Fried Chicken

Lightly battered chicken pieces are seasoned with salt and white pepper and mixed with fried Thai basil for an aromatic touch. This was a pretty well done version. The chicken was crunchy, the basil still crisp. I wasn’t as amazed by this dish though, mainly because I’ve been making it pretty successfully at home.

Stir Fried Stinky Tofu

We were calling these Stinky Tofu Fries and it’s a picture of this dish that made us want to come here in the first place. This did not disappoint. I’ve had stinky tofu cooked many ways: fried, grilled, steamed, boiled in soup,  but never stir-fried. The tofu is sliced into sticks, pan fried until crisp, and then cooked with garlic and basil. This was one of my favorites of the night and one I’d definitely order again.