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As a traveler of the world I have sampled food from all over the world, a lot I’ve sought out and some I nodded no thanks to. An example was in port in Valparaiso Peru, the year was 1972 in a club I was enjoying a local beer and the lady sitting beside me was eating a sandwich that both looked and smelled good. The language got in the way when I asked her what she was eating, Arf-Arf was the sound she made and my mind went quickly to dog meat. But not being to Peru before I didn’t know that it was also a sound a seal makes. (As the bar owner explained to this young sailor). Mmmm I’d never eaten that before, but it was as good as it smelled. Seal meat is not the food I’m thinking about.
A lot of the food that I like is the food I grew up with in New England, Most I have readily found here on Luzon, but not all. Often the name has been correct but not always the taste of the item, but at the very least a few have been close.
Example: The Philly Cheese Steak for some reason can only be made really well in Philadelphia. But there have been times when I have found some really good ones right here in the Barrio. Perfect, no, but close enough. But we all know someone from Philly who will, of course, argue that point with you. (Am I right Dave?) The Cheese Steak is not what this article is about.
Quick question: In any other part of the world did the chicken in your Chinese food have bones in it? This again is not the subject of this article. But Boston has a large China Town, as well as Hong Kong, has a China town,(I’ve been there) which I found redundant. And never found bones in my Chinese food except here in my new hometown.,
I grew up in Boston So New England Clam Chowder is one of my favorite treats, I’ve had some good chowder here (One even had the shells still in it), and so that’s not what I’m talking about.
I really love Boiled New England Dinner (Corned beef and cabbage) there are a couple of places here that serve it, but not as often as I would like, but I’ll get a call when they do. (Be nice to everybody and they look out for you LOL) It is also something I can cook myself, using my Sainted Grandmothers recipe (One secret is adding turnips with the potatoes and no matter what you’ve been told, never change the water) But again, that’s not the item I’m talking about.
Hamburgers, baby back ribs, beef brisket steaks, chicken in all forms (The best-fried Chicken “FOR ME” comes from Jollibee’s, this is the Philippines so of course pork chops (Some of the best I’ve eaten), plus well prepared lamb not so much goat, (Bring your own mint jelly) Even British Fish-n-Chips (Some have to serve malt vinegar but Ilocos Norte vinegar is so close to Malt vinegar it’s hard to tell the difference) Also it should be served with proper English Chips never French fries But still these are not the foods I’m searching for.
LiP readers in the past helped me find a Greek Gyros location in Manila. A Greek food that I fell in love with 55 years ago on the streets of Athens Greece and other Greek Cities, normally sold by street vendors. Similar to Tacos off a cart in Mexico, BTW great tacos here on Luzon, but Gyros are just good not best there is. But again that still is also not the food I’ve been missing most of all.
Here in the Subic Area, La Union and Angles city there are some great American British and Australian foods available (Except where you live here in the RP, which is beyond compare and we all know that.), that reminds me of growing up back home, Submarine Sandwiches (Grinders, Hoagies, Subs, Camel Riders or whatever else they are called by others. They are available here on Luzon. Cold Cuts are easy to procure here. But not that one thing I desire.
It has been over twenty-five years since I’ve found the dish I’ve been questing for. I was at Texas Joe’s a short time ago and one of the owners (Gil Lee) came up with a new sandwich A hamburger with all the fixings and sliced beef brisket on top. I’ve had burgers with bacon. And in Spain, they would also add a fried egg. (Pretty damn good) Yet it was my first time with beef brisket, so I tried it and would do it again. But know for a fact that is still not “it”.
Last week my 15-year-old granddaughter and I were sitting in the kitchen, she was peckish and wanted a snack. I grabbed a bag of ruffles and French onion dip and started dipping away, she got the bag of Cheese Puffs (Cheese Doodles) and dipped it into the Onion dip, I shuttered, so she handed one for me to try.
Let me tell you what happened… I’ve been wandering around this mortal coil for seventy plus years and had never dipped a Cheese Puff into French Onion Dip. But then I had to ask myself: why had I not ever done that? Why at this late stage of the game did I just find out just how good it is? To ensure it was not a onetime fluke I tried it a day later, and again, and I was still pissed that I wasted 70 years without eating that before? But no, that is not it.
Yes, This Is It!
While at Texas Joe’s for lunch the other day, as we drove away I saw a sign that said: “Saturday Night is Prime Rib Night” for only P 1,280.00 for a large chunk of rare Prime Roast Beef and assorted sides. “Turn the car around” I shouted! We parked again and with my cane, in hand, I hobbled back inside to find one of the owners (Again Mr. Gilbert Lee), a gentleman I met years ago during TJ’s first week of opening. I said: “Gil, when were you going to tell me about the Prime Rib?” Gil said: “Paul I started it when I got back from vacation”
He said he tried one on a Saturday night and sold out by 1900 (7 PM), and the following week he cooked two more and with the little let over, he made French Dip Sandwiches on Sunday. He said the demand was so high it will be a regular item on Saturday nights henceforth.
I’ll be there I promised and then went home, dreaming of the taste of the food I missed so long, That is what I’ve been searching for. So many times on LiP, I’ve pointed out that in the Philippines if you wait long enough, eventfully all of your dreams and desires will appear, but on Philippine time, not yours. I have seen the improvements on these Enchanted Islands and wish I was younger to see the rest.
Yes, Prime Rib (In the Navy it was called “Steamboat Round”) twenty-five years since I’ve had it. It was well worth the wait, better than cheese puffs and French Onion Dip
It’s still just the little things in life that please us. Thank you, Philippines Islands, and also to Texas Joe’s on Subic Freeport life has come full circle. I told you, “Just Wait!”
DISCLAIMER: I’ve found that lately, some have thought my articles to be anti-Pinoy. Allow me to point out something I know as a fact by sailing with Filipino’s for forty years. When the ship hits all the ports around the world the Pinoy is off in search of his food as I am out seeking out mine. It is just the way people are. Yes, I like Filipino food, just not 24-7.
Your so lucky where you are Paul, down here in Tagum City even real cheese is only available for about 6 months then it vanishes, so we have to stock up.
John J. With the advent of a mall every fifty feet like a Sari-Sari, their large food stores should be changing that for you. As I said over and over, the Philippines is developing by leaps and bounds. In 1996 my friends and I would hire a van for a five hour trip to Manila to use an international ATM. Make a draw at 11am, go eat lunch and another max draw at 1pm (The time zone). and then stock up on beer and go home. The trips were fun, but now bumping into ATM’s in Olongapo is so much… Read more »
We already have 5 malls here, but no western food lol.
Gas up the SUV and make a trip every month to Davao only 2 h 10 min (80.4 km)
via Pan-Philippine Hwy and have a coffee with Bob Martin, he knows the good stores. Good Luck! (LOL)
Paul you can find some blooming awful British fish and chips. I can’t eat fish so I am going by what the hubby and boys tell me. I have had some terrible chips though. Doesn’t help when you grew up near one of the best chippies in the area, some even said in Yorkshire. No it wasn’t Ramsdens, although they were good when it was just the one shop and restaurant. Bye the way a certain happy bee is supposed to be coming to London. I find somethings don’t taste the same as they used to or is that just… Read more »
US Prime Rib is from the rib, but you call it roast beef in the UK (We sometimes do also) I,ve had Fish-N’-Chips in the UK, The States , and other places around the world, here in Olongapo have many British owned restaurants with great Fish-N’Chips (Malt Vinegar too) The fish they use is Dory witch is light and fries up nice.
David enjoyed his fish on the two occasions we were over there. He kept trying different ones with the help of the girls explaining what they were.
Dory is my favorite in New England they use Cod, no shortage of that.
Hi Paul – Wherever prime rib is served, you’ll likely to find me there. It’s my favorite dish at Outback, and I like it cooked Pittsburgh-style (seared outside, pink inside). Please tell Mr. Lee to keep it on Texas Joe’s menu at least until December. You might wish to give him advance notice that if a Filipino guy orders a Pittsburgh-ed prime rib, King size cut (not the thin, sissy cut) sometime in December, expect this customer to ask for lots of au jus served in a soup cup, not in those tiny little metal cups they put sour cream… Read more »
I was there again Saturday night, just to make sure the first time was not just a dream. Plenty of Au-jus.nick thick cut and baked potato with sour cream. A baguette of french bread to dunk when the meat was consumed. It was not a dream, it was real. BTW 60 to 70 customers and I saw only seven Kano’s, you are not the only Filipino guy who likes Prime Rib. (LOL)
Jollibee Chicken seems to be a popular item wherever it is offered. Jollibee is in the process of opening 100 locations in Canada over the next 5 years. Youtube videos of the locations already opened show tents outside of hundreds waiting to get into Jollibee ! I like their chicken and even more, the Aloha Burger.
Hi Bob (NY)
London England just got their first one. I have found them everywhere while sailing even Japan. Wimpy Burger is hanging on by a fingernail and in the Philippines McDo will never beat them. But oh that fried chicken!!!
Have you ever had bulalo, Paul? Your picture of New England boiled corned beef with cabbage, potatoes and turnips look appetizing. It’s perfect for cold, winter nights, especially during the football season like right now. When in the Philippines, though, nothing beats bulalo and the delicious bone marrow you suck from inside the bone for me.
90 degrees and the air/con broke I’ll eat Corned beef and cabbage, that is the food my mother and two grandmothers fed me, I was guaranteed to eat it at least once a month and on great months twice. (Never had the “Hat Trick”).
I have tried bulalo, and liked it, my daughters did the bone marrow eating instead of me. (LOL)i
Bulalo is the specialty of Batangas along with Lomi. How bout them Skins. I saw they beat Green Bay yesterday. And my Browns finally won a game lol.
Hi Randy – Funny that you mentioned Batangas bulalo because I was just watching YouTube where bulalo was the main feature of a certain carinderia there. It wasn’t in Lipa, though, it was in some Batangas town I can’t remember the name of. Not hopping onto the Skins bandwagon just yet, they’re still suspect in my mind despite all the hoopla surrounding their supposedly much-improved D-line. Yeah, I saw what Baker Mayfield did entering late in the 2nd quarter. What’s with their coach, Hue Jackson, who said, “i’ll think about it”, when asked who’s going to start at quarterback for… Read more »
Paul: Nice article and close to my heart(burn). After reading you for many many months, you have never breathed an anti-Pinoy breath…always respectful, thankful, complimentary. -Rob
After 25 plus years here, to insult the host would be the height of rudeness. But I will poke a little restful fun at anyone.I’m amazed a Kano was upset, and not one Filipino. I’m of Irish Catholic decent, I’ll decide if a comment is off the mark. I have enough respect for other groups of people to allow them the same rights.
Bob Martin has been doing so well with diet that even he jokingly commented about the food in an E-mail to me.
A classic case of “I don’t know what I want, but I’ll know it when I find it.” patience and perseverance pays off.
Oh I knew what I wanted, but didn’t know if I had to fly somewhere to find it. But as always the Land of Enchantment will provide for you, and that sir is when that.patience and perseverance will always pay off. It was delicious!
No doubt you look very youthful & jovial, thks to the “Steamboat Round”.
Lovial I might agree,but youthful? That ship has sailed a long time ago. (LOL) Yes Steamboat Round will rejuvenate the mind and the body. or at least cause a pleasant day. Thank you sir for your kindness!
Paul Valparaso is in Chile not Peru.
Must be an age thing .How is life.
Damn your right it was in the 1960’s when I was there, I remember the name of a good time in Chile, but the city in Peru still escapes mr. (Let me Google it.Ah Callao outside of Lima.. Thanks Frank! But Peru was where I ate seal meat.
“,,, you are not the only Filipino guy who likes Prime Rib.” You can say that again, Paul, every year that I visit Metro Manila, I find newly constructed buildings – a brand-new hotel and condo here, a new shopping mall and casino there. Construction in the cities is booming, and there seems to be no let up. It seems that the country is flooded with newly-found wealth. With this newly found wealth, many Pinoys have developed a taste for the finer things in life, like a taste for prime rib and expensive cars. Park in any underground parking of… Read more »
John: The Iglesia de Cristo complex has been open awhile now,, and a lot goes on there. I’ve not been there but my daughters have and rave about it. When I go to the mall in my very clean shiny 2014 Mitsubishi G4 and it is one of the least expensive cars on the lot. The sad part was it was also that way when it was brand new. (LOL) There is a strong middle class here now plus a very high percentage of drivers here are female (My wife included) I remember in the 80’s and 90’s that was… Read more »