Saturday, July 30, 2016

Uma Uma Ramen: Flavorful Broth and it's MSG-free

Up next in our S'Maison food series, we went to Uma Uma Ramen. Their MSG-free offerings is fit for the health conscious. One of us ordered ahead and the noodles were served promptly. But the rest of us were a little late and the ramen already cooled down.

Uma Uma Ramen

It's a dish named after the restaurant with a noteworthy ramen broth. Mixed flavors of pork, egg, mushrooms and other ingredients that enhance the natural umami flavor that fill every slurp. The chasiu slices were really tender and melts in your mouth. This was also topped with marinated egg.

We arrived a little later so a layer of oil was already forming on top of the ramen broth when we arrived :( Nevertheless, it is still the best broth I have tasted so far. I bet it would have tasted better if we arrived on time.

Here's my own little serving of Uma Uma ramen. I removed the spicy miso for this bowl.

Tonkotsu Ramen

This one had a grilled flavor from the pork toppings. I was expecting a sesame taste since it was topped with sesame seeds but I didn't find it in there. The pork was not that tender as the chasiu slices in the first ramen we had. This one is good for those looking for a grilled-soy-like broth, but the signature Uma Uma ramen is better.

Chicken Karaage

Fried chicken fillets with a hint of ginger and lemon served as a contrast to the smooth and creamy noodles and broth.

We will go back and have the Uma Uma Ramen and maybe taste the one bite gyoza. The firmness of the ramen can be improved (or we can just have the ramen served when everyone in the group arrives). In the end, I think I found my new favorite ramen.

For other restaurant's in the area, view our Chibo Okonomiyaki experience here

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Uma Uma Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Chibo Okonomiyaki: From Osaka to Manila

Pancakes? Omelettes? Okonomiyaki! Saturday evening, of course there was a waiting list. The place was also quite small and the turnover of customers was quite slow. We waited in line for around thirty minutes. Well, considering that Chibo Okonomiyaki just opened and it was peak hours, 30 minutes in the waiting list was not that bad.

Each table is equipped with a teppan to keep the food warm. The dish wasn't cooked on our table though. It was already done and topped with okonomiyaki sauce when it was placed on our teppan.

Chibo Okonomiyaki (Php 380)

Naming a dish after the restaurant means that this is one of their best offerings. The signature dish filled with scallops, shrimp, beef, and pork was served with a mini performance like every okonomiyaki in this place.

For the finishing touches, the server zigzags the mayonnaise, sprinkles the nori, and finishes it of with bonito flakes. Note: The way the the mayonnaise is put on the okonomiyaki in swift movements is oddly satisfying (see video in our Instagram account: @thegastronomersdiary). The shrimp head made the dish look like a little turtle.

Nori and bonito flakes are already on your table. You can add these as you like. I suggest you add some to enhance the flavor to your liking. Extra mayonnaise is also available upon request.

The mugi cha (barley tea) is also worth noting, a variation of complimentary tea that we love compared to other restaurants. It has a somewhat roasted taste. Others might say it has a coffee taste.

On another visit, my friend and I shared the following dishes:
Yakisoba (Php 190)

This was served first as a prelude to the main okonomiyaki dishes.

Mixed Okonomiyaki (Php 280)

To have a bit of different kinds of meat, we got the Mixed Okonomiyaki filled with pork, squid, and shrimp.

Dotonburi Okonomiyaki (Php 230)

Choosing between ordering this and the Negi Yaki, we picked this one since it had beef. We were quite puzzled at the jelly-like pieces we found in the okonomiyaki. Looking again at the menu, we first thought that it was pork fat. But it didn't taste like pork fat. It turns out to be konnyaku, indeed a jelly like in texture, little to no flavor, and very minimal calories but still filling. You may also order it separately.

An order of a 6-inch okonomiyaki is good for sharing. We ordered a bit too much for two and ended up taking home about half of each okonomiyaki

The Japanese chefs were also around the dining area. One even refilled our glasses of mugi cha. Considering the location, as part of the retail area of a hotel, the prices range from average to high. In general, this is a good restaurant for special occasions or for when you feel like having a treat but not for an everyday lunch place for the working-class Filipino who are managing a budget (like me. I just want to treat myself, perhaps every weekend? haha!).

But hey, if you want to try the okonomiyaki they have in Japan, go give this place a visit. On our next visit, we would try the other items in the menu specifically the Cheese yaki which also has noodles in it. They also have wagyu beef, yakisoba and modern okonomiyaki - okonomiyaki with noodles inside, and other light Japanese dishes. I didn't see any ramen on the menu. But if you are looking for ramen, then you might want to try Uma uma which is right next door. Guess what, we are trying that next! Stay tuned as we try each new food spot in S'Maison, Conrad Hotel!

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Chibo Okonomiyaki Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Llao llao: Newest Froyo in Town

The newest frozen yogurt place is in town! Llao llao (yao yao) frozen yogurt has opened its first store at Mall of Asia. I was lucky to be one of their first customers for the day and got coupons for a free medium size yogurt, one for each of the coming three months!

I think they only have one flavour of yogurt but there are a whole lot of options for toppings. Syrup, crunchies, and fruits are available.

My order was simple – a small sized tub with Lotus caramelized biscuit as toppings (Php 99). Small size wasn’t so small at all! Unlike other yogurt servings which were hollow in the middle, this one was very siksik! It kept me full for around 3 hours.

I bet their medium and large size is good for sharing. They also have shakes, smoothies, and other froyo variations.

Although satisfied with my order, I kinda wish I ordered the Sanum (Php 199) to try 3 fruits, 2 crunchies, and 1 syrup together with my froyo. No to mention the layers created by the mix look good on photos. Maybe I’ll try on my next visit.

P.S. Follow @thegastronomersdiary on Instagram for the latest updates and sneak peaks of food adventures! Will be posting the first food pics here and some Instagram exclusive content!

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Llaollao Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Styles and Bites:Food and Fashion Flair

Styles and Bites
Combining the love for food and fashion, Styles and Bites gathered exhibitors that range from bag resellers to food trucks. Yes, there were 2 mini food trucks at the venue.

Eggette waffle

These so called eggette waffles/bubble waffles are cooked in special pans that can be rotated so that the bubbles are formed completely. The bubbles are crispy on the outside and a bit soft inside. In essence, they are waffles with pockets of crispiness.

The first waffle made was obviously soggy and did not become the least bit crispy. But the attendant was kind enough to explain that something was wrong in the batter and would cook another one from another batter mix.

The next one turned out fine with the crispy bubbles. My order looked really plain compared to the ones displayed since I opted not to put any toppings. They offer toppings and ice cream but I think melted ice cream would just compromise the crispiness.

It's a little more expensive than the regular waffles. Although regular waffles are more filling, it offers a new way to to enjoy waffles with added crispiness.

Empanada de Iloko

Seeing that the "kwek-kwek" orange colored, crispy shelled, empanadas are within my budget, I did not hesitate to try one. The empanada I am familiar with are smaller in size with thicker dough shells which are filled with meat. It's my first time to try an Ilocos empanada and I am not disappointed.

I ordered the "special" variant which is filled with vegetable, one egg and some longganisa. This variant, although called special, is actually one of the simpler items in their selection. They offer empanadas with no veggies hence more meat,  double egg, double meat, and double double (2 eggs and 2 serving of longganisa).

It was crispy on the outside while savory in the inside. The egg balanced the saltiness of the veggies and meat. One serving came with a side of vinegar, just as how one would enjoy an order of lumpiang ubod or tokneneng. This isn't very common in Metro Manila. Now I am craving for more.

Other Stalls

Cotton candy art! The kid in me screams! I chanced upon a pig head shaped cotton candy and an elephant shaped cotton candy. I also saw a t-rex shaped blue one but was not able to take a photo. They also offer cotton candy in gradient shades.

I got to try one piece of this ham from the free samples. It was lean, tender, and tasty.

Pistachio butter tasted really pistachio-ey. But it is on the pricey side.

Here is one of the food trucks I was talking about. But I am not a fan of wings so I just took a photo of their red mini truck.

And here's the other food truck.

This roast beef looked tender but I'm not quite sure on what it would taste like (no free sample).

Tempted to try one of the machangs on the far left side of the picture.

Giant sausages were sold beside the waffle stall.

I have seen this spread stall before...The pesto variant is tasty

 More food. Mediterranean inspired, I guess.

Now something  to quench your thirst.

Non-food Stalls
There were also a lot of bags, shoes, make-up, clothes and toys available on other stalls. Here are some of them.

I went to the bazaar a little past 12noon on the first and last day. That's a little past opening time so there weren't that much people yet. I didn't get to take photos of all the stalls though.

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