FOOD. BOOZE. FUN! WELCOME TO OUR TURF!

And it’s none other than Container Turf located in BF Homes, Paranaque. Another culinary haven has conquered the South and I am glad to have discovered it through a food enthusiast friend. Reading about the food park online has urged me to discover more about it, resulting to consider it as a venue to celebrate my other friend’s birthday. We ended celebrating her birthday together with the rest of our friends at Container Turf and there is so much to like about this huge food fair, one of which includes its interior that resembles an amusement park with a line of food stands.

Every stand has a unique set of offerings that is rarely found in other restaurants and food parks. The looks of the offered dishes are persuasive enough to convince the buyers in trying the actual food and I am personally satisfied with the food I bought from La Fromagerie, which is Three-Grilled Cheese (Raclette, Mozarella and Cheddar). I equally tasted and adored Potato Raclette, the food ordered by my best friend (who was also there at the birthday celebration) from the same stand.

Three Grilled Cheese from La Fromagerie
Potato Raclette from Le Fromagerie

Another aspect to like about Container Turf is the fact that it has enough spaces for dining and buying food despite being overcrowded at night. It is indeed better to go to the food park to have seats as soon as it opens, which is at 4 pm.

Container Turf at night. It looks just as beautiful as it is during the day.

However, I admit that the food park still has areas to improve. It would have been better if each customer is given a buzzer alarm after he or she makes an order so that he or she will be aware whether food and drink are ready, otherwise there is a chance that another person will claim his or her order unintentionally. Another area of improvement is the service speed which needs to be faster, for there is so much crowd and therefore, food buyers.

I enjoyed my stay so much that I feel like going back, try more specialties such as Butterfly Squid (Above Sea Level), Crazy Tempura (Tokyo Tempura), desserts from Melt (especially the Red Velvet), Chocnut Milkshake (Swig & Guzzle), Tsoko Loko’s delicacies, Bubble Wraps, Truffle Fries (Surfries) and Butterscotch drink (Nitro 7), dine at the rooftop and watch famous gigs. Despite the areas to improve in Container Turf, I would still recommend it most particularly to food enthusiasts, my family and friends.

N.B Container Turf is located at 238 and 240 BF Aguirre Avenue, Paranaque. It opens from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am. Entrance is free.

For more information, please visit their official Facebook and Instagram.

Further reading

“36 stalls, 1 Hungry Tummy: Your Guide to Container Turf (BF’s Newest Food Park!),” When In Manila

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Stabilo Pastel Collection: A must for every stationery, arts and writing supplies collector

I was one of the luckiest to have discovered about the promo of this collection through Stabilo Is Launching Their Ultimate Collection This Weekend, SPOT.PH . This was held on July 14-16, 2017 in National Book Store at Glorietta 1, Makati City and I still insisted in going and buying those pastel highlighters, fine liners and fibre-tip pens even though I lived far from the venue. And with God’s grace, I managed to grasp each and every available color of these mentioned materials. I did not regret spending a penny no matter how much they all costed, realizing that they could be of so much use when doing my artwork, journal writing or simply taking notes in case I go back to school. The ink looked attractive on paper just as the bodies of the highlighters, fine liners and fibre-tip pens were appealing to the eyes of die-hard pastel collectors. More importantly, it does not smudge the back of the paper.

I used the named materials immediately after the purchase. It has been weeks since I started using them and I realized that each type of material played specific roles. Stabilo Pastel Highlighters are ideal for highlighting the key words and are more transparent than its standard color counterparts, which makes the highlighted words clearer to read. Stabilo Pastel Point 88 Fine Liners are more useful in annotations as well as in writing, drawing, coloring, painting and calligraphy, for the ink is water soluble enough to make it as a painting color (see Stabilo point 88 video for more Stabilo 88 tricks). Stabilo Pastel 8 Pen 68 Fibre-tip pens are used for the same purposes of Stabilo 88 Fine Liners except for annotations and writings. Stabilo pens and pencils are worth to look in the eye but in my opinion, are the supplies that I am okay with not buying. These are nothing different from regular pencils and black ink pens, although the pastel colors of their bodies made me assume that those were colored pastel pencils and pens with pastel colored inks.

My Stabilo Pastel Collection together with my standard Stabilo 88

For more information about STABILO

Explore the globally known French cheese in town named Boursin

There is so much to know about this particular cheese brand and so far, it is the best I have ever come across with when I still lived in France. It is rare to find flavored cheese spread there and although there is not much variety of flavors of locally-made Boursin compared to Boursin in the USA, I, as a flavor lover, still appreciate the fact that France has managed to come up with cheeses that include herbs, spice and other ingredients providing additional taste. I personally prefer this Normandy cheese spread compared to other French cheese brands such as the Laughing Cow and Babybel. There are several ways to use Boursin other than as a cheese spread, including the fact that it can be used for appetizers, salads and as an ingredient for recipes (e.g. burgers and mac n’cheese).

My personal recommendation would be to start tasting its signature flavor Garlic & Herbs (Ail & Herbes in French) before the others. However, one is still free to begin with another flavor.

Boursin cheese brought by a family friend. Would like to taste flavors other than these two.

N.B. Inspired by a long tradition of guests to mix seasoned cheese with herbs, the cheese maker Francois Boursin gave birth to Boursin cheese in 1957 in Normandy. With Garlic & Herbs as the brand’s first known variety, it is the first known flavored cheese sold in France.  Boursin has now expanded in over 35 countries across five continents.

Sources and additional readings




Come and join the Bibimfun at your nearest BonChon branch!

…along with Chapchae, Bulgogi Noodle Soup and Chicken Fries!

Bibimbowl meals may no longer be new to many Filipinos but as an amateur of Philippine-based restaurants (since I did not grow up in the country), the last long weekend of June was my first time to step foot into BonChon, with Fiery Spice Seafood Bibimbowl, Chapchae and Bulgogi Noodle Soup as my first set of meal. This eventually drew me to be one of the BonChon’s loyal customers and to explore each of their given specialties. The super spiciness of Fiery Spice Bibimbowl was already close to the authentic spiciness level in Korea and the Bulgogi soup and Chapchae were saucy and delicious. I equally loved Chicken Fries, the side dish my mom ordered (I went to BonChon with my parents at that time). Although they were only tasty at the outside, I was glad with the fact that BonChon still managed to come up with flavored sauces that gave additional taste to the chicken meat (That time my mom ordered Chicken fries with Miso Sesame Ranch dip as condiment. It tasted really great!).

Fiery Spicy Seafood Bibimbowl (before mixing)
Fiery Spicy Seafood Bibimbowl (after mixing)
Bulgogi Noodle Soup
Chicken fries with Miso Sesame Ranch dip

Other dishes I adored in Bonchon were Kimchi Coleslaw and Jjampong, otherwise known as the spicy seafood soup with egg noodles. Taco flavored Bibimbowl was equally great, yet it tasted more like a Mexican dish than a Korean one.

Taco Seafood Bibimbowl (before mixing)
Taco Seafood Bibimbowl (after mixing)
Kimchi coleslaw (left) and Chapchae (right)
Jjampong

Looking forward to see what Bonchon Chicken Philippines has to offer! I would love to taste these existing dishes I have not yet explored, which are Bibimfries, Gangnam Bao, Classic Ko-dog with Miso Sesame, Krazy Ko-dog, Korean Beef Stew, Chicken Sandwich and Fish and Chips.

DISCLAIMER: I am actually referring to BonChon Chicken Philippines in this entry. For BonChon restaurants in other countries, feel free to check this website.

BonChon is a South Korean chicken restaurant founded by Jinduk Seh in Busan in 2002. It opened its first overseas store in New Jersey in 2006 and arrived in South East Asia in  2010 (it opened its first South East Asian branch in Thailand). At the same year, BonChon established its branch in the Philippines through Scott Tan. Now globally known, the Korean restaurant has been receiving multiple good reviews from the press.

For more information about BonChon Chicken Philippines

Mermaid at I’M Hotel: Ideal for entertainment and chills

I went there as I watched the performances at the Fete de la Musique’s Eclectic stage. The delay of the show drew me to tour the roundabouts of the bar and I was amazed at the entire colorful set-up. The space was huge enough for a small concert (preferably acoustic and other “chill” concerts) to be held. The artwork on stage was beautiful and described the aquatic ambiance of the pool bar hence the mermaid’s image.

The stage where bands perform

The pool provided an impressive view of the buildings. It was equally relaxing to either sit on the caged lounges on top of the pool, lounge chairs by the poolside and simply at the restaurant sipping some cocktails, munching some snacks, chatting with friends and when there was an event like the Fete de la Musique, watch bands perform.

Poolside from the entrance
Lounge chairs
Poolside near the view
The view from the pool

The food and drinks were promising despite the budget spent on them. The salted egg chips were as delicious as I expected and sipping a glass of Mermaid tears cocktail drink felt like an unexpected comeback, given that I have not drunk cocktails for a long time.

Salted Egg Chips and Mermaid Tears Cocktail while waiting for the show

I would definitely consider Mermaid as a comeback place. I would also recommend it for my family, friends and loved ones, as well as for typical bar hoppers yearning for a place to chill.

Mermaid is located at the 2nd floor by the pool. It usually opens at the evening from Monday to Thursday, and the whole day on Friday and weekends.

For more information about the bar and the hotel

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken: Definitely a #1 chicken shop

I am grateful to have discovered this restaurant for the first time through a friend. We, along with our other friends, were looking for a place to chill after our church service and as suggested by this first mentioned friend, we all then decided to head to Hot Star, which was just a few kilometers away from our church service. Two among us had already eaten there and claimed that the served food was good. My other friend (also one of my best friends) and I still had never gone there and due to curiosity, we decided to agree with the popular suggested choice.

And it turned out they were right! It turned out to be the right place to chill and eat! Each of us ordered a signature 12-inch flavored chicken (except for my best friend who only ordered ice cream), and mine tasted so much like heaven that I would choose Hot Star over any chicken-based restaurants like KFC and I felt like going back there a couple of times. Mine was Salt & Pepper, while my friends’ were Red Hot Chili Pepper and Barbeque flavored. I also appreciated the ice cream (known as soft serve in Hot Star) that I ordered, the flavor of which was a combination of white almond and black gulaman (gelatin, in English). I also loved how the combi flavored soft serve had the same price as a single flavored one as it provided me an option to buy the ice cream with two flavors I both wanted to taste.

There are five flavors one can order for his or her own chicken: salt and pepper, barbeque sauce, sweet and sour, red hot and chili peppers. One can have one and more flavors in a 12-inch chicken, while in junior size chicken, there can only be one.

And meanwhile, here are some of the Hot Star specialties.

Salt and Pepper Signature Large Chicken
Red Hot and Chili Pepper Signature Large Chicken (ordered by a friend). Ordered this when I went back to Hot Star with other friends
Combi (White Almond & Black Gulaman) Soft Serve

I would recommend Hot Star to every food lover I come across with, especially to chicken lovers. In fact, I would recommend this restaurant to family, friends and to the masses.

N.B. Founded in 1992, Hot Star first started as a little kiosk in Taiwan’s Shilin Market. It became the largest fried chicken shop nationwide and established branches in Australia, Shanghai and six Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines. It opened its doors in the Philippines in 2014 and now has eight local branches.

For more information

Salad Stop! Another healthy food chain in town

EAT WIDE AWAKE.

Such is the idealogy of this known salad bar. In the world full of salads, I would definitely take them all. Salad Stop! is more than just a restaurant offering healthy and delicious dishes. Its specialties, most particularly salads, are well-customized to the point that they look as presentable as a professional chef level dish or even as the food shown in popular online recipes such as Tastemade, Goodful and Bon Appetit. The customers also have a choice to have their ordered salad customized differently from the pre-customized choices.

Go Geisha at Salad Stop! Alabang

I would personally recommend this restaurant to people who have been vegetarians, vegans and healthy eaters and to those who are beginning to live a healthy lifestyle. The salad dishes are as appetizing as they look and are healthy at the same time. Most importantly, they do not make stomachs heavy but already full enough. Salad Stop! is an ideal restaurant to go to after work-out and the Alabang branch (where I went to) has a nice location as it is near the gym.

Aside from salads, the restaurant equally offers salad wraps, soups, drinks, desserts and snacks that are mostly gluten-free. For more nutritious meals other than leafy greens, The Wholesome Table can be an option.

N.B. Salad Stop! is a Singaporean food chain founded in 2009. Dubbed as the healthy food chain in Asia, it has been offering high quality nutritious meals, using over 35 fresh ingredients and 18 homemade dressings. Its operations expanded in the Philippines in 2014, with Central High Square in BGC as the first local branch.

For more information

Salad Stop! Singapore Official Website

Salad Stop Philippines Facebook

Salad Stop Philippines Instagram

Additional Reading

6 tasty things to try at Salad Stop!, where veggies take center stage, Rappler

Salad Stop: New Franchise from the SSI Group, Manila Reviews

Sigsaga Ultimate Yakiniku Buffet: Worth the authenticity despite its low budget

It is rare to spot a buffet restaurant that is relatively cheap and it is even more rare to spot such cheap buffet with heavenly food choices that a Japanese and Korean food lover would expect in a typical Japanese and Korean restaurant. Not forgetting to mention that the restaurant is worth the culinary experience, all due to appetizing Korean and Japanese specialties at an affordable cost. I cannot help but thank my friends for an unforgettable culinary discovery and I am way looking forward to go back to this buffet restaurant when time allows me to.

Korean Vegetable Salad
Kimchi, Chapchae and Baby Potatoes with Vegetable Pancakes
Kimchi, Chapchae and Baby Potatoes with Beef Bulgogi and Hot Spicy Korean Chicken
Pandan Jelly for dessert
Apple flavored iced tea

Another aspect to appreciate in Sigsaga is its interior. There is enough space for customers to get food as much as there is enough for those who are sitting down, which add more comfort to move around, enjoy meals and chat with friends. Customers are also free to stay longer to spend time with friends even though it is already beyond the buffet time, yet they can only order food within a given buffet time, which is from 12 to 2 pm for lunch.

The restaurant’s interior

If there is anything that this restaurant needs to improve on, it would rather lie in the waiter’s guidance in grilling the Yakiniku, which not all customers know how to. This already can affect the taste of the Yakiniku, the buffet restaurant’s most specialized dish, I believe, as ours was not that tender and tasty. My friends and I were not told to marinate the meat first, yet it is known as the most crucial step prior to grilling. We were not told to cook the Yakiniku for a short period of time. Thus, the reason why our meat was overcooked.

Grilled Yakiniku

Another area of improvement lies in the need of more varied dishes, which can increase the number of returning customers as it can already increase their curiosity in tasting more dishes in addition to the delicious food they have already tasted.

Despite these areas of improvement, I am still satisfied of the authenticity, the delicious dishes and the rest of the culinary experience that this streetwise buffet restaurant provides. Definitely recommended for Korean food lovers (I would personally bring both of my Filipino and foreign friends to this buffet).

 N.B. Sigsaga Ultimate Yakiniku Buffet is located in BF Resort, Las Pinas, the main branch of which is on Lalaine Bennett St. Another branch is located on BF Resort Drive.

For more information about Sigsaga Ultimate Yakiniku Buffet

Red Spice: a restaurant that adds value to the authenticity of Chinese cuisine

Red Spice just made me appreciate Chinese food to the highest level. I love the offered food choices, the presentation and the taste of food, and the restaurant provides a luxurious ambiance that gives comfort to accommodated guests like myself. However, it would be better if the price is reasonable enough for the meal’s serving size. It would then be better if the price is either lower than the actual or the serving is huge enough for the set price.

It is so far my most preferred Chinese restaurant in which I have ever set foot. As much as I would personally love to go back to Okada, I would equally consider this restaurant worth returning to.

The interior of the restaurant

And meanwhile, the pictures of some meals and beverages.

Apple Berry (left) and Almond Tapioca (right) iced teas
Yang Chow (fried rice bowl with pork and egg)
Steamed Fish
Tofu with beans
Chop Suey
Stir fried seafood noodles

For more information about Red Spice

Okada Manila Official Website

Red Spice Okada Manila Looloo.com

Red Spice Okada Manila Zomato

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