No Pun, There’s No Bun

Before 2010 ended, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) had launched a new addition to its chicken-based menu: the Double Down. When advertorials were made for it, the TVC went with a tagline of “No Bun, All Meat“. Creative, intriguing, exciting. If there was one thing that really made me want to try the Double Down, it was that TVC.

And so before 2010 ended, I got to order a Double Down meal complete with regular-sized Pepsi. True to the ad, it was “No Bun, All Meat”. Seriously, if you’ve got cholesterol problems then you better stick with the salads. Because when Double Down was served, it looked like this:

The KFC Double Down (anakbawang.com)

Instead of the usual bread, there were two slabs of chicken fillet where the buns should be. In between, where the patty should be were strips of bacon and a square strip of cheese. Grease and oil visibility? 100%!

What’s good about the Double Down is that it’s already a full meal on its own. In a manner that says you’d only pair it with rice if you’re really hungry. And I mean really hungry. It’s a good choice if you need lunch-on-the-go or if you are on an after-six diet–because well, if you have to go through more than 12 hours without eating then you better stock up good enough.

But what’s somehow disturbing is the taste. No, it doesn’t taste awful. It’s as good as any chicken KFC offers. But it’s superbly salty, from how much amount of salt or breading, I don’t know. But yes, eating an entire Double Down makes you want to be on a strict water diet after, if only to wash away all the salinity you consumed. Another thing scary about the Double Down is the amount of grease it has on it. And fats, man. FATS.

Suffice to say, the Double Down isn’t for those with a need for a healthy life. So it actually comes down not to who’s gonna eat it, but to who can. It’s your choice.

The KFC Double Down isn’t a bad offer. It’s new and definitely more delectable than what another fastfood had provided as a hamburger alternative many years ago (that which had rice instead of buns with the usual burger patty in the middle). But ordering, and of course eating, one has to be carefully thought over. After all, they say too much is always harmful.

No bun, all meat. You game?

My Christmas Menu

Well, so much for my excitement over the coming Christmas season, right? Whether on Tumblr or Blogger, I have expressed this sense of enthusiasm. And of course, will this blog miss out? No, definitely not.

Hence, a food blogpost related to the coming Yuletide. *stomach churning* *nom nom nom*

I want these foods on our table on Christmas Eve. How I would ever get my mother to buy or prepare these, I still need to decipher. But I’m being very fueled by the idea that across the street and directly in front of our house are my paternal, superb-food-lovers relatives. This Christmas would be their first to celebrate in that house thus they’re thinking of cooking grandly for the occasion. *jumping around eagerly*

Which means every now and then, we get to discuss what to cook/prepare/buy for that particular Christmas dinner. And on my relatively short but equally demanding list are:

1. Tiramisu

I have to say that my mouth has 99% of sweet teeth in it. Figuratively, of course. This means that between sugar and salt, I prefer the former any time. Hence, my ardor for desserts. And Tiramisu is my second-greatest love. Its preparation is fairly easy: just arrange everything together into Pyrex containers and then chill.

Tiramisu (sweetdreamsweb.com)

A sweet, sweet treat for a happy Christmas heart, it really makes opening the fridge (and well, walking toward it) worth the effort.

2. Barbecue

Barbecue (iskandals.com)

Pork and chicken. Nothing beats the smell of barbecue mingling with the coolness of the Christmas air, don’t you think? I have always associated grilling activities to three events: Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and family outings. And since our family is a bunch of meat-lovers, I’m pretty sure we’ll have enough stocks of coal and my father’s homemade barbecue sauce for Christmas. Oh to stay awake ’til midnight smelling grilled pork!

3. Doughnuts, Cinnamon rolls, Chocolate cakes

Well, pastries in general. Weird, I know. Much more because my idea of Christmas pastries are not the home-baked ones. They’re either store-bought or gift offerings.

Doughnuts! (krispykremecoupons.com)

Cinnamon Rolls! (whatscookingamerica.net)

Chocolate Cake! (bbcgoodfood.com)

It’s been two years since we’ve started having Krispy Kremes on the table for Christmas. Somehow, the doughnuts’ sweetness and fullness are good stomach-fillers when the main courses are not yet ready for serving. Plus, it’s a handy baon for a December 25 road-trip, which my family takes pleasure over. The same goes for the cinnamon rolls, which, in some years are replaced with ensaymadas, food for the gods, or even small fruit cakes.

As for the cakes, chocolate is our best bet.  I’m not quite sure, but I think my family has as much sweet teeth as I have that we mostly search for sugar-filled items to have for Christmas.

4. Buko Salad

See, what I’ve been saying about our/my love for everything sweet? 🙂 Well, buko salads are another must-have for Christmas. This is the usual fruit salad–fruits, cream, and condensed milk–added with buko or the soft white inner part of a ripe coconut.

Buko Salad (summitmedia.com.ph)

Like the Tiramisu, the buko salad is also best served cold. We/I particularly like it with an ice cream consistency. Great for a Christmas that’s never white and yet just as cold.

5. Filipino kakanin

My maternal grandmother and uncle makes the best biko in town, I swear. And my father has the best tongue for biko-tasting.

Biko (panlasangpinoy.com)

Which means that, as much as we love foreign delicacies, we still crave for the local sweets like ube, sapin-sapin, and maja blanca. I’m not particularly certain if leche flan counts, but I definitely demand that to be with me this Christmas.

Leche Flan (images.mylot.com)

There you go. I’m pretty sure I can wing my way into my mother’s heart and get her to buy all the ingredients needed for these recipes. (But I’d have to connive with my younger brother and sister, for support and added wishful pressure.) Wish me luck, fellas.

And may the spirit of Christmas be always in our stoves!

Peddler’s Delight

Pastries, cakes, cold beverages, and prime meat. Yum! Favorite food material, aren’t they? And where do you find them? Classy restos, chic food stalls, and fancy diners.

But in the Philippines, there is a multitude of “favorites” that oh-so-many people enjoy. To the point of being citizenship-indicator. Meaning, “you’re not Filipino if you haven’t eaten [dot, dot, dot]”.

What are these, you ask? Well, to name a few, we have:

Adidas

No, not the shoes. These are grilled chicken feet with barbecue sauce. Sadly, I cannot share personal thoughts over its taste because I haven’t had one. But according to trusted people who have tried it, there really is nothing disgusting about it. Mainly, it tastes just like any other chicken part. 🙂

Adidas

Betamax or simply, dugo

These are accumulated pig’s blood clots. And no, they’re not as bad as they sound to be. They are under the same category, and thus cooked in the same manner, as Adidas. Meaning, they’re grilled with barbecue sauce, too. Now, this one I’ve tried and it doesn’t really taste funny. I think it depends on the sauce that they use and how long it’s grilled, nevertheless the one I’ve had isn’t even halfway bad. Especially with vinegar or (in my case) ketchup.

Incidentally, dugo is also used in other delicacies/soups like misua and dinuguan.

Betamax

Isaw

This is a real favorite street food. As a matter of fact, isaw is even sold by known stores in the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Also, should you discuss Filipino street foods, there can never be no mention of beloved isaw. What is it, in any way?

Intestines. Yes. Either of  a chicken or of a pig. Chicken isaw is thinner and longer. Pig’s are usually cut into bite sizes because they’re wider and bigger. I’ve had both, yeah. They’re not really bad, unless of course you think that you’re eating intestines and therefore may be subjected to whatever particles or foods these animals had in their life. But hey, vendors make quite certain that they clean their products well, don’t worry.

(chicken) Isaw

(pig) Isaw

Fish Balls, Squid Balls, Kikiam

Usually sold via wheeled carts equipped with the local version of gas range and a pan of generous oil, fish balls, squid balls, and kikiam are among the many street foods that people enjoy. They are deep fried, unlike the first ones I’ve mentioned. And they come with a variety of sauces for dipping.

Fish balls, as many say, are actually made from fishes. They are said to be crushed and formed into the flattened round pieces that they are sold out. Squid balls, however, are not assured to be made of real squid. Some actually believe they are made with fishes, too. They are rounder and fuller in form than fish balls, but they pretty much taste the same. Kikiam, on the other hand, is originally of the Chinese cuisine.

All three are also added to another Chinese-original, the pansit.

Squid balls (round ones), fish balls (on stick), kikiam (brown, elongated ones)

Kwek-kwek

Boiled quail eggs covered with flour-based, orange-colored batter. These are sold either on its own or with other fried street foods like fish balls. Usually, they come with vinegar with chopped cucumber and onion as dip. Definitely in vogue among street food lovers, the kwek-kwek has gained popularity now even exceeding that of the fish balls. They are also being sold in many food stands in malls.

The kwek-kwek also comes in bigger versions. These are made with boiled chicken eggs already. The same dip is used, nonetheless.

Kwek-kwek

Balut

The ultimate challenge of being a street food enthusiast. The balut is the one food that even most of non-choosy street food eaters cannot bear to taste. Why so? For the simple reason that it comes with half-formed chicks. These are duck or chicken eggs that have not totally developed into real chicks and are then boiled to be eaten. Such may explain occasional head forms that may be inside your balut.

Balut is sold usually at night, with trusty chicharon and penoy, eggs like the balut but with no embryo. But at present, even cool restaurants sell them as appetizers or even as main courses. This street food is also very much known amongst Filipino overseas workers, such that there are New York restaurants that offer it as part of their prime menu.

Balut

These are only a few, compared to many others that Filipinos equally adore. We also have pig’s fat, lungs, and skin. On the ever savory chicken, we have the head, the skin, and even cut up necks. On a more “normal” side, we also have hotdogs (a peso per piece), peanuts, and cashews. Not to mention the meringue, kropek, and banana chips sold in buses. There is also the banana cue (bananas fried with caramelized sugar), camote cue (sweet potatoes with caramelized sugar), and turon (wrapped bananas).

Truly, the Filipino culture is not only rich in its stories and traditional events. We have a variety of foods that are not only tasty, but definitely unique.

Take on the streets, people, and enjoy. ❤

Credits: Zoom in, Philippines!, Tourism-Philippines, Table for Three, Please.