I’m currently in Philippines enjoying a dive trip, so I suppose it’s appropriate to introduce to you one of the dishes I discovered by accident at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport of Manila.
I was waiting for my flight back to KL on the Operation Smile trip late last year, hungry struck, so we decided to stop by one of the small airport restaurants at Terminal 3 to catch lunch. The name of the place was Great Man Hann Restaurant.
dinuguan at Great Man Hann restaurant
The menu was full of vocabulary not found in my system, so like any adventurer, I picked the first item – Dinuguan, and asked the server about the dish.
“Sir, it’s pork cooked with pork blood”
He had me at pork blood, so I ordered, and it came exactly like what the server described.
Dinuguan from Philippines
Well, there’s also a side of steamed rice, and a green chili native to the Philippines on top. The “gravy” is made of pork blood and thus not exactly liquid but more like very tiny chunks of coagulated pork blood. Meat was delicious especially those with a mixture of fats in it, and when eaten with the chili, it provided an excellent kick.
It was an interesting dish and one that I would definitely try again. Since this one was from the airport, I’m sure there are superior versions out there, I shall try more. Especially those that not only include meat but intestine, ears, liver, and more.
Yum yum, so what’s some of the more interesting things you ate in 2012?
One of the most well known exotic Asian food must be balut from the Philippines. For those who hasn’t heard about this weird and wonderful traditional Pinoy dish, it is simply steamed duck embryo.
In my first trip to the Philippines back in 2009 I didn’t have a chance to try this delicacy, so when I went there again last week for Operation Smile (amazing experience, will write about that in depth soon), we make sure that balut is on top of our to-do list.
Well, here’s a video of the experience:
While balut is sold pretty much anywhere in Manila (and I suppose, most part of Philippines), they are not terribly easy to hunt down. The sellers usually operate out of a bicycle, so it’s best to ask a local where and also when you can get one.
We actually had to stop our bus once while traveling from De La Selle University Hospital back to hotel just to flag down a balut seller for some of these good stuff. A balut goes for about 10-15 peso, and usually comes with some salt, and sometimes vinegar.
check out the whole embryo separated from the egg white
As for the taste, it was like a cross between hard boiled duck egg and the tip of black chicken wings that is boiled in herbal soup till super soft. The beak can be just a little crunchy, and sometimes the feather does get in the way just a bit.
Quite gross when you think about it mentally, but really, it is delicious! I especially like the juice in balut, which probably is the allantoic fluid, or simply put, duck embryo pee. 😀
Skilled balut eater can also separate out the whole embryo from the egg to scare non-eating spectators, I shall learn to do that next time.
So if you’re in the Philippines, try a balut, or 4 (like I did)
I spent over 4 years in the States for college and work, and was fortunate enough to have spent a year each living with an American family and in the dorm. This was the time I learnt to be appreciate American sports.
The four big professional leagues in the States are then NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL. There are also a very lively scene in college sports too. However, with the exception of some games on Astro every now and again, they are not very popular here in Malaysia.
in Manila for 24 hr, and on the way back with KL Dragons
Attending games and being able to catch these games live on TV on almost daily basis were pretty much the things I miss most about the States since coming back to Malaysia.
Enter Asean Basketball League, South East Asia’s very own professional basketball league that is currently made up of 6 teams from the region. The teams are:
hard fought game between KL Dragons and Philippines Patriots at Manila
I was rather excited that we now have a professional basketball team in KL, and even more stoked when I found out I had a chance to travel to Manila to attend an away game of KL Dragons versus the Philippine Patriots. I jumped to the opportunity even though I know it’ll be a very short and hasty travel.
So the weekend before Christmas I went to Manila for a trip that lasted almost exactly 24 hours to catch the game.
KL Dragons head coach Mr. Goh Cheng Huat
Due to the insane traffic situation in the most congested city I’ve ever visited, I arrived at Ynares Arena right at about half time (the journey started from 5am in Malaysia, but that’s another post in another time).
KL Dragons was trailing by 1 point against the favorites at home, the score was 38-37 to start the second half. Although the stadium wasn’t exactly filled (most likely due to the traffic), I could sense the excitement and energy both in the crowd and the players.
the game was broadcast on ESPN with live commentary on radio too
The familiar feeling of adrenaline rush immediately over powered my fatigue from being on the road in the past 12 hours.
Third quarter was a back and forth affair, with each team answering each other basically basket to basket. The Patriots had home field advantage, the crowd was with them, and loud speakers booming “DEFENSE DEFENSE” whenever the Dragons had possession. It was a tough, but we kept with it.
The quarter ended 55-54 favoring the Patriots.
KL Dragons – close relationship and good team work chemistry
In the early going on forth quarter, we managed to kept pace. It wasn’t until about 2 minutes left in the game that the Patriots somehow managed pull away due to a couple critical baskets and tough defensive stance (some might argue that it was slightly aided by the lack of calls). We lost the game at 76-70, but we did put up a very good fight.
Everyone was feeling a bit down after the game in the locker room. Coach Goh and Team Manager Mr. Wee gave their talks and what the team faces the rest of the season. The goal is to get to the playoffs, and we have a legitimate shot at it.
I joined the team for dinner and next day’s flight back to KL, and they were some of the funniest and down to earth bunch of guys you can find. I ended up talking to Jamal Brown for quite a bit since he is an American and we have a common topic in American sports.
I have my calendar circled for their next home game at MABA on the 5th Jan 2010, facing Satria Muda at home. Support our local team, be there! KL Dragons have 3 more home games, their full schedule can be found here.