food trip, musings

vahay kuvo part 2

ever since we did our marketing at marikina the other week, carlo and i have carefully documented the meals we produced and ate. apparently we still had to hit the neighborhood grocery for more items like cans of milk or some other ingredients not found at the public market. out of the stash of food we got here were the dishes carlo cooked and we both plated for instagraming (@luningninggerzi) :


that evening coming back from the market, this was the first we prepared. mussells with carrots and napa/chinese cabbage. instead of rice, we have sweet potatoes.



lunch was fried big-bellied round scad (galunggong) with a bed of veggies consisting of baked sweet potatoes in basil, muscovado, honey, and blackbean sauce. dipping sauce is iloko vinegar.


dinner was shared with tita tems (who doesnt go home for lunch). we had red snapper (maya-maya) steamed in lemongrass and other aromatics and seasoned with tamarind (sinigang) powder). since we used the small oven toaster, the fish was split in two and curiously, the head part’s drippings tasted differently than the tail part (the former was tasted like the ocean and the latter’s taste was more subdued). on the side we had a salad of boiled leaves of the sweet potato (camote tops) and fresh tomatoes, onions, in a sweet-sour vinegar sauce. there were also eggplants (boiled) paired with bagoong balayan (a kind of fish sauce) with calamondi. no rice tonight.


carlo also proceeded to make his own chili sauce by chopping up sili labuyo, green chilis, and peppercorns. toasted the garlic in oil then cooked the chilis into it. sesame oil was added later on.



lunch was just omelette and whole wheat bread. no photo. forgot. lol.

dinner was mantis shrimp (alupihang dagat) cooked in garlic and butter. on the side were sauteed veggies in peanut sauce (using local peanut butter. yum). i prefer to call these shrimps aliens because i think shrimps are of alien descent.


here is the photo of how i plated the alupihang dagat. so crazy.



lunch was blanched cabbage heads and tomatoes dipped in bagoong, calamansi, and sili, and eaten with hands. we also had fried galunggong and fried brown rice. galunggong had a sukang iloko dipping sauce.


dinner was adobong manok, cooked for hours. adobong mother and child, as per carlo, this adobo was served with hard-boiled egg plus boiled squash and sweet potatoes. ripe cantaloupe for dessert.



last lunch was stir-fried vegetables with an awesome plate of fried squid. dipping sauce is iligan’s pinakurat, the best vinegar in the world!


we had to add a few more items purchased in the neighborhood grocery to supplement what we got from the market. this would amount to maybe another thousand pesos. our initial Php 940 plus about a thousand pesos, divided into more or less 8 dishes would amount to Php 242.50 per meal with 2 or 3 people sharing the whole meal. still awesome!

im sharing this because we do have fun preparing these dishes and eating them! im hoping to inspire others also who cannot escape the clutches of fast food. maybe for others as well, you should realize you dont have to spend so much to eat better. give a little bit of time to cooking and it will reward you. the greatest chef in the world, gusteau, does believe, “anyone can cook.” and while i dont do the cooking, i do the dishes and that’s still a noble chore. lol. cheers and have fun!


vahay kuvo part 1

carlo and i aim to simplify our lifestyle. the excessiveness of our world can be overwhelming and there will never be an end to what one’s lifestyle buries you into. we work in the advertising industry as production designers and it’s easy to get hooked into a superficial lifestyle if one is not conscious about it. averaging p250 meals at restaurants for one, free services to and from the office or the p260 taxi ride to the office and another going back home, that daily p165 grande starbucks coffee sealing your fake status in life. excessive! not to mention the small purchases of other items you may not really need.

it helps that we are not living in makati. we go home to an old, 40 year-old rented apartment in quezon city shared with my aunt who’s lived here longest in the neighborhood. food is a necessity but we are constantly reminded there are options always. i keep track of how much we spend a month and food takes up 60-70% of our expenses, through eating out or by groceries.

i remember as a kid life was so much simpler. mom goes to the market and comes back with loads of stuff. cooks meals and we share family time over a feast. it’s not too late to go back to that. sometimes, it’s not about spending less and going the cheaper route, it’s more about simplifying your life. going back to basics. buying local and reducing carbon footprint. celebrating home cooked meals. save the earth. all that jazz.

last month, carlo and i went off to the nearby marikina public market and spent P1200 ($27.21) on fresh produce. it took us 1.5 weeks to consume everything and that’s a good track record for us. this week we went back for more. there was a break with the cooking at home because we got busy with shoot projects but we’re currently back to cooking and eating at home this week.

before we left for marikina this afternoon, carlo and i planned to spend only P800 or $18 (plus P200 for taxi) at the market because we have to get a new lpg tank this month at roughly p550 (11kls per tank) as our old tank was all used up after 4 months of cooking (not bad). limiting expenses into a budget is crucial to simplifying lifestyles. money does not grow on trees, as everyone knows. here’s what we got this afternoon:



here’s an accounting of what we purchased today. im a sucker for squid and mussels. and galunggong. we’re hoping this produce and stock will see us through a week’s worth of awesome meals. carlo will cook and i will do the dishes.

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P974 ($22.09) total. we sorta overspent but our commute transportation was reduced to p48 ($1.09) so we’re still within budget. you may have noticed we didnt buy pork today. that’s no coincidence. also, no rice. normally we’d get brown rice at SM save more for P55/kilo but im trying to cut down on the carbs so no rice, not even brown rice. P974 divided into 7 days into 2 meals per day would be P69 shared meals for 2-3 pax (carlo, titatems, and myself). p69 per meal with 2 to 3 people eating! that’s roughly an unhealthy burger meal at some fastfood chain for one! crazy, right?

simplify your life. in this excessive lifestyle we have in manila, we’ve stopped appreciating the beauty of a home cooked meal and spending on more important stuff like good quality healthy food that will keep your sugar levels and cholesterol down.  im blogging about this so i can share and maybe inspire others to see for themselves how beautiful our produce is in the philippines and stop buying fast food and eat healthier and eating fresh food everyday.

will post photos of meals as the days progress. cheers and have a simplified life!