Tag Archives: Filipino cuisine

Oriental Mart

14 Jan

The famous Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle is without a doubt a place where any food lover can lose herself or himself in;  it’s by far, one of my favorite places.  I could spend a day in Pike Place and it would feel like it’s my first time there all over again.  When I worked in DT Seattle, I would find excuses to walk to Pike Place; it wasn’t just a physical exercise, it was also a mental one.  The bustling market is filled with so many amazing sights, smells, and sounds, which change everyday: the locals and tourists, the food, and the musicians all play a part in making Pike Place Market a one-of-a-kind market.  If you love reading and you happen to enjoy children’s books, A Day at the Market by local author, Sara Anderson, is wonderful to read and view.

Pike Place Market Post Alley

In Post Alley of Pike Place Market, you’ll find shops and vendors with wares as unique as they are.  At Oriental Mart, you’ll find a mishmash of Asian groceries and knick-knacks, and the store also serves popular Filipino dishes such as chicken adobo, longaniza, and pancit.  The ladies behind the counter are amiable and put their customers at ease with their friendly chats.

Oriental Mart

After spending part of the morning at Benaroya Hall (me) and the downtown Seattle Library (The Hubby), The Hubby and I rejoined in front of the library then walked together to Pike Place for lunch.  Lunch was a shared plate filled with rice swimming in adobo sauce, pancit, longaniza, and chicken adobo.  To sum up our lunch, it was malinamnam (that’s yummy or “nom nom” in Tagalog).

longaniza, chicken adobo, pancit, and rice

The shop is also known for their salmon soup which was already nearly finished for the day except for the broth.  They were kind enough to give us a small bowl por gratis.  The broth had a pleasant sourness to it; if the soup was done to the style of sinigang, then tamarind was used to flavor it.  I can understand why the soup was almost done.  It’s cold here and it makes for a great winter soup!

salmon soup broth

Filipino cuisine uses down-home cooking, its ingredients are humble and it’s all about taste… I consider Filipino cooking as the soul food of Asian cuisines.  If you like Filipino food, or if you’re never had any before and you’re interested in trying it, give it a go at Oriental Mart.

Oriental Mart on Urbanspoon

Squid Adobo

27 Dec

Coming home for the holidays means spoiling myself with Mom’s home cooking, and for me that means mostly Filipino/Asian-Pacific Islander dishes.  My favorite requests are palabok and pansit bihon; and because I’ve been hankering seafood for many weeks now – and still am despite all the fish dishes I’ve eaten since arriving in California – I asked my Mom if she had any squid and if she could make a dish with them.  How fortunate that my mother happened to have squid in the freezer; she pulls foods out of the chest freezer à la Mary Poppins.  It’s pretty awesome how she always seems to be prepared to rescue her daughters’ food cravings; and between my sisters and me, we have many.

squid adobo on the stovetopSquid adobo, or adobong pusit as known in Tagalog, is stewed squid made with simple aromatic ingredients.  Since the main ingredient already has a strong flavor, spices or seasonings are not needed.  Cooking squid does produce a smell-of-the-sea (though unfishy) aroma, so make sure to have your kitchen window open and the stove fan going if you’re not a fan of ocean smells.

squid adobo

Squid Adobo

1 lb squid
1 medium sized or 2 small shallot(s), chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 bay leaf

  1 tbs vinegar
salt to taste

Sauté shallots until soft, then add the garlic and tomato.  Add squid and cook over moderate heat.  Stir; add vinegar and salt to taste.  When squid are slightly opaque, turn off heat.  Residual heat will continue to cook the squid.

Smile and serve over warm rice with calamansi or lime on the side.


25 Mar

Spain heavily influenced its colonies, so much so that Philippines and Mexico have similarities in dishes with menudo being one of them.  Although Mexican menudo comes in soup form, both menudo dishes use offal, in which Filipino menudo includes liver and Mexican menudo includes tripe.  With the Spanish galleons or Galeones de Manila-Acapulco, a relationship between Philippines and Mexico was formed and each touched the culture of the other; hence, the dish similarities between an Asian Pacific island nation and a North American country.  From the perspective of people who rebelled and resisted colonization, I’m sure Magellan was already cursed by many for “discovering” nations that were already settled in and likely Madre España even received a lot of back talk (ahem, among other things).  And in the 1800s, both nations revolted.  Understandably so.

Moving on from history and into food (not the band, obviously, but more on that later)… Filipino menudo is meaty and filling.  There are many recipe variations available and different regions in Philippines have their own version.  Knowing this, I looked into the recipes online then asked my Mom for her take on Filipino menudo.  With this traditional recipe as a guide and following my Mom’s preference of chicken over pork and my Aunt Mildred’s style of marinating the liver (as told to me by mi mama),  I set out to create my own version of menudo.


1 lb chicken, cut in small cubes
1/4 lb chicken liver, cut in small chunks
2 links chorizo Bilbao, cut in small chunks
1/2 cup of chopped onion
5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
4 small potatoes or 2 large potatoes, cubed
2 bell peppers, diced
1 can of chickpeas/ garbanzo beans
1/2 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of soy sauce
2 tbs of brown sugar
2 tsp of fish sauce/ patis

1 tbs of cider vinegar or rice vinegar
olive oil or vegetable oil

salt and paprika to taste

Mix the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar,  and fish sauce, add the liver to marinate.  Sauté garlic and onion in oil until soft.  Add the chicken and chorizo.  Cover until partially cooked then add the liver with the marinade.  Cover the pan until the meats are fully cooked.  Add the potatoes, bell peppers, and chickpeas.  Allow to cook covered using medium heat, then add the raisins.  Season with salt and paprika.  Cook in low heat until the raisins become plump then turn off heat.

Smile and serve with rice.

Having tasted the dish for the first time, The Hubby found it to be flavorful and textural.  Being hearty, Filipino menudo could be just as good as Mexican menudo in “curing” hangovers.  Though I don’t plan on finding that out for myself or anyone.

Before I say adios, here’s a shoutout to my childhood crushes (I wasn’t discriminating as an ’80s kid) who sang this song and this song which probably drove my parents nuts because I played my Menudo albums over and over.