Thursday, January 8, 2015

Taste of Philippines - Nena's Restaurant

It has been almost 18 years since my last trip back to the Philippines and I finally made the trip back last December with my boyfriend.  Memories with mixed emotions immediately flooded back when my Aunt picked us up from the airport and we sat idle in the dense Manila traffic for over 2 hours on a weekday morning on our way back to our family's home in Quezon City, a region in bustling Metro Manila. This trip, without traffic, should only take 20 minutes.

Regardless, I was in awe watching the colourful city go by as the cab driver expertly maneuvered his way through throngs of every type of vehicle you can imagine plus tricycles carrying passengers beyond capacity, pimped-up jeepneys (a unique Filipino public transportation), and vendors on foot dangerously weaving through traffic trying to sell snacks to anyone who catches their eye.

With the electric scenery, constant honking, smog and stop and go movement of the car, this could either send you into a frenzy or pump you up for the rest of your Filipino journey. We were pumped!

After we arrived to Cubao, Quezon City,  my Aunt brought us to Nena's restaurant and they make the best bibingka. It's one of my favourite Filipino desserts, a soft rice cake cooked in a banana leaf and topped with salted egg, cheese and freshly grated coconut, yum!!!

We also couldn't resist having merienda, a light snack, and tasting other items on their menu. The pancit palabok noodle dish sauce was seasoned perfectly and liked the grilled calamari with the twist of sweet citrusy calamansi.

Pinakbet was a bowl of veggie stew comfort food, okra in any dish is a winner with me.

The surprising star was the lechon kawali, a main dish that you can eat with rice, was presented simply on a banana leaf but the taste of crunching the pork's crispy skin with the tender flesh was amplified with the tastiest sweet and sour dipping sauce!

This is just day one of our trip and can't wait to share more delicious Filipino adventures in the coming blog posts.

Nena's restaurant, masarup!!