Thursday, August 16, 2012


Have you caught the latest Hallyu? For those living in the boondocks, Hallyu means Korean wave or anything that describes Korean culture’s growing popularity. Undeniably, K-POP fever is everywhere and so does Korean-inspired restaurants that cater to both fans of Korean cuisines and those that are just curious what the hype was all about. Joining the hallyu craze is a newly opened restaurant called YOOGANE (pronounced as Yoo-guh-nee), located at the ground floor of Il Terrazzo Mall in Tomas Morato (just a few steps from the Morato Boyscout Circle, near ABS-CBN).

The K-POP bug must have bitten me recently that I seemed to frequent Korean dining establishments lately. If you’re looking for a break from the usual fare in the metro, treat your taste buds with something new and exciting from YOOGANE. Savor lip-smacking Korean dishes that are sure to titillate the senses without costing a fortune. With its inviting K-Pop inspired interiors that seemed to have come straight out of an MTV Korean version—it spells adorably C-U-T-E loud and clear! Yoogane’s perfect laid-back ambiance and excellent food cooked right in front of you, makes it truly a perfect dining destination not just for the whole family but also for the whole barkada or clique. The resto even plays K-Pop music videos on their flat-screened TV and you’re sure to find their colorful walls awesome.

K-POP videos can be seen from the tv.

The walls scream K-POP!

Colorful walls + comfy seats make this resto a must-visit!

But what I liked best about Yoogane’s interiors are their couch seats—they are arranged in such a way that each customer had some sort of privacy of their own as they watch and wait for their meals to get cooked. 

The staff makes sure your food is served right before you. 

 An establishment may have the most spectacular views and facilities, but if the food is crappy, chances are your guests may not be returning anymore for a visit. Luckily, for Yoogane, that wasn’t the case. It looks good and tastes good as well.

Discover Yoogane’s best-kept secret as you sample Marinated Chicken Galbi Rice. It promises to fill your tummies without hurting your pockets. There’s char-grilled chicken galbi, marinated seafood galbi, and Chapchae—the glass noodle dish we all love. A variety of side dishes complement your meal such as golden mushrooms, my favorite Ddukboki (Korean rice cake), Mozzarella Stuffed Ddukboki, plus they also have noodles like Udon noodle, ramen noodle, and potato noodle. Never miss an order of Korea’s famous Beef Bulgogi with sesame seeds—premium thinly sliced beef, worthy of pleasurable devour and greed. 

Marinated Chicken Galbi rice with melted Mozzarella cheese!

The Marinated Chicken Galbi rice reminds me of Jambalaya—a Cajun dish of rice, shrimp, chicken and vegetables. But Jambalaya is a dish originated from Louisiana, France, not Korea. They had the same spicy flavor; both had vegetables (although Marinated Chicken Galbi only had Ddukboki and loads of onion leeks) too. I guess the only difference was the addition of mozzarella cheese on the rice itself. The oozing cheesy goodness of mozzarella on top of the rice perfectly goes well with its burst of flavors and aroma. It makes the rice a bit sweet and salty, and in the process lessens the hot spicy taste of the said dish. The minute I had a spoonful of it, I knew I was hooked right away! That was how good it was. It felt like I was eating pizza with some textures and I had to constantly remind myself that I was putting on rice (that means carbs!) and loads of them. I am amazed how the fork-tender chicken became soft when it’s only stir-fried by the waiter for about seven to ten minutes. And I’d have to say that it actually penetrates all the flavors of its meat and gochujang chili pastes.

Marinated Chicken Galbi with onion leeks. 

Sweet and salty Chapchae.

Again, for those who do not like spicy foods, maybe you could skip this one and order Chapchae instead. But for Koreans and those who like their food spicy, this marinated chicken galbi rice wasn’t really that spicy. In fact, some even use the complimentary kimchi (a Korean staple dish of fermented green leafy veggies in gochujang chili paste) to add some more spice to this dish. If a spicy appetizer isn’t your thing, apart from kimchi, there’s complimentary turnip slices and shredded cabbage with mayo for you to munch on. Yoogane even had Yakult  (yes, that lactobacilli shirota-strain mini bottle drink) to help diminish the spicy after-taste. 

Kimchi, Slaw Cabbage Salad and turnip sticks as appetizers. 

Beef Bulgogi

Experience the best gastronomic flavors in town as Yoogane serves authentic Korean dining food with Korean dining experience for everyone any day of the week. You’re sure to get your cravings fulfilled with its delightful offerings.  Starting from the appetizers all the way down to the beverages (they have Soju too!), get absolute value for your money as you indulge in nothing but ultramodern Korean dining experience, only at Yoogane.

Yoogane is located at the ground floor of Il Terrazzo Mall, Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

Security Blanket thanks Yoogane and Barbie Barbieto for the invite.

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Danny de la Cuesta poses in front of the Comida Ilocandia, the newest restaurant along Timog Avenue that opened recently at the height of storm Gener, that was graced by friends, relatives and associates of de la Cuesta and his four other business partners. For those craving endlessly for genuine traditional Ilocano bagnet, crispy dinuguan, higado, Vigan longganisa, and tinuno, they can order for take- out these dishes or buy their rich Ilocano meaty delights from Comida.  

The doors of Comida Ilocandia opened during storm Gener’s entry in the country, but foodies, business associates, and close friends of fashion Designer turned Chef Danny de la Cuesta and his four partners were undaunted and pushed through with the occasion.

This is because Chef Danny and his partners believed that their mission of bringing Ilocano food and delicacies into Metro Manila is far more important than the weather so they could satisfy those who are hooked to the rich taste of slow- cooked traditional Ilocano meals and even first- timers who eventually get hitched to this gastronomic experience.

Though one can find, here and there, genuine Ilocano bagnet or pinakbet, there is no consistency in the supply, price and quality of these food items. However, at Comida, anybody can order Bagnet, Adobo Seco, Crispy Dinuguan, Tinuno (barbecued ribs) and Higado, in-house or to go dishes for one or in bulk.

Chef Danny, a gracious host explains to diners the nuances of Ilocano dishes. Bagnet from Ilocos Sur are Chinese-inspired in the way lechon macao while in Ilocos Norte, bagnet comes of Mexican influence and is called chicharones.

To make these dishes more affordable at P98 per microwaveable box, Chef Danny made sure to prepare and serve value meal sizes also (consisting of any of these meat dishes plus rice and Ilocano- pickled vegetables).

At Comida, there are also traditional Ilocano specialty drinks like Champola- guava or guyabana coolers, and Horchata- rice milk, along with innovations on rice coffee (dark roast) or rice tea (lighter roast) brews.

“Since we started last Saturday we have been selling Bagnet and our bottled pickled vegetables (inartem) so fast, our commissary is hard-pressed catching up with the orders,” Chef Danny said.

A true-blue marketer, Chef Danny explains to his guests what makes his Ilocano cuisine a cut above the rest, is because it is cooked based on universal cooking & tastiness standards. For one, we prepare our meats in slabs after brining, marinating and braising them a day at a time. There is no rush to cooking the meats. At all times, our Adobo are cooked slowly in very low fire for more than eight hours until they are very tender. After that we rest them for a day or two. Constantly, we use natural flavors of sukang Iloko, molasses, lots of garlic, peppercorns, laurel, oregano, pimiento and others.”

“Since adobo are cooked in slabs, we only slice and refry a small portion per meal then we freeze the rest. Only sufficient slices are served per meal. The longer the meat is kept, the better it tastes,” Chef Danny explained.

The process of cooking bagnet slabs is also as tedious as the adobo and so with the Higado and the crispy dinuguan. “We do not resort to short cuts,” Chef Danny added.

 One of the best-sellers is the genuine Ilocano bagnet from Ilocos Sur-the Chinese-inspired way of lechon macao while in Ilocos Norte, bagnet comes of Mexican influence and is called chicharones. At Comida Ilocandia this is served with rice and pickled mango or vegetables.

Crispy and tasty Ilocos Bagnet

 Diners can savor the taste of Tinuno(barbecued ribs) and eventually get hitched to this gastronomic experience. Meals are very affordable at P98 per microwaveable box, Chef Danny make sure to prepare and serve these in value meal sizes consisting of any of these dishes plus rice and Ilocano- pickled vegetables.

succulent barbecue ribs

Garlicky sweet Longganisa

"Ilocanos", he gags, prepare their meat in slabs because during every meal, each family member partakes a considerable slice of the meat while the bigger slab is displayed on the table for the members to visually feast while chewing the rice on the plates. This way the meat lasts for other meals, and this traditional joke is very true in Ilocos Norte, Chef Danny chuckles.

Why the meat is made to last long is because of the frequent and prolonged visits of storms in the Ilocos region, making life very hard and families are forced to make their food last until after the storms, he explained.

De la Cuesta, who spent 44 years in fashion designing and selling his brand of ready to wear clothes and made to order gowns before extending into business development and culinary arts, partnered with childhood friends, classmates and associates such that each investor is responsible for a specific aspect of the business. Chef Danny takes control areas on Conceptual & Product Planning, Business & Market Development.

His venture from fashion designing (where he had 72 employees under him) to cookery was upon the advice of his doctor after a heart attack in the United States. He joined a national competition of San Miguel. A short culinary course in Le Cordon Bleu in London that came part of the prize extended to nine months of learning more skills. Upon returning from London, he was consulted for food brands mostly for recipe development, cooking demos and mentoring. 

Then he ventured into business development with brands that are now very commercially viable. At Comida and its sister-enterprise, Spaoay, he has 25 people under him.

Spaoay, an Ilocos themed Wellness Spa, which opened, simultaneously with Comida term lay claim to Spa and Ilocos town, Paoay. Spaoay offer time-honored therapies from the Ilocos region that has a strong belief of the healing touch.

Spaoay traditional Ilocano treatment for massage and facials make use of herbs- tea tree, mint and coffee. Their body wraps, scrubs, and baths draw on mountain clays, sea salts, and balsamic vinegar.  These treatments not only smell delicious, they are also very beneficial for your body. 

Visit Chef Danny’s Spaoay and indulge in wellness rituals where only professionally trained & TESDA accredited hands perform wellness therapies that have a distinguished past.

 Located along Timog Avenue in Quezon City, you can call (02)9947596  or  (02) 7099041; and mobile 09189256603 for reservations.  For better appreciation, view these blogsites:  and

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Chef's Noodle at Universty Mall in Taft Avenue, Manila.
Fresh and healthy are bywords you often hear as trends in the culinary world. The newly opened Chef’s Noodle at the second floor of the University Mall in Taft Avenue, Malate Manila aims to provide their customers and guests with a wide selection of fresh, healthy but very affordable Korean cuisines. I know it seems like I’m always badgering my readers to eat this, cook this, or go to this restaurant. Not that this post is any different, but call it a luxury for your taste buds, if you will. At Chef’s Noodle, your taste buds will have one roller coaster of flavors: pungency, sourness, spicy, saltiness and sweetness—all these will definitely please even the most distinctive palate.
Starking Fire Sushi torched right before your eyes.

Made from the freshest ingredients.
 The first time I heard about Chef’s Noodle, I thought all they served was noodle-based dishes. But upon seeing the menu myself, I found out they had a lot of interesting dishes to try. The store does not disappoint with its menu. They had Korean sushi such as Kimbap (Seaweed Nori-wrapped rice rolls with Korean ham, radish, cucumber and egg), Kimchi Kimbap (Seaweed Nori-wrapped rice rolls with Kimchi, Korean ham, radish and egg), Bulgogi kimbap (Nori-wrapped rice rolls with beef and leeks) and Chef’s Noodle specialty sushi called Starking Fire Sushi (Sushi rice topped with thinly sliced Australian beef torched and served with a special sushi sauce made specifically for Chef’s Noodle).  We were able to try the Kimbap, Kimchi Kimbap and the Starking Fire Sushi. And I must say that they were really good. Surprisingly, even if the Starking Fire Sushi was still raw when it was brought to our table (it was only torched right in front of us)—and cooked right before our very eyes—the thinly sliced Australian beef was tender and juicy enough (mild rare). It perfectly complements the sweet vinegared Korean rice.
Chef's Noodle staff torches the Starking Fire Sushi right before the customer's eyes.
Chef's Noodle--the resto's specialty.

Beverages: Chef's Noodle signature Iced Lemon tea or Strawberry Tea.

Starking Fire Sushi with Australian Beef strips.
Seafood Pajun (pancakes)

Kimbap Sushi
Chef’s Noodle also had Bulgogi Leek Jun (Korean Bulgogi Pancakes), Seafood Pajun (Korean Seafood Pancake), Leek Shrimp Twigim (Deep fried leeks and shrimp in a special tempura batter), Kalbichim (Korean Beef Stew) and Wanja Steak Jun (Fried Beef pancake topped with cheese and egg). These pancakes may be eaten with rice or ala carte.

Of course, they were named as such because of their delicious Korean noodle recipes such as Jjampong (in mild spicy or Korean spicy fresh seafood ramen), Bibim Noodle (Korean cold noodle in sweet, spicy and sour sauce topped with egg roll, bean sprouts and bulgogi), Japchae (traditional Korean glass noodle dish with beef and vegetables) and of course, the restaurant’s specialty Chef’s Noodle (Korean Fresh Noodles with beef broth topped with vegetables. Bulgogi and tamago). 

Korean Japchae Glass Noodles.
A word of caution though, if you’re not into spicy things, I suggest you to skip the Bibim Noodle. But if you love spicy stuff, by all means go ahead—it will surely bring you to spicy heaven. Make sure you have a glass filled with iced tea or perhaps a pitcher of water beside you when you order Bibim Noodle. It tastes really good except that it may not be for everyone, especially if you have kids with you. Others may not appreciate its spicy and tangy taste. But it sure is Korean’s own version of Italian spaghetti. But knowing fully well how Filipinos love anything sweet in their pasta or spaghetti dish, they may not like this dish.

Spicy heaven Bibim Noodle

I would highly recommend Chef’s Noodle to anyone. It had a huge serving that you could share for up to three persons. And it’s really affordable at Php150 per order; I mean that’s true value for your money! Plus the soup broth is refillable (at no extra charge), so you can make sure everyone gets his share of its tasty hot broth.
Beef broth that's refillable. 

If there’s one thing I’d like to highlight about Chef’s Noodle, it is the shift towards fresh cooking. It guarantees freshness of the dishes because the food will only be cooked upon your order. And the Chef’s Noodle soup broth was made for more than ten hours to guarantee its excellent umami taste.  Imagine more than ten hours in the making? And it’s all just for the broth, guys! No wonder that Chef’s Noodle soup broth has that rich flavorful beefy goodness in every slurp.

According to Ms. Ana Lampa, Chef’s Noodle marketing executive, “Chef’s Noodle works with local ingredients like we sourced our bean sprouts from Baguio City.  However, we do not compromise the quality of the authenticity of our Korean dishes. But more importantly, we are very particular with the freshness. You can bring out the best flavors of the ingredients if you know how to cook them right. At Chef’s Noodle, we ensure that we have authentic Korean meals; especially since popular Korean chef Choi In Sun (who created the entire Chef’s Noodle menu dishes in Korea) had trained our Filipino staff and chefs.”

They are collaborating on additional menu, so expect more changes as the Chef’s Noodle menu continues to evolve. “We’ll always maintain the signature dishes as well as keep developing new ones. But we’ll guarantee to always make our selections as delectable, innovative and exciting as possible,” says Lampa. Although fairly new, they’ve been getting very good feedback from their clients and customers daily.

Most Korean restaurants say they have very good authentic food, but Chef’s Noodle not only have excellent and authentic Korean food at prices that are very reasonable, not to mention fast and efficient service. Here, you don’t just get what you pay for because the food and services are worth so much more. And since they are located within the vicinity of the De La Salle University-Manila and College of Saint Benilde, they also offer combo meals at student-friendly prices.

The friendly counter at Chef's Noodle ready to take your order.
I am making it a goal to try each of their dishes. Hopefully, I could get to try their spicy Ddukbokki (spicy and sweet rice cake seasoned with various fruit and vegetables) soon. Chef’s Noodle is sooo worth the trip if you’re not from the Manila area. But having tasted their array of dishes, I’m sure there’ll be a branch near you in the near future. 

Chef’s Noodle is located at the 2nd floor of University Mall, Taft Avenue, Malate, Manila. It is open daily from 10AM to 9PM.
Chef’s Noodle also has delivery express and pickup branch at the Atlanta Center, 31 Annapolis Street, Greenhills, San Juan.
For Delivery, please call 708-9520/405-0129 Mobile: 09328715560
Like them on Facebook: and follow them on Twitter at!/chefsnoodlephil
For further information, please log on to their website,
Security Blanket thanks Ms. Anna Lampa and Ms. Nancy Go of Chef’s Noodle Philippines, Ms. Ana Liza Bautista and Ms. Michelle Acantillado of Penser Q, and Ms. Darryl Dial-Villena.

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Yummy Goya chocolates in different shapes sizes and flavors.

We all love chocolates, that's a given fact. But contrary to previous reports, did you guys know why chocolates are good? Because chocolates are processed with perfection in mind and thus, there is no room for error. Everyone wants to eat chocolate so it has to be of excellent quality to be truly outstanding.

This is what Delfi, a top chocolate confectionery brand, always bears in mind in the manufacture of their world class-quality chocolates. Through meticulous research, including time-perfected recipes plus safe handling and processing of top-quality raw materials, Delfi is now able to make chocolates as perfect as possible to meet consumers’ discriminating demands.

To make everything perfect, Delfi, brought here in the Philippines by Delfi Foods, Inc., makes sure that the quality of each product that comes out of their factory is really top of the line. All necessary ingredients are infused on its products, like Goya and Knick Knacks, for example, and carefully handled to make them perfect in taste. “Aside from being an art, chocolate making is also a science. Precise timing and temperature of the cocoa is always carefully observed to make that signature Delfi taste in every Goya chocolate,” explains Nilo Chincuanco, General Manager of Delfi Foods, Inc.

The scientific side in making Goya involves putting up a dedicated team of product experts to oversee all chocolate-making activities and at the same time, rigorous safety and quality standards are met or even surpassed to make the perfect chocolate.

With the Delfi Quality Management System in place, plus globally recognized manufacturing standards like ISO 22000, HALAL certification, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) as set by the Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), all products that roll out of its factory are of more-than-adequate quality and free from other food safety hazards in order to protect the consumer.

“The credibility of the brand is at stake here so we cannot let our guards down. We continually find ways, through painstaking research and development efforts, on how to make our chocolates perfectly delicious and yet absolutely safe,” says Chincuanco.

Surely, with the breadth of food quality certification standards they put in place, Delfi is still able to make their Goya products affordable for every Pinoy. “Though affordable, it is no excuse to sacrifice quality and food safety. These two are always on top of our minds and are always in place in the entire manufacturing process,” Chincuanco adds further.

There is no denying that the perfect chocolate is made out of thorough and careful research, the best ingredients available, and proper food manufacturing processes—and Delfi makes sure that their Goya and Knick Knacks products has them all to make perfectly delectable chocolates.

I grew up with Goya chocolates. I even had this dream of one day visiting their factory just like what they had in their popular commercial in the 80's--the Goya Fun Factory. It seemed to be a scene straight out of Willy Wonka's, but this is a brand that Filipinos had grown to love and trusted all throughout the years.  

Wanting for that ideal and faultless chocolate? The next time you crave for superb-tasting and extraordinary chocolates, try Goya Chocolates that come in bars, bite sizes, panned, wafers and other products that are a perfect fit to the Filipino chocolate palate and of course, Knick Knacks. These premium-quality and affordable brands are what every chocolate-loving Filipino rightfully deserves—and should not miss.

So head off to the nearest major supermarkets, leading groceries and convenience stores nationwide—and even pharmacies, too, and heartily share those delightfully-tasting Goya and Knick Knacks chocolates with your family and friends. It’s the best way to spend any chocolate day.

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