Last night’s dinner: Pinangat.

Pinangat na gabi

According to Wikipedia:

Pinangat is a Filipino dish which originated in Bicol Region, Philippines.

More popularly known in Manila as Laing, this dish is a nice blend of taro leaves, chili, meat and coconut milk wrapped in gabi leaves and tied securely with coconut leaf.

Which begun to explain why I was really confused when Leo called the dish “pinangat” whereas it looked like “tinomok” to me.

It turns out tinomok is a variation of pinangat. And pinangat is what is known in Manila as “laing”; except laing (as Manila folks know it) uses shredded, not whole, taro leaves.

What I know as “pinangat” (through my Bicolana mother) is a sour stew of small fish, usually sap-sap or galunggong, in vinegar, calamansi juice or other sour fruit, and made piquant by pepper and chili. That dish is also called “pangat”. Pangat has a variation called “sinaing”, which is also the Tagalog term for cooking rice.

Now you see why I was so confused.

Leo brought pinangat when he returned from Bicol and we heated it for dinner last night. It did look exactly like that in the photo when we removed the foil wrapping.

It was wonderfully prepared: the taro leaves soft and the curdled coconut milk thick. For once, Leo was not complaining despite the chili. Well, he did at some point, while scooping more rice using his hands; but still ate anyways because he missed Bicolano cooking.

Here is a rather complicated pinangat recipe from the Interwebs:

Pinangat na Gabi

Ingredients:

  • 24 gabi stems and leaves
  • 1/4 kilo cooked pork, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup dried fish, boiled and flaked
  • 1/2 cup bagoong alamang
  • 2 pieces siling labuyo, crushed
  • 2/3 cup green onions, finely cut
  • 1 1/2 cups pure coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (second extraction)
  1. String stems and cut into two-inch lengths.
  2. Wash leaves.
  3. Mix pork, fish, 3 tablespoons bagoong, garlic 1 teaspoon ginger, siling labuyo and green onions.
  4. Add pure coconut milk.
  5. Pile four leaves together and put 3 tablespoons of the mixture.
  6. Wrap and tie.
  7. Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the ingredients.
  8. Arrange in a kettle together with the stems and pour second extraction of coconut milk.
  9. Season with the remaining bagoong.
  10. Add 1 teaspoon ginger.
  11. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours.

Makes 6 servings.

This is my first entry to my Christmas wishlist.

Guess what it is?

Angry Birds board game

Leo tweeted about an Angry Birds board game coming out:

We have been waiting for an Angry Birds board game for quite some time now. The gameplay on smartphones and tablets just seems like it would lend itself to a real-world game so well and our wish has finally been answered. Knock on Wood is the official Angry Birds board game and it’s available right now!

Normally I dislike the use of exclamation points in news posts, but I could feel the collective squee of Angry Birds fanboys there. Bern was squealing behind me when we saw the product photos.

The game pieces looked lovely, and it feels a shame to actually use the and risk scratching and dirt. I think I should get two sets: one for actual game use and another for collection and display.

Bread from Shangri-la.

Bread from Bakersfresh

Bern and I were following Leo to the lighter store yesterday afternoon when the three of us passed in front of a bakery. At once and without discussion, the inviting smell of fresh bread made us stop, head back, and step into the store. Next thing we knew, Bern was holding a tray and tongs and we were deciding which bread we should be buying.

I haven’t passed by that area of the Shangri-la Mall in some time and did not notice Bakersfresh before. I’m not that much of a fan of fancy bread, really. Most of the time, I’m happy with pan de sal and whole wheat loaf from Pan de Manila. Often, bread for me is merely that thing that wraps a sandwich.

Bread from Bakersfresh

Obviously, I don’t know how to bake.

But sometimes, really good bread will catch my attention. Or in this instance, our attention.

I picked some garlic and butter sticks (which I though would go well with pasta and could be eaten fine on their own). I also picked what was labeled yema bread, because it reminded me of a similarly-named bread I once had in Laguna. Leo got himself a ham and pineapple wrap, while Bern choose a bread topped with pork floss. We joking at how we’re going to store the bread at home; actually, we already ate nearly have of what we bought within 30 minutes of us arriving at the apartment.

The yema bread actually looked homely compared with the others. It was a bit pale and round, built like a dome on a flat base. It could remind someone of a really huge, really nasty boil. It was also surprisingly good.

The dome used normal bread floor with some yummy custard as filling; that, I suppose, was the “yema” bit. The base, however, was sweet and used cake flour; it tasted like pacencia.

The other kinds of bread were good, in a rather uniform and generic kind of way. Of good quality, but no surprises. Next time I pass by Bakersfresh, I’ll pick another random bread and see if it will wow me.

Bread from Bakersfresh

The driver had a golden cock. Probably.

In the cab we rode from Fete dela Musique, Markee sat next to the driver while Bern and I sat at the back. Markee, after near-terrorizing the food vendors of Market! Market!, decided to interview the cab driver.

Being interviewed by Markee was like letting yourself face an army of elephants, but the cab driver humored him despite initially complaining how Markee’s incessant questions made him lost track of the confession letter portion of the radio program he was tuned in to.

“But they’ll have a replay by 2 o’clock,” Markee told him.

“How do you know?” the driver asked, skeptically.

“I used to work at that station,” replied Markee, without a pause. The guy could instantly come up with an outrageous lie and say it with a convincing tone. He then changed the subject, “mister, what if a gay guy asks if he could do something naughty with you?”

The blunt question could cause other drivers to be quiet in anger or embarassment, but this one isn’t backing down. He gamely told us of the time a guy got in, asked him to drive from Guadalupe to Buendia and back.

“He asked me how much should he pay me to touch my dick,” the cab driver went on. When we asked him what his answer was, he said 500 pesos plus the normal cab fare.

“Oh wow. You’re so good looking, mister,” Markee said mockingly. The driver laughed it off and said he accepted the money, let the other guy touch the driver’s dick but without opening his fly. Then the driver sped to Guadalupe and back so it’ll be over before the other guy could enjoy his little thrill.

“That was all?” the other guy complained. “Could we have another go?” The driver said the other guy should pay him again if he wanted another round; the other guy decided to get off the cab.

The driver obviously wanted to appear that he can’t be outwitted by lecherous gay men. One time another guy asked him how much he’ll charge to be given a blowjob, the driver answered “2,500 pesos”.

What’s that?” all three of us protested. “Is your dick made of gold, mister?”

He laughed it off and said, “because I’m a driver. I don’t do that shit.”

The inane question and answers continued as we drive until the apartment. The next time we’re taking a cab with Markee, we ought to bring a recorder with us.

“Hey, mister,” said Markee when we only a few hundred meters from the apartment. “Where’s your meter?”

The driver swore and palmed his face because he forgot to flag down his meter. When we got off, we gave him a hundred persos. He was asking for 20 pesos more for the fare. I told him, a hundred is more than enough. “I take a cab to just outside Pateros and that only costs me a hundred,” I sternly told him. “And that’s through daytime traffic, too.”

The guy continued to protest so Bern cut him off. “Since you didn’t have your meter running,” he told the driver, “we should only be paying you the flag-down rate.” He was lucky we gave him a hundred. We got out of the cab and went into our building.

Until then, mister cab driver was boasting how he outwits every gay man who offers him money for a feel or a blow. It gets irritating, really, after some time. Hearing the now desperately pleading tone of his voice, which was (um) cocky just a few minutes ago, was just absolutely delicious.

Number blacklisting should be a standard feature for mobile phones.

When I decide to cut off phone or SMS communication with someone, I do not remove their number from my phonebook. I merely modify their name so it doesn’t immediately appear when I scroll down my phonebook entries. Should those people choose to call me or send an SMS, I know right away I shouldn’t answer them.

One time, I told this habit to Leo and he said answering “hu u?” (the local SMS shorthand for “who are you?”) would be more insulting to the other person. That may be true, but it also means a renewed exchange of messages with the person I am actively avoiding. Let’s face it, some people should not even be touched by a ten-foot pole.

A few weeks back, an anonymous number sent me a text message. Annoymous merely wrote “hi” to which I gave my standard answer: “Hi. Your number is not in my phonebook. May I know who this is, please?” (That response is actually saved as an SMS template, because I’m a lazy bastard like that.)

Anonymous replied, asking if we could be textmates. I sent my reply: “No.”

Anonymous then wrote something like “oh, okay” to which I did not answer anymore. After a few minutes he sent two more messages, in intervals, asking why I do not want to be textmates with him/her.

Annoyed, I finally replied something like: “I don’t know you. I’m not interested to be textmates.” I ended my message with: “Why is it that if some people received a ‘no’, they assume the other person must be kidding? I don’t want to think they’re stupid for not understanding a simple enough answer.” That’s the English translation. I wrote my reply in Tagalog, just in case Anonymous really is a stupid person who can’t understand “no” for an answer.

It turns out Anonymous was not merely stupid, he/she was also very persistent. Every couple days or so, I still get a text message from that number. Earlier this evening, Anonymous sent another group-spam greeting-type SMS. I can’t stand it anymore, so I replied: “Please stop texting me.”

“Sure..kala mu gwapo,” he replied. (Sure. You think you’re so good-looking.)

What the fuck.

I know I was being as immature as the fucktard, but I still replied something like: “I’m not good-looking. What I look like has nothing to do with this. I don’t know you and I have no interest in talking to you. If someone tells you, ‘no, I don’t want to be you textmate,’ you should respect their request.”

So far, Anonymous has not sent a message since then. Please, please, please let him stop.

The cheaper, monochrome-screen handsets of Nokia has this added feature where you could mark twenty or so numbers as blocked. It doesn’t really stop those numbers from calling you; but your phone will not ring if those numbers make a call. But better still, SMS from those blocked numbers will not be placed in your Inbox.

Too bad the feature is limited to low-end models. Many people like me will find good use for it.