A taste of Philippines

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When I think of Philippines, I think of tropical fruits and the more unique delicacies like dried tamarinds , dried mangoes or for the more adventurous… balut, which is a developing bird embryo. I never expected Philippines to have a good number of producers who make halal food and even organic food products!

I’ve collaborated once with Cris, when she sent me Pili nuts to review. This time, I’ve been introduced to yet another array of goodies that have been imported from Philippines. These food products have also passed food certifications such as Halal, ISO, USDA Organic and Japanese Agricultural Standard. There was even tuna and organic rice in the package that she sent to me!

There were some that I didn’t really like, such as the coconut chocolate. It would have been tastier if it was filled with actual coconut cream, instead of coconut cream powder.

Of those I have tried, here are some of my favourites:

1) Dried Chocolate-coated Mango Strips

Guadalupe dried mangoes

Philippines is known for their mangoes, there was no doubt why this tasted so good! Chocolate and mangoes… you can’t really go wrong with these two!

2) Banana chips

Healthy Tropics chips

I was sent the banana chips to try, and they were good. I’m a fan of fruit chips, and these didn’t disappoint. I’ve tried jackfruit chips, durian chips… but banana chips are always a safe choice.

3) Malagos Chocolate

Malagos chocolate

I don’t really like chocolate because I get a sore throat really easily. But Malagos Chocolate does a good dark chocolate. I had the 65% dark chocolate bar and it was a good balance of bitter with a tiny hint of sweet. It’s definitely a healthier choice, and you can taste that it’s different from the commercial brands like Cadbury and Hersheys. A good kind of different.

I was impressed with the selection and the quality of the products, since I usually expect food products from the United States and Canada to be of a better quality. But Philippines… I must say, they are a upcoming player in the food industry! I think Singapore is making a smart decision to import from nearby countries since it not only supports this growing industry within Southeast Asia, and it also reduces the carbon pollution of importing such large quantities of food products!

Two thumbs up to Philippines Trade Industry for being so creative in developing these products, without compromising on quality.

I would definitely support your products, especially Malagos Chocolate hehe😛

I’ve moved! Introducing: She Roams the World

Hi friends🙂

You may or may not have noticed a lack of posts on Foogo! lately. Well that’s because I’ve moved over to a new website that I’ve been working on.

I’m proud to announce my new brain-child: She Roams the World.

Rather than just being limited to food reviews and recipes, I’m refocusing my blog on an area that I’m increasingly passionate about: Food Culture! I’ll be writing a post to formally introduce She Roams the World soon, so I’ll see you there🙂

Thank you for your loyal followership all this time, and I hope to continue to share my adventures with you😀

Love,
Andrea

El Rey Del Taco & Havre Aux Glaces @ Jean Talon

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The title of this post barely looks like there’s any English.

My friends and I were at Jean Talon Market in Montreal the other night, and decided to try some of the famous tacos from El Rey Del Taco.

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The service is super efficient here, and they serve you a selection of salsa of different spice levels alongside some dubiously colourful tortilla chips.

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Read more @ my new website: Antoliya!

 

Maple Taffy, Quebec City

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Canada and Maple Syrup come hand in hand, and I’ve recently discovered yet another Canadian goodie that incorporates Maple Syrup… Maple Taffy on snow!

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You can find maple taffy across Canada, but I tried it from a sugar shack when I was visited Hotel de Glace in Quebec City on a weekend trip. It’s made by boiling maple sap past the point that it would become maple syrup, but not so long that it would become maple butter. The sugar syrup is then poured over the snow and you’re given a flat wooden stick to roll in the hardening sugar candy.

I recorded my experience here:

These sugar shacks are called ‘Cabane a Sucre’ in French (Everything sounds better in French)

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These sugar shacks do sell other goodies like the ever-toursity maple syrup in glass bottles, maple butter (sounds so good, I should try making it) and maple lollipops. But everyone seems to be queueing up for Maple Taffy, and for good reason too!

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It reminded me of this ‘molten honey on a stick’ treat that I ate when I was young. I don’t even know if there was a name for it, but it was one of my favourite childhood snacks. There was always an old lady, in her 70s to 80s, who sat by the roadside near Holland Village who would use two chopsticks to skilfully twirl the golden strands of honey. Those were my fond childhood memories.

Maple taffy is something like that! It tastes like hardened honey, yet once you bite through the slightly harder exterior, it gives way to the messy molten maple inside. It’s definitely a messy treat, so be prepared to get your hands, and pretty much everything you’re holding, sticky! I liked the ice coating the maple taffy, because it helped to offset some of the sweetness. It is really sweet, after all you are eating pure maple syrup. I suggest taking your time to eat it so the sweetness doesn’t overwhelm.

Maple taffy on snow is unique to Quebec’s culture, as well as Eastern Ontario and New Brunswick, so you won’t find it if you go to the west coast of Canada. But if you’re in the Quebecois region, you’ve definitely got to try this. It is hands down a fun experience for both adults and kids.

Uniquely Canada: BeaverTails

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BeaverTails, despite their name, are not actually Beaver’s tails. They are whole-wheat pastries stretched to the shape of a beaver’s tails, hence the name. They have flavours ranging from Maple, Chocolate and Oreo to the traditional Cinnamon Sugar.

When we visited a winter carnival in Quebec City, we spied yet another booth selling BeaverTails, and we decided to try this uniquely Canadian treat. I tried a little bit of my friend’s Oreo BeaverTail (looks weird when I type it out) and it was pretty good! The white syrup tasted like the melted Oreo filing, while it was topped with a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce and crumbled Oreos.

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I ordered a Cinnamon Sugar & Lemon BeaverTail, cause I couldn’t decide between Cinnamon & Sugar (CHURROSSSS) or Lemon & Sugar, so this was the only way I could get the best of both worlds.

BeaverTails look so similar to Fish & Chips, just look at the photo below. It looks like a freshly fried fish fillet with a lemon wedge. All that is missing is the mushy peas, fries and maybe a splash of vinegar for a delightful British meal.

I was expecting a drizzle of lemon syrup or for them to squeeze the lemon juice for me, like how it’s done on Lemon Sugar Crepes. It was inconvenient to have to squeeze the lemon in the freezing cold. My fingers were so numb, and I could barely squeeze out all the juice in the wedge. It was quite a sight watching me (and others I’m sure) with trembling fingers, trying to get the sour goodness out.

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To me, it was disappointing. I was expecting the thickness of a churro and the crisp bite that a churro has. But this was very thin, and didn’t have a crunch to it. I grew tired of it near the end, especially since the cold winds cooled it down quickly, and I was just left with soggy thin pastry. The cinnamon sugar coating was good though, I mean you can’t go wrong with that.

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That said, my friend tried the Apple Cinnamon version and he loved it. So it might just be me! Maybe I was unlucky and didn’t get a good one, or maybe my expectations were too high. Nonetheless, BeaverTails are still worth a try at least once when you visit Canada. They definitely taste best hot, and even better eaten in the cold with a cuppa hot chocolate. The prices range from 5-9 dollars, depending on the topping and whether you choose to get a set.

Mai Xiang Yuan: Dumplings, dumplings…and more dumplings

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I love dumplings… if you can’t already tell. I’ve eaten dumplings more than 5 times ever since I’ve come to Montreal. #asian

I was reading up on places with good dumplings in Montreal, and Mai Xiang Yuan was one of the choices. I decided to venture down with my friends to check it out and satisfy our… or at least my never-ending dumpling cravings.

We ordered a plate of boiled pork & cabbage dumplings, boiled pork & mushroom dumplings and pork & cabbage dumpling soup. The boiled plates had about 15 dumplings on each plate, while the soup bowl had 10 dumplings. I’d say one plate of boiled dumplings would make a satisfying meal for under CAD$10!

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The dumplings in the soup were very average unfortunately. The soup tasted like simple seaweed soup, and the dumplings seemed to have less filling than the boiled ones. The skin was also thicker, and the soup seemed to dilute the flavour of the dumplings. Perhaps some of the soup seeped through the skin of the dumpling, making the filling more watery and less flavourful.

I wouldn’t recommend the dumplings in soup. But what I would recommend are the normal boiled dumplings! The meat filling was generous and juicy, and the skin wasn’t thick. They are best eaten hot, so don’t waste time taking photos and just dig in.

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I personally preferred the pork & cabbage dumplings, but my friends didn’t mind both the pork & cabbage / pork & mushroom versions.

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The service is fast, just like you would expect in any asian eatery. If you’re looking for a place to relax and chat the afternoon away, this isn’t the place! Unlike chill cafes, Mai Xiang Yuan is more of a place to get your food and leave, so other customers can get their fill of dumplings. While you won’t be chased out, you wouldn’t feel like sitting around… unless you’re up for another round of dumplings that is.

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Even their teapot has their iconic dumpling on it!

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You won’t miss the cute dumpling signs that are unique to Mai Xiang Yuan. They almost look too cute to eat. Almost. Cause you know you are gonna eat them anyway.

Do I recommend it? Yes definitely. Just go straight for the boiled dumplings, and give the soup and fried version a miss. They have other variations of the fillings, including shrimp, so there’s something for everyone🙂

Rating: 7/10

Mai Xiang Yuan
1082 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2Z 1J5
Chinatown

Restaurant Pain Farci, Chinatown, Montreal

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I know… their name looks like pain and a fancy word for farts. But before you laugh at the seemingly strange name, let me explain ‘Pain Farci’ to you. Montreal is a french speaking country, so it’s no surprise that even the stalls in Chinatown would have french names. ‘Pain Farci’ translates directly to ‘Stuffed bread’ which is an apt name since this stall sells all sorts of stuffed buns, from the usual baos that we eat to dumplings like xiao long bao and jiaozi.

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