SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

May 26, 2010

Idea to improve economy of Philippines – Pt 2

Filed under: Chit Chat,Food,Philippines — Alex @ 6:33 am

My plan is just to encourage Cottage Industry that produces food. The business model is not new to the country but the products that I intend to introduce will be totally new and unique. The said product will be food that I firmly believe will be a hit among the masses in the Philippines.Before I elaborate any further about the plan, I would like to share with you what I’ve observed in my own country and during my many travels to other parts of South East Asia.

Food industry has always been very popular all over the world. But in South East Asia, the food business is rather quite unique compared to developed countries. When I mentioned food industry, it does not necessarily mean that you need to open a restaurant. It can even be smaller than a karienderia operations. When I was growing up, I see this lady selling karipap ( kind of like empanada but the filling is different ) in front of her house every afternoon. She would normally start around 3 pm and her goods will be sold out by 6pm. I see her growth slowly and from her small business with a frying wok, a small table and a big umbrella, she turned her business into a karipap empire.

In Malaysia is very common to find entrepreneurs like her. There are many more success stories similar to the “karipap lady” selling various type of food products. Some of them are so successful that they became food icons. One particular company I could think off is OLD CHANG KEE. It is now a multi million dollar business now and open for franchise. I have come across their stall in Greenbelt in the Philippines. I am sure they are many similar scenarios here in the Philippines as well. Jolibee would be a good example and on a smaller scale I think Corazon with their Halo Halo and Pansit also made it good.

My plan is actually to teach a friend to produce food that is not common in the Philippines. My aim is to make the product as cheap as possible but maintain the quality. Then she can start supplying those unique food to housewives. The food that I would like to introduce to the masses is the kind of food that I think will be easily accepted by the Filipino. The core ingredients would be products that is easily accessible in the Philippines. Only some spices and ingredients that will be made available by SPICEGASM will be used to compliment the product.

My goal is just to give extra income to housewives doing this part time. If she can earn 100-150 pesos per day ( really low target ) that would be a decent side income by doing it for few hours a day. The food that will be introduce are the kind of food which I can be easily accepted by the Filipino. This is based on my research for the past 6 years and observation of the eating habits of Pinoy. With new product it will face lesser competition and hence the markets will be bigger. I strongly believe is way better than selling banana cue which is quite common and this will not allow us to sell at a desired price because everybody is doing it.

I have several products which I would love to give it a try at the moment. In fact I have even made a working paperwork for this project from costing to marketing strategies. Most important aspect is to produce the product at a very low cost. The preparation can be done at home and need not rent a place solely for production purposes. If the product is well received, then she can plan to hire more people and rent a bigger place for production. This in turn will create job opportunities for more people. If the idea does not work, well I guess her neighbors will get to sample a lot of spicy delicacies for free.

In order to help me minimize the chances of failing, suggestions and ideas from you are deeply appreciated. You can voice out anything you want, bad or good we will take note of it. Below are some samples of the products that I would like to introduce. Currently all the products will use it’s original name but to introduce it to the Filipino market, we need to rename the products. We wouldn’t want the potential customers having difficulty ordering the food that he likes and end up not doing so just because he doesn’t know how to pronounce it. Maybe I should make a competition on naming the food products. No prize will be given but you will be remembered as the founder of the food name if it does well in the future.

I will post the recipe for the food that I have just posted above. The food above normally consume during tea time or as the Pinoy call it Mirienda time. I will also include the finer details on how to enjoy these food products by consuming it together with the matching dip and sauces.

May 25, 2010

Idea to improve economy of Philippines

Filed under: Chit Chat,Philippines — Alex @ 8:30 am

I have always been a guy with crazy ideas. Most of the time the idea seems so far fetched that I always get brushed off by my family and friends. I have to admit that most of the time, my ideas are based on the big pictures but I have no clue about the processes of implementing it and also the problems that I might encounter. I have always defended myself by saying, if I do not give it a try, how else would I get to learn and experience it myself.

Because this characteristic of mine, being a dreamer and sort of like a dare devil to try new ventures has landed me in some uncomfortable situations. Is not all the time what I planned and set out to do will become successful. Even when the project failed, I still believe the idea is a good one but lack of knowledge and support ( mostly monetary ) is the main issue why most of the project did not turn up well.

Does all this failures or mini failures deter me from coming out with crazy ideas? I can assure you that all this setbacks will not slow me down but will make me wiser and stronger. I have come to accept that I cannot use various reasons to put the blame on why the project failed. Fail means fail, simple as that. Lacked of funds and knowledge cannot be used as a reason. I shouldn’t have start the project in the first place based on gut feelings alone. Lack of knowledge and funds shouldn’t be a problem if I did my research and homework well. I still have crazy ideas running in my head all the time everyday. Whenever I travel and observe new things, I sense new opportunities. So this time around, armed with experienced of various failed projects and wisdom acquired by being older, I think I am ready to take on more challenges to make something that is significant to other people’s life.

I have this grand plan ( I always call it grand plan when it is in the idea stage…lol ) about creating job opportunities in the Philippines for the poor. Whether it will work out as plan, I sincerely do not know. But what I do know is, I would study and do my homework more thoroughly this time around and hopefully  it will not fail if the idea were to be executed. I’m sure this would strike many as odd and why would a Singaporean dude wants to do something to help the poor in the Philippines. Is he that nice of a guy almost saintly, or is there a hidden agenda where he wants to profit something out of this.

Well, I can answer all the question right here in this post. I am no saint nor the devil himself but just a decent human being who is also a businessman, I would like to make profit out of the project and at the same time helping people to prosper and improve their quality of life. The business model is based on profit sharing and not by hiring the poor Pinoy or Pinay by  offering a job that is paid the below minimum wage. This is a practice that is rampant in the country and I  strongly opposed to it myself. But the number ONE reason that I need to do this is because I need to prove to my fellow barkadas that my idea will work and I am just not all talk but will do the walk. I will try to prove that I am not one of those guys who always talked about grand plans while having drinking sessions but never took any actions. Maybe if this project fail this time around, I will just blame it on the 6 bottles of San Miguel Lights that I had during one of my drinking session with my Filipino friends. I sincerely hope I do not have to resort to that…hahahaha


May 24, 2010

Chicken Kurma recipe

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 10:36 am

Cucumber is in the fridge and I got to make this Chicken Kurma. Kurma I would say is the least spicy when it comes to the family of spicy food. It is mainly made of cumin and coriander I think. I never really know what it is made off as I can buy those Kurma powder in a packet easily. For non professional cook like me, to determine how tasty your dish would be is to get the right brand of Kurma powder. I’ve brought with me a packet of brand that I am not familiar with. I normally use Baba’s but since I was given this powder by a friend from Malaysia, I might as well try it.

You can actually use other types of meat when you cook Kurma. It can be beef, mutton or chicken. Since I have chicken available I will just make chicken kurma. The method is almost the same but is just the cooking time is different if you going to use beef or mutton as the meat takes longer time to be tender.

So here are the pictures for the ingredients needed for Chicken Kurma.


  • Half chicken – approx 500 gm
  • 5 cloves of garlic grounded
  • 1 red onion slice thinly ( could be grounded as well )
  • 1 potato – cut into cubes ( bite size )
  • 1 carrot – cut into cubes ( bite size )
  • Grounded 1 inches of ginger
  • 1 packet of coconut cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Heat 3 big spoon of cooking oil in wok
  • Add garlic , onion and ginger
  • Add one teaspoon of salt
  • Add chicken and continue to stir
  • Add potato and carrots
  • Keep stirring for 3minutes to let those ingredients mixes well with the meat
  • Add 2 tablespoon of Kurma powder
  • Keep stirring till fragrant
  • When kurma powder and other ingredients mixes well, you can see the chicken is half cook
  • Add coconut cream and then add half cup of water
  • Let it simmer in low heat
  • Occasionally stir the chicken and after 45 minutes it is ready. ( You can also check whether the chicken is tender or fully cook. Time given in cooking instruction sometimes are not accurate as the flame we use are always not the same – best is to taste it yourself )
  • Gravy need to be semi thick and not too watery

Chicken kurma in the wok simmering

Chicken kurma ready to be consume with dried fish ( toyo ) and cucumber salad

Today I was really in the mood to cook up a mini feast. I even bought 2 pieces of dried fish ( toyo ) and just fry it. It is another good agent or combination to eat with Kurma or Curry dishes. So today lunch is very lavish for me at least, as I have some really nice gravy of chicken kurma, cucumber salad and dried fish. For those of you who are reading my blog and would like to try to cook this dishes but could not find the necessary ingredients like kurma powder, I hope you will be patient as I am finding a way on how to make all these ingredients available in the Philippines for very affordable prices. In the meantime, I’m gonna have a hearty meal for lunch today while watching WOWOWEE.

P/S : I know the picture sucks and I will get my camera fixed soon! The camera phone sucks…not me

Simple spicy cucumber salad

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 10:09 am

Today I am going to make spicy cucumber salad to accompany with my chicken kurma dish for lunch. I will make a separate post for the Chicken Kurma recipe. Lets get down to making this simple spicy cucumber salad. Here is a picture of what you need to prepare.


  • 1 cucumber – cut according to picture provided
  • 1 small red onions – chopped to fine
  • 1 small tomatoes – chopped to fine
  • 1 small chili
  • 2 spoonful of sugar
  • half teaspoon of salt
  • 3 spoonful of vinegar
  • 2 pieces of lime ( we just need to attract the juice )


  • Put everything that is prepared into a large bowl and mixed it well.
  • Once it is mixed well put it in the fridge for 10 minutes
  • This to allow the cucumber to soak up all the ingredients even more

This is one of the easiest salad to make and is very healthy and tasty. No cooking involved and it is suitable to eat with spicy dishes. When is taken from the fridge and ready to be serve with hot curry or kurma dish, it blends perfectly well. Is like what the saying “like carrots and peas”. For the cucumber salad, if you have pineapple available, you can use it too. You only have to minimize the usage of sugar if you will add pineapple as part of the ingredients.

The Indians normally do not use vinegar but they use fresh yogurt. I prefer to use yogurt but I have no idea where to get fresh yogurt in the Philippines. I guess both yogurt or vinegar will provide the sourish taste to the salad. So this simple dish will gives u almost all the flavors that our taste buds can identify. It is sweet, sour, salty and spicy at the same time. I will make another post on how to make Chicken Kurma shortly.

May 23, 2010

Anybody likes Maggi Chili Sauce in Pinas?

Filed under: Food — Alex @ 12:24 pm

I grew up eating almost all my fried food accompanied by Maggi Chili Sauce. Most country in South East Asia loves spicy food. Parents normally introduce spicy food to their kids by using Maggi Chili Sauce. They would normally let their kids eat it with fried chicken, french fries, keropok ( fish crackers ) and almost all the fried food. It is not really hot at all if you ask all the spicy food lovers. It is actually quite sweet and just has a bit of tangy and very mild spiciness in it.

My kid brother once when to Australia for a golf camp. Most of the participants are Japanese and Korean. My brother brought along one bottle of Maggi Chili Sauce and shared it with his new found buddies. During breakfast it is best to eat your bacon and eggs with Maggi Chili Sauce. The Japanese and Korean loved it so much that they wanted to eat every damn food with it. It is only bagay with fried food and is not a norm to eat it with soup or something.

When I arrived in the Philippines, I was trying to look for Maggi Chili Sauce and didn’t find it. After a year, I finally saw SM selling them and was so damn happy. I think not all SM are selling this brand but I would say most of the SM has it. I am always curious to know who are the people who buying Maggi Chili Sauce. I wanted to make myself the self appointed spoke person for this chili sauce and recommend to everyone in the Philippines. Try eating it with your french fries the next time and let me know what you think. KFC also goes along very well with it.

I think Maggi Chili Sauce is good for entry level when it comes to trying to tackle spicy food. Once you find that Maggi Chili Sauce is no longer spicy, then it is time to tackle on some other spicy dishes. You will missed out on a lot of good dishes in the world. Everybody knows that Indian and Thai food is spicy and very popular in the world. So if you cannot handle spicy food, you will missed out on this delicious dishes from these two countries. People use to go to war back in the days just to control the spices. I think that’s an indication on how important spices are.

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