SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

July 28, 2010

Bihun Hailam

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 12:24 am

I was really happy last night that my version of Bihun Hailam coz it tasted really good. I dunno what I did but it has the “spicegasm” effect ( I’m trying to actually make spicegasm into a real word ). Actually this is a Malay dish. I have no idea what Hailam means and I never bothered to find out. All I know is when the word Hailam is associated with Mee ( Pancit ), Bihun or Kway Teow ( flat rice noodles ), it is a noodle dish with thick black sauce and often spicy.

I think if we use  Yellow Egg Noodles instead of Bihun, it will taste better. Bihun tend to suck all the gravy and makes the dish a little bit dry. Since Yellow Egg Noodles at my nearby sari sari store is not available, I opted to use Bihun instead. So let me share with you my version of Bihun Hailam.


  • 250 gm of Bihun soak in water till soft and drain
  • Chinese cabbage ( you can put more if you like vegetables )
  • Tahong ( mussels ) – boil and remove from shell
  • one chicken breast cut into small pieces
  • squid or prawn
  • 3 table spoon dark soy sauce
  • one table spoon oyster sauce
  • one table spoon light soy sauce
  • 3 clove garlic – crush
  • one small onions sliced thinly
  • chili labuyo 2 ( put more if you like it spicy ) – pounded till paste like
  • 3/4 liter water
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • corn starch one teaspoon


  • heat up 5 table spoon cooking oil
  • saute garlic till fragrant
  • add in sliced onion
  • add in chicken meat and sea food
  • add in chili paste
  • add in dark soy sauce and oyster sauce
  • add in light soy sauce
  • add salt
  • add in Chinese cabbage
  • add 3/4 liter of water
  • when gravy is mixed well – add in Bihun
  • cook till Chinese cabbage is slightly soft ( not to soft – need to maintain crunchiness )
  • add in corn starch to thicken the gravy
  • add pepper and ready to serve

As you can see I fried an egg and made is as garnishing. Actually I don’t really care bout the garnishing, I just love eating fried egg. You can also squeeze some calamansi on to your Bihun Hailam. If you remember, I made a dish call Pancit with dark soy sauce Hokkien Style. The ingredients used are almost the same, but what made Bihun Hailam different from it is the chili labuyo paste. Sometimes adding just one additional ingredient can really change the outcome of the dish. So if you love spicy noodles, this is one recipe that is easy to cook and all ingredients are easy accessible in the Philippines.

July 26, 2010

San Miguel Light is good for you

Filed under: Chit Chat,Philippines — Alex @ 8:36 am

One of my favorite beer when I am in the Philippines gotta be San Miguel Light beer. Draft beer is available but is not very much in demand. So most Filipino drinks their beer with ice. I am used to it coz I do it too when I am in Thailand and Singapore. So the first few words that I learn in Tagalog is “baso chaka yelo”. Not sure if the spelling is correct but I am sure if you are Pinoy you can figure out it is glass with ice. SML is really easy to drink and it is really smooth. Is not hard to gulp 8 bottles of SML in 3 hours. With that amount, it can make me buzz and I suddenly become a happier person. I am not those kind of dudes who get rowdy when they have a little too much to drink ( most drunk claim that as well come to think of it ). I just love to get buzz a little and smile a whole lot more. That’s not really a bad thing right.

But I have to admit that they are times when the mood is right, with the right company of friends and the stars and moon are aligned, we tend to drink a little bit more. When I wake up the next day, I normally wish that I wouldn’t have gone all the way. So I made a resolution that I would control my boozing and not blame it on the pulutan ( snacks or tidbits ) that made me drink like 2012 is for real.

I was happy that I was able to control myself and felt pretty proud for being a responsible drinker for a while. All that changed when I received an email from my brother. It seems like drinking more than normal does gives you the same benefit as YOGA does. When I looked at the pictures that was attached to the mail, I was really convinced that it is true. Here are the pictures for you skeptics.

Savasana – position of total relaxation

Balasana – position that brings the sensation of peace and calm

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana – position calms the brain and heals tired legs

Marjayasana – Position stimulates the mi-drift area and the spinal column.

Halasana – Excellent for back pain and insomnia.

DolphinExcellent for the shoulder area, thorax, legs, and arms.

Salambhasana – Exercise to stimulate the lumbar area, legs, and arms.

Ananda Balasana – This position is great for massaging the hip area.

Malasana – This position, for ankles and back muscles.

So there you go. I regard myself as someone who has a fair amount of intelligence. How can I not be convince that beer is actually good for you. Now that I can save money on gym fees, I have extra money to do more YOGA daily. So to all my drinking buddies, I raise my glass and say


July 25, 2010

The Dutch made cycling look so cool

Filed under: Europe,Netherlands,Travel — Alex @ 6:40 am

While I was in Italy, I went to visit a friend in Amsterdam. Since I am already in Europe, why not take the opportunity to visit another EU country. There are quite a number of budget airlines in Europe. Tickets are really affordable if you happen to buy at a certain time. Even though last minute purchase are not that bad. I think if I can remember it correctly, it cost me $80 to fly to Amsterdam direct. I forgot which airlines I used and I will make sure in the future I will make a note about all this. This will make visiting my blog a little more worth while if I can provide useful information. So for now, just bear with my nonsense ramblings.

Bicycles parked near the canal

Most of us always have an image of a country we haven’t visited in our head. In my case, take Amsterdam for example. In my head is all about wooden clogs, tulips and windmill. These images are partly contributed from some pictures on a calender eons away as a kid. So whenever I touched down in the airport of a country that I am visiting the first time, I am always very excited to step out from the airport. Most of the time, my mental images always represent a really small part of the countries. Pictures or tv programs can only contribute as much, but being there real life is the best way to see the country.

Cycling around the city is common

I enjoyed my trip in Amsterdam as the people are pretty friendly and helpful. Almost everybody speaks in English and asking for directions is not a problem at all. Walking around Amsterdam city is fun for me as the weather was cool and the scene is new to me. It makes me more observant of my surroundings and it made me think, we always take for granted in the place that we are accustomed to.

Jason was not as excited as I am while walking the streets of Amsterdam as he sees it everyday. In fact he kept asking me about Asia and think is really nice that Asian weather is always sunny and hot. I just smile in my mind as I heard many of my Filipino friends always complain how MAINIT ( hot ) is the weather when summer hits Pinas.

Even the young and the hip cycles too and the man that is balding is hip too

One thing that I found really awesome is that the Dutch made cycling on an old bike look so cool. When I was a kid, a family friend of ours works in a grocery store and he has this old black bike where he used it to deliver stuff. The thought of cycling that bike to school instead of my BMX kinda frightens me. But in Amsterdam, people dressed in suit are cycling all these bikes. So many pretty Dutch girls were cycling this bikes too while dressed up very stylishly.

As for food, I am very happy with Amsterdam as there are so many choices. They have good Indonesian restaurant as Indonesia was part of the Dutch colonies long time ago. So you can see many authentic Indonesian restaurant. Another restaurant that I love is Cafe De Klos. Is a kind of pub and restaurant serving great food. It is always packed and the menu is printed on the waiters’ tee shirts. I find that very cool and refreshing. I ordered the pork ribs and it tasted really good. It is not dry and even they serve it without any gravy, it tasted very good. For once I don’t need my BBQ meat with the help of Maggi Chili Sauce. It just never occurred to me to take pictures of the menu on the waiter’s t-shirt and my meal. Next time, next time…I promise.

Here are some pictures that I took when I was in Amsterdam. As usual, I have no idea what made me take all these pictures but I think is cool to let these pictures be seen rather than rotting in my hard drive.

An expensive hotel which I did not stay at, just took this picture cause the building looks pretty nice

My tiny hotel room that cost me 80 EUR a night. Of course with that price you get a really nice hotel in Asia. But I like the room as I always drink my coffee and smoke near the window.

Hope to live in one of this boathouse one day

Enjoying coffee by the canal with your friends, simple but really cool activity

Nice restaurant by the canal

People crossing the bridge in one of the canal. There are a lot of bridges that looks the same and always very confusing to me.

The famous wax museum that I did not enter. Looking at famous personalities made of wax wasn’t my cup of tea.

Father and son on a really cool bike passing by the entrance of Madame Tussaud.

Another mode of transportation, the tram.

Dutch version of tricycle

July 22, 2010

Ibayo Restaurant at San Miguel by the bay

Filed under: Bars & Resto,Food,Philippines — Alex @ 6:47 pm

Ibayo recently held a press event night specially for all food bloggers in the Philippines. It was organized once again by the good people of EVENTUS KINETIX-IMC CORP.

After my first experience attending the opening ceremony of King Chef restaurant, I feel more comfortable this time around. I arrived at 7.50pm which is actually 50 minutes late. I kinda know that the event would not start exactly as stated on the invitation email which is at 7.00pm. I am just following the Filipino Time. ( To be fair, is actually a South East Asian trait, not a good one but we always joke about it). Food was already served and bloggers we busy taking pictures of the food. Seems like I am the only guy who is late. Abigail, Winston and Mark from the organizing team greeted me and found me a table with another fellow blogger with her hubby. We made the customary introduction and chatted for a bit while waiting to order our food. I order one dish that is Sizzling Chicken, Analynn and hubby ordered White Chicken Adobo, Beef Kaldereta, Crispy Pata and a starter.

My sizzling spring chicken dish

Beef Kaldereta

The ever popular Crispy Pata, I just wish I had some Chicken rice chili sauce to go with it!

When the food arrived, we took some pictures and began to taste the food. After our meal, people were walking around to introduce themselves, saying hello to old friends and also the owners were asking everybody if everything is okay. We were  introduced to the owners of Ibayo by Abigail. I had a very good chat with one of the brothers, Tyrone( 2 siblings own Ibayo ).

My invitation email states that Ibayo is run by Barrio Fiesta. I have seen the Restaurant Barrio Fiesta in Makati Ave but never had the chance to eat there. But I am aware that Barrio Fiesta is a famous family restaurant that has been around for ages. So I just ask Tyrone how it all began.

Barrio Fiesta was actually started by Tyrone’s grandmother. His grandfather was a movie producer and her grandmother usually cooked for the film crew. Everyone loved her cooking so much that she started turning a small portion of her house into a tiny restaurant. Over time, business is so good that it finally took over the house and many Barrio Fiesta restaurant soon followed.

Many Filipino grew up with Barrio Fiesta as it is a popular place for families get together or weekend eating out session. It is a household name and I’m sure most Filipino have eaten there at least once in their life. We also discuss about the food from other region as Tyrone is a former national team bowler and he is well traveled. He is also very familiar with the food in Singapore and told me that he enjoys eating Chicken Rice and Bah Kut Teh.

I was given a cocktail which is made by Tristian and I have to admit it tasted pretty good. I was never into cocktail as I regard myself as a beer drinker. But I think my mentality about cocktail as a sissy drink gotta change as I am a food blogger now. I need to be more open for new things.

It is safe to say that Ibayo, ran by two young entrepreneurs whose family background is a household name in the restaurant business will make a name for themselves as the modern version of Barrio Fiesta. Chic interior design with some touch of traditional Filipino designs gives a modern feel of the restaurant. With the passion of Tristian creating new flavors of cocktails, this surely will appeal to the younger crowd of Filipino who wishes to taste the goodness of Filipino food with modern settings.

Some fellow bloggers asked me how did I enjoy the traditional Filipino dishes. Is hard for me to actually give an honest opinion as the food was served free to me. As a human being, our judgment are clouded by this generous gestures by our hosts. I think next time, all new restaurant should charge a minimal fee for bloggers like us to attend their openings. Hahahaha..I hope my fellow bloggers will NOT flame me for this suggestion of mine. But on a serious note, I really did enjoyed the fried dishes and would say the quality of the food is of good standard. I can only give my final verdict when I pay for my own meal next time around.

Some more pictures of Ibayo press event.

My tablemates, fellow blogger Analynn and hubby

Bloggers having a feast with dishes provided by our generous host Ibayo

The hard working organizers having their meal after all the bloggers left.

I wish the Ongpauco brothers all the best and I hope they will make Ibayo into a house hold name among the new generation of Filipino.

July 20, 2010

Beef meat Begedel

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 5:20 pm

I am running out of spices and looking forward for my trip to Singapore very soon. Need to go back and indulge myself with some hawker food that I missed dearly. Another reason is to stock up some spices for my future trips.

With the shortage of spices, I decided to make this dish call begedel that I think I can pull it off by cutting some corners and still make it taste decent. I have no idea what begedel is call in English and I am lazy to search in the Internet. So I will just give it an English name myself. Since this is my blog, I think I am entitle to do that. I shall call it Rounded Mash Potatoes Fritters with beef meat. There you go, begedel got a new English name. ( Pronounce as Burger Dell ). Begedel is a Malay dish and I’ve eaten it in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore as well.

Here is how I made my Rounded Mash Potatoes Fritters with beef meat ( Begedel ).


  • 100 gm beef meat – minced
  • 3-4 potatoes ( depends on size ) – peel and boil till soft
  • one small red onion – chopped fine
  • pepper and salt to taste
  • one egg
  • skyflakes biscuit one small packet packet
  • some multi purpose flour


  • Pound skyflakes to make it like bread crumbs
  • Mash the boiled soft potatoes
  • Add in beef meat and mix well
  • Add chopped onion
  • Add skyflakes powder
  • Break egg to mix
  • Add salt and pepper according to taste
  • Make round shape of mixtures and press slightly to make it like coin shape
  • Cover slightly with multi purpose flour ( put multi purpose flour on a plate and roll begedel mixture on it )
  • Heat up oil and fry till golden brown
  • Best to serve with Chili Sauce

Freshly fried begedel that is still pipping hot

Attempting to take a nice picture of a cracked open begedel to show the filling inside but fail miserably.

Even without some other spices like white cumin powder and cumin powder, the Begedel still taste pretty all right with onion, beef, salt and pepper. Fried food is always safe as it is universally accepted. Also the shape of my Begedel not as nice as the ones I had in Indonesia. This is because you need to practice all the time to make the shape nice and even. But I am happy with the result once again as I am not a trained chef.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress