SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

August 11, 2010

World Food Expo in Manila

Filed under: Chit Chat,Philippines — Alex @ 9:05 am

Last Saturday ( 7th August 2010 ), I decided to check out the World Food Expo that was being held at SMX Convention & World Trade Center. I got to know about this expo while surfing the Internet. I was pretty excited to visit the expo as I might get to see some latest food invention or something that might be new to me. The entrance fee was PHP100 and I gladly paid for it and found my way in to the exhibition area.

I have to say it wasn’t what I’ve expected but it was still all right for me to actually go stroll on a lazy Saturday afternoon. The expo was definitely targeted for the big players as most of the exhibits were selling machineries. Most of the machines that were displayed are for food processing and packaging. Also heavy duty kitchen stuff for industrial cooking. I have no idea what all the machines really do but I just continued strolling and gathering brochures. After spending like 2 hours walking around aimlessly, my legs got tired.

I was planning on going to MOA ( Mall of Asia ) as it is located quite near to WTC. But it was drizzling and getting a cab might be a biatch. As I walked out from the main entrance of the expo, I saw Wensha spa and suddenly decided to hang out there instead. Heard about it all the time from friends about the free shabu shabu and eat all you kinda deal. I’m not really a spa kinda guy as I prefer YOGA anyways. Click here to see my claim of being a Yoga dude.

I am glad that my heart told me to check out this spa as the visit to Wensha spa was actually the highlight of the day and not the trip to Food Expo like what my blog title suggested. Paid PHP600 for foot massage and was given a key to go in. The place was really packed with patrons and I can  see many families with their kids were enjoying the shabu shabu.

I quickly changed and went to the main area where food is being served buffet style. After eating I just rested a bit and then proceed to the foot massage area. Really cool lazy chairs with personal TV screen. After the food massage I just continued to lie lazily on the chair and just watched TV. I think I spent a total of 3 hours just lying on the chair. I managed to watch an episode of GLEE, some parts of Lethal Weapon 4 and a very cool documentary on China.

After enough of rest and TV watching, I decided to go for round 2 and go for the shabu shabu. Eating shabu shabu is nicer when you have a big group. I still got the employee of Wensha to set up the pot.

I have to say for PHP600, it is definitely a SUPER great deal. There are facilities like jacuzzi and sauna which I did not use that day, but I am sure spa fanatics will love this. Place is clean and really relaxing. I think the fact that I can hang out on the chair and watch TV for a few hours is already worth the price. Looks like I found a new place to hang out in Manila. Another good news is, Wensha sells San Miguel Light only at PHP40 per can. 😉

August 6, 2010

Stuffed calamari recipe

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 12:37 pm

Few of the Tagalog words that I learned when I first arrived in the Philippines was Pancit and pusit. Pancit is easy for me to remember as it goes with another word Canton. I speak Cantonese so the word Pancit Canton easily stick to my mind. The other word Pusit ( squid or calamari ) sounds like Pancit. Sometimes I do get it mixed up and ended up calling the must have Filipino birthdays dish Pusit Canton. My Pinoy friends would  laughed at me and corrected my blunder.

One time when I was in a Chinese restaurant in Malate, I saw this calamari dish on the menu called Calamari with Salt and Pepper. Suddenly I have a feeling that I will never forget the Tagalog word for calamari. I just put the words “Pusit Some More” together as it reminded me of a popular 90’s song by Salt and Pepper “Push It Some More”. I am sure those of you who are actively involved in the disco scenes in the 90’s are hearing the tune in your head now.

Few weeks ago, I made a dish named Begedel and it gave me an idea to use part of the concept for my stuffed calamari dish. So here are the steps on how I made my calamari dish and I shall name it “Pusit Some More”.


  • half kilo of calamari/squid – clean it throughout and remove the head and set aside
  • one big potato – boil till soft
  • one small carrot – chopped fine
  • one onion – chopped fine
  • 6 spoonful of multi purpose flour
  • one big spoonful curry power
  • one teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup water
  • one egg
  • 2 sticks ( the type used for BBQ skewing )


  • Making the filling
  • Boil the potato till soft and mash it
  • add in chopped carrots and onion
  • add salt and pepper and mixed will
  • stuff the mixed potato filling into the body of the calamari. Make sure you stuff it real good by – Push It Some More ( I can’t resist…lol )
  • one is properly stuffed, put the squid head on top and seal it with the stick ( refer to picture above ) and set aside
  • Making the batter
  • put flour in a bowl
  • break an egg
  • add in curry powder, turmeric and water and mixed well – make sure it is evenly mixed and thick
  • Heat up oil for deep frying and soaked stuffed calamari in batter mixed
  • Fry till crunchy and golden brown

The Filling – mash potato with carrot and onion

Batter mixed with turmeric and curry powder

Stuffed Calamari ready to be soaked into batter and fry

My Pusit Some More

The hardest part for me when making this dish was stuffing the filling into the slippery calamari. I have to admit that this is my first attempt in making this dish. The result was pretty good but I wouldn’t rate this as my best dish on first attempt. My batter wasn’t thick enough and it did not really coat the calamari as much as I would like it to. Maybe I should have dried the calamari by covering it with very thin layer of flour to make it dry. I am sure my second attempt would be better and I can get 3 different kind of texture from this dish. Crunchiness from the batter, spongy and rubbery from the calamari and soft and easy from the mash potato. The curry powder will give a very nice taste to this Pusit Some More dish.

August 3, 2010

Visiting Shanghai April 2009

Filed under: Shanghai,Travel — Alex @ 1:08 am

I’ve been to China a couple of times but it was to the southern part of China, namely Guangzhou. Never been to Shanghai but always wanted to go because of some documentaries that I saw on TV. Back in the old days, Shanghai was a free port and a lot of foreigners can go in and out of China. Many foreigners made Shanghai as their permanent home and you can still see the influence in some of the buildings.

My younger brother at that time was based in Shanghai and he invited me to come over for a visit. I accepted his invitation and told him that I will be bringing two friends from USA with me. He was given a really nice condo by the company he was working for and it’s located near the famous Shanghai Bund. I was really excited to be bringing two American to witness how awesome China has turned to now. Most of the American still thinks that China is under developed and backwards. My American friends were totally blown away to see how modern Shanghai really is.

I have to admit for a 100% free accommodation, my brother’s pad totally kicked ass. It is a spacious 2 bedroom condo with a balcony view of Shanghai Bund. Sleeping arrangement was easy as Alfred decided to take the couch, Zach was given the guest room (Alfred and Zach didn’t want to share the same bed as they worried they might ended up SPOONING. For more details about spooning click here). I shared the master bedroom with my brother. The weather was in perfect condition as it was spring at that time. Day time was cooling but at night it can get really cold.

My brother did not have an extra blanket for Alfred but Zach was gentleman enough to pass his blanket to Alfred since he said he got the guest bedroom and Alfred got the couch. Zach did mention that his hometown is way colder and he could probably handle the cold. But every morning when we woke up and went to Zach’s room, you can see him dressed in his sweater, jeans and socks, wrapped in the bed sheet like a cocoon. So much for handling the cold Zach!

The living room – we spent a lot of time here going online and watching DVDs at the same time.

The balcony view and you can see Shanghai Bund from here, how cool is that. Sometimes at night there’s firework display.

We did a little bit of sight seeing but me and Zach tend to avoid touristy places. Alfred on the other hand was more into sight seeing and he went to quite a few places taking pictures and being a tourist. As for me and Zach, we normally just chilled in the living room in the daytime and went out at night to pubs to get buzz. We enjoyed those cheap Tsingtao beers with the local delicacies.

Some iconic buildings of Shanghai, I can’t remember the names though.

This building I can remember because Shanghai people call it the Bottle Opener Building. Easy to remember as me and Zach uses bottle opener a lot in our daily life. ( Pictures courtesy of Alfred )

We were invited to my brother’s colleague birthday party at Hooters Shanghai. I have to admit that this place totally rock from 3pm – 6pm as it is happy hours and the beer is one for one. So you have beer and pretty Chinese girls in sexy outfits, how can it go wrong! The Hooter girls are very friendly and they did some special dances and songs for the birthday celebrant. Most of them speak Engrish, I mean English but still have a little bit of accent. We are not complaining though. I love the way they shouted the word SURPRISE and the gif below will illustrate exactly how it sounded.


Zach and Alfred enjoying the birthday party in Hooters Shanghai with hot Chinese Hooter Girls at the background.

It was one of the best trips that I’ve made so far and my two American friends shared the same sentiments. Until today we still talked about how we enjoyed Shanghai and would love to make a trip again soon. We decided to go only when either one of us is celebrating our birthday while we are there. We just want to be SURPRISE again

August 1, 2010

This is my Chili Prawns

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 8:52 am

Singapore folks had a debate a while back. The topic was about which food should be the national food. Tussle between to dishes to be crown as Singapore National Food was Chicken Rice and Chili Crab. At the end of the day, Chili Crab took the converted title.

After Chili Crab was crowned, then another debate soon followed. Which stalls actually serve the best Chili Crab. In my personal opinion, is hard to tell which stall or restaurant serves the best Chili Crab. Firstly, you have to eat in all of the restaurants before you can judge. Then the factors of your own personal taste such as some like it really spicy and some don’t. Well, I think the reason people debate on this matter is because there’s nothing much to argue about when you having beer with your friends. So I would say is just an argument for the sake of argument.

I have no idea why it is named Chili Crab in the first place when tomato puree is a big part of the ingredient. I am not going to start another debate on why it is named Chili Crab instead of “Tomato Crab With Some Chili In It”. The stall that I frequent often for my Chili Crab is No Sign Board restaurant in Geylang. Is not that they have the best Chili Crab in the world but I love their White Pepper Crab dish instead. So I just order the Chili Crab there out of convenience, but the taste is quite good too.

So now I am in the Philippines with no Sri Lankan crab, I have to resort to making Chili Prawns instead. I’ve bought some crab from the alimango seller on the road side. Looks like Sri Lankan crab but not much meat under the shell. So the best option is to use prawns. Enough ramblings and on to my version of Chili Prawns.


  • 500 gm prawns cleaned ( leave shell and head intact )
  • 4 packets of McDo tomato sauce ( works to around 8 table spoons )
  • 4 table spoons of Maggi Chili Sauce
  • Half onion sliced
  • 4 clove garlic
  • one tea spoon black bean sauce
  • 2 chili labuyo ( more if you love spicy )
  • 1 cm ginger
  • one fresh tomato
  • one egg
  • one glass water
  • 2 teaspoon sugar ( less if do not like sweet )
  • salt to taste


  • Cook prawns in cooking oil till half cook and set aside
  • 5 spoonful cooking oil
  • sauteed garlic, ginger and onion
  • add chili and one teaspoon of black bean sauce
  • add in chili sauce and tomato sauce
  • mixed till fragrant and add salt to taste
  • add in sugar
  • add water
  • mixed and add in prawns and tomato
  • when prawn is cooked, off fire and break and egg
  • immediately transfer to serving plate as we want the egg to have gel effect and not lumpy

My Caucasian friend will definitely not enjoy this dish as the head of the prawn is still intact to the body. They think sucking on the head is gross but actually this is the best part of eating prawns to Asian. My advice to my Caucasian friends is, whenever you come to Asia to taste the food please leave out the eye sight sense. Just use the other senses like taste bud and smell.

This dish can actually serve with pandesal, french toast or better yet those fried buns you see in the Chinese restaurants in the Philippines. Normally people call it “Mantou” but I not sure what they call it here. But suggesting to Filipino to eat a dish with a lot of sabaw (sauce) with bread is kinda crazy idea. They will surely tell me is sayang (wasted) if you do not eat dishes with a lot of sauce with rice. Sige…sige…kanin na nga. Ikaw bahala.

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