SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

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 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.

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 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.

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