Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dong Bei: The best Kuchai Dumpling in Metro

Mostly, I love going out for a food trip alone.  It makes me enjoy the fact that I can eat whatever I want without any hesitations and limitations. That's the time when I crave for something to munch that only my mood for food gluttony can satiate.  But, of course, dining out with my loved ones is a great moment to enjoy and cherish. Whenever, I am in Manila area, it never fails my mood to visit my favorite food galore area, the Chinatown.  
So, I craved for kutchai (chinese chive) dumpling that day.  Since, I was near the area where I had an appointment.  I directly went to Dong Bei.  I first heard about them way back 2009, since then, I've been a fan of their kutchai dumpling.

Dong Bei in Chinatown, is a small Chinese food shop, located in Yuchengco St. or formerly Nueva St.  The first time I went there, I kinda' lost my way.  So, for you to find it easier...  

Here's my direction:

*Go to the landmark, Binondo Church.
*As you face the church, go to the LEFT side street of the Church. (small corner)
*Walk straight.
*Look straight and you can already see the sign of Dong Bei.  
*You go to the RIGHT side street. (facing the Binondo Church)
*Walk straight and Stop from the intersection.  You can see the Cafe Mezzanine in the right from the intersection.
*Go to the LEFT of the intersection.
*Walk straight until you see a sign of Dong Bei in your RIGHT side.

As you enter the shop, you can see on the right corner table, some staffs making the dumplings' glutinous skin or cover.  For me, it's better that they prepare it there than inside their kitchen which is kinda' dark.  At least, the customers can see how they prepare it.  The downside too, is that the shop is kinda' old and have poor maintenance.  Well, what do we expect from a Chinese small restaurant?!  Especially, that they were from Dong Bei (a guess coz' that's the name of their shop), a province that's somewhere in Northern part of China.  Local foods that made from a native or local chef is an exciting food adventure for me.  It is where you can taste something different and exotic.  Well, as I always say, I am not a picky eater.  It seems to me that it's still very safe to eat there.  Since, they make their dumplings fresh daily.  They also offer numerous dishes based on their wall menus which is kinda' old and never been replaced for ages.  Whenever, I visited their shop, I always have my orders for takeaway.  So, there's no time to taste the other foods they offer.

Kuchai or Kutchai (Tagalog) Chinese Chive (English) Kutsai or Kieu-tsai (Chinese)

Kuchai dumpling is a very sumptuous dimsum for me.  For me, Dong Bei has the best Kuchai dumpling that I've had tasted.  I love the skin which is not so thin and thick.  While the stuffed inside is kinda' tasted creamy.  I guess, they put a little coconut milk on it.  I don't know, but that's just my guess.   :)

The Dong Bei have the pork dumpling and the kuchai one.  It can either be steamed or fried.  It's 100pesos for a pack of 14 pcs. of dumplings.  Not bad for the price right!  

They even sell frozen ones...  So, if you want to stock your fridge with their dumplings, be sure to buy for it.  Anytime you crave for it, you can have it right away. :)


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Miracle Fruit or Calabash Tree (Cujete)

Around the year 2007, my Dad who was formerly working in North Cotabato, brought to our home in Aklan,this Calabash Tree or commonly called here Miracle Fruit.  I don't exactly know the reason why they call it Miracle Fruit.  I guess, it is because of its healing wonders that most people who religiously taking this as a herbal supplement have many great news about this tree.

Common name : Krabasi, kalebas, huingo are some of the common names of calabash tree.
Ethnic names : jicara(Spanish), luch in Maya.
Scientific Name : Crescentia cujete
Origin : It belongs to the family of Bignoniaceae (Bignonia family) and also it is known to originate from Central America.
Appearance : Calabash Tree is a small evergreen tropical tree which can grow up to a height of 25 feet and produce fruits up to 25 cm in diameter. It has simple leaves and the bark of the tree is rough. The fruit is large, hard and green in color and takes about six months to ripen. They cannot be eaten but can be used for various ornamental purposes. The fruits are pollinated by bats and they develop from the trunk of the tree. The seeds of the fruit are flat, small and are embedded in the pulp.

My Dad planted three seedlings at our backyard.  Those trees of Miracle Fruit grew and bear fruits all the time.  Actually, we don't really mind this tree even the fruit, because it is kinda' far from our house.  Many passers by in that part of our area, in which is still not walled, are harvesting the fruits.  We even saw some broken branches.  We guess that some of the people there, already knew what they can get from it.  Because, my Dad, been telling many people there about its popularity in Mindanao.  What it can do to their illnesses and the other miraculous healing properties you can get.  As to many testimonies from his colleagues also were telling him in Kidapawan.

In those two photos, the person in it, is my dad.  I accompanied him to harvest some of the fruits.  We planned to make a concoction of Miracle fruit that day.  Actually, my dad is into naturopathic medicine and an organic food fanatic.

• In India, used as a pectoral, the poulticed pulp applied to the chest.
• In the West Indies, syrup prepared from the pulp used for dysentery and as pectoral.
• In Rio de Janeiro, the alcoholic extract of the not-quite ripe fruit used to relieve constipation
• For erysipelas, the fresh pulp is boiled in water to form a black paste, mixed and boiled with vinegar, spread on linen for dermatologic application.
• The bark is used for mucoid diarrhea.
• Fruit pulp used as laxative and expectorant.
• In the Antilles and Western Africa, fruit pulp macerated in water is considered depurative, cooling and febrifuge, and applied to burns and headaches.
• In West Africa, fruit roasted in ashes is purgative and diuretic.
• In Sumatra, bark decoction used to clean wounds and pounded leaves used as poultice for headaches.
• Internally, leaves used as diuretic.
• In the Antilles, fresh tops and leaves are ground and used as topicals for wounds and as cicatrizant.
• In Venezuela, decoction of bark used for diarrhea. Also, used to treat hematomas and tumors.
• In Costa Rica, used as purgative.
• In Cote-d'Ivoire, used for hypertension because of its diuretic effect.
• In Columbia, used for respiratory afflictions.
• In Vietnam, used as expectorant, antitussive, laxative and stomachic.

• In Haiti, the fruit of Crescentia cujete is part of the herbal mixtures reported in its traditional medicine.
 In the province of Camaguey in Cuba, is considered a panacea.
• In Panama, where it is called totumo, the fruit is used for diarrhea and stomachaches. Also for respiratory ailments, bronchitis, cough, colds, toothaches. headaches, menstrual irregularities; as laxative, antiinflammatory, febrifuge. The leaves are used for hypertension.
• In some countries, the dried shell of the fruit is used to make bowls and fruit containers, decorated with paintings or carvings.
• Used in making maracas or musical rattle..
• In Brazil, the fibrous lining of the fruit is sometimes used as a substitute for cigarette paper.
• A favorite perch for orchids.                                                                                                                              

How to prepare a concoction of Miracle Fruit:
1.  Saw the shell of the fruit on opening it because it is really hard.
2.  Scrape the inside contents (white pulpy texture).
3.  Squeeze all what you got from it.  While squeezing, its juices are coming out.
4.  When you think all of it had been squeezed out and the pulps became refined, cook it under low heat.
5.  Stir it continuously and after a few minutes you will see that it is becoming color black.
6.  When it boils, wait for another 15minutes.  Stir continuously.
7.  When the cooking time is finished, set it aside to cool down.
8.  Use a clean white cloth in separating the solid sediments from the liquid. (Don't throw the solid sediments)
9.  Put the concocted juice in a container and another container for the solid sediments, keep it both cool in the fridge.

The taste of the concoction is bitter-sweet, you can play with the taste by mixing another juices or just plainly honey.  For a better taste, gather the mature fruits because it is more tastier, its sweetness is more palpable.  The younger the fruits are, the more bitter taste you can get!  

The solid sediments can be used as lotion when you have some skin problems or irritations.  Just be aware of its smell.  It has a foul smell effect when been dried in your skin.  So, just apply it at bedtime or when you are just at home.

Only me and my Dad is taking this concoction as a herbal supplement.  Whenever there's an available matured fruit, we make sure that we can make another concoction out from it.  My Dad drink it every after meals for 30cc each and I only take it before bedtime of 60cc, using a 30cc medical measuring cup.  It doesn't matter when and how much you can take a day but, of course, be cautious.  There's no harm yet recorded and it's only a fruit.  


When I tried it for the 1st time, it has a cleansing effect on me.  Good thing, I take it before bedtime.  So, everything went out in the morning when I woke up.  Since then, I see to it whenever this concoction is available, I can have it.  

   - http://www.fruitsinfo.com/calabash-tree-tropical-fruits.php
   - http://www.stuartxchange.org/Cujete.html
   - http://www.pharmasi-instrument.com/images/30ml%20cups(2).jpg

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mei Sum or MYX Restaurant: Cheung Fan and HK style Fried Noodles

Cheung Fan is one of my fave Chinese food which I definitely always crave for.  Cheung fan in English term which is rice (noodle) roll or to some is steamed rice roll.  A Cantonese dish which is commonly served with the other dim sums in around Southern China, Macau and Hong Kong.   This is a roll of rice noodles filled of either shrimps, beef, pork, vegetables or other ingredients but in my experience, I've only tasted the shrimp and beef versions.     Those photos above are both Cheung Fan, at the upper left photo is their dine-in fried Cheung Fan with shrimps while the upper right photo is their Steamed Beef Cheung Fan.  What I love about it especially the one sold in Myx Restaurant or now Mei Sum is their combination of sauces for this dish.  Unlike to some restaurant who also serve this dish even for the fried one is just plainly soysauce.  The Mei Sum Restaurant mixes the combination of soy sauce, Chinese sauce, and peanut butter as sauce for their fried Cheung Fan.  I even ask the staff preparing my Cheung Fan to add some chili sauce.  For their, steamed beef Cheung Fan, it is Chinese soy sauce (kinda' sweet).

Mei Sum or formerly Myx Restaurant is located in Binondo, Manila.  Just a little walk from the building who sell jewelries in Sta. Cruz.  They have this counter outside, along the side of the street, just in front of their restaurant.  They serve there take-out dim sums, fried cheung fan, HK fried noodles, egg tarts and other pastries.  I am always their "suki" for Cheung Fan.  But, this recently when I've tasted their HK fried noodles, it never fails to be included in my take-out order.  

 As what you can see in this photo, it looks like a simple HK fried noodles.  But, no!  There's this certain taste that I love about this.  It's kinda' sweet and spicy.  Added with cabbage and sesame seeds, even without any more ingredients, it's perfect!   The price which is very affordable for a serving which is good for two persons, who will not love this?!  Well, try it to believe it.

My rating for Mei Sum or formerly Myx Restaurant's HK fried noodle and fried/steamed Cheung Fan is perfect 10 from 1-10.  There's this one dim sum, I've tasted that made me not order it again is their pork spareribs, it was not what I expected.  Their is kinda' hard not like the other restaurant which is really tender.   I still go for David's Tea House for that and their yummy soya milk drink.   But, all in all, with the other dishes, Mei Sum or Myx Restaurant is highly recommended.  My rating for their establishment is 6 out from 1-10 because they still have some minor sanitary issues.

By the way, just last month, when I visited there for dine-in with my parents, they gave us free dessert of ice cream in cone.  How generous of them!  Well, the best things in life are free... :)

More Photos:


Hottest day of the year in Metro Manila recorded today: Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Just today, this afternoon, I was asking my sister if it was really hot, even we were inside our house because I was just feeling hot.  And, she said, it was just the same as the past few days temperature for her.  I assumed it was just me...  So, I stayed the whole afternoon in my room with full blast of A/C.  Even my dog accompanied me in my room.  We slept the whole afternoon and woke up by past 7pm.  LOL.

After waking up, I opened the TV and watched some local news.  And, that's the time I knew that this afternoon was the hottest temperature in Metro Manila according to PAGASA for this year.  The temperature was a scorching hot of 35.9 degress celcius.  

In this kind of temperature, many people are prone to heat stroke and heat exhaustion.  Typically, heat exhaustion can be experienced by many, especially who doesn't have A/C at home or those people walking or staying under the heat of the sun.

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body temperature increased to between 37 to 40 degrees Celsius.  That's the time when the levels of water and salt in the body begin to fall, which can cause a person to feel sick, faint and sweat heavily.  This should be treated immediately by placing the person in a cool place, give cool (not icy) water to drink, and removed some excess clothing.  If heat exhaustion will not be treated earlier, it will lead to heat stroke.

Heat stroke is when the core temperature of the body reaches above 40 degrees Celcius that's when the cells inside our body begins to break down and important parts of the body stop working.  Heat stroke in the other hand is an emergency medical situation because of life-threatening condition.  He will experience loss of consciousness, mental confusion and hyperventilation.  The person should be immediately sent in the ER.  While waiting for the ambulance or while transporting the affected person, be sure to make him cool by fanning, removed excess clothing and if conscious, by giving cool drinks.  If this will be left untreated, organ failure and brain damage will occur.

Who are at risk?
-  Health conditions with chronic illnesses of the heart or lungs.
-  Overweight or having difficulty moving or lack of physical fitness
-  young children (ages below 4years old)
-  elderly (ages over 65years old)
              Central Nervous System (CNS) of young kids are not yet fully developed while on the elderly is deteriorating.  In this, which makes their body less to cope with changes of their body temperature.  Both age groups usually have difficulty remaining hydrated, so increases their risks.

  • Be sure to stay out of the sun during the hottest time of the day.  If it can't be prevented, be sure to bring an umbrella or always walk in shaded areas.
  • When parking, parked in a shaded part or if can't be prevented, don't stay there or leave anyone inside.
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion.
  • Cold or cool drinks should be easily available, but avoid drinks that contain caffeine and alcohol.
  • Eat fruit with a high water content.
  • When feeling hot, take a shower.
  • Sprinkle water over your skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck.
  • Keep your environment cool.

Here in the Philippines, it's always fun especially in summer days.  We, Filipinos know how to handle extreme heat of the sun.  By going to beaches if out of town;  Window shopping in the mall, just to cool us up by the mall's A/C;  Having halo-halo, which can be found anywhere even on the streets;  Taking shower 3 times a day;  Children making their version of swimming pool by being resourceful.

Just a friendly reminder...  Let's just be cautious of the heat of the sun eventhough summer is full of FUN.  ;)