Saturday, October 15, 2011


Have you ever gone to a Lechon Degustacion??? This was my first time to try it and I enjoyed every dish that was served to us. 

What is Degustation?? It is a French culinary term that refers to sampling an array of small dishes served one after the other. Savoring the food with all the senses, appreciating the ingredients and the technical skills of the Chef. Degustation menus are a popular option in restaurants today and a degustation meal often takes place over the course of several hours.  Restaurateurs and chefs love showing off their talents, and one of the ways in which they can best do this is by offering a menu de degustation, literally, a "tasting menu" in which a meal can consist of as many as ten or twelve different courses. Often these meals are matched with wines. 

A few days ago I was invited to attend a Degustacion at Dedet Santos' house ( the owner of Pepita's Kitchen )  in Magallanes Village together with a group of certified foodies and food bloggers. Dedet called earlier in the day and said --- " Please join us tonight at my house.. We are going to have a LECHON DEGUSTACION DINNER which I think will be one of the best dinners you will have this year--- Dinner time is at 7:00pm -- we will start on time !".... I asked what she was going to prepare... she told me she will be serving 4 LECHONS " Cuchinillo " with 4 different kinds of Lechon stuffing... yes,  she was able to concoct a lot of versions of stuffings for the LECHON ( in fact she has at least 10 kinds of stuffings for her LECHON ) ---  and a " FEW " more dishes... I took the word  " FEW " at face value..I was in for a surprise!!! We had a total of 15 dishes to try out and I was surprised I was able to last till the end..

Sunday, October 2, 2011

BAWAI'S VIETNAMESE KITCHEN - an old favorite in Tagaytay

Chào mừng bạn đến với BAWAI'S VIETNAMESE KITCHEN !!
( Welcome to Bawai's Vietnamese Kitchen )

After all the typhoons that passed this past week --- Today was a welcome relief!!!! It turned out to be a sunny Sunday--- I wanted to go out of town and drive up to Tagaytay, which has become one of my favorite food destinations..... I asked my son, Iggy, to call up BAWAI'S VIETNAMESE KITCHEN  ( Bawai for short ) to make reservations. Iggy texted me the dishes that were available --- I quickly chose and asked him if he can ask Phi Tatlonghari, the daughter of BAWAI if she can prepare for me a special dish -- Banh Xeo -- ( the famous Vietnamese pancakes which I wrote about in my previous blog )... Phi said she would ask her mom if she can prepare it for us today...Upon reading the text of Phi --- I started looking forward to my Vietnamese lunch at Bawai's Vietnamese Kitchen.

For those who haven't gone to BAWAI'S KITCHEN in Tagaytay... you are missing a lot!!! There are lots of restaurants here in the  city --- but they do not  ( at least I have not tasted one yet )  offer " REAL AUTHENTIC VIETNAMESE COOKING " in the Metropolis... Yes, Bawai's Kitchen might be far from the city ---- IT IS WORTH IT!!! Her cooking reminded me of the Vietnamese cuisine I had a few months ago in Hanoi, Vietnam.  Bawai's Vietnamese Kitchen is not a typical restaurant because it is situated purely in their home in Tagaytay. They converted their dining room into a  restaurant.

The name BAWAI is Vietnamese for grandmother. BAWAI'S VIETNAMESE KITCHEN officially opened April 2007 and they serve only LUNCH ( way back in 2007 ) from Fridays to Sundays by reservation only. The first time I went to BAWAI's Vietnamese Kitchen was when it opened. I together with the group of Anton Diaz and the OUR AWESOME PLANET group were one of the first foodies to invade Bawai's when it opened...... We all shared one verdict..... The food served to us that day was FANTABULOUS!! Luckily that day I was able to interview the owners of Bawai to get a little background of their restaurant. Let me share with you a little background of the Tatlongharis and their restaurant. Bawai's  Vietnamese Kitchen is essentially the life story of a pretty Vietnamese woman named Yong, who met a Filipino engineer, Virgilio Tatlonghari at the height of the Vietnam War and together, they got married and went back to the Philippines in the early 70's, raised a family and decided to retire in Tagaytay. As Virgilio learned how to speak Vietnamese for her, Bawai cooked the most delectable Vietnamese dishes for him. Because the original idea of settling down in Tagaytay was to retire, the family could afford only very limited seating. At the time we went to Bawai's Vietnamese Kitchen --- they could accept only 25 persons at a time. 4 years after they formally introduced Bawai's Vietnamese Kitchen to the public... they have grown leaps and bounds  -- they are opening a branch at Sandari Batulao, which will be more accessible to the locals and tourists.. It is located at Km. 77, Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas,  an hour-and-a-half drive from Makati via the South Luzon Expressway through Santa Rosa.