Monday, May 6, 2013

Take Home Filipino Favorites at The Blue Kitchen

I used to just pass by this store on my way to one of the restaurants at Rockwell. If you've been reading my blog long enough, you'd know that I don't really eat much Pinoy food. It's not that I don't like FIlipino fare, just that I'd prefer American comfort food, Indian, or Middle Eastern cuisine over Filipino - they make my palate happier. Then I discovered The Blue Kitchen sold Belgian Lace Cookies (P350) at Patisserie Kyo's Miyabi Bread, the rest, as they say, is history.

The store may be small, but it's overflowing with local and international treats just waiting to be discovered! Trader Joe's Speculoos seems to be in high demand, around three women came by asking about it when I was browsing through the shop.

Looking to have a better appreciation of food that is proudly Pinoy, The Blue Kitchen is my go-to place to discover curated, hard-to-find Filipino delicacies, like Crispy Swordfish Flakes. Specializing in artisanal, homemade Philippine regional specialties that are ready-to-serve or food with minimal preparation needed.

Almost all the food (with the exception of the stuff from Trader Joe's) is homemade with old family recipes and a preservatives-free, which is why they are prepared in small batches and use only natural ingredients. I have my eye on the bottle of lemon curd and wasabi mayonnaise - they will definitely be fun additions to my pantry.

I have never tried tinapa in my life, and found myself going home from The Blue Kitchen with three bottles in different flavors. What happened? I was pretty happy with what I got - the packaging was just too pretty - and decided to go on a breakfast experiment the next day.

I first tried the Sweet Chili Tinapa, which was Jericho's favorite. The delicate strips of milkfish were covered in a sticky sweet and spicy sauce, and I loved sopping up the sauce with my pandesal. I initially thought the tinapa would be salty and bony (or was I thinking of another type of fish?), but it was soft and meaty, with the sweet chili sauce infused into the fish. Jericho says it tastes even better with rice.

I was surprised at how spicy the Chili Garlic Tinapa was! I thought I'd get a hit of spice at the end of the flavor profile, but the heat just went on, and on, and on! It isn't overwhelming, but definitely not for those who can't hold their chili. I like to have this on my pansedal with a bit of cream cheese to cut the spiciness a little bit. this should be great with angel hair pasta, too!

The Lemon Garlic Tinapa was my favorite of the lot. I suggest chilling this in the fridge before using it, as the lemon-y flavor becomes more prominent. I've been using this on everything - bread, rice, pasta, and even couscous! Personally, I think this is best paired with couscous - the sour notes of the lemon just gives the whole thing a nice Moroccan flavor and aroma.

When mucking around Rockwell's Power Plant mall or the Shang-ri la mall, drop by The Blue Kitchen and rediscover old favorites or try something new! Don't forget to try their tinapa and Belgian Lace Cookies while you're at it!

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Photos courtesy of Jericho San Miguel

The Blue Kitchen
+63 2 898-0931
Level P1, Power Plant Mall,
Rockwell Center, Makati City
Open Daily: 10am - 10pm