Border crossing

Published July 8, 2021, 12:52 PM

by Sandy Daza

From beef rendang in southern Philippines to raclette and fondue at Bianca’s and schnitzels at the German Club in Makati

BUNLIKE ANY OTHER Juancho’s crispy chicken sandwich and egg sandwich with glazed onions

Whenever I travel to countries next to each other, one thing I notice is the heavy influence of the cuisine by each side. This is more evident at the borders and when these borders can be crossed by land. In the south of our country, for example, although separated from other parts by water, I didn’t know that our Muslim brothers had beef rendang in their cuisine. I always thought this popular dish was only found in our neighbors Indonesia and Malaysia. This discovery was revealed to me at a restaurant in Cagayan De Oro called Cusina Higala. Masarap! Among the best beef rendang I’ve had are at a Hongkong restaurant called Indonesia restaurant and from Chef Carlo Miguel of Boutique Burger Kitchen. The latter makes one of the most delicious Indonesian rendangs I have tried. Ask him.

Switzerland is surrounded by three countries—France, Italy and Germany. Recently, I experienced the cuisine on the borders of Switzerland and Germany. I was blessed to be invited by my cousin Joey De Los Santos to dine at a restaurant along Yakal Street in Makati. Bianca’s is a Swiss themed restaurant that has the usual raclette and fondue on the menu. That day, I just had the regular Caesar salad, the seafood chowder, and a pork schnitzel. Caesar salad was straight to the point but delicious. I loved the saltines of the mashed anchovy, the creaminess of the dressing, the crunch of the bacon, and the crispness of the fresh lettuce. The soup was also good. I loved the main dish, similar to a German/Austrian dish called veal schnitzel. This was made with flattened pork topped with a rich brown mushroom sauce. Usually, schnitzel is simply breaded and fried. Outstanding, to think this was just a lunch special! There are many other ala carte items on the menu that look very interesting. At the lunch Joey kept on bragging about a recent meal he had at a restaurant that occasionally has asparagus. That led us to another lunch.

The next day, we crossed the border to Germany and found ourselves at the German club in Makati. Our mission: to see what the fuss of this asparagus was all about. Once a year, the German club imports giant white asparagus. I was blessed to experience this. I started with a delicious and creamy lentil soup. Very good! On the special menu, I had the German veal schnitzel with giant white asparagus. My veal was simply flattened, breaded, seasoned, and fried. It was simple but it was good. The star of the meal that day were the three pieces of humongous white asparagus. Lightly seasoned, they were served with two sauces on the side—Hollandaise and Bearnaise. I chose the latter. I loved the combination of the healthy and creamy asparagus and the crispy schnitzel. The portions were huge. I had no more room for dessert.

I love crossing borders on my palate, such as this gastronomic trip from Swiss to German cuisine. Dishes from these places are straightforward, relying heavily on the ingredients and their freshness. That I like. I’ve been seeing copies of the weekly menu at Bianca’s and it’s like calling you to come in. I’m sure I’ll give in one of these days. Meanwhile, diet and exercise muna.

MUST TRY 200g bottle of Pretty Good gourmet tinapa

My son Franco now makes a delicious bottled tinapa with extra virgin olive oil, capers, and olives. I love it with sinangag and scrambled eggs. Breakfast winner! Try it! (0917 845 5502)

I love crossing borders on my palate, such as this gastronomic trip from Swiss to German cuisine. Dishes from these places are straightforward, relying heavily on the ingredients and their freshness.

I also tried his homemade crispy chicken sandwich, as well as his creamy egg sandwich. His bread is a major factor in the overall taste of the sandwiches. The creator loooooves to eat and it is evident in the quality of his sandwiches. A must try! (0917 5419890)

Happy eating!

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