Sunday, October 24, 2010

Paella in Spain

There are some people who travel and eat. I mean, serious folk to go out of their way to find THE BEST meal in town. I am more like the person who would sample the local cuisine, if presented with the proper occasion or situation.

Fortunately, in Spain, there will be several of opportune moments to sample the famous Paella. This rice dish, which originated in Valencia, can now be found almost everywhere in Spain (and even the world). And as you may have guessed, there so many versions of paella, varying the dish because of the ingredients ranging from chicken, pork, shellfish, fish, eel, squid, beans, peas, artichokes or peppers. But Saffron is one spice that for me, that gives the paella that special flavor.

When in Spain, try to sample these kinds of paella, the Paella Valenciana (with chicken, sometimes rabbit and snails), the Paella de Marisco (usually a mix of seafood) and the Paella Mixta (a mix of different ingredients).

It is an amazing dish, which is really good. Never leave Spain without trying a bite!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kinilaw, makes my mouth water, just thinking of it!

My favorite style of kinilaw is raw fish, which is de-boned, sliced into big chunks and washed carefully. Then it is seasoned with ginger, onions, chili peppers, salt, a dash of calmansi, coconut milk and vinegar (main ingredient) and served almost as fast as it was prepared. My favorite thing to do is to soak my rice with the sauce! ENJOY!

Lechon, a mainstay in most Filipino feasts

Though I had thought, this was a "typical" Filipino dish, I found out that the origins were from Spain. "Lechon" comes from the Spanish word, "Leche" (milk), because it refers to the suckling or baby pig, which is roasted over charcoal.

I have heard that this is popular in other Spanish speaking countries, like Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and as far away as Colombia.

Maybe, what makes the Filipino version different, is the stuffing used during the roasting process. The wonderful blend of lemon grass, onions and garlic, makes the meat absolutely incredible.

This is served with either a "lechon sauce" (made out of liver - my mom has a great recipe for this) or with sugar cane vinegar or coconut vinegar.

Lechon is often found during big events like weddings, fiestas and birthdays. But knowing Filipinos, we find any reason to get together for a feast, so you can imagine how often you can get to see Lechon in a year!

I try to limit the intake of Lechon, to about, once a year (during Christmas)...NOT! The sinfully tasty skin is just too delectable too resist.

So, when in the Philippines, or any of the Latin American countries, ask for the "lechon" and take a bite of something sinful yet heavenly.