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ECQ EATS: The Ultimate Biko

Biko, a sweet rice cake from the Philippines made of coconut milk, brown sugar, and glutinous rice and is usually topped with latik.

The enthusiastic host Christine Pelaez gives the traditional Filipino dish an indulgent twist—a thicker, richer latik.

photography Philip Lapinid IV

With her collection of cookbooks, plates and cutlery, it’s clear that Christine Pelaez is someone who loves to entertain. From intimate sit-down dinners on their long dining table to larger occasions with buffet tables and catering, she enjoys welcoming people into her home and sharing the tastes she enjoys.

Christine Pelaez

“It depends on the guests really, but if it’s foreign guests, I always serve Filipino food,” she says when asked on what’s usually on her menu. “I usually make chicken binakol (chicken in coconut broth). Foreigners love it, especially when I serve it in a coconut shell!” And like any Cebuano, Christine agrees that no celebration is quite the same without lechon—Cang’s Lechon in Lahug being her roasted pig of choice.

Her biko, though, was the star of the afternoon. “The secret is the latik,” Christine reveals with a smile. The thick and rich topping makes her version a more indulgent take on the Filipino favorite, and it’s something we can’t wait to recreate in our own kitchens.

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THE TRADITIONAL RECIPE

2 cups glutinous rice
2 cups water
2 cups brown sugar
4 cups coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

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Combine the sticky rice and water in a pot, and cook. If the water dries out and the rice isn’t cooked, add small amounts of water until rice is completely cooked.

To make the latik, combine the coconut milk with brown sugar and salt in a separate pot, and cook in low heat. Stir constantly, until the texture becomes thick. Set aside part of the latik.

Combine the rice and the latik, making sure to mix them well. Scoop the biko onto a baking tray, and top with the remaining latik.

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CHRISTINE’S VERSION

Once the latik starts to thicken, set aside half of the mixture.

Mix one half with the cooked rice, and keep the other in the pot and continue to let it thicken. You can add more coconut milk, if you want to give it a richer taste. Keep cooking until the latik reaches an extra thick consistency.

Scoop the biko onto a baling tray, and top with the extra thick latik.

 

(This article had already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s October 2017 Entertaining Issue, “Christine Pelaez: The Ultimate Biko” on pages 26-27.)

Eats

Delectable Oriental Cuisine Awaits You at EZ Eats

Tucked in a cozy corner along F. Ramos St., this charming neighborhood restaurant admits you to a clean, modern interior and its selected array of authentic Chinese dishes. 

by RYAN DANIEL R. DABLO photography STEFFEN BILLHARDT

The restaurant’s façade opens up onto F. Ramos Street.

A brainchild of proprietor Paul and chef KK Chan, EZ Eats makes no compromise when it comes to food: they only serve the best ingredients. Taking inspiration from Chinese and Hong Kong flavor profiles, the menu boasts of top-of-the-line roasted meat done in the traditional style. The result? A menu that is exciting yet brimming with nostalgia. 

EZ Eats’ specialty, Char Siu, a flavorful Cantonese pork dish.

EZ Eats will surely satisfy your Hongkong Roast Duck cravings

Well-traveled connoisseurs with discerning palates and enterprising foodies-to-be who are still shy about tasting new flavors will find lots to like in the EZ Eats menu. Absolute add-ons to your sampler include their Char Siu (this savory-sweet all-star ticks all the right boxes), Crispy Skin Pork Belly (locals will feel right at home digging into this), Salt and Pepper Squid (totally non-negotiable, just get this crisp, golden plate of calamari), and Bailing Mushrooms with Taiwan Pechay (earthy, creamy vegetarian goodness). Paul handpicked these dishes himself, and for good reason. By the end, our plates were sparkling clean. 

Crispy Skin Pork Belly

Salt and Pepper Squid

The personable proprietor’s love for the craft of food-making translates well into the dishes on offer. Each item on the menu has history and tradition under its belt. And, despite fluctuations in the business landscape these past few years, EZ Eats holds true to their mission of providing freshly sourced ingredients served as authentic Chinese comfort food. The menu might not be long, but customers are guaranteed a good dining experience to fill their cravings.

Sturdy wood, abstract paintings, and modern sensibility highlight the restaurant’s interior.

 

Open: Tuesday-Sunday

Tel. No. (032) 326.6027

Mobile No. (+63) 917.318.8383

Address: 80 F. Ramos St., Brgy. Santa Cruz, Cebu City

Facebook: /EZEatsCebu

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Eats

Ayame Seaside Tales is Your Newest Favorite Japanese Dining Destination in the South

Ayame Seaside Tales, the newest Japanese restaurant in Cebu City at IL Corso is hitting as one of the leading culinary destinations with its top sellers such as Agedashi Tofu, deep fried bean curd in umami sauce. For salad lovers, a must try is Lomi Salmon Salad with its delicate flavour of marinade salmon.

Maki Sushi is Japanese food staple, at Ayame, one of its front runners is Salmon Sashimi which just melts in one’s mouth being the prime cut of salmon in a sashimi. 

Talking about food innovation, Ayame’s Cebu Maki shines in its freshness of an idea using Cebu’s own mango fruit with salmon and fresh lime rice roll. It is as delicious as its Salmon Mariowase of assorted salmon sampler set and certainly the popular Unagi Sushi grilled from the famous Japanese freshwater eel.  

For noodle lovers, Ayame’s Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen in rich and creamy sauce with pork broth served with thin slices of Chashu pork belly is a winner. 

Angus Beef Gyoza, pan fried beef dumplings are worth the trip at Ayame. Along with Ebi Tempura of crunchy shrimps and Katsu Don made from Japanese pork chops served with sunny side eggs and rice. Yummy! 

Bento boxes are musts specially Ayame’s own version with California Maki Temzaru Soba Set. And why not the Yaki Meshi Platter of Japanese fried rice platter to share with friends? It is a meal by itself!

 

Visit them soon at IL Corso LifeMalls by Filinvest, City di Mare South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City. The landmark is the towering lighthouse and water pond called Icanali. For reservations and deliveries call (0991) 452 5888.

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Eats

EATZ CEBU: Go on a full food adventure with a P200 budget in Cebu!

P200 Eatz

Want to know where to eat, be fully satisfied and stay within budget? These food adventures all fall below P200.

by Cindy Caballes

Manong’s Butterfry Chicken

This place offers whole, half and individual cuts of perfectly fried chicken to sink your teeth in. Pick between their regular or the hot & spicy flavor which both come with unlimited gravy, an original Manong’s recipe. Four different Butterfry set meals are also available.

I always opt for Set Meal Number 3. An order comes with a half-chicken, rice, fish (tinola) soup and a drink, all for only P199.

Yes, it’s fried chicken alright, but made better! Try it yourself!

Located in front of Bright Academy, Gov. M. Cuenco Ave., Banilad, Cebu City. They only accept cash payments and are available for takeout and delivery too!

 

Banh Mi Kitchen  BMKN at Streetscape is a franchise owned by a group of friends namely Kathryn Dawn Sy, Anton Del Prado, Luis Loot and Wendy Loot.

When in the mood for a banh mi, the traditional Vietnamese on-the-go sandwich, my choice is BMKN’s The Classic Jr. Made special with Vietnamese ham, roast pork, pate, cucumber, cilantro, pickled radish and carrots with mayo and hoisin sauce, it’s a happy mix of flavors and textures. Pair it off with their Lemongrass Pandan Tea for P178. Yum!

BMKN has branches located at Ayala Center Cebu, Ayala Central Bloc and their newest one at Streetscape, Ma. Luisa Road.

 

My Greek Taverna  You’re in for a real treat of authentic Greek food courtesy of Panny, a Greek national, who together with his Cebuano wife opened My Greek Taverna. Serving a selection of tasty and healthy specials from his home country, all dishes are prepared with natural and fresh ingredients. Their bestsellers are the kebabs and gyros.

My favorite is the Rice Doner Kebab set meal. The meal includes French fries on the side and iced tea. At P185, it’s a steal!

Branches at SM City Cebu, JCentre Mall and Moalboal. 

 

Jafar’s  Since its first outlet opened in Banilad Town Center in 2014, Jafar’s Shawarma has added two more just this year, making a total of four branches in Cebu. 

Like the popular street food it is, Jafar’s Shawarmas are made according to one’s preference. Packed with your choice of deliciously seasoned meat and veggies, their wraps use pita bread made fresh everyday. Or choose your style and have your favorite protein with rice or salad. Or have a burrito. 

Their Rice Classic comes with minced beef, cabbage, cucumber, tomato, onions, garlic sauce and biryani rice. A must-try for only P115.

Find them at Banilad Town Center, The Marketplace Ayala Center Cebu, and their newest branches at Parkmall and Axis Entertainment Avenue.

 

Burger Joint  This is the go-to burger spot whenever the craving hits you! The Burger Joint Value Meal gives you a juicy beef burger with sides of potato chips, onion rings or French fries. It’s a fully satisfying meal on a budget at P185, and they throw in a soda too. If you’re a non-beef eater, they serve chicken burgers as well.

Burger Joint has three branches: The Gallery in Mabolo, Queen’s Road, Kamputhaw and Ayala Central Bloc in IT Park.

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