Balai Isabel

Philippine food including a green mango salad, pancit Malabon and kare-kare for dinner tonight

Tonight in Manila, living a #Travelife, I hosted a Philippine dinner for an ambassador and his visitor.

I decided to have it at home and to make it very relaxed as we all attend way too many events that require grace and fortitude for serious conversations and eight-course dinners.

As neither the ambassador nor his visitor had had proper Philippine food yet, I prepared a typical Filipino dinner tonight. Or at least my version of it.

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To start, we had green mango salad, with tomatoes, cucumbers and grilled eggplant as well. And I deliberately kept all the ingredients separate so that we could make our own salads and season these ourselves.

Then, I made a sinigang soup with salmon belly.

This proved to be a very big hit, with everyone asking for seconds. Actually, I make this a lot for foreign visitors, and especially for ambassadors, and they always seem to remember my dinners for this.

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For main courses, I had a pancit Malabon and a kare-kare, and I chose to serve the latter because it’s my favourite dish. Again, they liked these very much and everyone had repeats.

Even the cake for dessert was a hit, which made me very happy, indeed.

I served a gooey chocolate sans rival, which is one of my favourite cakes in Manila, and this had some of my guests in raptures.


As for the evening itself, we had a very nice time talking about things we ordinarily can’t discuss when other people are present.

I also talked about my upcoming travel plans. I just came back from a happy foodie trip to Hakone and Tokyo, and I’m now in the midst of final planning for an ultra-luxury and culture trip to Sri Lanka, plus a skiing trip somewhere in between these; so I should have more than on my plate enough for the next few weeks.

However, I really want to go somewhere exotic, and that’s what we discussed tonight.

Towards the end of the evening, the good food and conversation really made me so relaxed — which made me then think about inviting my guests for tomorrow evening to my home instead.

Yes, I’m hosting another dinner tomorrow for a visitor from Europe, but this time I decided to hold it in a hotel restaurant instead of at home, on just another wonderful and interesting evening in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful #Travelife.

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