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so... no res phillipines

  • a

i liked this one. food looked good - especially the place with the outdoor kitchen (treehouse looking place) anyone else?

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  1. This season's been a downer. If he wants local and indigenous skip the obligatory family meal already -- it's obviously a presentation for TV. The local chef and the lechon bits were good. He needs to take a tip from Diary of a Foodie - stick with people in the know.

    1. Not real impressed, except for the lechon. The bits with the local guy was good but the bits with the contest finalist was terrible.

      1. I'm glad he was able to do authentic without relying on the gross factor to score points (i.e. chowing down on balut and asocena), although I suppose eating bile soup is somewhat nasty. For an initial foray into Filipino cuisine, I think he did a good job trying to cover a lot of territory, attempting to differentiate between urban Manila, Pampangas and Cebuano cuisine. Some of the hosts are biggies in the Filipino food world and it showed. I didn't really need the psychology of Augusto, though I think a lot of Fil-Ams can relate to his experience.

        I'd love it if he went back and did some more in-depth exploration in Pampangas and Ilocos with the sweaty chef with the outdoor kitchen.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JungMann

          The bits of cultural/historical insights with passionate local chefs are always the best segments.

          1. re: ferret

            I thought it was good, not great. Agree that the contest winner story line was less than compelling.

        2. i actually felt bad for poor augusto - how embarrassing to have everyone you know watch you get so slammed on tv.

          1. I haven't watched No Res for a while but wanted to catch this one b/c I know nothing about Philippine food and would love to learn more about it. What I saw looked delicious. But why in the heck was Augusto even in it? I think TB was wondering this himself when he constantly mentioned how reserved Augusto had become. The whole thing with his family and him trying to "find" himself, so to speak, was awkward. It reminded me of a Lifetime or afterschool special: Augusto: Who Am I? I'm Asian American as well so I can relate to his situation, but his whole segment was poorly executed.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gloriousfood

              Poor Augusto was a mistake, and his family soberly consuming that amazing layout is not typical... break out the tuba and lambanog (native beer and white lightning), and jack up the mood to pair with the lechon. This is the food of fiesta, and after dinner singing is de rigeur. There are numerous native desserts which weren't even mentioned. I have to agree with Bourdain when he bemoaned the fact that he only could visit two islands out of thousands. The dishes shown were alright - they had me salivating. Pampanga and Cebu are the right places to experience if you have limited time

            2. I thought Anthony Bourdain was doing a very good job developing an understanding of the cuisine--he even made an unusual, but absolutely correct, observation that there is a good deal of the New World in Philippine cuisine. (Much of the Spanish influence is actually filtered through Mexico.) He was doing very well until he went to Cebu and got a little--okay, a lot--too caught up with Augusto's predicament.

              As a Filipino, born and bred, I have to say that the scene with Augusto's family was unnerving. Yes, the food looked familiar, but I couldn't focus on it because the family seemed so unnaturally subdued. We're normally very lively, noisy even--especially around food and family. I can only hope that there hadn't been some sad event in Augusto's family. The normal Filipino behavior around guests would have been to invite everyone to sit down and to smilingly insist (and insist again--you are expected to be persistent in your hospitality) that everyone, cameramen included, try everything. But then again, behaving normally with an entire camera crew filming as you have dinner may cause some people to clam up.

              Augusto seems like such a sweet boy and so sincere in wanting to learn about the Philippines--he's the kind of Fil-Am most Filipino families would have been falling over themselves to entertain and to stuff to bursting point with goodies, which was probably what happened on his first trip and which inspired him to make his video. I hope that his second trip was as enjoyable as his first, though that didn't come through on the program

              Then again, the shortcomings of the show may have had more to do with editing. The guy who prepared the lechon feast is a major Filipino food blogger, and on his site he mentions that the crew probably had around 20 hours worth of film just for that lechon lunch, which was edited down to a few minutes. http://www.marketmanila.com

              There was, without doubt, a LOT more food footage, but the program's producers or editors, or even AB, decided to sacrifice some of the food and tourism stuff to try to tell (and repeat) more of Augusto's story and the video contest than some of us (maybe even Augusto) would have liked.

              I'm still wondering why the Saturday Salcedo Market, with it wealth of produce and regional specialties was totally ignored. The same guy who did the "best pig ever" walked AB through that Market (he's Marketman, after all), and I have no doubt he showed it to its best, most mouthwatering advantage.

              Still, like many Filipinos. I am relishing our cuisine's all-too-infrequent moments in the sun. And, yes, I honestly do believe that the best Filipino lechon is more than a match for any roast pig, anywhere. (Okay, cochinillo de Segovia, Spanish suckling pig, comes close, but the crown stays in the Philippines!)

              1 Reply
              1. re: pilinut

                i just can't help but wonder if they (augusto's family) weren't okay with the whole thing. he had a great first visit was super enthusiastic and came back with tv crews and a visitor and his family was very awkward and annoyed about the whole thing and he really didn't have the background to do it without them. having only been there once before he didn't know them that well and he may have misjudged their response and then have been stuck - but not wanted to embarrass them on top of making them uncomfortable. it's not something MY family would've been into.

              2. I do think the subdued family atmosphere had to do with three things: 1) This was only Augusto's second visit to the family and he did not know them well. 2) WHITE MAN presence - it's one thing inviting another Filipino to dinner vs. a famous American come to dinner; everyone is on their best behavior. 3) A camera crew pointing cameras and microphones in your face.

                Given those circumstances, no wonder the family doesn't display the same kind of raucousness that would normally occur during a get-together with your "titas" (aunts) or "titos" (uncles) that you grew up with. There's no teasing about how fat you're getting, no "chismis" (gossip), etc. If that was MY family and a family friend was coming instead of THE Anthony Bourdain, my mom would be forcing Anthony Bourdain to eat every single dish, she'd be hovering over his shoulder, poking at him and urging him to eat more, and demanding to see pictures of his kid while slyly pushing more rice in his direction.

                Also, I found it shocking that no one discussed lechon sauce, the ubiquitous accompaniment to most Filipino roasted pork dishes.

                6 Replies
                1. re: AhhTahoe

                  I wonder if there would be a YELLOW MAN presence factor given a reversal of the situation.

                  1. re: AhhTahoe

                    Ooooooooh! Don't mention lechon sauce to the Cebuanos! They pride themselves on lechon so tasty that sauce is totally unnecessary. And I would have to agree--a proper Cebu lechon is best on it's own, with the lemongrass, garlic, pepper, shallots, etc. perfuming the succulent flesh. . . Tagalog lechon is usually stuffed with young tamarind leaves, a more delicate fragrance with a slight citrus edge, thus a good lechon sauce, sweet-savory-garlicky, would be a nice complement. Unfortunately, there are even fewer good lechon sauces than there are good lechon makers. The best, most sublime lechon sauce I ever had was made by Romy Dorotan of Cendrillon in New York. It would have made sawdust delicious.

                    1. re: AhhTahoe

                      I'll respectfully address two of your observations. WHITE MAN, like Tony invites less than best behavior, at least with the family and crowd I used to dine with. The Pampanga diners earlier in the episode seemed to be relaxed and engaged. Tony is a fun guy and like I previously posted, the pairing for this feast should have included tuba and lambanog (I was introduced to both brews as a teenager one summer vacation in Cebu). Then you would have seen FUN WHITE MAN and more animated diners.

                      Secondly, have you ever observed Filipinos at a party around a microphone or a camera. They are natural hams. They don't shy away from being in the spotlight and Tony might have experienced his dreaded Karaoke moments.

                      I agree about the sauce - bring out the Mang Tomas, home made or store bought.

                      1. re: fresnohotspot

                        I actually agree with AhhhTahoe, though I wouldn't necessarily put it down solely to the colour difference, but it's also a class difference. Ever ask the maids eat dinner with you? The maids of my family in the Phil. obliged a few times, then finally asked to be able to eat dinner after the family, in their own area (just off the kitchen area) because they felt too uncomfortable eating with the family.

                        There's only one now, and although she's been with the family for several years, and she's quite comfortable there (she jokes around with them, eats whatever she wants out of the fridge, and even has the house to herself for several months every year), she still won't eat at the table with them, and she really doesn't like going out to dinner with them.

                        1. re: prasantrin

                          Surely you're not suggesting there is a class difference between Frenchie Bourdain and those Cebuano diners. I think I overcame any personal remnants of colonial mentality the first time my little league team beat the pants off the American Embassy kids in Manila.

                          1. re: fresnohotspot

                            Being conscious of social and class differences is not necessarily related to a colonial mentality. And in the Philippines, people are still very much conscious of those things (and to some degree, ex-pat Filipinos are, as well).

                            Just so we're on the same page, I was speaking specifically of Augusto and his family. It was very clear, to me at least, that MM was much more at ease with Bourdain.

                    2. i liked the episode. someone in production made a bold decision to go with augusto. damage control said bolster the story with a few of the stereotypical local experts. at the end of the day, the show worked. applause for taking a chance.

                      1. In 15 years in the Philippines I only saw a lechon that big once - at a "society" wedding. And they had two in the No Res episode. And he didn't visit my ex wife's (the one who can cook, not the other one's) house, so ...

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          yeah. enjoyed the show but it was clear to me early on that production was in damage control mode and threw a lot of cash into the feast and scrounging up telegenic types to explain what was going on.
                          i like that kind of stuff.

                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            What would your ex-wife (the one who can cook) have served Anthony Bourdain? Would it have made for a livelier dinner than the one we saw? And what would you have served him, had you been in the Philippines, Sam?

                            1. re: pilinut

                              Annie and I had the most fun, wildest parties. It would have been lively all right. She and I would probably have prepared sinigang na kanduli, morcon, kare kare, embutido, dinuguan, bicol express, and kilawin. Next day we'd head towards Lake Taal and have bulalo! Then I would have taken the team to General Santos, gone to the market for tuna collars and tuna, gone to the research station in Koronodel (stopping in Tupi to show him the farmer invented panudling rice mangement system), broiled the collars and cut up some sashimi and cooked rice; after which it would be to town for San Miguels, adidas, and balut! And maybe chatting up some of the pesky transvestites.

                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                Sam,we might submit your name to No Reservations as a substitute guide next time Bourdain wants to give the Philippines a whirl. The food you mentioned captures the heart of Filipino cuisine. It would be perfect - a Japanese-American curmudgeon from the heart of agriculture in California, coming out of Columbian exile to party with the New York ex-chef in the backwaters of Mindanao... and I like the transvestite thing.

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  Hmmmm, we'd have to toss for who gets to serve him the kare kare (oxtail stew). My mom makes a mean kare kare. (But I yield to you on the entertainment. No contest there.)

                                  Other than that, I think my dinner for Bourdain would have complemented yours. I'd have ukoy (fritters of tiny whole shrimp and shredded kabocha) to start, followed by binakol (chicken soup made with young coconut and ginger), a Tagalog lechon de leche (suckling pig stuffed with tamarind leaves) with homemade sauce of course, kilawin puso ng saging (banana blossom cooked with garlic and vinegar), alimango sa laing (mangrove crab cooked in coconut cream and taro leaves), whole tilapia from Pansipit river grilled over charcoal (or maybe a maliputo--a trevally from Taal lake--if I could find one) and real milagrosa rice (especially for you, Sam). Dessert--mangoes, leche flan with macapuno doused with good lambanog, and--chocolate cake (because the best old-fashioned, 1950s-style chocolate cakes with fudge icing are made in the Philippines. And just because I would like a chocolate cake right now.)

                                  The next day, we'd go to Tagaytay, an hour from Manila, because that was where the opening helicopter shot of Apocalypse Now was filmed. (THAT might give your transvestites a run for their money!) And eat halo-halo while admiring the view, ( I wonder if Bourdain got to go to Tagaytay, . .)

                                  1. re: pilinut

                                    Nut!!! Great menu!!! You, Annie, fresnohotspot, and others here should go with AB next time.

                                    1. re: pilinut

                                      that sounds AMAZING!!! and i want to see the apocalypse now shot!

                                      1. re: AMFM

                                        here is the videolink to the helicopter scene - pretty awesome but I can't tell where it was filmed, maybe Nasugbu or somewhere in the Batangas area.


                                        1. re: fresnohotspot

                                          I always thought it filmed at Laguna de Bay.

                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                            Did some more research and the helicopter and surf scenes were done at Baler Bay in Aurora. On the map this is on the Pacific side of Luzon, directly east of Tarlac... remote and beautiful, apparently a great surf site. I had never heard of the spot.

                                        2. re: AMFM

                                          that's amazing it's on you tube. i actually meant it was a place i wanted to go (because i have seen the movie lots of times!). but thanks for taking the time to post. that's great!

                                  2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                    I only lived there for a year, and I remember having big lechon like that twice at family parties. From what I remember of them (this was about 30 years ago), they were good, but once I saw some hair still on the skin, I couldn't eat anymore. I was just a kid, and things like that really freaked me out!

                                    The lechon MarketMan prepared were really something special, though. I've never seen lechon skin look so perfect, and now I'm really pissed my companions in Cebu didn't allow me to control the food part of the trip (I was forced to eat Kenny Rogers when I could have had lechon!?!??!?!?!?!?!). MM really put a lot of effort into preparing for the NR crew (that whole area where the picnic took place was freshly landscaped by him), and he handled the last-minute issues wonderfully!

                                    1. re: prasantrin

                                      My goodness! You were there!!! Tell us more!!!!! Please. At tsaka, bakit kumain ka sa Kenny Rogers? Seeing a bit of hair on crispy dog skin is even worse.

                                      1. re: prasantrin

                                        Notice how the 2nd lechon was cooked a bit differently? instead of the glistening smooth skin, the skin on the 2nd piggie had been sort of 'chicharron-ed'. I believe this is a less common style in the PI but I remember having it at least once, and it was delicious (if not nearly as photogenic). more of a mildly crunchy instead of crispy texture.

                                    2. I thought the pig in the Indonesia episode looked yummier.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Evilbanana11

                                        Taste is so subjective! The Bali pig is very good, but I thought it didn't have good balance of fattiness and meat. Actually, I thought it was too fatty (and I love pork fat), so I can see how Bourdain might prefer a well-cooked Filipino pig.

                                        On his blog, Bourdain says:

                                        It can now be said that of all the whole roasted pigs I've had all over the world, the slow roasted lechon I had on Cebu was the best. This puts the standings in the Hierarchy of Pork as follows:

                                        #1. Philippines

                                        #2. Bali

                                        #3. Puerto Rico

                                      2. Tony said he felt bad for Augusto...and I think he was pleased to be able to do the lechon for A and his family.