Jollibee Opens Flagship Store in Al Falah, Abu Dhabi

Jollibee, the popular Filipino fast-food chain opens its flagship store in the heart of UAE capital last February 8, 2017. It is their second branch here in Abu Dhabi but as expected, Pinoys are always excited to welcome our favorite fast-food restaurant.

An exclusive media and VIP preview was held a day prior the store’s public opening. Ribbon cutting and speeches by Mr. Hisham Al Gurg, Chief investor in the Jollibee franchise in the UAE, Mr. Dennis Flores, Vice President for International Markets of the International Operations Division of Jollibee Foods Corporation, and Philippine Embassy Abu Dhabi Vice Consul Rowena Pangilinan Daquipil,  formally marks the soft opening of our well-loved restaurant.

Jollibee's expansion in UAE with their two new stores here in Abu Dhabi greatly made Filipinos happy. They indeed brought us a 'taste of home' with their signature crispylicious and juicylicious Chickenjoy. There is also the Jolly Spaghetti, known for its sweet-style meaty sauce; and Jollibee's signature 'langhap sarap' Yum Burgers and Burger Steak.



Media and VIPs gathered outside Jollibee store to witness the ribbon cutting.

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Homemade Tonkotsu Ramen


I know it is still very early to claim the winter weather here in UAE, but the temperature recently definitely showed a cooler breeze here in the desert. Well, anyhow, I'm totally enjoying it :) Although this change of weather here also marks a season of colds and flu :( and for foodie like me, the craving for hot soup. Yep, something to warm-up my tummy and to satisfy my ever craving palate.

I've been asking my husband to dine out in a recently opened restaurant featuring bowls of ramen and Japanese style rice bowls topped with different meat of your choice. But since, I've heard no so good reviews from my friends, I just decided to do my own version of tonkotsu ramen at home.

Considering a little effort in preparation, I think it was worth it though. I have to buy pork a day in advance to have it marinated overnight for a flavorful result. The ingredients are not so complicated but requires some techniques. Even boiling of eggs was a little delicate than my usual boiled eggs. It has to be cooked yet the yolk should be a little runny to add flavor in the ramen. Good thing I was able to achieved the perfect texture by boiling it not more than 6 minutes.

Anyhow, here's how I did my homemade tonkotsu ramen!

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Restaurant Review : The Noodle House


It was our 7th year wedding anniversary and we stayed for couple of days in Traders Hotel in Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi. Our 2 days breakfast was included in our hotel package which was a very good deal; but to dine in for lunch and dinner in a 4-star hotel for couple of days, we thought it was a bit too much for our budget. Good thing that The Souk in Qaryat Al Beri was just 10 mnutes walking distance only from Traders Hotel. We were able to roam around the place and choose from different restaurants they have.

There are many restaurants and cafes in The Souk Qaryat Al Beri which also varies in many cuisines, but we were in the mood for good Asian food. We found The Noodle House which was definitely a good choice to satisfy our craving.

It was late afternoon and the restaurant was quite. There were few people dining at that time. The ambiance was very homey and relaxing. The staff assisted us to our table and gave us the menu. I initially wanted to have noodle soup but after our 10 minutes walk under the sun, I changed my mind ;) . The staff were all very kind and accommodating. It didn't took long and they served our order. Good thing that they already served our food just before diners started coming.
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No Bake Mango Cheesecake


Since we moved in to our new flat, it was a little difficult for me to always cook and bake. We have many flatmates who also cook that is why I do not have enough time to work in the kitchen lately. I really miss baking also, so whenever I have a chance I just do refrigerated cakes just to satisfy my cravings.

We bought a box of fresh green mangoes last week and because I avoided almost anything sour because of health reasons, my husband cannot finish all of our stock. We gave most of it to our friends but still plenty left. We let it ripe but my husband still can't manage to eat them all. So I decided to try a no-bake mango cheesecake.

It was my first time to do a no-bake cheesecake but I'm so happy that it all went perfect! I have seen many videos and read blogs about it and using gelatin to achieve its smooth firmness is just a great technique. Great result with less effort and few utensils to clean ;)

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Boneless Chicken Feet Salad



My husband and I were craving for this chicken feet salad we had during our Singapore food adventure. He consistently requested me to do this recipe at home but I was hesitant because I'm so lazy to debone chicken feet. But what can I do, I also craved for it. So, to satisfy both our tummy, here's a quick recipe plus a little added effort in deboning the chicken feet. Anyhow, it is all worth it! I'm sure this will be a hit as an appetizer, as main course or even pulutan ;)

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Home Style Shabu-shabu



I've been feeling a little under the weather lately. I got colds but I couldn't fully rest because we just moved out from our old flat to a new location which is a little far from my office. I had so much things to unbox and clean. My body isn't so much into dust and considering the hot weather here in Abu Dhabi, I guess if I couldn't fully rest I deserve good home-cooked food.


Since we just move in to our new crib, we just did a quick grocery to buy something that can satisfy my cravings. I added few available ingredients at home and ta-da, I have an instant comfort food!

I had this craving few days after we had dinner with friends in a shabu-shabu restaurant here in UAE. Some call it hotpot which originated in China or steamboat which is popular in Singapore and shabu-shabu which came from Japanese cuisine. This procedure of cooking is putting meat and vegies on a hot flavored soup. It is usually done using a pot heated on top of the dining table.

Here's a quick procedure on how I did my easy home-made shabu-shabu :)
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Singapore Food Adventure


Singapore is definitely a food paradise for food lovers, like me. A wide variety of food is available everywhere to satisfy the appetites of people from different cultures and races. Food are freshly cooked and the aroma will persistently linger in your mind until you try the mouthwatering dish. Singaporean food are mainly influenced by Chinese, Indian and Malay cuisines.

Being in Singapore for few days was such a relief from my daily work stress. My husband and I chose Singapore to visit because of Universal Studios and the food experience. Well, indeed, our food adventure was the best part of our trip :)

We stayed in Marrison Hotel in Bugis Street. We chose Bugis as suggested by my cousin since it is very accessible to MRT connections. Bugis was definitely a good choice since it is a food heaven! You may read my Singapore planning and our Singapore Adventure in my personal blog www.kikayinside.com


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Restaurant Review : Kenny Rogers Roaster Dubai



It's been a long time since I last visited Kenny Rogers Roasters and had a taste of their famous roasted chicken. Around 10 years now I guess. Since I was based here in UAE, I never had a chance to dine again in Kenny Rogers because it was not available here. And although I've had several vacations in the Philippines, my family and I usually preferred home-cooked meals. Well, anyway, I still remember how good their roasted chicken and side dishes back then, so when my friends suggested to visit Kenny Rogers' branch in Dubai last weekend it was a sure go!




Kenny Rogers Roasters opened last December 2015 in Al Karama Dubai and it was a huge success. The restaurants offer a casual dining environment with rotisserie roasted chicken as the main core item, while complemented by a variety of hot and cold side dishes.

I must say that the mouth-watering aroma and the taste indeed matched my expectations. It sure reminds me of my college days back home in the Philippines. Well, aside from the good food, their homey ambiance and the crews' superb customer service is definitely worth our 2-hour drive from Abu Dhabi just to try Kenny Rogers Roaster.














Yum!!! Tender, juicy and perfectly spiced roasted chicken.

I'm not a mac and cheese fan but this one makes me change my mind :)

Yep, my very advance birthday celebration ;)









Location: Al Karama Dubai

Facebook: Kenny Rogers Roaster Dubai
                   
Food:★★★★☆

Price:★★★★☆

Service:★★★★☆






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Restaurant Review : Jollibee @ Dubai Mall



This review was long overdue. Well, we only had a chance to visit Jollibee in Dubai mall recently, although they've been open there for  almost a year in couple of months now. We were lucky to be in queue for just 15 minutes since we arrived there a little early for lunch time. But after my turn to order, people started coming and the crew patiently assisted customers to be properly in line so other people in the food court will not be disturbed.

My husband and I were so excited that we wanted to try everything in the menu. I just told my husband that our priority was to taste the chicken, spaghetti, hotdog sandwich and the burger. So, I guess we've ordered almost everything. Here are our orders!






The aroma was quite 'The Pinas Jollibee'. Hmmmm, I'm already mouth watering while doing this post. Ok, I started with the spaghetti, it was 95% similar to the original. Then I took a bite of the chicken, I would say it was 90% similar to the original. The rice and burger steak was my husband's but I had a taste of it, I guess it's 98% similar as the original. I ate the jolly hotdog later in the afternoon of the same day and I would say it was 80% similar to the original. Overall, the taste was definitely satisfying. There were slight differences in the taste but I'm sure all our kababayans here in UAE were satisfied and happy.

The success of Jollibee here was really obvious that in less than a year they will be opening more branches in Dubai. Hopefully soon in Abu Dhabi also.






Location: Dubai Mall Food Court
                   
Food:★★★★☆

Price:★★★★☆

Service:★★★★☆







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Love Food Festival 2016 in Abu Dhabi


Love Food Festival in Abu Dhabi was held last February 18-21 in Mushrif Central Park. My husband and I visited it on the first day. Since we were there early, the park was not crowded and the aroma while on our way to the caravans was so tempting!


There were many food caravans from London and some caravans were from here in UAE. I would like to try it all but since I'm on a budget and slightly sick, I couldn't indulge so much to everything.

Here are some photos from my visit.



It was a pity I couldn't have churros :( I have a cough so I avoided eating sweets. 



Very unique!




I ordered chicken pad thai from Bangwok and it was yum! The serving was good for two :)


Grilled cheese from The Cheese Truck was one of my favorites. The taste? Heaven! ;)



This is Braco (British Tacos) from The Roadery is definitely delicious! One of my favorites since their last year's visit here in Abu Dhabi.

 We enjoyed watching baking demo by French p√Ętissier and celebrity chef  the "Cake Boy" Eric Landlard.



The night was young but we left early because it was very cold. Although, I didn't had much food to try, I really enjoyed the night. Indeed, food festivals are my favorite. Good food, vibrant music, happy people. 




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Beef Pochero



Pochero was one of my childhood favorites. My mom's beef or pork pochero sure satisfy my palette and definitely need extra rice ;)

Pocheros usually have saging na saba, and some were cooked with pechay (or bokchoy) and some add carrots too. Since my mom usually cooked it with just cabbage, Baguio bean and saging na saba, I decide to use the same it in this recipe. Also, I did a lazy version of cooking here because I used my slow cooker. Yes, it takes so much time in cooking, but since I didn't do much, I call it lazy way of cooking. I just love using my slow cooker especially in cooking beef because of the perfect tenderness and flavor it makes to the meat.


Ingredients:

  • 1 kg beef brisket - big cubes
  • 1 cube beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 medium onion - minced
  • 5 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 teaspoon black ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 pieces banana (saba) or plantain bananas, peeled and cut diagonally into around 1 1/2 inch thickness
  • 1 cup Baguio beans (around 15 pcs)
  • 1 medium sized cabbage - cut into quarters
  • 1 small can of Pork and Beans
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch - diluted in 1/4 cup water
  • 1 + 1 cups of water


Procedure:

  1. In a pot, bring 1 cup of water to boil.
  2. Add in beef broth cube, garlic, onion, tomato paste, tomato sauce and diluted cornstarch. Let it simmer while stirring until thick. Set aside.
  3. Put beef in slow cooker, add 1 cup water, season with salt and ground pepper.
  4. Add the tomato sauce mixture.
  5. Cover the slow cooker and set it on high. Let it cook for 4 hours.
  6. Add the pork and beans, cabbage, banana and Baguio beans. Cover and let continue to cook in high for another hour.
  7. Serve and enjoy.









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Inihaw na Liempo (Grilled Pork Belly)


Filipinos all time favorite grilled pork belly (inihaw na liempo ng baboy) is best for lunch and dinner with unlimited rice and perfectly matched with spicy vinegar and garlic dipping sauce or soy sauce with calamansi. OK,  I'm literally mouth-watering while writing this post. Can you blame me?! ;)

Grilled pork belly is quite easy to cook, although the time difference of marinating makes a huge impact on its flavor. Of course, the longer you marinate the meat, the tastier it would be. Also, I used Sprite in this particular recipe of marinade to add a little sweetness and helps to tenderize the meat.

I sometimes grill in our oven or on a pan-grill, which is the only option for us who are living in a building flat; although charcoal grilling is still the best for me. Good thing that we spent our weekend in my brother's place where we can charcoal grill, since they have an open area for grilling. Just perfect with a sunny cold weather.

Below is my recipe :)



Ingredients:
  • 1 kilo Pork Belly - About 1/2 inch - 3/4 inch in thickness
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup Sprite or 7-up
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 2 chili - chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon oil









Procedure:

  1. In a bowl, combine apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, Sprite, sugar, ground black pepper, salt, garlic, and chilies.
  2. Stir well until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  3. Add pork belly, mix all together, cover it, put in the fridge and marinate overnight (or at least an hour).
  4. In a bowl, pour the pork belly marinade. Add oil and stir well (for the basting sauce).
  5. Grill the pork belly for 2-3 minutes each side. When the pork starts to pale, regularly brush it with basting sauce.
  6. Continue to grill it for 5-6 minutes each side  or until pork is cooked through.
  7. Best served with vinegar, garlic and chili dipping sauce. Enjoy!
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