Aug 23, 2011
Welcome to another episode of TRIAL: (The Rice is a Lie), a food review section where we delve into dissecting the fuel that powers the otaku to go around anime conventions: FOOD. Sorry, our resident shrimp paste isn’t here in this edition of TRIAL. Instead, I’m taking over for a while so please do bear with me.
In this edition of TRIAL, we’re not actually delving into just one dish. We’re going through more than just a couple of servings here, because we’re in a FOOD BAZAAR!! Yeah, this may look like an event coverage more than just a TRIAL session, but hey, I went there for the food! The Mistress, along with Mynthe, went to UP Diliman to visit UPJMA’s (UP Junior Marketers Association) Entrepreneurial project called Cocina, a food bazaar open to the public. This was held last Thursday, August 18 at the UP Bahay ng Alumni in UP Diliman.
There were more than 20 food stalls in Cocina, most of which were SME’s in nature. Heavy-hitters in the food franchise industry present in the venue were Hero Sausages and Greenwich to name a couple. I have to admit though, I don’t have the tummy space nor the money to try everything out. So this is just a shootout of what I had during that event. But I’m sure everything there was definitely delicious!
Hero Sausages versus O’Salsus: Sausage Shootout
Hero Sausages was one of the well-known franchises in Cocina. I’ve seen them as food stalls inside the local malls. And to be honest, their Sausage Rice is a no-brainer for the thrifty mistress in me. When I chanced upon the O’Salsus stall, I had a free taste of their Schublig, the Polish and the Garlic flavors too. After trying around two sticks of the O’Salsus sausage, I was sold. The Hero Sausages were lightly seasoned to the point of blandness. The skin of the sausages weren’t as crunchy and tasty as the O’Salsus counterpart. The schubligs from O’Salsus were packed with that smoky, meaty, and peppery taste that a sausage deserves. The crunch of the skin complements the tenderness of the packed meat within. Even without the condiments, the O’Salsus sausage is a powerhouse on its own. Don’t get me wrong though. The sausages from Hero is a welcoming treat for those wanting an inexpensive sausage thrill. But for those wanting more punch, O’Salsus is the better choice. The prices are nearly similar between the two, which adds another point for the latter. It’s just a matter of looking for an O’Salsus branch somewhere around the metro.
UniversiTEA’s Jasmine Green Tea
Chalking it up to personal experience, I’ve had quite a blooming recall of that Jasmine tea I tried from Serenitea. Though Serenitea wasn’t at Cocina, I needed it to compare against the more locally-known UniversiTEA, present at the event. Here’s my take on Jasmine tea: I feel like I’m blowing out petals from my mouth when I exhale. The Jasmine from both tea shops definitely leave a very strong taste (and aftertaste). Serenitea’s Jasmine tea has a more defined “organic” feel in its Jasmine tea compared to UniversiTEA’s version, which is a good thing because the feel of freshness is there. I can commend UniversiTEA’s sweetness blend, however. I have this really sweet tooth, and this is where the maroon-colored tea shop gets a point. At full sweetness, UniversiTEA’s Jasmine tea balanced itself out and sat really well with my taste buds. If you’re looking for a purer and more organic taste, Serenitea is your pick. For people with a sweet tooth, UniversiTEA’s got it right.
Dynamite Cheese Sticks
We’re down to the last two food items in this article. The stall’s name is Uno Burger, from where I got this interesting snack: Dynamite Cheese Sticks! It sounded like a novel thing for me, but I’m guessing the rest of the visitors in that event were familiar with these deep-fried delectables. For those unfamiliar with it (like I was before I tried it), imagine your typical cheese sticks, still wrapped in wanton wrapping and deep-fried to perfection. The only difference is the addition of a long, green chili pepper (banana pepper) with the cheese inside the wrapping. These sticks are essentially longer than the average ones, particularly due to the length of the chili inside. The dip is your usual thousand island dressing, which complements the sticks perfectly. The blend of salty, milky, and freshly-fried taste was suddenly added with this tangy, sweet and spicy chili. The taste doesn’t even feel forced into your taste buds. The mixture of tastes delicately laid itself down on my taste buds, then gave this good kick to the shin when the spice came up. The taste wowed me to high heavens, and by far, that was the best snack I’ve had since eating 2 sticks of Schublig from O’Salsus.
Mochiko’s Mochi Ice Cream
The last food item was Mochiko’s frozen delight. I’m glad to have tried their mochi, a rare sight to have in the metro. I honestly could not think of any other place that serves mochi (suggest some places in the comments below!). Instead of the usual fillings, Mochiko decided to put in ice cream instead. The mochi was frozen before served, to keep the ice cream from melting and spilling out. I’ve no idea where they got their ice cream, if it’s commercial or home-made. But nonetheless, the ice cream-filled mochi was absolutely the finest dessert I had that day. The mochi was chewy and tasty, and the filling had a hefty serving. The sweetness was just right for my taste buds, and the ice cream flavors really stood out. Among the flavors they showcased, I particularly loved the Avocado, Mango, Strawberry, Caramel and Green Tea fillings. I’ve also heard others say that the 2-minute warm-up time is too short or too long a wait for mochi-eating. I’d say it depends on the room temp. Bahay ng Alumni was sweltering hot due to the combined body warmth and food heat. I was able to eat my mochi in just a minute after taking it out from the freezer. Remember, if it’s cold outside, you might want to wait a bit longer. But I digress. In any case, I’m begging you, Mochiko! Please have more branches around Metro Manila! Mochi is definitely addicting.
I’m disappointed I wasn’t able to try out the rest of the food stuffs served at Cocina. Blame my wallet for being filled with nothing but dust bunnies and cobwebs. I wish there were more events like these. It’s just a nice reason to pig out and enjoy one of the simpler things in life: food. Oh, and there were some seminars and programs held on-stage by the organizers. I wasn’t really paying much attention to the stage, but if I recall right, there was this free seminar on entrepreneurship and businesses, so that was a plus thing for me. Learning while eating! It’s like what I used to do in college! Oh, and before I forget, to the lady who sang a cover of Wonderwall, it was astounding. Your version of the song made me re-sync Oasis songs in my iPod.
To UPJMA, congratulations! Hands down, Cocina is a success. I’m sure the charities you’ve chosen in this endeavor will be truly blessed. Here’s a suggestion, do it again next year. Please?
(Pardon the crappy gallery below. I wasn’t able to bring my camera, thus, everything was taken from my old phone)