[Sca-cooks] Taillevent is Alive And Well and Living In -- Manila???

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Sat Jun 20 06:25:41 PDT 2009

Hullo, the list!

There's a Filipino bakery/cafe/restaurant in my neighborhood, and we  
had dinner there last night, which was interesting. On a prior  
occasion this place managed to sort of strike out with me, presenting  
me with what was probably my first negative experience with an Asian  
cuisine: I discovered I really don't like the noodle called pancit  
(which, in this instance at least, was an alleged rice noodle almost  
thick enough to have been squeezed from a pastry bag, and quite...  
wobbly?), that the dark red, slightly oily sauce on the table is not  
in fact chili paste, but still quite powerful and made, I suspect,  
from dried shrimp, and that a little stewed oxtail and beef tripe  
(both of which I normally love) goes a very long way when served in  
peanut sauce. I was convinced, though, that we had simply ordered  
stuff we didn't happen to care for, and not that the cuisine or the  
restaurant was to blame, so last night we went back for another try.

Last night we stuck mostly to pig bits, including an appetizer made  
from chopped pork belly and [probably] ears, highly seasoned and  
frizzled up with mass quantities of onion and garlic, and served in a  
sizzling iron pan with a raw egg cracked onto it just before serving.

Then there was the entertaining spectacle of my spouse, who is small,  
delicate, and usually fairly refined, just ripping into an unabashedly  
deep-fried pig's foot and knuckle larger than her head. Yes, this  
place is not for people with heart ailments, and they do indeed serve  
deep-fried pork fat, essentially cracklings, with a dipping sauce as  
an appetizer -- whether this constitutes evidence of an advanced  
civilization, well, I suppose one could argue either way. Maybe we'll  
try that one next time.

Well, anyway, the Evil Spawn, being just a bit of a wuss in some  
respects where food is concerned, and viewing the various feet and  
ears with deep concern, stuck to the more garden-variety barbecued  
pork from the more respectable parts of the pig.

But it's okay -- they got him anyway. They served it with a small dish  
of a dipping sauce which looked familiar to me, but which I couldn't  
place immediately. It was good, sort of sweet, sour, hot and bitter  
all at once. People who try it often seem to feel the same way: that  
the ingredients turn them off a bit, but that it's surprisingly good  
and that they can almost no longer conceive of proper roast pork being  
served without it.

It turns out that the main ingredients are toasted bread crumbs soaked  
in vinegar, lots of black pepper, fried onion and garlic optional, a  
pinch of sugar, and, of course, a healthy dollop of grilled liver,  
chopped, ground or pureed into the sauce.

I just got to thinking how many medieval European sauces were largely  
the same thing, and wondering about how this might have occurred.

Adamantius [wondering what we'll do with The Banana Custard Cake From  
Hell which followed us home like a large, unruly dog... will we have  
to give it its own room?]

"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list