Tag: food

Road to the Ruins – Beautiful Sunday

Road to the Ruins – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 Hello again for another part of our adventure here in Bicol Philippines. After our side trip from the monastery, we continued on to our journey to or main destination. We are headed out to see the ruins in Daraga Albay which […]

A Charming Mountainside Food Shack – Beautiful Sunday

A Charming Mountainside Food Shack – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 Welcome back to part seven of our Bicol region adventure in the Philippines. Last time we closed the episode of our visit to Hibiscus Camp. It was a pleasant visit as we had an amazing time dipping in the pool while […]

Free Buffet on your Birthday “Tong Yang Plus” – Beautiful Sunday

Free Buffet on your Birthday “Tong Yang Plus” – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108

How would you like to eat unlimited grilled food and hotpot? Well look no further as I would share with you today our experience in this restaurant. Not only that, if it is your birthday you get to eat for free. It is my wife’s birthday and I wanted to take her out to lunch to some place nice. We are a bit short on the budget but good thing I found out about this restaurant. Get your appetite ready as we are about to embark on a delicious grill and hot pot experience.


Free Buffet on your Birthday “Tong Yang Plus”

Tong Yang Plus opened in December 2017 in one of the most popular mall in the country. With a wide variety of food ranging from local Philippine, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Owned by a company that runs several buffet restaurants that can be found all over the country. This particular branch that we visited just opened a couple of months ago and there are times that you need to wait to get a seat. The buffet lunch starts at 11:00 am up until 2:30 pm. If you prefer dinner time starts at 5:30 pm until 10:00 pm.

The rates and promotion are displayed outside.

Week day lunch rate 638 pesos or $12.20 USD

Weekend and dinner rate 738 pesos or $14.12 USD

Rates for senior citizens has different discounts depending on the age of the customer.


On your exact birth date you get to eat for free, but you need to have one paying adult with you. Also do not forget you identification card. There were only two of us so we only get to pay for one. Well it wouldn’t be fun to eat alone on a buffet.

If ever you visit on your birth month you can also get to eat for free, but you would need to be accompanied with 4 other people. You could scheme and ask four of your friends to join you to get your free meal.

We were there early and the people are just starting to come in. It is a good thing that we have already secured our table. Inside the ambiance and lighting was very cozy. The grills used are smokeless therefore the smell of food would not get on your clothes.

Every time we  eat at a buffet my question is always where to start. I often scan the area first to find out where the good stuff are. It is also important not to eat a lot of rice and if possible skip the rice completely. Rice and drinks will get you fill up right away. You would not have anymore space in you belly to sample the other dishes.

Here they also had local Philippine food and other dishes. We decided to skip them all and just focus on the grill and the hot pot.

In all buffet restaurants that I have visited they all have one thing in common. It seems that the shrimp tempura always runs out. We guarded the tray until a fresh batch was served and immediately took several for us. Everyone loves the shrimp tempura, no one ever pays attention to the fish and vegetable tempura.

Here is our table and this is also our first ever hot pot experience. We had no idea how to properly eat hot pot and we had to do a little research before we came here. For your hot pot you will be asked what soup base you would prefer. The options are chicken, seafood, vegetarian, sate and couple more. I selected the sate soup base and while the broth it is simmering we went back to get more ingredients.

There are so many options to choose from and make sure you to take only what you could eat. You will be charged extra for any left overs which is a way to prevent wasting of food.

There are so may raw ingredients including processed food like hot dogs and sausages. I skipped the hot dogs as you could easily purchase some from the market. Although my wife took a couple of sausages.

You could find different marinated pork, chicken and beef here. Out of all the options I only took a few pieces of the Korean beef loin and some garlic chicken.

Other raw ingredients include liver, gizzard, intestine, kidney and other innards. I wouldn’t know how to prepare them so also I skipped this portion.

If you love fish this is the section for you, grill them or add them to your hot pot. I took a couple of pieces of the red snapper as they are expensive if you buy them in the market.

Would be great to sample the other fishes but I was craving for beef.

I do not know a lot about dumplings and the options here confused me. I didn’t know what to take so I just looked for something that had a nice color and looked tasty. I took a couple of the shrimp and squid dumplings.

I was looking for seaweed to add that flavor to my soup. I found them and also added some white fungus in the mix.

I was hoping there were crabs, but I was told that they only serve them during dinner. Any way we found some shrimp and got every variety of the clams. I am imagining it would give an amazing seafood flavor to my hot pot.

The vegetable section will allow you to cook one of our local sour soup dish called “Sinigang”. I guess if you know what you are doing you will be able to cook up anything that you want.

The noodles here are so colorful, I was planning to cook one up if I still have enough space later on. You could maybe cook up a nice ramen with all the ingredients here.

This is the section where you could have fresh meat sliced. Sliced into thin strips which is perfect for grilling. We asked for slices of the three meat options.

Now to complete it all, you will need to mix up your own dipping sauce. Again I was confused which ones to use and I just tried to experiment. Mixing sate pate with a little vinegar and soy sauce. Adding some garlic, spring onions and some chili. I was hopeful it would taste good as a dipping sauce for our grilled meat.

The crew here are helpful and you could always ask them what is the best combination. I’m sure they could help you mix up a delicious sauce.

Time to put in all the ingredients to our simmering hot pot.

With the clams, mussels and pieces of red snapper. I am sure my soup would be very flavorful.

Here are the vegetables I got and they would be going in last. You would not want your vegetables to  be over cooked.

My wife did the grilling and was enjoying it. We normally grill with charcoal at home that get the smell of smoke all over you. This way of grilling is very pleasant as it is smokeless.

Will all the ingredients combined the aroma was bursting with flavors. The sate broth was very flavorful compared to the seafood broth that my wife selected.

Here are the slices of meat that are lined up for grilling. I thing maybe we took a little to many, but realized that they would shrink once cooked. I guess the meat volume that we got is just enough for us.

Tongs are provided that you could use to flip the meat over. But I couldn’t help to use my fork to help my wife to cook the rest of the batch.

This is the dipping sauce that I mixed up earlier and it was ok for the the grilled meat. We also got the tempura sauce which tasted good with the  beef slices.

Our selections were spot on as we enjoyed every bite. It is really important to choose the food that you like first and try the others later on your second round. In this case were already too full to go for another round. I think we already got all that we wanted. I guess no more room for the ramen that I was going to try. Maybe on our next visit on someone’s birthday.

Time to get some drinks to finish up the rest of the food. They have unlimited soda, juices, infused water, coffee, tea and beer. Unlimited draft beer, but do remember to drink moderately as you wouldn’t want to get too drunk in this restaurant.

To finish it all the crew went around to greet the birthday celebrants with a small birthday cake.

I guess we still have room for desert before be head home.

Small portions of cakes and other local pastries are available. I am not much of a cake guy, but got myself a couple of butterscotch.

Here are some topping to add to your dessert. Would be perfect with ice cream and time to get a scoop of two.

I found them and I suggest the avocado flavor. I do not often see this flavor in the market and I find it delicious.

You want something healthier, well they have fruits available.

Mix up your own salad and even add some more ingredients from the vegetable section. If you are a vegan you would still love it here as I noticed a lot of vegetable options for the noodles, dumplings and other ingredients.

This is the “Halo Halo” section which a popular Philippine desert. Mixing all the sweet ingredients and topped off with shaved ice and milk.

For my wife’s dessert some ice cream and halo halo.

Over all I would say that we had a really good experience with Tong Yang Plus. The ambiance and service was great the food was well worth it for the price. We are sure to come back here again birthday or not as we really enjoyed this restaurant.

Thank you for joining us today on this birthday lunch out. I hope you enjoyed the food and if ever you visit the Philippines have a taste of the Tong Yang Plus experience. Hope to see you again soon, happy eating and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Feel free to leave some comments, tell me what you think as I would love to hear from you.


Official Page

Tong Yang Plus


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“Boodle Fight” A Filipino Tradition – Beautiful Sunday

“Boodle Fight” A Filipino Tradition – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 It has been a while since my last content as there has been a lot going on lately. Finally I got a breather and it is time again to do what I love doing which is sharing, places, culture and life […]

A Simple Christmas Dinner

A Simple Christmas Dinner

Time flies so fast and I never really noticed that it is Christmas already. Last year was so memorable due to the bull run. The memories are still fresh and seems like yesterday. Well this year we spent the afternoon preparing our Christmas dinner. Nothing […]

Dreamy Purple Treat – Beautiful Sunday

Dreamy Purple Treat – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108

Every year we prepare a dessert which is unique from our country. Made from a root vegetable with a delightful color it is called Ube. The root is also known as purple yam and can also be found in other countries, the dessert though is uniquely Filipino. Come with me today, join the family as we fire up the wood and heat up the cauldron. Step inside our kitchen as we cook a delicious dessert called Ube Halaya.


Dreamy Purple Treat

Each year every second Saturday of November everyone in the family helps out to prepare this purple treat. Why Saturday if you might ask? It is the day before our annual fiesta in the city. The recipe of Ube Halaya has been passed down to us for generations now and my childhood memories when my grandma prepared this is still very vivid. As a kid I felt excited as they brought out the big black cauldron where they used to cook it.

Now my aunt along with my wife does the preparation. They bought around 9 kilos of purple yam if I’m not mistaken. That sounds a lot, but the volume decreases as it is cooked.

To start off, you first need to soak it up with water and remove all the dirt from the root.

Since it has been harvested from the ground, all dirt must be brushed off. Making sure it is very clean from the dirt as we would not want it to go in our dessert.

Be careful though, the water from the washed purple yam can be very itchy on the skin. It is best to rinse everything with clean water after the scrubbing.

Time to fire up the wood as we would first need to boil them to soften up the root vegetable. This cauldron that we have is no longer the original black one that we used. Thru time and age that antique cauldron cracked at the bottom. I guess somethings doesn’t last forever, but I really loved that old cauldron which was very well seasoned.

I used old pieces of wood from discarded fruit crates and some wood used in construction. Some pieces of broken hollow blocks are used to hold up the cauldron. Maybe when we visit the beach I would look for large rocks to take home with me. Something that would be perfect to hold up the cauldron, but for now I guess the hollow blocks will do the trick.

Fill it up with water as we are getting ready to boil our purple yam.

The boiling process would take about two hours, but we wouldn’t want it to be too soft. It is best to check once in awhile poking it with a fork to know if it’s ready. To speed up the process it is best to cover the cauldron with a sturdy lid.

After the boiling process, we removed the ube and what is left is the purple hot water.

As you could see, that beautiful purple color is already showing. Now it can be easily peeled with a knife.

Making sure that all skin are peeled off before we proceed to the next process. My daughter was also eagerly helping in the process.

Once everything has been peeled, it is time for the shredding.

Each piece will be shredded evenly by using an old tool that was made by my grandpa made from stainless steel. In this portion everyone in the family is joining in the process.

My daughter is very much enjoying herself is very much eager to have a bite of this tasty treat.

The shredded ube would look like this once done. Somehow looks like shredded cheese and I am wondering if you could already sprinkle some of these on some desserts. Maybe sprinkle a little on pancakes or ice cream.

This dessert only requires very few ingredients, but would require a lot of love in the preparation. Here we used a lot of canned milk. To be specific, we used 7 cans of condensed milk and 10 cans of evaporated milk. These are the local brands that we have and would not matter if you mix up different brands.

Next we would need some sugar which is around one kilo.

That is it for our ingredients and let’s step outside again to our kitchen. It is time to grease up the cauldron with some butter.

Make sure that the surface is well greased up with the butter. This will ensure the ingredients would not stick as this would be very hot.

Once greased up the shredded ube is transferred as we would need to mix it well with the milk and sugar.

Another very important tool for the cooking which is what we call the pala or shovel. This was also custom made by my grandfather also made from stainless steel. I love how he made a lot of kitchen tools with stainless steel, something that would last for a very very long time. Something that is irreplaceable which we will also pass down to our future generations.

Time to pour in all the cans of evaporated and condensed milk.

Next the granules of sweetness are added to make this sweet delicious dessert.

Everything is mixed well and with all the milk this will turn into like a purple milkshake.

Now it’s  my turn which is my job every year. The hardest part which is non stop stirring for almost three hours. Doing this for years now I have already established a technique in the stirring process. The secret is within the movement of the wrist along with the push of the palm. I could say that I am now a master stirrer of the Ube Halaya.

Before everything, let’s add some more heat to it by throwing in some more wood to the flames.

At this time, it is still too early to notice the change. But as time passes the consistency of the mixture will thicken. It is very important to stir from the bottom making sure nothing would stick and burn on the surface. The flames are hot and the smoke often goes to your eyes. It is no easy task with the non stop stirring.

Normally, I go shirtless when cooking. Because of the heat, but I’m not confident enough going shirtless on the photos…lol.

After an hour, you could already see the change in the consistency but still it has a long way to go. You would know if it is ready if you could no longer stir it completely, the texture would be very thick.

Portions of the mixture would stick on the sides and would need to scrape them off. At this time, it is already around two hours of non stop stirring and we are almost there to the finish line.

Finally, around two hours and 45 minutes later it is cooked. The Ube Halaya would stick on the shovel which is an indication of the perfect consistency. Remove the heat and leave for around 3 to 5 minutes before taking it inside.

In this portion, the rest of the family will be helping out to transfer the dessert in plastic containers. Some will be given to other relatives and friends. They always look forward to this day of sweetness which was made from love and tenderness.

About the taste, let me describe it to you. It is like a potato with a hint of vanilla, sweet, smooth, creamy with texture like pudding but much thicker. Your mind might suggest a taste like grape due to it’s color, but you would be in for a surprise. We don’t have a lot of food in purple color, but you will be in for a treat once you have a taste of this dessert.

Here is my daughter ready for her spoonful of this tasty treat. Will all the help that she did, she deserves more than a spoonful.

With the large batch that we cooked, everyone was busy packing them in the plastic containers. The top is greased with butter to smooth en the surface.

You would not be able to resist getting a spoonful as the delicious scent floats around the air.

A tradition every year, bonding together, laughing with the family as we cook with love. These memories are priceless and I am glad to share this piece of true happiness in our lives. Although life is hard, we still find ways to give, laugh and spend quality time with each other. Doing things together keeps the family closer together and stronger.

Our relatives always tells us to make a business out of this dessert. My aunt always says that we would not earn much as we use too much ingredients. She prefers quality and superior taste when it comes to Ube Halaya. If you would make it expensive due to the ingredients maybe no one would buy it. Not to brag about it, but I took some to the office last year and some other people also brought their own. The guys at the office said that ours was the best and cannot be matched.

Here are what is left of it as some relatives already dropped by to get their share. Now we just need for it to cool down to be ready to be stored in the refrigerator.


Thank you for joining me today and I hope you loved the process in preparing this delightful dessert. If ever you stumble on this treat please do give it a try. In this world, colors that you see may not what is seems to be. Colors might be deceiving and you would not know unless you try.

Until then I hope to see you again soon, have a good evening everyone.


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All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85 12-32 mm kit lens and Sigma 50 mm




The Tradition of Pasalubong

The Tradition of Pasalubong

Every time we travel to different places we often want to bring something home. The souvenirs that we take home varies from food, mementos, shirts from tourist spots and sometimes we even want to take home just too much. Here in our country we have […]

Mucho’s Hauz – Beautiful Sunday

Mucho’s Hauz – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 After our tour from the beautiful church called St. Peter of Alcantara Parish, we were ready for lunch. All that walking and taking photos got me really hungry. Since we are just visitors in this town we had no idea where […]

A Michelin Star and a Walk by the Bay

A Michelin Star and a Walk by the Bay

What is a Michelin star? To be honest I never really took time to know what it was. I only knew that stars are given to prestigious restaurants. When you see Michelin star on a restaurant it is a badge that the food is good. Just recently a franchise from Singapore just opened in Manila. The world’s first and cheapest food stall to receive a prestigious star. Liao Fan Hawker Chan now has international franchises all over the world. Finally the Filipinos will now have a chance to taste their signature dish “The Soya Sauce Chicken”. Join me today to have a taste of this popular dish and after that let’s have a walk at Manila Bay.


A Michelin Star and a Walk by the Bay

As some of you might recognize the mascot for Michelin which reminds me of the Stay Puff Marshmallow man from the Ghost Busters. Michelin is a tire company in France that published a guide for motorist. It includes maps, instructions, gas stations and in 1922 they also added restaurant and hotel listings. The restaurant section became so popular that they recruited Michelin inspectors to do reviews of the restaurants. These inspectors are secret agents and remains anonymous. In what I have learned they are not even allowed to disclose to their families of their secret identity.

A street food stall located in Singapore named Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, it is one of the two food stalls that has been awarded with one star. The stall is owned by Chan Hong Meng that started from humble beginnings. With the recognition received the lines became longer, but still he kept the cheap price of his food. Today there are a lot of franchises internationally. As a lot of us could go to Singapore to experience it at the original branch this franchise is a welcoming sight in Manila. It is located at Mall of Asia which is one of the largest mall in our country.

Outside you can see the food that they have to offer and I am looking forward to taste their signature dish. The prices are very affordable which is similar to the price that they have in Singapore. The Soya Sauce Chicken rice cost 128 pesos which is about $2.36. This price is comparable to the rice meal prices in most fast food chains here.

As for us we are looking forward to have a taste of a little bit of everything.

From outside you can already see a line building up and I was expecting that we might also have a little trouble getting a table.

With that brightly lit sign and the word one Michelin star, we are excited to have a taste of their food.

The set up is very different form the usual fast food chains. It had a different feel than the usual food chains here, from the setup and design it was all new.

Behind the counter the chicken and pork are displayed, which reminds of the the restaurants in Chinatown. There is also a sweet smell that would stimulate your appetite.

At the counter your order will be taken and you will be assigned a number. Surprisingly, the line moved very fast and was just took a few minutes to take our order.

They also sold different types of tea and we ordered the Roselle tea. A magenta colored tea made from the roselle flower. I am not a tea fan, but my daughter insisted that we order it.

Here you would wait for your order and while waiting we were already on a look out for a vacant table.

Finally, we got our table and we just needed to wait for our number to come up.

After waiting a few minutes our order was ready. Time to feed the hungry family, but before that we had to take a couple of photos first.

We ordered  a little bit of every in regards to the meat dishes, but missed to order the pork ribs.

I guess the food is already enough for just the four of us to enjoy.

First we have the popular Soya Sauce Chicken with noodles. The dish that gave Chan Hon Meng international recognition. The chicken was a bit sweet as expected and the meat quite tender. I really loved it especially the skin as for the noodles it had a very good texture and the taste of the sauce and sambal was a bit unusual, but interesting to my taste. First time I have had sambal and the taste of it is very similar to bagoong which is our local shrimp paste.

It was not what I was expecting, but over all the meal was satisfying at this price point.

The extra rice that we ordered had the special sauce poured on it. We had to pay an extra 20 pesos or $.37 to have the sauce on the rice. I think the sauce is the same that was used on the chicken so it was also a bit sweet.

Next we had the platter meal that you can choose from any meat combination and as a side dish it also includes some soya beans. We selected the roasted pork, char siew and the chicken. The price is 270 pesos which is roughly around $3.00. The roasted pork had a crunch top part, but what I really loved the most is the Char Siew. Sweet tender almost taste like Tocino which is our local sweet pork dish.

We had to have some vegetables to complete the meal. Here is their steamed Chinese Broccoli with roasted garlic and  with a dash of their special sauce. The cost is 99 pesos which is around $1.82 price which is a bit steep for vegetables, but hey vegetable are very expensive now here these days.

Our taste of the Michelin star restaurant was complete. There are different review about Hawker Chan and some does not think it is worthy of the star. My wife was not a fan and she mentioned that she preferred the food that we had in China town.  I on the other hand was also not completely blow away. I am not a professional food critic, but I know what I like and for me it seemed to be just ok for my taste. Well, still it earned that star and maybe we all just have different taste when it comes to food. I am still wondering why there are long lines in Singapore, it makes me wonder if it is a different experience on the main branch. If you are near any branches of Hawker Chan try it out and please let me know what you think.

After that meal we decided to take a walk at the bay in the back part of the mall. The sun was setting and it had a gorgeous sky. We crossed the walkway to reach the other side and wanted to relax and enjoy the cool ocean breeze.

Unexpectedly, the place was packed with people and it was pretty hard to get a spot. I have never seen this place so crowded before. I recall last time we went here there a plenty of places to sit. It seemed there was like a concert or a celebrity that everyone was waiting for. But there was no concert and everyone just seemed to have the same idea to hang out here.

My kids was also surprised with the volume of the people around.

I wanted to take photos of the sunset, but had a very hard time looking for a spot. When a couple left, I immediately took the spot to be able to take a few shots.

This is the perfect time of day for me and if you could just freeze time to make it longer. A ferry boat passes by and I think this is  one of those boats that offers buffet and a tour around the bay. Perfect time would be later at night to watch the fireworks display.

This looks like a fishing boat and if you could zoom in, you would notice a guy with two hands raised in the air. If I had my zoom lens with me we could have gotten more detail.

More and more people are starting to pour in as the sun sets. Families, lovers and friends all are drawn by the golden hour.

Security is present around the bay and their presence makes us feel safer which is good. Although there are no news of crime around this area it is good that they keep this place secured.

My family found a spot where they could enjoy the view, but I wondered around a bit. As that big yellow sun is swallowed away by the ocean, magic surrounds the area. The breeze from the ocean was a little bit cooler and lights from the restaurants are starting to light up.

People enjoy the closing of the day with friends and lovers holds each other closer as night begins to descend.

With the gentle sound of the waves the sky slowly changes colors in the most relaxing tones. This sets the perfect mood for romance and reminds me to take my wife on a quiet dinner date in one of the restaurants here. Better yet have a dinner on a romantic cruise around the bay. Not today, but maybe soon as it has been a while since we spent time together alone on a date.

As it almost darkens the lights from the harbor and the city are lighting up like a gentle glow from a flame. Out here it all looks so peaceful and you could just forget everything for a moment and breath in the ocean air. It was an interesting afternoon with the meal that we had and with a bay that is crowded. But still we had a fun time as I get to spend an afternoon outside with the people that I love.

Thanks for joining me in this food trip and the walk by the bay. Have you experienced eating at this restaurant? Let me know what your thoughts are and for the meantime have a good evening everyone.

Hope to see you again soon.



Michelin Guide

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle

Official Page

Hawker Chan Philippines

Follow @surpassinggoogle to witness an extraordinary person in this platform and vote for @steemgigs as witness

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All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85 and 12-32 mm kit lens

In Search of Fried Duck

In Search of Fried Duck

Our road trip has been long over due and this time we are exploring the Province of Laguna. A province with the largest lake in our country, the place of birth of our National hero, magnificent falls, hot springs, ducks and much much more. On […]