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[Review] Ponciana's Kitchen

Located somewhere along Omega Street in Fairview, Quezon City, this unassuming looking establishment looks more like somebody’s house rather than a restaurant. The only thing that indicates that you have come to the right address is the small sign in front that proudly shows the name of the place. In fact, if you venture to this place during dinnertime, you might be tempted to turn back since the road is a bit dark and the vacant front lots just have tall grass growing in them. Once you step inside what looks like the garage of the house you will soon be greeted with miniature potted plants and quaint looking decors and knick knacks that strongly reminds me of the old house of my aunts which I would frequently visit when I was a child.

Salmon Sinigang sa Miso (Salmon in sour tamarind and miso broth)

Once you enter the inviting brightly lit interior, you will immediately notice the food counter where a variety of food selections are on display. The restaurant is of the style of a “turo-turo” (which literally translates to point-point since you just need to point to the food that you want) but usually the staff will inform you of specials not on display (such as salmon head Sinigang - the head of a salmon cooked in sour tamarind and miso broth, or bulalo - tender beef shanks in clear broth). All of the dishes on offer screams home-cooked meals and yet you will be pleasantly surprised that most of them goes beyond what the usual home cooked version has to offer. For example, I was pleased to know that the paksiw na bangus I ordered was meticulously deboned (you normally would not expect that in ordinary home cooking).

Paksiw na Bangus (milkfish in sour vinegar broth)

I try to sample different viands(*) each time I visit, but a few classic filipino dishes I consider as favorites include the crispy shrimp okoy (a crispy disk of deep fried whole shrimps stuck together in batter) served with spiced vinegar, tortang talong (eggplant omelette), and rellenong bangus (whole milkfish with the meat inside removed, deboned, minced and mixed with other ingredients before being stuffed back into the skin and stitched closed before cooking).

* Note that I am using the word viand to translate the Filipino word “ulam” or “putahe” (“sud-an” in the Hiligaynon language) which is any food that is eaten with rice.
Tortang Talong (eggplant omelette)

I highly recommend trying out this restaurant if you are in the vicinity and would like to eat good filipino home-cooked food.

Crispy Shrimp Okoy (crispy deep fried shrimps in batter)
Lumpiang Sariwa with peanut sauce (vegetables in egg wrapper with peanut sauce)

Lechon Paksiw (roast pig cooked in vinegar and liver sauce)

Ginisang Mungo (mung beans stew)


Unknown said...

Why did you have to define "viand"? Does it have other meanings?

JEP said...

I don't think "ulam" (tagalog), "putahe" (tagalog), "sud-an" (hiligaynon), and other similar words have an exact translation in the english language. Sure, we Filipinos make use of the word "viand" to mean a dish that is meant to be eaten with rice. However, strictly speaking it simply means "an item of food" or "a choice or tasty dish" (online meriam-webster), thus it will cover such food items such as chocolates and confectioneries that we will never refer to as "ulam" (designer chocolate was provided as a specific example). In fact by that definition, rice will be called viand as well. Of course, etymologically, viand comes from the latin vivere (to live) which became viande in Anglo-French which means "meat". So one can argue that the way we use viand to mean meat dishes might be closer to the word's origins. I am just speculating based on online resources but what I was really stressing is the probable uniqueness of the tagalog word "ulam" in that we have a specific word for dishes depending on the context of how they are consumed (like the word "pulutan" and "sumsuman" which are dishes consumed when drinking alcohol. I am wondering if other rice eating cultures would have a similar word in their vocabulary.

Unknown said...

Hmm, maybe the best translation then is entree?