The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch It, I Try It!

(=^・ェ・^=))ノ彡。・∵゜:;,・゜∵: ○ ;,・。∵゜:;,。・゜

Jdorama Inspiration: Shinya Shokudo

Shinya Shokudo (深夜食堂 or The Late Night Diner) is a 10-episode drama that was shown past midnight on TBS and MBS for the Fall Season of 2009. As its title suggests, the drama takes place in a unique, night-shift diner in one of the alley-ways of Tokyo’s busiest municipality, Shinjuku.  The dimly-lit diner is run by its cook who goes only by the name of  ‘Master’ (played by Kobayashi Kaoru). He opens the diner from 12 midnight up to 7 am with a menu that offers goodwill and just one dish – tonjiru (pork and vegetable soup).  If a customer wishes to order something else, the Master will whip it up only if he has the ingredients available.  The stories told in this drama are those of the customers that patronize this humble eatery.

‘Master’ Class: Kobayashi (left) plays the enigmatic, unnamed cook in this drama based on a manga by Abe Yaro

I was very well-impressed by this drama’s low-keyed simplicity and quiet charm.  Since the diner opens only during the wee hours, it would naturally attract a few but interesting characters as its customers – mostly the city’s nocturnal creatures who work the graveyard shift (a yakuza boss, a stripper, a newspaper delivery boy, a male porn star, etc.).  The warmth and calming atmosphere of the diner is set against the contrasting backdrop of night-time Shinjuku’s cold, lonely and impersonal concrete milieu, so it was natural that these customers would find refuge in it.  And what gives this drama its stroke of genius is the menu – or rather the lack of it. Since a patron can ask for a simple dish (if the Master has the means to make it), he or she orders a favorite comfort food which in turn conjures up repressed or forgotten memories of family, lost friends or past loves that basically inspires the character to remember what was once lost or left behind, deal with regrets or seek a sense of personal closure as well as fulfillment.

With scenes accompanied by Suzuki Tsuneyoshi’s haunting song “Omoi-de,” Shinya Shokudo is an introspective drama that despite the differences in language and culture, it proves that there is something universal about the topic of food that we could all connect with.

Just like the food it features, the drama stimulates feelings of comfort and good vibes.  It is one of the best yet seemingly underrated jdoramas I’ve seen so far (and rightfully deserves a second season, too).

Jdorama Food: Japanese Comfort Food

Comfort food pertains to “foods consumed to achieve some level of improved emotional status, whether to relieve negative psychological affect or to increase positive.”  They can be simple dishes that could be home-cooked (sandwiches or soup) or bought from a store (ice cream). For me, the idea of comfort food is something that can be easily prepared anytime, usually made up of left-overs and satiates those annoying hunger pangs that creep during ungodly hours of the night, a rainy day or during dvd weekend marathons.

The comfort dishes shown every episode are the real ‘stars’ of Shinya Shokudo (the drama even offers cooking tips at the end of each episode).  They include traditional Japanese comfort food like tarako (cod roe – above left) and ochazuke (rice with green tea – above right); and Western dishes like potato salad and egg sandwich.

The FooDorama Special Challenge: Remembering my own Comfort Foods

This is a special on comfort food – meaning, I will refrain from reprising the dishes featured in the drama since they are just too easy to prepare, does not pose much of a challenge and hence, no need to share recipes.  So instead, for this post, I would like to share my very own simple and personal comfort food experiences…

The FooDorama Connection #1: Nekomanma

In episode 2, an aspiring singer comes to the diner and orders nekomanma (literally means ‘cat food’) which is rice with dried bonito shavings and a dash of soy sauce.  It is a super easy to prepare and makes use of leftovers – particularly rice and fish.

My Counterpart: Rice with leftover Maling bits

LOL… I’m guessing a lot of my fellow Pinoys can relate to this. Maling is a brand name of a Chinese canned luncheon meat widely available locally. It is the poor man’s Spam… well, even middle class folks like it, too.  We did have the occasional Spam but Maling was the canned meat we consumed most often while growing up. Yes, I’ve heard of horrible rumors about this product but it’s cheap anyway, readily available and saves you time.  As long as this unsophisticated, much-maligned fare can help ease hunger pangs and gets you through the day (or night)… Lunok na lang, at wag nang mag-isip ng kung anu-ano…

FooDorama Connection #2: Tamago (or Egg) Sandwich

In episode 7, a young newspaper delivery man would order egg salad sandwich at the midnight diner during his breaks.  The Master would prepare it for him along with extra ham sandwiches.  I had to pause from watching this episode in order to make an egg sandwich for myself. There’s nothing like watching a good drama while having the same food that the characters were enjoying.

My Counterpart: The Tasty Adobo Pandesal

Chances are, every Filipino family may have some leftover adobo inside their refrigerator.  This quintessential Pinoy dish is practical, have a long shelf-life (because of its main ingredient – vinegar) and simply delicious.  I remember living on these when I was on my own in Cebu. Usually accompanied with rice, this dish could be made into a sandwich, using adobo pork or chicken from the fridge, nuke it up, shred it into thin flakes and spread it along with mayo on hot pandesal (Philippine round bread).

The FooDorama Connection #3: Butter Rice

In episode 5 (which is probably my favorite), a renowned food critic who is used to eating expensive gourmet food, drops in and orders a simple dish that reminds him of his happy, worry-free life as a young man spent with a senpai he had admired. The dish is that of butter rice – steamed rice mixed with a dab of butter and a drop of soy sauce.

My Counterpart: Sinangag (Garlic Fried Rice)

If I could order something from the Master, it would be this: the simple sinangag or left-over rice stir-fried in oil and chopped garlic, with a dash of salt and pepper.  One of my early childhood memories is watching TV alone and eating fried rice, cooked and lovingly served by my mother. I remember the rice was so good I ate 2 to 3 plates of it without eating anything else – just the fried rice. I also recall feeling contented and happy as any care-free preschooler at that time. That is why after watching Shinya Shokudo, it made me contemplate on how I long for those times, and how I miss my mother, and so, well… I ended up crying like a baby… *sighs*

The feelings attached to one’s own personal comfort food may differ from one individual to another.  Whether to make us remember our moms, or wax nostalgic for those happy youthful times, or simply unearthing lost emotions forced to be buried in exchange for steeling ourselves up as a way of self-protection against life’s harsh realities, enjoying simple comfort food more or less, is a humbling experience that helps reconnect with the child within us.  It’s this simple food that reminds us of things that may mean little to others and yet this is what we treasure for it fills us up (physically and emotionally) even for just a fleeting moment.

How about you… What’s your comfort food?

P.S. This post is dedicated to my beautiful and kind MOM. I miss you so much – and not just because of your fried rice (^^)… Love you always and happy birthday!

~(=^‥^)ノ☆ おやすみニャ。。o.゚。*・★


My FooDorama Challenge Links

Coming Soon – FDC#14: Taiyaki (Jdorama Inspiration: Shinzanmono)
FDC#12: Omuraisu (Jdorama Inspiration: Tumbling)
FDC#11: Bibimbap (Kdrama Inspiration: Full House)

Info Sources: Comfort food (wikipedia); Jdorama (dramawiki)

Jdorama Photo Credits: (MBS,

I had been absent from the blogosphere for sometime now. I chose to break free albeit temporarily from my self-imposed exile in order to say I was able to watch and enjoy the delightful musical, CATS at the CCP last weekend.

Though I am undergoing circumstances wherein it is not really possible to gift myself such a luxurious treat (I did miss out on Ms. Saigon and Les Miserables when they were shown years before in Manila, and I thought I’d miss out on this one, too. But….), I was nevertheless able to fulfill my wish to see this show with the help of some kind friends.   Gracias, mi amigas!!!


I haz teh tickets: Yay! CATS at last… here we go!

CATS was fantabulous… I really enjoyed myself watching a world-class musical, with all the costumes and sets.  I did hear negative comments about the show, saying that it was boring and can make you sleep (I’m guessing because it’s ‘too English’ for them).  I also think that majority of Pinoys are not really used to hearing such musicals wherein there are no regular dialogues and that the characters were mostly reciting poetry (kasi naman it WAS based on TS Eliot’s collection of whimsical poems about cats *rollseyes*).  And yes, the musical had been around since the early 80’s and I did feel that parts of it have become outdated and has lost its ‘wow’ factor (with today’s generation of audiences, shows have to find new ways to keep up with their tastes by coming up with creative gimmicks, ingenious effects and hi-tech sets).

Cats, CCP, Manila 2010

Souvenir programs cost Php500

With the musical’s run ending this Sunday, I’d like to offer tips for those who are still going to see the remaining shows:

  • Read about the musical first.  And if it’s possible, get a hold of a copy of TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and read some of the poems so you come prepared.
  • CCP security does not allow cameras inside the premises.  But they do allow cellphone cameras inside the theatre – just don’t use flash if your phone has one. It could distract the performers.
  • Some of the characters in their feline costumes pass along the aisles in the audience and even up the balconies during the show and during the intermission.  Get ready with your cell cam (set it to ‘night-mode’) when they do so you can have great souvenir shots.
  • If you’re seated far from the stage (in the balconies and boxes), better bring a pair of binoculars or you can buy one (for Php50 only) from the CCP staff.
  • If you want to live, please do not sing-along with Lea when she sings “Memory.” Someone might clunk you on the head if you do.
  • We all know Lea Salonga plays “Grizabella” which was a short role, does not dance much and gets to sing only 2 songs. But what many people do NOT know is – she is also a part of the opening scene wherein all the performers come out to dance and sing “Jellicle Songs For Jellicle Cats.” One can’t easily recognize her because of her make-up and costume.  You got to have a good set of eyes (and ears) to spot her and her voice among the equally talented cast of Australian and UK-based performers.
  • Lastly, ARRIVE EARLY. 30 minutes early if possible. It’s common theatre etiquette that should be strictly followed regardless who you are. They won’t let you in once the show starts and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

CATS CCP 2010 Manila

Anak ng Pusa… ang galeng: Thanks to the organizers for bringing CATS here (and for the super-discounted prices which we happily availed)…  it was absolutely puurrrfect! ‘Til the next musical…

I would just like to interrupt my blogging break…

To announce that my blog…

turns 2 today! Woo-hoo!!

With 167 posts (including this) and 38,069 hits so far… OMP gears up for hopefully more and more years of happy blogging ahead.

Happy 2nd Birthday, OMP!!!


~~photo credit: richard forward

I’m back from my solo backpacking trip abroad…

tired but gratefully alive…

I have yet to blog about it though. I just needed some more time before i get back into the blogosphere…

so I’ll just leave this picture of one of the places i visited…

be blogging soon… ^_^

i’ll be going away for awhile…

so i could do something i’ve been dreaming to do…

and that is… to embark on a new adventure…

and a personal journey…

to a far-off land away from home… (yet not really that far…)

i don’t have a clear-cut plan of where i’m going…

but it is something i needed to do…

maybe to allow oneself to traverse unbeaten paths…

and be lost…

in order to find oneself again…


for every trip i make…

there is some feeling of excitement as well as apprehension…

so i pray to  God for guidance and courage…

and a safe, and peaceful travel…

and to thank Him as well…

for a chance to once again…

reconnect with old friends…

to rejuvenate a tired mind and soul…

to immerse in the diversity that makes mankind great…

and to revel in the beauty of His creations…

be back soon… peace! (^_^)


photo credit: ISS for flickr

The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch It, I Try It!

ホップ!ステップ!ジャンプ!⌒v⌒v⌒v⌒ミ(ノ ̄⊿)ノ

Jdorama Inspiration: Tumbling

Tumbling is one of the new dramas currently being aired on TBS.  It is about a struggling high school club that does men’s rhythmic gymnastics (yes, there is such a thing).  The club starts out as a four-man group until the school’s rough bad boy delinquents headed by Azuma Wataru (Yamamato Yusuke) join in.  The guys face obstacles and ridicule as they try to prove their worth and dedication to the sport while resolving differences within the group and  strengthening bonds with each other as well.

I’ll Tumble for Ya!: OMG… men in tights! And with a pose like this… who can possibly resist Tumbling? lol

In the tradition of Japan’s sports manga, Tumbling looks like the usual I-don’t-care-what-you-say,-I’m-gonna-practice-hard-til-I-succeed kind of story.  However, it is unusual with its choice of sports – rhythmic gymnastics for men (which I learned is quite popular in Japan) since RG is more known to be largely performed by women.  So basically, Tumbling is more like the movie Waterboys (a group of HS guys doing another sport dominated by women – synchronized swimming) of which I am a loyal fan.  Anyway, the drama is still ongoing so I can’t give a full review on it yet.  In the meantime, it is great to see Yusuke and the other actors do their own tumbling, handstands and other routines which are obviously not easy to do. Good job, mina-san!

Jdorama Food: Omuraisu

Omuraisu (also known as omurice) is short for “omelette rice” which is exactly that – omelette and rice. It is one of the Japan’s well-loved western-styled dishes.  It is made of fried rice (usually consisting of chicken and tomato sauce) with omelette that is either placed on top of the rice or wrapped around it.

The FooDorama Connection: Omuraisu is shown so far in almost every episode since Wataru’s mom (Otsuka Nene) owns a diner that seems to specialize on this dish (because it’s the only food i’ve seen her served so far!)

Wataru and his friends would usually hang out at his mom’s diner and bond over a meal of omuraisu after grueling hours of stretching and tumbling (either that or fighting with other gangs).

The omuraisu served in Tumbling with ketchup on top.

Another favorite jdorama of mine that showed omuraisu was…

Tiger and Dragon (TBS, 2005): Meeting at a western -styled diner, Yakuza henchman, Tora (Nagase Tomoya) and rakuga master, Don-chan (Nishida Toshiyuki – above left) would often end every episode with their funny running gag – the ‘exchange of debt payments’ (hard to explain – basta, watch it na lang!) while having their usual orders of omuraisu.

The FooDorama Challenge: Trying out Omuraisu!

I find this dish not really strange and new since I have been having fried rice and omelette throughout my whole life.  But I guess presenting it in a novel kind of way made me feel excited about it – plus the fact that I do love fried rice along with fluffy scrambled eggs! Yummm…

How to make the raisu in omuraisu: Saute chopped garlic and onions in a pan.  Add meat, preferably chicken (but I used ham instead).

Then, mix in the other ingredients: sliced mushrooms, green peas, chopped bell peppers, tomato sauce, and some ketchup.  When ready, add in cooked white rice and stir.  Season with salt and pepper. To enhance flavor, one can mix in chicken bouillon (finely chopped into powder), a bay leaf, and/or Worcestershire sauce. For me, I used a lil thing we call magik sarap.  Adjust the amounts to your liking. Then, set aside on a plate when done.

To make the omelette: beat 2 eggs in a bowl and season it with salt and pepper. Pour it on the same heated pan you used for the rice, making sure to spread it evenly throughout the surface.  As it cooks, place a cup of the fried rice in the center. Bring the top and bottom edges of the omelette over the rice.  The tricky part comes when placing it on your plate: place an upside down plate on the pan, turn the whole thing over so the plate catches the omuraisu.

Actually… This is what it looks like after transferring it on a plate.  My omelette was almost turning brown since it had sat on the hot pan for too long (because I was busy taking pix! Hee-hee…).  Anyhoo, I adjusted it using my hands – tucking the edges and shaping it for a better, neater look.

Whew! My first attempt at Omuraisu for FDC#12 – done!: It turned out pretty ok for a first try, I guess.  Garnished with parsley and drizzled with ketchup.  The presentation looked really inviting.  As a breakfast meal (for us Pinoys, this is preferably served as a good hearty breakfast with hot coffee), it would really start your day right just by looking at it. You can write/design ketchup symbols and messages on it like hearts and smileys.  Your kids and spouse would love it!

Open up and say…Mmm!: My first omuraisu was fantastic! They all went so well in your mouth – the rice, the omelette, and even the ketchup!  You got to eat it fast though because it does taste better if it’s warm.

Yup! Omuraisu is definitely worth tumbling for!

HereGoes~。°。ヾ( ・_・)ツ⌒Y⌒Y⌒ ミ(。A。)⌒v⌒v⌒ミ(ノ ̄v ̄)ノ゜°YATTA!!!

My FooDorama Challenge Links
Coming Soon – FDC#13: An FDC Special on Japanese Comfort Food (Jdorama Inspiration: Shinya Shokodo)
FDC#11: Bibimbap (Kdrama Inspiration: Full House)
FDC#10: Agedashi Tofu (Jdorama Inspiration: JIN)

———————————– fodocha

Dish info source: wikipedia
Recipe source:  CookingWithDog
Jdorama info: dramawiki
Jdorama photo credits: TBS (Tumbling); TBS (Tiger and Dragon)

The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch it, I Try it!

AjaAja~Fighting!! \(o^-^)尸~”☆ミ☆ミ

Kdrama Inspiration: Full House

Based on a Korean comic novel (or manhwa), Full House is a very popular drama first aired from July to Sept. of 2004 on KBS2.  The 16 episode romance/drama starred Rain as Lee Young Jae and Song Hye Kyo as Han Ji Eun.  Both characters coming from different worlds somehow met, clash, and eventually agreed on a one-year contract marriage with terms and conditions that may benefit both.  The deal was that she (a down-on-her-luck aspiring writer) will get her house back while he (a famous actor) uses this marriage to spite the woman who had continued to ignore his affections. The story then unfolds as the two struggle to keep their deal (as well as their growing feelings for each other) a secret.

Full House is so far my most favorite Korean drama, though I don’t get to watch a lot of kdramas since I prefer jdoramas for their fast-paced, and shorter story lines.  There is something about Full House that gets to me – cheesy yet adorable; funny yet painful to watch especially those heart-tugging crying scenes of both Rain and Hye Kyo; and that rare unique chemistry and perfect casting of the two lead actors.  The beautiful beach house (where most of the story was shot) is said to be the third most important lead ‘character’ in the story and I agree.

The house (at left) was the “MacGuffin” (the defining aspect) in the story and that in itself made it come alive – quietly watching over the two characters – maybe even chuckling at their petty squabbles like a wizened grand patriarch.

There was a Pinoy version of Full House (it was terrible!) shown on GMA network last year.  One of its faults (among many) was that it failed to recognize the significance of the house (as a ‘character’) completely ignoring it, thereby our local version lacked charm and depth… it was – to be put it bluntly – ‘dumb-sized’ to fit the masses… hay naku. Don’t bother if you can’t deliver, will ya? Grr! .\/.

Kdrama Food: Bibimbap

Bibimbap is a well-known Korean dish that simply means “mixed rice.”  It is made with various sauteed and seasoned vegetables and chili pepper paste (gochujang) mixed together with warm white rice.  One can add an egg and meat if desired.  If curry rice is the dish frequently served in jdoramas, I think bibimbap (along with kimchi) is the most common dish being eaten (and with so much spicy gusto!) by characters in kdramas.

The FooD0rama Connection: In episode 7, Ji Eun (Hye Kyo) makes and eats bibimbap as Young Jae (Rain) looks at it with half- scorn and half-playfulness, calling it ‘dog food.’

But eventually… When his ‘cook’ (Ji Eun) wasn’t around, Young Jae mixes up left-overs from the fridge and makes himself some bibimbap, too. But Ji Eun arrives and catches him eating what he just derisively called dog food.

“Aigoo! Why are your arms so long?”🙂 This cute scene is one of my faves: In his surprise and embarrassment at being caught by Ji Eun, he choked on his food, numbing his right side and so gets an arm massage from his young ‘wife.’

Ji Eun’s big bowl of Bibimbap: rice mixed with pickles, kimchi, beef, gochujang, etc. in a metal bowl.

The FooDorama Challenge: Finally my own Bibimbap!

I think I ordered bibimbap in a Korean resto before but I hardly remember how it tasted like.  I’ve seen it being served in other kdramas (the bibimbap scene in My Lovely Kim Sam-Soon was absolutely mouth-watering) many times so I promised myself that I will get to have something like that at home someday.

There are 2 ways to make bibimbap – the formal way when serving guests (sauteeing and presenting each ingredient before mixing) and the simple way (just throw in a bowl whatever’s in the fridge and mix them all up).  I decided to try out the formal way first.

One can choose any ingredient. I chopped up vegetables into strips or julienne style.

You also need chili pepper paste or gochujang which is available in SM supermarkets.

The ingredients were seasoned with salt, and separately sauteed in sesame oil.  Afterwards, I placed them on a tray so my lunch companions can get the ones they like for their bibimbap: shiitake mushrooms, carrots, cukes, and bean sprouts (not in picture: spinach and ground beef).

Bibimbap for FDC#11 is done!: You can present it like this for your guests (and for yourself).  In the center, I put a fried egg (sunny side-up) on top of white rice. The ingredients are placed around it so the colors are presented in a visually appealing manner. Garnished with sesame seeds and served with gochujang paste and sesame oil.

My bibimbap all mixed up: Dog food? Of course not! :)  But with all those carbs, I’m just wondering why they say this was the diet food of Gwyneth Paltrow. I placed a few amount of gochujang since I do not want it to be too spicy. Still, the smell of sesame oil and chili paste lingered in my breath hours after I ate. Nevertheless, it was good! I just wish I had a stone bowl so it can keep on warming the rice while I eat… Or a metallic bowl so I could make-believe I’m in a korean drama scene – lol!

Aja! Aja!… In the following days, I still made bibimbap but in the informal way – using leftover food.  The spiciness can really make you want to eat more though so I was careful not to over-eat.  It was still fun and delicious!!!

…Fighting!: How about you? What drama do you think has the best bibimbap scene? Click on this poll and vote!

P.S… Special thanks to my guest ‘chef’ for this FDC post – PawPaw! xoxo

~letssing! ♩♫♬(● ̄(ェ) ̄●)PapaBear ♡ ( ̄(エ) ̄) MamaBear ♡ (ó㉨ò) BabyBear♩♫♬

My FooDorama Challenge Links:
Next: FDC#12 – Omuraisu (Jdorama Inspiration: Tumbling)
FDC#10: Agedashi Tofu (Jdorama Inspiration: JIN)
FDC#9: Sekihan (Jdorama Inspiration: Hotaru no Haka)






———————————- fodocha

Dish info source: wikipedia
Recipe source: foodnetwork
Kdrama info source: wikipedia
Full House photo credits: KBS2
Shooting location photo credit: visitkorea