Category Archives: Food

That Thing You Eat: The History and Relationship of Sandwich and Hawaii

By N Mark Castro

Most everyone in the known world find comfort in one of the fastest meals to prepare: The Sandwich.

Ancient times have also revealed that similar meals had been scooped or wrapped in small amounts of food en route from platter to mouth throughout Western Asia and northern Africa. From Morocco to Ethiopia to India, bread is baked in flat rounds, contrasting with the European loaf tradition.

But the first time it was named sandwich was back in 1726, when John Montagu, the fourth earl of Sandwich, inadvertently invented it.

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9 Years of Palengke: The Salcedo Market

By N Mark Castro

Every emergent social class has what Antonio Gramsci calls “organic intellectuals” who articulate the ideas, values, and aspirations of the community and press for change in social relations inimical to that class.

Now that I’ve waxed something that sounded seemingly philosophical, let’s go back to our regular programming. Read the rest of this entry

Beans Talk Bistro: A Gem At The Heart of Baguio City

By N Mark Castro

Creativity plays an important part in entrepreneurship, and Beans Talk Bistro certainly got it right by playing on Jack’s infamous beans, but more than that, it’s the quality of food and service that they provide that has made Beans Talk Bistro one of the fastest rising go-to places in the Summer Capital of the Philippines.

And why not? Read the rest of this entry

Monet’s Quarters: Le Monet Baguio

By N Mark Castro

Confined in the mountains of Baguio City for almost a month now has allowed me to revisit the place of my youth, and discover new facilities that were not available back then, including Le Monet Hotel, which is a boutique hotel built and designed to honor the famous French painter Claude Monet, who could have painted from the hills of Baguio to reflect his masterpiece over his colorful and picturesque landscapes.

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Baguio’s Secret: Cafe Lusso

By N Mark Castro

Introduced by the colonizing Spaniards, the Arabica variety produced in the Benguet Province, which includes Baguio, is commonly referred to as Benguet coffee. It is the favorite beverage in the Cordilleras and is readily available at the city market. Some roasted coffee beans are also sold by the kilo while some are ground as you wait.

Nestled at an altitude of approximately 1,610 metres (5,280 ft), Baguio City is filled with tropical pine forests that is conducive to the growth of mossy plants and orchids. Thec ity was designated by the Philippine Commission as the Summer Capital of the Philippines in 1903.

So while local residents have been regularly invaded by “lowlanders,” they have managed to carve their own space away from the tourists … and this is where …
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Valentine’s Find: Tjap Toean, A Chinese-Indonesian Eatery in the City

By N Mark Castro

As people look for a perfect Valentine’s venue away from the crowd today, a strategic location would be Tjap Toean, which is hidden inside the extravagant fX Mall.

This traditional Chinese-Indonesian eatery is a perfect contrast in such an opulent ambiance of the mall, retaining its provincial look, while serving a menu that reminds you of the old days. Read the rest of this entry

Caprese: A Taste of Italy in Jakarta

By N Mark Castro

I wear Italian, I listen to Italian music, I ogle at Italian women and, what the heck, might as well eat Italian.

And that’s what Caprese is all about:

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Ah Tuan Ee: A Malaysian Culinary Adventure

By N Mark Castro


As the matriarch of the clan, Lim Chye Tuan, popularly known as “ah Tuan ee” (Auntie ah Tuan), regularly hosted her family, friends, and even neighbors, with her culinary fare that she seemed to have whipped up effortlessly. Her homemade-cuisine, much like other ASEAN tradition-based restaurants, were often put together with the available ingredients, hence, never limited with a single taste but rather a marriage of food with diverse influences from the Portuguese and Dutch. Finding Malaysia’s Truly Asian food fare in Jakarta is such a welcome respite from McDonald’s. After all, kids today would be hard-pressed to choose a prepared meal over instant food. Which is why I considered it a mini-feast discovering new haunts in familiar places.


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StreetFood: Martabak Manis

By N Mark Castro

You get a dough. You put on chocolate syrup. Butter. Lots of butter. Sugar. Coconut Milk.

Then you can call it Diabetes.

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Nasi Campur Kenanga (NCK)

By N Mark Castro

Often, one wonders from strange stories in Arabian Peninsula and Islamic countries if pork is available.

Well, let me disabuse you of that notion.

In the world’s largest population of Moslems, which is Indonesia, there is an abundance of pork and liquor without sacrificing both their Asian  and religious values. Just drive by any Chinese-oriented district and you’ll find various culinary expressions of pork, aside from mainstream restaurants in Jakarta where pork is equally available.

But for non-tourists that know where the hidden treasures are, there’s Kedai Nasi Campur Kenanga in Gran Wijaya, where my old political consulting office was.

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Charlotte Setijadi

Anthropologist and Oral Historian of Chinese Communities and Migration in Southeast Asia


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