Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Soul Food

No TIBS thins morning, but TIBs is becoming more of a treat than a regular occurrence nowadays anyway. Still, one supposes one appreciates it all the more when finding oneself on the dark-side with time to spare. The picture does illustrate, perhaps, the reason I've been posting less and less recently; not so much the aimless loafing in coffee shops (I just said I was doing less of that, didn't I?) as the attendant introspection that accompanies a cappucino and pastry. I've been doing a lot of that recently.

Anyway, unrelated or not, I finally made it to a new restaurant in town yesterday, well at least new to me: Mabuhay on Blowers Street, more commonly known as Rockys. Mabuhay, which is Tagalog for "long life" in the "cheers" sense of the word has strange hours, catering either a lunch buffet to the downtown City crowd (I use the term City advisedly, this is Halifax after all) or late night kebabs to the clubbing crowd. As such, it was always difficult to get to, being a full time employee somewhere other than downtown and not having been to a nightclub since 1989.

If I was going to check out a Filipino restaurant without looking like a sad lonely bastard I was going to have to choose my company with care. Son#1, well this is the guy who went to the recent Indian Cultural Festival (Curry is our middle name) and got a hot-dog. I think he finds onion spicy. Wimp. All the European genes went into that one! As for la belle, well her idea of food involves a fat-stripping process to the point of performing phenol-chloroform extractions to remove cell-membranes from the most basic of food-stuffs. Not so much cuisine as chemistry. Whilst undoubtedly healthy (although of dubious utility given what appears to be a genetic basis to my own hyperlipidaemia), remembering that when Filipino recipes are not calling for large amounts of belly pork (a fattier version of bacon or ribs) they require liver (ugh, offal, how can you eat that? You do know what those organs do, right?) it was clear she would not be a tranquil dinner guest.

So yesterday, when I finally made it to Mabuhay, it was with Son#2 , Daniel, in tow. Dan likes spicy food, is somewhat adventurous with with gastronomic tastes and, as yet, is not lipidaphobic (but if his biochemicial traits are like mine, then he will have to become so).

Oh boy. I have quite literally not eaten that food for thirty years, not since my parents divorced and my mother cut any ties we had to Filipino culture, including my name. Yesterday Dan and I pigged out (and I use the word advisedly) on pancit, steamed dumplings, asado and a few other things I have forgotten the names for. No adobo or dinuguon though, those were my favorites.

It was tasty, but not curry-hot spicy, although I did hear a white lady at the table next to us comment on the spiciness of something. I don't know exactly which dish she thought was "hot", but it can't have been anything I ate, and I ate everything! Funnily, most of the diners were, asides us, either from Sport Nova Scotia or Catholic priests.

It was only $10 a plate (or actually about $3.30 a plate by the time were were done) but the biggest surprise came when I went to pay.

"$15 please".


I protested that both of us had eaten.

"Ah yes, but your son? Only $5".

I mean, here is Dan, building a milk-and-jelly tower in Coras (who hasn't?) last Sunday, shortly before killing a huge breakfast.

Sure he's only 11 but he's an eating machine. He's nearly outgrown a 16" framed 26" wheeled mountain bike; the next size up is one I'd ride. He's adult sized, with an appetite to match! I told them as such, he'd had a couple of big plates and I was more than happy to pay them for what he had eaten. But they stood firm, and charged me only $15.o0 for two. They didn't make any money off us yesterday, so I feel somewhat obliged to go back and make good the deficit. Maybe I'll take la belle; after all how much can a couple of steamed dumplings with a plate of rice and water-chestnuts cost?

I ran the usual "you're not from around here" gamut on the way out, but for once I wasn't pegged as an Australian. They pretty much dinged it, which wasn't a problem. It was strange, the old guy who was cooking gave this funny little laugh when someone said something: it was exactly the same kind of laugh my Dad makes. Bearing in mind I wasn't looking at him when he did this, I was momentarily confused because I thought Dad was in the restaurant,. Wow, I never realised that was a Filipino laugh, it has to be because I haven't heard it anywhere else, and I've lived around a bit. It must be as culturognomic as the Canadian "eh" or the French Canadian "Waoui".

Anyway, I'll give my LDL a few weeks to calm down and I'll be back for sure: now Tuesdays are my day off and a lunch-buffet is only a 30 minute walk from home!

Pass the dinuguon, adobo and make mine a double helping of statins: Mabuhay!


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