Donuts (or doughnuts). I both love them and hate them. I love them, because they’re sweet, soft, fluffy, and fried. Depending on who makes them, they can be topped with chocolate, different flavored glazes, sprinkles and any other topping you can think of. I hate them, too, because they’re sweet, soft, fluffy, and fried. Yes, I hate them, because I love munching on these sinful and calorific “doughy” creations.

Do-Rite Donuts is one testament to my ever increasing love-hate relationship with donuts. Early in the morning, I was on my way to get my State ID, when the air was suddenly filled with the smell of freshly made donuts. My eyes grew large and my nose started to look for that glorious smell. I looked around excitedly until my eyes chanced upon this red “pop-out” store on the next block ahead.

Unfortunately, I was rushing to get my State ID, as the lines at the DMV were known to be notoriously long. After my short trip (whoot!) to the DMV, I rushed back to the Do-Rite Donuts store, where I was greeted with different flavored donuts. Here are the donuts that I tried:

Maple Bacon Donut

This is a must have. At first, this donut was not available, because they ran out. Thankfully, the donut dude told me that it’ll be available in five minutes, because they were cooking a new batch. The five minute wait was definitely worth it. The dough of the donut was so fluffy and light. And of course, maple always goes with (correctly cooked) bacon. The combination was delicious!

Old-fashioned Buttermilk Donut

For some reason, I love buttermilk donuts. Some of my friends don’t like it, because they’re too overwhelmingly sweet and heavy. This buttermilk donut was good! It had the right amount of sourness and sweetness to it. Crunchy on the outside and cakey soft in the inside.

Coconut Cream Custard

This was my friend and food buddy in crime, Clarence Ang’s favorite. He gobbled this up quickly. I had a little bite and knew why Clarence loved it. The toasted coconut and the creamy whip inside of it just blended well together.

Carrot Cake Donut

For those who know me, I love carrot cake. While ordering the donuts, Clarence overheard this guy telling this woman to buy the carrot cake donut. The guy said, “The cream cheese (on the carrot cake donut) is so good, I could kill a man.” And boy was that guy right. I probably won’t kill anyone for it, but it was good, as it wasn’t too sweet! I loved the carrot cake donut (quite biased because I love carrot cake). As you can see, it really had bits and thin slices of carrot on top (and inside of the donut too). Yummy.

Bottomline: If ever you’re in downtown Chicago, try Do-Rite Donuts. It’s definitely one of the top donut places I have ever been to. However, I still think Doughnut Plant in NYC still reigns supreme. This comes in second place though!

Overall Rating: 4/5

Food: 4/5 – Hot dogs and sausages are out of this world. You can definitely taste the quality in each and everyone of them.

Value for Money: 3.5/5 – Donuts range from $1.95 to $2.95 depending if you get individual, half-dozen or a dozen donuts. Prices do not include tax. Quite expensive for donuts, but I guess you pay for quality.

Service: 4/5 – Easy and fast service. You might have to wait a while, as lines can form when donuts are freshly made.

Ambiance: 3/5 – It’s a take-out or carry-out store. No frills, just a small pop-out store. There are chairs located outside where you can sit down and enjoy your Do-Rite Donuts.

For more information, check out Do-Rite Donuts’ website:

The store is located at 50 W. Randolph Street. It opens at 6:30 AM, Monday through Friday, and stays open until there are no more donuts. Last fry is 11:00. (from Chicagoist:


Here is my first post definitely not food related. For those of you concerned about my facebook status from earlier today, if you assumed it’s of medical reasons, then you are correct. Throughout today, I’ve been so touched by all the text and private messages I received showing genuine concern that they made me realize I shouldn’t be ashamed or scared to tell people about my condition.

It all started last December when I noticed symptoms of excessive thirst and frequent urination. I would drink more than 20 glasses of water a day and urinate close to around the same amount of times. The doctors suspected diabetes insipidus which I never even knew existed- diabetes that was not blood sugar related. I had to go through a 24 hour water deprivation test last February to find out whether it was psychogenic (psychological) or one of two kinds of diabetes insipidus: central where you lack antidieuretic hormones (ADH) or nephrogenic where you have the hormones but your kidneys don’t respond to it. Through the test, I was diagnosed with Central DI.

Since the ADH comes from the pituitary gland of the brain, the next step was to find the cause for my deficiency of the hormone, an MRI for my brain had to be administered. And there you go. It was from the MRI that we found out that I have a brain tumor. They are calling it a pituitary adenoma.

The specs of my pituitary adenoma:
1) benign – YEY!
2) macro- hmmm?
3) size- 1.0 x 1.2 x 0.8 cm (thus considered macroadenoma)
4) non secreting- does not secrete any hormones- YEY?
-not really.. since it is non secreting, we cannot cure it through oral medication. the only approach would be surgery
5) causing vision problems?- none yet.. but my vision is expected to cut in half that is why I was tested for my peripheral vision at 30 and 60 degrees- both normal- YEY!

AT THE MOMENT: my DI is being controlled since I’m on medication. Doctors here in Manila (Endocrinologists, Neuros, Neuro-Surgeons) are all fighting over my case since they have told me that it is a rare condition. They have all presented me to their corresponding committees and conferences for several opinions- all basically wanting to solve my case and have this published in medical books. I really don’t mind this.. I would be glad if this could help someone who might go through the same situation in the future.

CURRENT PROPOSAL FOR TREATMENT: transsphenoidal surgery.

NEXT STEP: Singapore. For another opinion, an overall repeat of check-ups and just to get some peace of mind.

So I’m leaving tomorrow morning and I decided I needed to write this post before I leave just to explain. I felt so much love and care from the people that matter to me today. It made me feel stronger and realized that I’m not alone in this. Things happen for several reasons and if anything, this experience made me stop and reflect on so many aspects of my life. I know I have to be strong because I have so much to look forward to. Precious is definitely not going anywhere just yet 🙂


Hello world! To kick off my first post on this yummy blog, I would like to introduce to you Hot Doug’s, The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium. This is a HUGE call, but I would say that this place serves the best hot dogs I have ever eaten.

And yes, I take my hot dogs seriously. To prove this, let me tell you a short story. When I was a fat five year old kid, I was put on a strict diet to lose weight. My mom instructed our cook to not over feed me, as I tend to munch on (and finish) any food in sight. During eating time (breakfast, lunch and dinner), I would usually be the first one seated at the dining table, while readying my tummy for the food to enter. When the diet started, I became sad. I got smaller portions of food from rice to dessert. I felt cheated. No, I felt betrayed. I loved my mom and my cook up until that nightmare of a diet plan. Hungry, angry and fat, I was determined to get my full ration of food.

One day, I devised a clever plan to get more food than I was allowed to have. My food target: hot dogs. Why hot dogs? It’s my go-to food when I’m hungry. More importantly, it’s one of the first foods I loved. And of course, they’re delicious with rice and a sunny side up egg. In particular, I wanted the  Purefoods Tender Juicy hot dogs. They’re tender, juicy, and deliciously red (yes, it’s food coloring).

Thanks to Cebu Shopper for the image!

The plan was both intricately and ingeniously made in the eyes of my five year old self. Here’s a quick outline of what I remember doing:

1. The prize: Make sure we had hot dogs in our fridge. Without the hot dogs, there would be no plan to begin with. Thankfully, the goods were in stock.

2. The key: I knew my mom instructed our cook to only prepare food during designated times. However, I also knew that our cook takes requests of my siblings when they want to have snacks during the day. BOOM.

3. The request: So, knowing that, I quietly went down to our kitchen where our cook was. I made sure my mom was not there, since she might foil my plan. The heavens answered my prayers. She was nowhere to be seen. Using my “chubiness and cuteness”, I politely asked our cook if she could prepare one cup of rice, 3 pieces of hot dogs and a sunny side up egg for my “brother”. I told her that my brother just played basketball and was really hungry. She gave in and started cooking. KABOOM.

4. The finish: Our cook brought the food to the dining table. I told her that my brother was coming in a few minutes. Little did she know that my brother was not actually there. HEHE! She left the room after placing the tray of food on the table. When she left, I hurriedly sat down, licked my lips and grabbed my fork and spoon and started eating like a mad man (funny thing is, I wasn’t even that hungry. I was just deprived.) Slowly, everything was beautiful again. I was indulging on one of my favorite foods: the hot dog. Spoonfuls of rice, runny yolk and hot dog pieces entering my mouth were the only things I focused on. I finished that meal in less than five minutes.

Anyway, now that I have hopefully established my love for hot dogs, let me bring back the main topic at hand: Hot Doug’s. This fine establishment, located around 20 minutes from downtown Chicago by car, serves hot dogs from the typical Chicago dog to the extremely creative “special” hot dogs made of meats from lamb to pheasant. It’s one of the most popular restaurants in Chicago, so be prepared to wait in line. On a normal day, you would probably need to wait for around 30 minutes to one hour to get in. Luckily, we went on a Monday that didn’t have too many people. Score!

Inside, the walls are covered with Doug’s paraphernalia, pictures and posters. The walls hail the “two greatest words in the English language: encased meats.” 

Hot Doug’s offers two menus to choose from: the Regular menu and Today’s Specials. The regular menu features hot dog staples such as the Chicago dog and the Polish hot dog. Today’s Specials is where the money is at. It features the creative hot dogs that Doug Sohn, the owner and head chef, is known for. I suggest ordering most of your choices from the Today’s Specials to blow your mind away. Here’s what our group ordered:

Smoked Portuguese Linguica with Saffron Rouille and Aged Iberico Cheese ($7.50)

The smoky flavor of this hot dog really shines throughout the sandwich. The combination of the saffron rouille and aged Iberico cheese provides tangy and sharp flavors.

Polish Sausage: Smoked and savory - just like the King. ($3.00)

What a Polish sausage should taste and look like.

Spicy Thai Chicken Sausage with Thai Peanut Sauce and Toasted Coconut ($8.00)

This hot dog was kind of weird tasting, in a good way. It was like eating a Thai curry dish with a crunchy and soft ground chicken.

Roasted Garlic and Marsala Wild Boar Sausage with Roasted Tomato Goat Butter and Smoked Gouda Cheese ($7.50)

Wild Boar was quite gamey. The roasted tomato goat butter and smoked gouda cheese made the “gameyness” yummy.

Juan Dixon ($8.00)

I forgot what the sausage was, but the toppings of fried onions and the sauce were delicious!

Cognac and Bacon Pheasant Sausage with Chevre Cream, Wild Boar Pate and Truffle-Balsamic Drizzle ($7.50)

THE BEST: If you see this on the menu, do yourself a favor and ORDER IT. It is the BEST out of all the sausages we ordered. The sausage itself was already tasty. I didn’t know pheasant tasted that good. The Chevre cream made the sandwich creamy with slight hints of tanginess and saltiness. The Wild Boar pate blew me away. It was soft, perfectly seasoned and tasted like cubes of soft boary goodness. To top it all off, the truffle-balsamic drizzle had the right amount of sweetness and truffle flavor to it. A MUST TRY.

The Mountain Man (A damn tasty combination of Antelope, Buffalo, Elk and Venison) with Basque Fruit Cream and Queso Zamorano ($8.00)

The Mountain Man is for the men. Its strong flavors of antelope, buffalo, elk and venison make for a very, very gamey sausage. The basque fruit cream cut the gameyness and provided a sweet contrast. The queso Zamorano tasted good, like Parmigiano Reggiano good.

Fresh-cut French Fries ($2.25)

These french fries were so good! They were crunchy on the outside yet fluffy on the inside, which is how fries are supposed to be! We ordered one large fries and shared between four people. It was huge! During Fridays and Saturdays, Hot Doug’s serves duck fat fries too. I have never tried them yet, because the two times I visited this place was on a Monday.

Bottomline: if you’re in Chicago, you have to visit Hot Doug’s. No excuses. A Chicago trip will not be complete without it.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Food: 5/5 – Hot dogs and sausages are out of this world. You can definitely taste the quality in each and everyone of them.

Value for Money: 5/5 – Hot dogs range from $2.00 to $8.00. All prices include tax (thank you for the convenience Doug!)

Service: 5/5 – Doug himself is usually on the front taking orders. Ask him for recommendations, as he obviously knows his stuff pretty well.

Ambiance: 3/5 – Place was designed to personify Doug’s ecstatic and funky taste and lifestyle. Pictures speak for itself.

For more information, check out Hot Doug’s website:

So how embarrassing is this. This post has been in my drafts folder since July. But better late than never right?? This is yet another Greenbelt Series post, please read my first one on Mr. Jones if you haven’t yet. So…Bizu. This establishment has been around for quite sometime now. And I can say it holds a special place in my heart. It catered the food during my 18th birthday. It was the place Frank and I would go to after school on some afternoons when our cousin still worked at the original Greenbelt 2 street side spot. And just a lot more memories, too many to share but one thing in common from all of them: the food.. always delicious.

A two separate occasion post once again.

    1. the three musketeers brunch with Holly: trying new things at Bizu

Bizu’s menu looked more diversified from what I remember comparing it to the last time I was there (and the last time was probably back in high school before I left for the states..). Too many interesting things caught my attention. Here’s a run down of the things we ordered, all of which were new to us, or dishes we’ve never ordered before. We were excited!

Soup: Classic French Onion Soup- Red onions, beef stock, croutons, gratinated emmenthal and gruyere= very straightforward, clean flavorful onion consomme which is normally hard to achieve, props to Bizu for mastering this.

Appetizer: Three Dips & Baguettini- Mushroom duxelle, spinach and cheese, chorizo, and tomato rosemary, mornay sauce, melba toast= my favorite would have to be the chorizo and tomato which offered more of a complex combination of flavors.


“Brunch” dish 1: Braised Lamb Shanks in Red Wine Jus
Slow-cooked braised lamb shank, red wine sauce, whole roasted garlic, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables
= The lamb was fall off the bone tender while the mashed potatoes were creamy yet not too cloying.

Brunch dish 2: Eggs Florentine
Farmer’s ham, two poached eggs, blanched organic spinach, fresh muffin, hollandaise sauce
= I always focus on the hollandaise sauce for Eggs Benedict and this did not disappoint. Some sauces tend to be too thick almost to the consistency of bechamel, this one was just right!

Brunch dish 3: Breakfast Croque
Smoked bacon, blanched asparagus, gratinated gruyere, two sunny-side up eggs, sourdough bread
= pretty light breakfast dish.. would have preferred some type of sauce on it though 😉

Brunch dish 4: Smoked Salmon Crepe
Smoked salmon, shallots, sunny side up egg, grated mozzarella, dill, mesclun, lemon vinaigrette
= lemon vinaigrette was a great touch to bring the whole dish together, the citrus flavor was just what the salmon needed to complement the eggs and crepe itself.

    2. lunch with ladies of the family: ordering the classics

Right after my brother’s wedding, a get together was in order for the ladies of the family, in attendance: my cousin who was on holiday from Australia, cousin-in-law, my sister-in-law and me. My cousin used to work at Bizu and we were both on a reminiscing vibe that day that we ordered our usual favorites. P.S. Don’t you agree with me that my cousin-in-law, Steph is probably the sexiest pregnant woman you’ve seen?? She ate almost everything from that lunch! This post is so delayed she already gave birth last month.. 😀

Salad: Waldorf Salad- Mesclun, grilled chicken slices, apple, orange, mango, grapes, toasted walnuts, celery, shaved parmesan, honey orange yogurt dressing= everyone should know what a Waldorf Salad is. I actually had my very first one here in Bizu and it still hasn’t changed- the combination of the fruits in vegetables in this dish is balanced with the chicken. And that dressing… Definitely an awesome default salad dish!

Chicken: Cordon Bleu on Mushroom Carbonara- Roulade of chicken, forest ham, mozzarella, wild mushroom carbonara= this was the usual after school snack I shared with Frank. Grew up loving this carbonara since its mushroom flavor really shines through in this dish. And the real star of this dish, the cordon bleu, a tricky dish to prepare is done perfectly here in Bizu.

Rice: Mushroom Ragout- Mushroom ragout, rice pilaf, bechamel, gratinated mozzarella= hmmm probably the only dish I was disappointed in since this one lacked flavor and it was a little dry for my taste. There was no individual photo for this but you can see it in one of the pictures in the collage 🙂

Dessert: Macarons- Pistachio, Mango and Chocolate PLUS Pain Perdu with Maple Syrup and Vanilla Ice Cream= The chocolate macarons from Bizu are my favorite! The chocolate ganache is chocolate heaven in bite size form. Perfect chewy texture and never crumbles apart unlike some that have failed to reach this high level of macaron delicious standards. And the Pain Perdu! What a discovery! This was a free dessert given to my cousin by her friends at Bizu. Oh my, I was full and ready to pop but as soon as I took a bite of that Pain Perdu, I was glad I did. The fluffiest French toast I have ever tasted. YUM.

Bizu Patisserie & Bistro
G/F Greenbelt 2, Esperanza St., Ayala Center
Makati City, Metro Manila
(02) 757-2498

NO more excuses. I haven’t had any new posts for the longest time and the procrastination has just got to stop. I figured I’d write a post that summarized the baking I did last month (August).. and yes, before this month ends. Ok, I give up. I do have excuses. Work. Stress. Laziness. And new projects. Ahh, I got you there, didn’t I? I have been working on a new project with a friend recently and of course a post on that will come a little later. You will see what I have been up to this whole month. Pretty exciting stuff. Just wait!

But for now.. this baking post! I actually made different types of goodies last month. Though I have my project on finding the best cupcake recipes, I still made sure to try out new recipes and experiment.

1. Red Velvet Cake
Made this for the newly weds of the family, my brother and my sister-in-law, Jaymee. Check out my post about the food from the reception and watch the cutest wedding video ever! For the cake, I wanted to make red velvet since it’s Jaymee’s favorite. I wanted to make it extra special since it was my wedding gift to them. After finding this recipe, I stumbled upon another blog that gave me the cutest idea: using stencils to put letters on the cake (oddly enough, the same initials). And fortunately, I had just those! Stencils, which I bought a while back at MUJI. I was given the perfect opportunity to use them. Soo as you can see, it wasn’t perfect but I do consider it a labor of love, literally since it is heart-shaped. Carving the cake to the shape of a heart wasn’t as bad as I expected. Crumb coating though, was somewhat tricky. The crumbs need to be fine, I wish I had a food processor (still saving up for this). And sticking it on the frosted cake is just a whole other challenge I’ve never encountered. Taste wise, people said this wasn’t too sweet but it did dry out after a couple of days in the fridge. Maybe more frosting would have been better, I do tend to skimp on frosting..

2. Mango Bread
I’ve made this several times before but have never blogged about it. We harvest our own mangoes here in the province and so I started looking for ways to use them in baking. I’ve also made mango muffins before but I particularly like making mango bread more. I always spice up this recipe by adding dried fruits (mangoes or pineapple) and just reduce the sugar by a bit. I learned my lesson to soak the dried fruits in warm water before mixing it in the batter to avoid having to bite into hard chewy chunks in the bread. I also use half whole wheat flour, half all purpose and that is why the color tends to be browner. People always ask about the color, how it turns out having that caramel color for a finish, and that is the secret! Plus, I think whole wheat flour adds a natural nuttiness to the overall flavor.

3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
If you guys were already readers of my blog from the beginning, you might remember that I already made something similar.. Pretty much the only difference with this one is the crust. With the cheesecake I made before, the crust is made with the same cookie dough found inside the cheesecake. These cheesecake bars are made with a graham cracker crust mixed with tiny chocolate chips. Cookie dough lovers are going to love these bars since each slice pretty much is cut with one ball of dough right smack in the center. That inside a cheesecake.. I mean, I just don’t know if I need to say more.

4. Cupcakes
Experimented with filled cupcakes. Made my own concoction for chocolate creme filling made with dark chocolate ganache and eggs to make somewhat of a pudding like consistency. Also played around with the chocolate cream cheese frosting.. I am actually somewhat depressed I didn’t take notes when I experimented with this one because it was just velvety smooth chocolatey goodness all found in this frosting. As for the lemon filling, I used the same old lemon curd for the lemon cupcakes.

Results? Dark chocolate: chocolate flavor was definitely there. Experimented whether use of cake flour made a big difference on texture. Not really. Save up and use regular all purpose if the recipe doesn’t specifically call for the use of cake flour. Tops cracked a bit but soon discovered it is because our oven needs to be calibrated, lucky me. Vanilla: filled it with the same chocolate filling. This had a dense texture which I didn’t particularly like along with the eggy taste that I got.. Tasted more like a yellow cake, which might not be necessarily bad but it wasn’t the vanilla cupcake taste I was looking for. Lemon: better texture than the first ones I made. Still dense but lighter. Lemon flavor was undeniably detectable, of course with the help of the tangy delicious curd. Again, if I could eat lemon curd everyday, I think I would. 🙂

I’ve always wondered about Terry’s in Salcedo Village, Makati. I used to live on the same street on LP Leviste and would pass by the restaurant with their rather small sign barely being noticed by the public. The first time I was able to dine at the restaurant was earlier this year and was surprised to find out that they served Spanish food. Not knowing any background information, who would have thought that an establishment named “Terry’s” served Spanish food? But they do and they do quite a good job of it.

Reflecting on my first dining experience at Terry’s, I realized that I wasn’t really able to try their signature dishes. So I’m back with my fellow musketeers, my brother and Sam. I was expecting this culinary adventure trip to be an exciting one for us. I’ve also been curious about the gourmet items that they have for sale. If you go up to the very top level, they actually have a mini deli with more items such as truffle oils, Spanish almond cookies and olive oils. How convenient for their diners to know that their food must be made from the best quality ingredients such as those found in their store, huh?

On to their menu. As you can see, they have a wide range of selection for tapas and other Spanish influenced dishes. As my eyes wander up and down, examining the different items, I made a mental note to make sure to attempt to try as many of their appetizers as I possibly can. Maybe two or three each visit? Everything just sounded so heavenly. My curiosity started getting the best of me and I knew future visits were already on the horizon.

The orders.

Gambas al Ajillo– I always make sure to order this appetizer if offered. Such a classic Spanish tapas dish that one should never overlook.. One has got to see whether the balance of technique and tradition in terms of flavor is there. Garlic galore. This dish was light, thanks to the excellent quality of the olive oil.

Scallop and Prawn Croquettes– When I was younger, I had a phase where I was obsessed with croquettes. Those little balls of flavorful bechamel potato fritters always satisfied me. And now I see scallop and prawn in a croquette?? I just had to have it! Anndd.. was somewhat disappointed with the flavor. This was bland and lacked the seafood essence I was looking forward to. Oh well, I will try the other flavors next time!

Manchego Dumplings– Because I am a cheese lover. And definitely a Manchego cheese lover at that. This appetizer was a gift. And really they were. They looked like tiny little presents in their wonton pockets that I was almost too scared to cut open. But I put emphasis on the word ‘almost’ since of course, it didn’t take me long enough to dive in and relish the divine salty combination of the manchego cheese and salami.

Paella Negra– It wouldn’t be a complete Spanish cuisine experience without Paella. The musketeers and I always try to order Paella Negra. There is just something about the distinct flavor from the squid ink that makes the dish special. Terry’s version did not disappoint but it didn’t amaze us either. We would have preferred more flavor from the seafood and more paella crust from the bottom of the pan… every paella enthusiast should know what I’m talking about!

Super-Cochinillo Confit– *SIGH* literally, I sighed just now.. thinking about this dish.. really, you are going to be left speechless with this dish. OK, everyone has to know this cochinillo is a WINNER. It is soo tender, it had just the right amount of crisp from the pork skin. The fat. The fat is even delicious. I have no words again. And that Muscobado syrup.. the whole dish was just ‘Super’, its name very fitting to its actual taste. Just go and order this!

Marquesa de Chocolate– Come dessert time, we weren’t really sure if we even wanted to order any given the quantity we just had for dinner. No regrets of ordering this even though we were ready to burst because there’s always room for chocolate. It is somewhat tricky to describe this dish because we didn’t really know what it was. It was basically like a frozen chocolate pudding. Really rich, really satisfying. Since it was frozen, it allowed for the dinner to end on a surprisingly refreshing note after such heaviness was consumed.

Terry’s Selection
G/F Lafayette Square, Salcedo Village
Makati City
(02) 889-3198

Three cup chicken is a dish I first had back in the states. I didn’t really know much about its Taiwanese origins until some of my Taiwanese international student friends told me that it’s a pretty popular dish from their home country. Coming back home, I was even more surprised to find out that it was one of my dad’s favorite childhood dishes since our old family cook who came from China not only cooked regional Chinese dishes but also Taiwanese. Read more on three cup chicken and its fascinating background from the recipe link below.

So when I chanced upon a recipe for this dish, I decided to try it out. As you may have read in my older posts, I rarely cook so this is one of the rare cooking posts I have to share. Prepping: I was very fortunate to find the ingredients in our pantry. Luckily, my aunt who used to live with us left us some of her Chinese cooking ingredients. As for the Thai Basil leaves, well guess what, we grow that in our garden! Oh, just one of the perks of living in the countryside…

The only thing I would do differently? Cook it for longer. I looked up another recipe that said to cook it until the sauce thickens and just barely covers the chicken. I realized what a big difference this step brings to the dish since it is when the flavor from the sauce is absorbed by the chicken. Neglecting this step can turn your three cup chicken into a bland mess. And on the same note, in terms of flavor, the Thai Basil leaves sets this dish apart. The herb provides this sweet lemony aroma that gave the dish so much more flavor.

I would also like to note that I now appreciate the technique of marinating chicken in baking soda before cooking. I always found it an odd step in Chinese cuisine. But I was really pleased with the result since the chicken turned out so juicy and tender. I was worried considering how tiny the chicken could be cubed, leaving more room for error in terms of drying it out.

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