The Happy Traveler is a blog about Food, Travel, Restaurant, Eating Experience,Recipe, Places and Fun. Life is a piece of cake...                                                                                                                                                                    

How to make Ukoy (Shrimp fritters)

Remembering my childhood includes variants of foods that my Nanay () used to make us for merienda (snacks). Every mid afternoon was when she will go to the kitchen and make anything out of scratch. I remember her cooking us Ukoy, a family favorite. Recreating this dish from my Mom's recipe is hard, but I will try my best so I won't upset her. The secret here is also the vinegar dip, it should be sour, sweet, peppery, onion taste and refreshing. If you have a market that offers the complete ingredients, then it should not be a problem. For some people, finding all the necessary ingredients are hard, especially if you are in other country. Like for example, the main ingredient shrimp (the smallest the better) is not available all the time. Some people use pumpkin while others use sweet potato. Honestly, it doesn't matter, because both are good and healthy. So let's start cooking can we? I am super excited with this dish, and I hope you can make this as well.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 cups julienne sweet potato
2 cups julienne squash
1/4 cup chopped kinchay
1/2 cup chopped  malunggay (you can omit this, i just love this healthy leafy veggie)
1 cup togue
salt and pepper to taste (depends on your preference)
1/2 cup water
1 cup shrimp
cooking oil in a deep fryer

For the sauce:
1 cup vinegar
 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tsp soy sauce
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated cucumber
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
 chilies (optional)

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, water, salt and pepper until well blended. It should look like pancake batter but slight watery. Then put all remaining ingredients, make sure everything is covered with batter. Using a scoop or medium size spoon, get some of the mixture and drop it in the fryer and cook until golden brown. Make sure to drain oil for health purposes. I never really give measurement for salt and pepper because it should be your call on how much to use.
This mixture can make for about 10-15 pieces It varies, depending on your size preference, the smaller, the "manyer"! For the sauce, just mix everything together, that's how easy it is. Hope you like my recipe. ENJOY!

Kwek Kwek (Fried quial eggs)

It was rainy afternoon, kids and I are bored and we wanted something different for snack since we always had Pan de sal and sometimes other kind of bread for afternoon snack. My eldest son loves egg, so much that he would ask for it almost everyday and any time of the day. Whenever we're about to eat, he would ask for egg which we don't allow. One kind of egg he loves is Quail eggs (Itlog ng Pugo). I always boil it and let him eat it that way. But this afternoon, I wanted to make it special so I decided to cook Kwek Kwek (Quail eggs with batter then fried, usually orange in color). This is very common and you can see this being sold on streets here in the Philippines. The actual procedure is very easy and everybody can do this. It's something you can do to bond with your kids because they can join you in creating this dish. Very simple yet very delicious! Not only you can enjoy this recipe but also spending some quality time with your loved ones is priceless. If you don't have quail eggs, you can also use any other kind of eggs available in your area.

10 pcs Quail Eggs
1 cup Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup water
orange food color (powder or liquid)
minced garlic (according to your preference)
oil for frying

 Boil quail eggs for 5 minutes then peel off skin. Put salt, pepper and flour then set aside. On a different bowl, put together flour, baking powder, water, food color, salt and pepper then mix until well blended using a whisk. Heat oil in a frying pan then one by one, drop the egg with batter mixture and cook for 5 minutes. While waiting for the egg to cook, using another pan, put the remaining water, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, pepper, salt and vinegar. Whisk until it thickens. Serve together with the Fried Quail eggs. Enjoy!


All you can eat Breakfast in Something Fishy

   I remember going to something fishy just to drink or to meet friends after work in Eastwood. I never really like their breakfast way back 2008 because it doesn’t really taste good. I also remember confronting one of their supervisors because they were charging me double for the food I wasn’t able to finish, particularly, a Tocino “Sweetened Pork” and Hotdog. I was really pissed off that time because, I can’t finish the food the reason why they were charging me. But what can I do?! I didn’t expect that the food will taste that bad, was it my fault? The debate lasted for maybe an hour before they gave up because I will never pay for something I never had. And I told myself I will never go back to this place again. But twist of fate happened and I never thought I’d be back to Something Fishy, for their eat all you can breakfast at least. Almost every night and day I was there because the Beer with Pulutan (special meal partnered with alcohol) compared to other bars around Eastwood. My group was having team building and because I was so hungry, I decided to give it another try. And I was really surprised to see that all their food had changed, and taste as well. From soup to dessert, are all looking really special unlike before. I tasted everything and maybe not all are good, but at least it was better. I love the new adobo, the Chinese ham, the pancakes and waffles with toppings, the arroz caldo (rice porridge), champorado (choco rice porridge), pansit canton, chicken fingers, and many more. I also love their service much better now, ‘coz most of them are smiling and approachable. And who’ll ever think that we will go back almost every day for breakfast and sometimes lunch and dinner? That is why, I decided to never make my impression lasts, because things may change, and good thing, it was for the better. So for some of you, who haven’t tried their Eat all you can breakfast, which starts midnight until 10am. For the record, I don’t advertise anyone in my blog, all of my comments here are strictly what I feel and was influenced by no one.

Somethin'Fishy Eastwood City Walk
Eastwood City Walk, Eastwood Ave
Bagumbayan, Quezon City
(02) 421-6412 to 13

Vegetarian Binagoongan

   After gaining so much weight in my pregnancy, getting back in shape is really hard. Especially when you haven't lose the extra weight you gain on your first pregnancy like in my case. My second baby wasn't planned, but it doesn't matter. He is adorable, super cute little boy, our angel. Even though I want to go on a diet now, still I can't because I am breastfeeding my youngest. The only diet effective to me is Atkins and I just can't do that while nursing my little boy. So I decided that instead of going on a diet, maybe I just have to control portions of the food I eat, right? And I decided to eat more vegetarian dishes to lessen fats and cholesterol in  my food. One if the "Inventions" I made was Vegetarian Binagoongan". My husband love tofu so much that he wanted it in almost all of dishes. So I guess there's nothing wrong in cooking it in every meals since it is very healthy and versatile like my favorite eggplant. So I came up with this idea of cooking it in Bagoong. I actually made Tofu adobo, mechado, afritada, caldereta, curry, tempura, and many more. I will also post my recipes on that, I promise. Now, let's focus on this one first.


2 blocks Tofu
5 pieces medium size eggplant
3 gloves garlic minced
1 whole medium size onion
2 pieces tomatoes diced
cooking oil for frying
2 Tsp vinegar
1/2 cup bagoong (shrimp paste)
2 Tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the tofu and eggplant according to your size preference. Wash it and put a pinch of salt and pepper then fry in skillet. ( for more healthy dish, oven bake it instead of frying) Wait until its golden brown then set aside. In another pan, put some oil then saute garlic, onion and tomatoes. Add Bagoong (shrimp paste) sugar and vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes then add tofu and eggplant. Incorporate every thing to spread flavor and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve hot on top of steaming rice.

How to make Coco Jam

   Growing up in Antipolo Rizal means having a "Kakanin" (sweet sticky rice) for breakfast or snacks. My grandmother who used to be one of the pioneer in cooking "Puto" and "Suman" taught me how to cook these super delicious delicacy. I remember having fried "Suman sa Lihiya" (sticky rice cooked in lye) for breakfast. I always put granulated sugar or condensed milk on top to sweeten it. It's so delicious because the outside is crunchy and the inside is soft, gooey and rich. And don't forget the so famous "Latik". "Latik" is made of fried thick coconut milk and being used for almost every "kakanin" I know. And one of them is Coco Jam. I so love it. And what's make it so special is that I always cook them myself instead of buying it because others has artificial flavoring, and preservatives plus its cheaper. My "Inang" (what we call our grandmother) didn't really gave me her recipe, nor the step by step how to in cooking Coco jam. I guess it runs in our blood that whatever food we eat, just by tasting it, we know exactly how its done, and whats in it. Coco jam is one of my favorite jam, followed by strawberry, blueberry and peanut butter jelly. Now, enough of this and lets cook!

6 cups of thick coconut milk
1/2 panucha (whole brown sugar) or if you can't find panucha, just use 1/2 kilo of brown sugar
pandan leaves

Put all ingredients in a casserole and boil for 30 minutes. If you noticed that it is already thickened, stir it using wooden spatula. It will take around another 30 minutes or more depending on how you thick you want it to be. And you can always adjust sugar mixture to the sweetness you want. Some people use corn syrup (or other syrup) but that is not the authentic way of cooking Coco Jam. Coco jam is not best served hot nor cold, so make sure to leave it in room temperature before serving. Disregard the oil formed on the process of cooking Coco Jam or you can use it in frying Suman or egg. Elders in our community uses the oil from Coco Jam for massage as they believe that it has good benefits to our body. Fresh cooked coconut jam can lasts for 1 week, since it doesn't have preservatives in it. (But I doubt if it will last that long since everyone in the house love it!) Serve it with hot pandesal or loaf bread. It is also best for baguette or bagels every morning.

Thick Coconut Milk


1st simmer

2nd Simmer

Let it cool
Coco Jam with Crackers! Perfect combination
Is there such a thing as the safest place in the planet? Hmmm. I guess there isn't, but I would love to be able to provide that with my family. When I was in High School and learned that I have cervical problem, I knew that I wanted to be a Mother. I was afraid of this "what if's" negativity of not to be able to conceive. That is why, maybe, I can't really focus on the things that I also love because, I am pre occupied of the fact that I have problems. And now that I am already a mother after trying to conceive for almost 9 years now, still, I have so many troubles. I love traveling, the main reason why this blog was created. I also love food while traveling (who doesn't?) Recently, I have episodes of panic attacks which is something normal. But this was different, and based on my analization, I am suffering from panic disorder. You can blame my hormonal imbalances (from previous pregnancy) or maybe, I am just a freak and paranoid. I was already paranoid with my first son, and it got worst with my second child. I am trying not to think of negative things but what can I do? I am a mother who doesn't want her children to get hurt or to suffer. Now my problem is, I don't even know if I can fly airplane again, and ride a boat. I would love to be able to travel with my kids in the future. I even want to bring them to Boracay or Hongkong but how? With my condition right now, I guess, only God knows when will I conquer this episodes. Sometimes, riding a car or tricycle or jeepney is already an agony to me. It is hard, but I want my life back. I want to be able to do the things I love to do. So my question is, is there such a thing as THE SAFEST PLACE ON EARTH? Because I would love to have that and make sure that my family is there and enjoying every second of it.
All my hard work had paid off! Just got an email for an invitation for Food tasking activity from a Pastry Chef! I love it! Who doesn't love bread and sweets?! I am just hoping to meet co-blogger on the event and make new friends. I have been wanting to do tasting activity to help FILIPINO cuisines, cooks, restaurants as well as people who loves food so that they know where to dine and what to expect. Most of my friends told me that I am a critic when it comes to food. You can't blame me, I grew up in a family who has so much passion in food. Everyone in the family knows how to cook and of course, differentiate good food to bad. The best cook in our family are most men, especially my grandfather. Growing up with a huge family, food plays a big role in our life. So you can't blame me for knowing so much about FOOD. = )

How to make Fresh Lumpia wrapper

I saw many videos and links on how to create your own fresh lumpia wrapper in the web, most are helpful but to be honest, success is all up to you. It is quite impressive how they make it look like so easy to work on, and they will even tell you how easy it is to make. But doing it myself, it was hard. From the dough to the cooking process, work hard is what you need and patience. Also, there is no exact measurement on this, use your instinct, it never fails! I got the recipe from this website for reference, and everything should be your own decision to make. Good luck!

Ingredients :
1 c. of all-purpose flour
1/3 c. of corn or tapioca starch
1 egg
1/2 tsp. of salt
2-3/4 c. of water (you may have to adjust this depending on the quality of the flour and starch you use)
Cooking procedure :
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg. Add the water and mix. Add the flour, starch and salt and mix until well blended.
Place the frying pan on the stove and turn on the heat to medium-low. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into the pan, swirling the pan to evenly distribute the batter on the bottom. Cook the batter until the crepe (it is a crepe, really) pulls away from the sides of the pan (see the photo), about two minutes. Using a spatula, flip the crepe over and cook the other side for a minute.
Okay, stoves have different settings and temperature and the cooking time of two minutes is relative. How can you tell if the crepe is ready to be flipped over? It is ready when the spatula slides easily underneath. If the crepe wrinkles, that means it is still too wet. If you flip it at this stage, it is still sticky, it’s difficult to flip over and it might crumple and stick in places.
Just keep repeating the procedure until you have used up all the batter. A tip: stir the batter before cooking each wrapper. The starch has a nasty tendency to sink to the bottom and you really want the batter to be very well blended before it goes into the hot frying pan.
Where do you place the cooked lumpia wrappers? Most cooks will say stack them between sheets of kitchen (wax) paper. That’s too rich for me — kitchen paper is not cheap and I only use it for baking. I don’t have any problems stacking the cooked lumpia wrapper one on top of the other. They might stick to one another if they are still wet. But if they have been sufficiently looked, you will be able to pull off each wrapper easily.
How long will they keep? Ah, I do not know. I only make lumpia wrappers that can be consumed in one meal.

Family Get Together

Every time our cousin text us that we are going to have another  Family get together, all I can feel is excitement. Excited to see the family again, and of course, the FOOD! One of our cousin is in Catering business and she always cook for us on this occasion (even in our Christmas Party yearly!). We love her dearly, because her food is superb! And her name is Ate Gemma. Ate Gem as we call her, makes an effort all the time, to ensure that the food that she will serve us are Delicious, Hot and Lot! One of her signature Dish that every one are expecting for this occasion, is her BINAGOONGAN. It is a mixture of sweetness, saltiness and spices. It is just right to your palate and you will come back for more, that is sure. And partnered with that is a fried/baked Eggplant with bagoong.  Together with all these are some other viand and desserts. She never missed of completing the meal with good food all the time. So who won't be excited with that?! Now that Christmas season is in the air, I can't help but to think of another Get together we'll soon have. Now, if you want to learn how to cook Binagoongan, please visit RECIPE OF THE DAY.

I am always been a lover of different cuisines. Japanese, Korean, Italian, Chinese, Mediterranean, American, Indian are some of the food I would recommend to friends and family. And I am also adventurous in terms of creating and copying these cuisines. I always want making my own dish and ensuring everything is fresh. And because of that, yesterday when I was thinking of cooking Gyoza which is one of my most favorite food in the planet, I decided to create my own wrapper from scratch. I checked the internet for the recipe but this is some kind of your trial and error process because you really have to create your own, since measurements and ingredients won't be available from one country to another. Some would think this is crazy because the only ingredients are flour, water and salt. However, different flour from different country may have different reaction if you are going to put another ingredient on it, agree? = ) Now, I believe that my Gyoza is 90% successful, as what my family told me, hahahahah! See for your self and if you want to try this then check out RECIPE OF THE DAY for more details.