206 – On Comfort Food: Triptych 29

There is a reason why comfort food is called as such: it’s because every bite comforts a tragic soul, every serving puts the weary heart at ease.

Ever wondered why a bowl of your mother’s signature stew or casserole calms you down after a long, tiring day at work? The warm and hearty serving reminds you of home. You are here, at your rightful place in the greater scheme of things. Never mind that you’re in a little corner eating – as long as you find a respite from everything.

I’ve arrived to eating as a coping mechanism after a recent breakup. With no one to turn to and not much of a network to help me out, I learned to face my problems alone. Food really does the body and soul good during times like this. Savoring every bite and taking my time to enjoy what’s on my plate, I realize that solitude is never bad as people may seem it to be – even for a short time. No one meddles with or snoops on what you eat, and they learn to steer clear of you.

In this triptych, I’d like to share three instances where food satiated both my body and soul. Expect me to wax poetic here.

I’ve mentioned countless times in this blog that Toast Box has been my go-to restaurant for Singaporean fare. For this visit, I ordered the Hainanese Chicken Chops Rice and a full Kaya Toast Set with Cold Teh Tarik. I liked the crispy chicken skin that came with the chops, as it was flavorful enough to stand alone as a viand. Occasional sips of the clear soup that came with the meal cleaned the palate for the next bite. I mixed the ginger, chili, and kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) with the rice, with good results. The kaya toast dipped in soft-boiled egg with soy sauce and black pepper, alongside the cold milk tea, capped off my meal with something sweet.

CoCo Ichibanya is my preferred fix whenever I crave fiery Japanese curry. The chain’s Pork Cutlet and Vegetables Curry is memorable, since I first tried it with my former partner. I relive the particular moment when we ate at their Estancia Mall branch whenever I take a bite of the curry rice, meat, and vegetables in equal amounts. The katsu may not be on par with Yabu or any other high-end joint, but it’s filling enough to go with the curry. Another recent discovery is the Cream Croquette and Scrambled Egg Curry, which works whenever I do not feel like eating meat at all. The creamy scrambled egg and crispy yet soft cream croquette only intensify the curry’s warmth. Perfect with fukujinzuke (radish and lotus root pickles!)

Philippine brioche topped with sugar and cheese (locally called ensaymada), paired with hot chocolate, is a classic comfort food dating back from the Spanish era. Cafe Mary Grace brings this timeless pair to a whole new level. The ensaymada has the perfect sweet-salty taste from the cheese and sugar topping. It is best to have the brioche grilled first before eating, so the toppings form a shiny, golden crust. Meanwhile, the hot chocolate is so thick – you could dip churros in it. Despite the consistency, the dark earthy flavor of cacao stands out. What I usually do is add small amounts of water at a time, stirring afterwards. That way, the hot chocolate thins out to a more drinkable consistency.

That closes this latest triptych of mine. Until the next post, bon appetit.


14 thoughts on “206 – On Comfort Food: Triptych 29

  1. I love kaya toast and teh tarik too! When I don’t want to eat rice at night, I just eat kaya toast. Haha! There is this restaurant here in Marikina called Goreng Goreng and they serve Southeast Asian comfort food, as well.

    • Indeed! You should write more about those places! The good thing about Manila is that there’s always something new when it comes to gastronomy.

      Many thanks for stopping by; ’tis much appreciated!

  2. I was actually browsing your latest post when I saw this pic in your ‘Related’ section, and I just couldn’t resists. Japanese curry rice really has a special place in my heart, because that’s what I had regularly eaten during my time as an auditor (which was one of my most depressing eras in my life). The only thing I had to look forward to each day was that dinner at the end of yet another soul-sucking day. And your post reminded me of that, lol. Thanks for this post!

    • No problem! Just like you, Japanese curry has been a go-to comfort food more than a year after this post. Thankfully, I’ve had the chance to try it out last month — as dining restrictions here in Manila have loosened! 🍛

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