Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Taste of the Philippines by Chef Bruce Lim @ AFC Studio

Today's post was an invited session by Asian Food Channel and hosted at AFC Studio

Last Sunday, I got invited again by Fulford Public Relations to attend the "Taste of the Philippines" by Chef Bruce Lim at the AFC Studio. Can you guess the reason I attended the session? It's because he has the same family name as me!

Here he is. Chef Bruce Lim. He is the co-host with Angel Aquino on Tablescapes: Life on a Plate airing on Asian Food Channel on Thursdays, 9:30 PM. Have you watched the show?

You can see he's a very friendly and chatty guy, just like in the show!
I noticed he loves his pots too! (now you don't see that in his show right? LOL)

Chef Bruce Lim

He demonstrated 3 Filipinos recipes to us:
- Smoky Banana Heart Salad (Delicately Stewed Heart Shaped-buds and Smoked Fish)
- Chicken Adobo with Aromatic Pandan Rice (Stewed Chicken with Pandan infused Rice)
- Banana Leaf Wrapped Prawns (Baked prawns and mung bean noodles)

The first dish: The Smoky Banana Heart Salad.

The Filipinos uses banana heart in the cooking like our local Malay and Indian dishes too!
But what makes it different is that Filipinos use Smoked Fish (Tinapa) and lots of Chicharon (crispy pork skin) on top of it!

It was fun watching him cook. As he is a classically trained chef, he likes to plate the dishes nicely. This is what Chef Bruce prepared. The salad here was served on the banana heart outer petals.

Smoky Banana Heart Salad

It's so nice to have two assistants helping when you are the main chef.
After Chef Bruce prepared the dish, these two lovely resident AFC chefs took over and dished out the rest for the audience.

AFC's Resident Chefs

You can see it's not a lot, but at least we got to try it. It tasted good! I brought along my teenage cousin this time and she said it was nice too! Look like our cousin is now game on trying all kinds of food now! She used to be so so picky!

The banana heart taste crunchy texture. Something like black fungus (hei mu er).  It's really appetizing! I almost wanted to ask for seconds. But I guess not everyone is as adventurous. I saw one person in the front row barely touching it!

Smoky Banana Heart Salad

The second dish: Chicken Adobo with Aromatic Pandan Rice

Something funny happened when Chef Bruce prepared the pandan rice. We noticed that it's exactly how we cook our chicken rice in Singapore! It's using the exact same ingredients too! (with chicken fat too!) Someone in the audience could not take it anymore and said it out loud: "Hey chef, this is Singapore Chicken Rice lah.... Not Filipino at all!" Everyone burst out laughing.

So, which country's dish is it? Is the Chicken Rice 'rice' an uniquely Singapore thing?

But the Chicken Adobo part was an eye opener to us. There's lots of vinegar and soy sauce used in the preparation of the chicken adobo. The whole studio smell of the sharp distinct vinegar smell. We were thinking how sour will that dish be! My cousin said hey, it smells like 'vinegar pork trotters'.

Chef Bruce says let the magic begin. Don't be tempted to stir the chicken in the pot and just let it boil. After like 20 minutes, miraculously the vinegary smell is gone. It suddenly begin to smell so pleasant! Wow!

The beautifully plated Chicken Adobo with rice by Chef Bruce.

Chicken Adobo with Aromatic Pandan Rice

This was what we ate. I tell you, Filipino dishes are SALTY!
But we were told that's the way they cook it in the Philippines. Most people eat a lot of rice and not so much meat. So a little salty meat and sauce goes a long way with lots of rice.

The flavour was good, just too salty for local tongues.  But you could see a group of Filipinos amongst the audience eating it as if they have not eaten such nice homeland food in years!

Chicken Adobo with Aromatic Pandan Rice

The third dish: Banana Leaf Wrapped Prawns

The secret to this dish is "Aligue". What is that? It's crab butter! What we usually call it crab roe.
Oh man, you should see how much it goes in! Half a big bowl of it! Cholesterol alert!

Chef Bruce wrapping the prawns in banana leaf.

Chef Bruce Lim

As this was being baked in the oven. I tell you, the whole studio smell so so good!

Banana Leaf Wrapped Prawns

The taste? It's like wow!

The sauce was a mixture of Aligue, garlic, ginger, onions, chilli sauce, coconut cream. Imagine all this soaked into the Mung Bean noodles (what we call Tang Hoon in Singapore).

My cousin and I thought of Ming Kee's Crab Bee Hoon! It's like a dry version of it. So tasty. (and salty too lah) 

We wanted to laugh at the 4 person sitting on the first row on the left. They were saying that's too much Aligue. Cholesterol ah! Are you sure you want to put so much? (Oh man, shoosh! You are not the chef. haha) Guess what? They finished it all when they were served the dish.

Banana Leaf Wrapped Prawns

I took a photo of this couple from Philippines who was so excited to see their fellow countryman Chef Bruce Lim cook. They were being interviewed on video when I took a photo of them. I got their permission to post their photo here! They just looked so happy. ;-)

Filipino Fans of Chef Bruce Lim

This was my second time attending an AFC Studio course. I would say it is quite a relaxing and enjoyable session. You get to eat what was prepared by the chef as well as a copy of the recipes to take home.

Looking at their course schedule at I spotted these interesting sessions coming soon:

Sunday, 25 April there's a Coffee Appreciation Session by Danny Pang. I met Danny before when he was at Geek Terminal. He's a guy who is so passionate about Coffee! Do you know he's also a certified Barista?

Friday, 30 April there will be a healthy ice cream making session! How cool is that? (pun not intended)

You can always pop by the AFC Studio when you are visiting Orchard Central.

AFC Studio
181 Orchard Road
#07-02 Orchard Central
Singapore 238896

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red fir said...

I love chicken adobo. It's one pinoy dish I can cook pretty well heh. Pork adobo is yums too!

noobcook said...

lucky u! I watched tablescapes and I like Chef Bruce Lim ... I once saw him flip food with a pan on each hand. left right flip :O

Unknown said...

That's what Chef Bruce said too. They love their pork very much and they usually have Pork Adobo too!

A bit like 'tao you bak'? :-)

Oooo. Saw him in person flipping it?

Kenny Mah said...

A Tale of Two Lims? :)

Unknown said...


You can find Lims all around the world!

A Tale of a Billion Lims?

sheenuhbaby said...

Now this entry made me miss home.

I prefer cooking adobo using pork instead of chicken. Since Philippines used to be a Spanish colony, the dish is of Spanish origin. The vinegar is used to help prolong the dish. Same with the using of the soy sauce part, but I think with this one is more of an infused influence from Chinese culture.

And I beg to differ that Filipino dishes are salty, or maybe most locals in Singapore just got used to eating bland or spicy dish? =)

Next time you should try eating Lechon or lechon de leche (roast pig.)

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