My favorite local supermarkets for browsing and finding unusual ingredients include Cash & Carry, Unimart, Landmark, and Metro Grocery at the Market!Market! Mall in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. Metro Grocery (the chain includes large Metro groceries in Cebu that I troll for ingredients at as well) seems to crave variety and I almost always find things here that you wouldn’t find at say SM, Rustan’s, etc. I like finding unusual ingredients so I make it a point to cruise the aisles at Metro at least once a month or so… and these are my most recent finds. First, a nice block of belachan from Malaysia. It’s a shrimp paste, almost dried in consistency, and a critical ingredient for sambals and several other Malay and Indonesian dishes. It isn’t easy to find locally. And thankfully, folks like reader Mimi, have, in the past kept me supplied with it. But it’s nice to see it is available at the grocery now, and I hope some Indonesian or Malay cooks/restaurants don’t wipe out the stocks after I post this… :) Here is a link to a simple sambal belacan recipe.
I was drawn to this Clif Bar purely on the basis of its eye-catching packaging! Standing at the check-out counter, I spied this energy bar for hikers and climbers and purchased one to try. I haven’t eaten the chocolate almond fudge yet (haven’t had a chance to climb any mountains lately…hahaha), but I did like the packaging! :)
I’ve been trying to watch my caloric intake for the past month, after gaining weight during the holidays, so I have avoided deep fried food for the most part. Instead of using PAM or non-stick spray for some of my stir-fries, I noticed this Crisco branded 100% extra virgin olive oil spray. It was a bit pricey, but I thought I should give it a try. You really shouldn’t be frying with a good EVOO, so maybe this is all marketing hype, but to spray asparagus or other veggies before grilling or oven baking them seemed like a nice idea. You still get the olive oil, but in much less quantities…
Finally, some hot chili garlic sauce. This is available in several groceries and in places in Chinatown. It’s terrific for stirfries and other spicy dishes, so I always try to keep it in stock. Was happy to see it amongst several other Chinese condiments and ingredients available at Metro Grocery in Taguig. And no, I am not connected with the grocery in any way, nor do I get anything for mentioning any of these products on the blog. :)