Brazilian Barbecue in a Churrascharia

When I was in the United States several years back, we were treated to a hefty eat-all-you can lunch at the Green Field Churrascharia in Long Beach, California. Because of that single visit, the eat-all-you-can here in Bacolod all pale in comparison. hahaha

Now what is a churrascharia? Borrowing from the site, the Brazilian term literally means, “house of barbecue” and is pronounced as “Tchu-ras-ka-ria”.

We knew this was an eat-all-you can barbecue restaurant, but we just had to sample the salad bar and hot food buffet table offerings before the barbecues. My goodness! It was a spread fit for a king! First off, we tried the salar bar. This was no ordinary lettuce and dressing bar but it had different fruits, vegetables, pre-mix salads, cold cuts, and many other condiments! I just lifted the photo below from the site because I could no longer find my digital photos.

Then there are hot foods. I remembered that their skewered prawns were pretty good. hehe There were various soups as well as their traditional dishes like the Rabada (Beef tail), Arroz Tropero (Brazilian rice stile) and the famous Feijoada.

My goodness, after all these appetizers, it seems like we have no more room for the barbecue! But no way! We will not go out without sampling their barbecues!

So okay. This was the thing. Each table has a thingimajig that looks like an hour glass. But it is made of wood. One half is colored green while the other half is red. While the green half is up, the waiter will continue to bring juicy slabs of freshly grilled barbecues.

Their barbecues include “various sirloins, ribs and steaks; pork, chicken, lamb, duck, rabbit and other, slowly grilled in Brazilian’s unique way.” And this is what we really got. During our visit, they had an engaging Brazilian waiter in his 40s who claims that he once had a Filipina girlfriend. He even impressed us with some of the Tagalog words that he knew. Then he kept coming back for more barbecue. We were amazed at how he handled the slicing and all that because it was like a show when he served the barbecues. So we continued to eat what he gave us.

Eventually, we were all sooo stuffed and couldn’t take anything more. But we wondered how to make him stop because he was so gracious and accommodating. And it was when we realized that our thingy still had the green light on so the waiter thought that we wanted some more. haha So we turned it upside down and that was when he stopped coming. Whew!

We were so full that day that we no longer had dinner. We had our fair share of meats, veggies, and everything else! We took a really long walk after that memorable meal! haha We just had to sample everything because they all looked mouth-watering!

If you are wondering how much a meal costs, here are the current prices, based on their website:

Lunch price – 1AM to 3PM (Mon -Fri) – $16.95 Adult
Dinner – PM to 10PM (Mon – Fri) 11AM to 10PM (Sat – Sun) $29.95 Adult

But when we were there, I remember that we paid around $24.95 for each of us. Or was it the drinks that made our bill big? I’m not sure. I am just happy that I was able to go there.

If you want to go there, their address in Long Beach is:
5305 East Pacific Coast Highway
Long Beach, CA 90804
tel: 562-597-0906
fax: 562-597-0916

Other branches may be found in:
New York
108th St. Northern Blvd., Corona , NY 11368
tel: 718-672-5202, 718-672-5202
718-672-1892

West Covina
381 Noth Azusa Ave., West Covina, CA 91790
tel: 626-966-2300
fax: 626-332-3836

The Story of Quan

This article was published several years ago in Cook Magazine. Just sharing this once again here in my blog because I have loved Quan products ever since I was in college at the University of St. La Salle. My goodness! That was a long, long time ago already.–Sigrid

When Filipinos use the term “kwan“, it could stand for an answer, an alibi, a direction, a conjunction, a filler, a description, an expression of doubt or apprehension, or an indication of forgetfulness, among others things. The word presents a myriad of possibilities and is so popular that a spin off term has become equally famous in Bacolod City – it’s the word “Quan.” But Quan does not represent any of the things mentioned above; but rather it is a name associated with traditional native delicacies and an assortment of wonderful foodstuff.

After 20 years, Agnes Cuenca and Chole Cuenca-Chua, the mother and daughter team behind Quan Native Delicacies have successfully managed their restaurant that it has grown to six branches all over Bacolod City, and just recently added another one at SM-Cubao. The Cuencas have totally erased the idea that native foods are just peddled in the streets and have questionable quality control.

Quan had its beginnings with a recipe for puto that was handed down to Agnes by Chole’s great grandmother, Mercedes Jalandoni. Agnes cooked this most popular rice recipe while Chole sold and sometimes gave out their puto. It was so in-demand among parties and during school events that it was eventually dubbed as “Puto Chole.”

In 1985, Chole rented a space at the office of her friend Elena, who eventually became her sister-in-law. The place was enough for her to set up a display counter for her puto and eventually some cuchinta.

About 2 years later, Chole was ready to open their first-ever store in the building of her then boyfriend (now her husband) William. At that time, they already added bibingka and cassava cake to their menu. But three days before their opening date, they were panicking for a name for their new store. They had been asking people for suggestions and all they would get was, “Kwan…hmmm..kwan…,” because nobody could find an appropriate word or letter combination for a store name. Still finding no suitable business name, they finally settled on Quan, with a little alteration on the spelling for better appeal.

Needless to say, Quan became a big hit. People just loved their authentic native delicacies that are really affordable, with prices that are sometimes lower that those sold in the streets. And clients are assured of strict quality control and freshness. The outlets are also monitored daily for customer service and food handling. Agnes mans the kitchen, with its central operations conveniently located beside her home, while Chole handles the marketing aspect. And they get to joke about their specific roles, too. “My mom’s the kusinera and I’m the tindera!” Chole laughs. Mother and daughter by the way, are neighbors too.

Quan no longer just sells native delicacies. It has continually added to its menu and has grown to a full-fledged restaurant serving meals and other snacks. It has also successfully dabbled in the bakery business selling breads, cakes and pastries and now also has facilities like a function room for small parties. Quan has truly lived up to its slogan – “A family of food for the family.”

Agnes and Chole continually update themselves by attending seminars. They are members of the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Bakers’ Association (BACNOBA) and the Hotel and Restaurants Association of Negros Occidental (HRANO). However, most of their food items are products of endless experimentation in the kitchen. The lumpia sariwa, bread pudding ala poor man’s leche flan, ube pudding, 5-variety cuchinta, and 4-flavor chuchinta are Agnes’ creations. Even their lumpia ubod has been modified for the Negrense taste.

But perhaps Agnes’ most significant contribution to the food industry is the putopao. There was a time during the late 1980s when a flour shortage hit the province. Since Quan was not yet a member of an organization and its flour requirements were not that big, it was not protected and not included in the flour rationing. However, Quan got a big order of siopao to fulfill. The ingenious Agnes filled her puto (using her original puto recipe) with the regular siopao filling mixture and came up with a new creation that she called “putopao.” Eventually, the putopao was adapted by many people, with variations only in the filling or in the dough.

Like the word “kwan” that will forever remain in the Ilonggo vocabulary, Quan will always remain a Negrense favorite.

Chronicles of my Eating and Cooking Adventures

Wow! That is a mouthful of title.

I am an avid eater and I like to cook. Most of what I do is nothing fancy or gourmet. But everything is edible.

I like good food and I am an appreciative eater.

So I think that it is high time for me to start my own blog about cooking. After all, my baby is growing and I will be coming up with new dishes for her to match her growing physical needs. I think that this is a great way, too, to record my cooking and my recipes because I like to experiment and I like to use whatever is available in our cupboard. That is why sometimes I could no longer remember what I used.

I may mention establishments, brands, etc., as long as they are pertinent to my topic.

Well, welcome to my cooking blog. What sets it apart from the many blogs out there? Well, IT IS MINE. weeee!