Who Am I
What’s up?! My name is Adrian Briones. Thanks for checking into my site. Life is way too short so let’s get to it. The main aim of my cookbook What The Heck Is Filipino Food? and this blog Food Rehab is to help introduce Filipino cuisine and culture to Australia as well as to document my quests in hunting down the Best Breakfast in Melbourne.
First time here? Read my latest post on How I turned into THA EATER I am today
Born in the Philippines, my family moved to Australia in 1984 when I was two. By day, I work full time in the crazy world of digital advertising as Head of Ad Operations at Australia’s No.1 Automotive website. By night I’m writing here.
I started Food Rehab in early 2009. Over the years, my blog has evolved. I now focus on things I like writing about the most – Filipino food of course, reflective pieces on being a food blogger and my thoughts on blogging in general like How I turned into the EATER I am today, the crazy Cafe Hopping series where I run around Melbourne devouring as many breakfasts as possible within a 48 hour period (kinda like the Amazing race but with food), my CHAT series involving a mixture of interviews with culinary greats and charity driven entrepreneurs changing the landscape which I’m really passionate about from Shane Pereira – who creates 5000 meals a month for the hungry, The Reading Room Cafe who not only serves the best French Toast in town but also gives back to the community and my latest interview with the now famed Candied Bakery. I also document my travel adventures from eating sushi alive (eep!) in Japan, Fried Chicken hunts in the US to unofficial Filipino Food tours across California.
My style of writing is at times, unconventional. I guess being one to stick to the norm just isn’t in me and that side of me comes through into my posts. I think that’s really important that your blog is written in your own voice and style. I don’t take myself too seriously and tend to blend my love for comics into the blog which you may notice in the blog’s header as well as my cookbook’s front cover.
About my cookbook - ‘What the heck is Filipino food?’
Inspiration for the book was definitely from my mum. She raised two rowdy boys on her own yet managed cook us the most amazing meals that had us running back home for Merienda after school. Unlike most kids, we skipped the milk bar most days, yet none of her recipes were written down. Mum ruled the kitchen. I offered to put them up on my blog as a tribute to her recipes and for her friends to read but Mum was a little skeptical.
“BLOG? Can you show my friends how to use a blog?”
After a lengthy conversation, penning a book was a much wiser choice, though, I never intended to make it available to the public until I delved deeper into the project.
There were so many memories behind each dish that I relived when putting this project together from eating Kamote Kue (candied sweet potatoes) that I used to devour whilst playing the Nintendo (though now I eat this when blogging!) to now having a deeper appreciation for pig’s trotters when cooking up a family treasure, Estofado. There are also chapters on how I grew up, how other children’s lunchboxes were different to mine, Filipino food in Australia, about my country, our humour, how food relates to comics, culture, our love for all things pork and much much more.
I want people who aren’t really interested in cooking or food for that matter to pick up the book and take some interest in Filipino food which is still a mystery in Australia. Why? Because it simply rocks and have made it my mission to help spread the word. Judging from the reactions I have gotten so far from so many amazing people who have purchased the book (thank you!), I am happy to say I have converted more than few!
Food is universal. It doesn’t matter who you are and where you’re from – it can bring an instant commonality between complete strangers and strike a friendly conversation. In my experience, it can also spark into lifetime friendships. Food also has a significant impact on our community by helping to form charitable causes such as St Mary’s House of Welcome, which makes 5,000 meals a month for the hungry.
My thoughts on the food-obsessed culture in Australia?
I’m all for it. The trend towards healthy but tasty and unprocessed food is good to see, especially on popular cooking shows and documentaries. The love of good food is so ingrained into our culture – there’s so much more to taste and discover. Personally, it can be anything from hunting for the best ramen in Melbourne to within my workplace, where I recently hosted an International Platter Feast, where everyone made a dish from their own heritage. The event brought everyone together and provided an opportunity to learn about each other’s cultures.
The many multicultural festivals and hubs in Melbourne. On Sydney Road, you can find the some of the best baklava. On the other side of town in Footscray, you can find comfort in a bowl of pho, crusty banh mi rolls, hot jam doughnuts, and make use of your hands at the cutlery-free African eateries where you scoop up tasty stews with injera flat bread.
That’s what Melbourne’s about – you can experience the best food our city has to offer without having to spend the big bucks. I think what truly makes the Melbourne food scene so unique is that you really do have to rely on your inner circle for solid suggestions, due to the fact that some of the amazing places to eat at are hidden in some random laneway in the CBD with no obvious signage, not to mention our awesome rooftop bars and restaurants. Alternatively, there are some great mobile apps and blogs that can lead you to the latest talk of the town.
What are the top three Filipino dishes one must try?
Chicken adobo is an addictive native dish made with soy, garlic, vinegar, onion and bay leaves. The base should be quite soupy so you can douse it over hot steamed rice. The chicken skin must be left intact – don’t be a chicken skin stripper! If made right, it should be salty, slightly sweet and sticky in texture. You know it’s good when you find yourself licking your lips.
Chicken tinola is a Filipino version of chicken soup and the ultimate comfort meal during winter. A sure fire dish to lift the mood.
Lechon is whole roasted pig. You know you’ve arrived at a Filipino party when there is lechon. Usually the life of the party, you will often see swarms of people gathering around it yelling “Get the skin, get the skin!”.
What are the essential ingredients needed to cook Filipino food?
The must-have ingredients are garlic, cornflour, soy sauce, tamarind, onions and ginger.
How I got into maaaa food
I’ve learnt so much about cooking from my mum to this present day. When I was growing up, she taught me how to really appreciate food. She rules the kitchen, full stop. My brother and I keep encouraging her to open up a restaurant but she insists that she only cooks for those she dearly loves. I may be biased, but I think my mum’s Filipino cooking is without a doubt the best I’ve ever had. Many friends can attest to that. If she’s not in the kitchen, she’s tending to her garden where she’s starting a vegetable patch. Mum is truly an inspiration.
The ultimate Sunday morning breakfast
At home, it would consist of baked pandesal (Filipino sweet bread rolls) lathered in ridiculous amounts of butter, bacon and eggs. When eating out, I would generally order smoked salmon and poached eggs on toast with a side of avocado with lemon. Each month, I conduct my Breakfast Indigestion series, which involves eating my way through a ridiculous amount of cafes on the hunt for the best breakfast over a two-day period. Friends think I’m nuts for doing so. On weekends, you could say that breakfast has become the new dinner.
Greatest dining experience
Breakfast at Sushi Dai in the Tsukiji Fish Market, Japan. You need to arrive mighty early; otherwise, you’ll be faced with an average three-hour wait. The sushi and sashimi are so fresh they taste like the ocean, and they’re all prepared in front of you. A few of the items, like the clam sushi, were still alive! I will never forget the sensation of it moving in my mouth and my friend’s face turning blue which makes this meal so memorable. Not for the faint hearted.
I owe you my sincere gratitude for taking the time to visit my site homeboy/girl! I do hope you’ll stick around.
Awards + Nominations
A chocolate filled thank you goes out to Forager at The Gourmet Forager for the Over The Top blog award and to those who have nominated Food Rehab for the Bloggers Choice Awards under 3 categories! Best Food Blog, Best Design Blog and Best Hobby Blog.
Thanks to the smashing Foodie Cravings
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