Saturday, November 6, 2021

My Birthday Celebration: Filipino Dishes from Ilocos Fride

It's my birthday weekend! Just like last year, I celebrated with my family in Richmond. We had the same seven people at the party.

As I did last year, I chose a Filipino entrepreneur to support and chose Ilocos Fride. I looked at their menu and decided to order many dishes we usually don't get to enjoy.

We picked up our order at 4:30 PM, and we arrived home at around 5:05 PM. My mom was already peeking through the window, waiting for us (and her favourite - Ginataang Bilo-Bilo) to come back.

My Birthday Feast from Ilocos Fride

I ordered A LOT of food, and EVERYTHING is delicious. Our family couldn't believe how great everything tasted.

Ilocos Fride Description: Rice noodle dish with ground chicken or pork, smoked fish, eggs, chicharon (pork grinds), shrimps, chopped spring onions, and sliced lemons on the side.

The main dish of my party was the palabok, and we all loved it. Having the chicharon on the side is an excellent touch since some (specifically, me) don't like chicharon, so I can add as little as possible to the dish.

Pork Embutido
Ilocos Fride Description: Filipino-style meatloaf with ground pork, carrots, raisins, slices of eggs and sausage wrapped in a banana leaf.

My siblings migrated to Canada 8 years ago, and embutido is something we rarely have at home. But when my younger sister saw it, she specifically remembered that this is something you can put ketchup on. So I ordered two embutido, and we only finished one, so we went home with the second one. Yay for breakfast next week.

Rellenong Bangus (Stuffed Milk Fish)
Ilocos Fride Description: Milkfish stuffed with minced milkfish meat, carrots, potatoes, and dried peas.

My dad, our only brother, and I absolutely enjoyed the rellenong bangus. I can't believe how good it is, better than what you can order from Goldilocks in the Philippines. I ordered two bangus, but we only finished one. When I was about to pack the second one, my brother said he enjoyed it, so I decided to leave them the second one (agawan sa take out dahil sa sarap!).

Vegetable Lumpia
Ilocos Fride Description: Filled with carrots, cabbage, green beans, bean sprouts, and vermicelli rice noodles.

I ordered the Vegetable Lumpia with our only brother in mind. One day, he randomly asked me if I had tried a delicious Lumpiang Togue like the one our mom used to buy near his school growing up. I told him no. When I saw this dish in the Ilocos Fride menu, I just had to order it for him. When he took his first bite, I was staring at him, waiting for his judgment.

He said it tastes like as he remembered. Whew! I took a bite, and I agreed. There's a dozen per order, and I left most of what's left with them so that my brother and mom can enjoy it.

Lumpiang Super Shanghai
Ilocos Fride Description: Filled with ground pork, carrots, parsley with a sweet chilli sauce.

Filipino birthday parties won't be complete without lumpiang shanghai (spring rolls). Our favourite spring rolls are from Little Ongpin, and I thought this tasted the same, but with the wrapper thicker. It's perfect for munching on.

Ginataang Bilo-Bilo
Ilocos Fride Description: A dessert or snack made with glutinous rice balls, plantain bananas, sweet potatoes, and tapioca pearls cooked in coconut milk.

I don't eat this dish, but it's our mom's absolute favourite. It's something she and my brother craves for. So while my younger sister and I demolished the cake, my mom and our only brother enjoyed the Ginataang Bilo-Bilo. When I was packing our leftovers for takeout, he said how much he enjoyed the dessert. I know it's his subtle way of telling us not to bring it home. So I told him, don't worry, I don't eat that dish so you and Mama can enjoy it.

The best birthday celebrations are with the people we love over delicious food, and I received that today. I am so grateful to God for all the blessings He provided my family and me.

Something tells me my mom will be ordering the Ginataang Bilo-Bilo again sooner than they'd like to admit.

If you're in Metro Vancouver and sell Filipino food, please send us a message on Facebook with your menu. We would love to try your products (don't worry, I'm not an influencer and would gladly pay and support your business).