About a week before Christmas a Chic-Boy branch opened a stone’s throw from the Rizal Capitol Building, about five minutes from our house. It was the formal opening, actually, as the “soft” opening took place several days earlier and Chic-Boy had been serving Antipolo customers since.
On the day of the formal opening, Speedy and I had to drive down the hill for groceries, we took longer than we anticipated and, by the time we passed Chic-Boy on the way home, it was after 3.00 p.m., we hadn’t had lunch yet and we were very hungry. The thought of unloading the groceries first then preparing lunch afterward seemed like too much work for a very hungry couple, Chic-Boy reputedly has very inexpensive but good meals and we decided to go.
I was hoping against hope that our Chic-Boy experience would be better than the Mang Inasal fiasco where we were served with crispy kangkong dripping in what tasted like very much recycled cooking oil. I ordered the Cebu lechon liempo (roast pig belly, Cebu style), Speedy chose the inihaw na liempo (grilled pork belly) and, as a side dish, we had the ginisang kangkong sa bawang. To cut to the chase, the meat was good, the serving size was generous and we loved the jar of crisp garlic bits provided on every table.
I felt, however, that as delicious and as well cooked the kangkong was, the dish was terribly overpriced. A bundle of kangkong costs PHP5.00, the amount served to us was less than half of a bundle and the price was PHP35.00. I mean, even with the addition of garlic, a little cooking oil and labor, that’s quite a huge mark-up. In short, a few days later, Speedy bought a bundle of kangkong and I made my version of Chic-Boy’s ginisang kangkong sa bawang.
The secret is not the generous amount of crisp-toasted garlic bits on top. The secret is the oil in which the garlic bits had been toasted.
Recipe: Ginisang kangkong sa bawang
- a bunch of kangkong, tough ends of the stalks discarded
- about 3 tbsps. of vegetable cooking oil
- about 8 tbsps. of chopped garlic
- patis (fish sauce), to taste
- Cut the kangkong into two-inch lengths. Separate the stalks from the leafy portion.
- Pour the cooking oil into a frying pan (a wok is best). Set the heat to medium (actually, somewhere between medium and medium-low). Add 6 tbsps. of garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned. Scoop out the garlic.
- The amount of cooking oil in the pan should have been considerably reduced. That is okay. You don’t need a lot.
- Reheat the oil and add the rest of the garlic. Saute just until fragrant. Add the kangkong stalks, season with a little patis and cook for about three minutes. Add the leafy portion of the kangkong, season with a bit more patis and cook just until the leaves are wilted.
- Transfer the sauteed kangkong to a plate. Sprinkle the toasted garlic bits on top. Serve as a side dish to your grilled or broiled meat or seafood.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4