a lot of people say don’t fix something that isn’t broke. much like classic cuisine or dishes, when one experiments too much with a well loved classic you either absolutely love or passionately hate the outcome.
Salinas is a restaurant that takes well known Pinoy dishes and converted them to something noveau, or reinvented them to something else with inspiration from other cuisines. And as much as i feared a disastrous result, I have never been disappointed with this restaurant. The irony is that they still have the main restaurant Golden Cowrie which offers the classic gold standard in Philippine cuisine!
the most basic is the mung beans soup which they upgraded with the addition of fresh coconut juice aside from the coconut cream that gave it that lovely creamy texture. it may be a bit odd, but mixed with rice it can be a classic comfort food that reminds you of home cooked food.
another is dried milk fish, that’s usually butterflied, smoked then fried. they flaked the smoked milk fish, mixed in a few secret herbs, cheese, crumbs and made smoked fish croquettes. glazed with a garlic infused mayo dressing, it should be an appetizer but i ate it with mounds of rice. mwah!
for vegetarian options, they serve a number of dishes but the one that stands out is the sizzling tofu with mushroom. instead of using boiled pieces of pig’s face and ears they replaced it with the healthier tofu and shiitake mushroom without sacrificing the taste. i swear, i can have that alone and just have rice to go along and i’d be perfectly fine even when i am not a vegetarian like serious panda he he he
and if you really want a twist, a classic filipino dish is binagoongang baboy or crispy fried pork belly then cooked in a garlicky salty fish or shrimp paste. replace pork belly with succulent morsels of tuna belly and you have a twist to a familiar dish.
and any festive filipino meal should have pancit using miki or egg noodles. this time though, they mixed it with squid ink, added morsels of succulent squid, tossed with carabao cheese and you get a twist to pasta negra using very pinoy ingredients, i say this one is ingenious!
pesky panda is looking forward to visiting Salinas again hmmm