Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Mango sweet sticky rice

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IT was not a case of love at first bite for me with this street food delicacy called Kow Neuw Ma Muang, or mango on sticky rice, but when I finally tried it, I wished I tried it earlier.

This dessert is a serving of steamed sticky rice topped with slices of ripe mangoes, doused with hot coconut milk and others sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top for more flavor.

This is a very popular traditional summer dessert especially in northern and northeastern Thailand when mangoes are in season, and I’ve watched both locals and tourists in the streets of Chiang Mai eat this before finally trying it out for myself.

Mango sticky rice is sold for 50 Baht a serving. There are lots of recipes available online if you want to make this yourself.


I’ve never tried making it but if you do make it, whatever you do, don’t put leftovers in the fridge. The rice will harden and it won’t be the same anymore. I made that mistake so take it from me. The best thing to do is eat everything so there will be no leftovers.


Sunshine Café: Dream desserts destination


Red Door Fruit Cheesecake

Red Door Fruit Cheesecake

SAIPAN–Bring sunshine into your palates and visit the island’s newest destination to satisfy your cravings for smacking goodness desserts, coffee, organic beverages and healthy food options in hangout you might call your second home.


Sunshine Café, located at the Coral Tree Avenue in Garapan issues a warm invitation with its pastel colored walls and comfortable, elegant and homey ambiance.

white chocolate citrus tart

white chocolate citrus tart

I’m not really a biggie on desserts but I can’t stop being curious to check out this new hangout and see what they had to offer.  The chance came unplanned two days after their soft opening. I was a bit hungry but know I couldn’t possibly finish a sandwich so I split one order with one of my buddies. I ordered soda, but one of the food staffers convinced me to try their Pineapple Boost. Albeit a bit steep at $8, it was good and a healthier option than what i originally ordered.

Sunshine Café prides itself on the mouth-watering array of specialty cakes and pastries created from local and imported ingredients, healthy snacks and food to go that caters to the different tastes of customers.

Dig into any or all of the four signature desserts created by Sunshine Café which leaves you with a craving to go back for more—Red Door Fruit Cheesecake, Raspberry Pistachio Macaroons, Chocolate Mandarin Lolly made from dark chocolate imported from Switzerland, and Lemon Citrus Tart—made from dark and white Swiss chocolates. These Sunshine Signature items are just irresistibly inviting from the shelves.


Pineapple Boost

Try the Red Door Fruit Cheesecake which I learned from the food staffers was inspired nu a restaurant in Beijing located in front of the East Gate of the Forbidden City in Beijing. This is a dessert cheesecake lovers should try.


Chocolate Mandarin Lolly

Sunshine Café also serves a selection of burgers and sandwiches like Tuna Nicoise, tarragon shallot egg salad and more, pastries, ice cream, homemade milkshakes, cookies in attractive jars and wrappings, and dainty black and white chocolate bites that you can’t ignore from the shelves.

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Sip a tall glass of any of the cold pressed organic juices like Green and Lean, Fruit &Vegetable, Pineapple Boost and Simply Pressed, a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables blended as you order.

The Sunshine Café menu also carries a selection of hot or iced tea including Cappuccino, Latte, Americano, Affogato and Mocha, hot and iced teas, soft drinks and specialty drinks that they are expecting to be a hit with the locals—tropical fruit smoothie, caramel pumpkin spiced latte and Valrhona Sipping Chocolate. Beer, wines and sparkling wine/Champagne is also available.P1420280 2Sunshine Café’s ambiance makes anyone instantly at home, with its fusion of colors and a variety or art works and frames hanging from the walls to the plush sofa sets and brightly lit lamps. It’s a place to hang out and relax after a long day at work, or satisfy your hunger, or just while time away with your favorite drinks.

P1420283Sunshine Café is located beside Winchell’s in Garapan in front of Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.  The Café has started to attract locals and tourists since their soft opening on April 21, 2016. For information or reservation, call 670-233-8300.

Refreshing Bingsu


Next to the Philippine’s most popular dessert halo-halo, here is one of my most favorite all-time refresher when the craving hits, which could be anytime. Bingsu is a Korean popular dessert made with shaved ice and topped with different flavors. My favorite at the Zoom Cafe in Susupe is the Coffee Bingsu.

The Coffee Bingsu is served with a scoop of ice cream on top with swirls of caramel which makes every bite heavenly delicious. On top of the shaved ice is a serving of sweet red bean paste and crunchy cereal. Other flavor options at the Zoom Cafe are strawberry bingsu and the red bean bingsu. A must-try when you visit Saipan!

Puto Maya and sikwate

  011 - Copy FOR six years, I’ve craved for puto maya and sikwate the way they cook and serve it at the public market in Bankerohan in Davao City, and the craving finally was satisfied one late night at the same place I used to have it before.*?

Puto Maya is one of the all-time Filipino favorite  delicacies made from malagkit or sweet, sticky rice soaked before being cooked with thick coconut milk and mashed roots of ginger. My favorite sidewalk restaurant used to serve it wrapped in banana leaves but banana leaves are becoming a precious commodity in the city and they now serve it on a small plate. I always dip each forkful in a bit of white sugar. Puto maya is something that you can’t have too much of, just a bit every now and then.

And who doesn’t know what sikwate or tsokolate is? It is that thick, rich hot beverage from tablea which comes out best boiled in a batirol, a cast metal shaped like an urn with a wooden stirring rod which you roll in your palms as the sikwate is boiling to get that rich consistency.

I always loved to watch the food server stirring the metal continuously with a wooden batirol, but this time, it was a teenager who served us and he did not stir the tablea the way it was supposed to be. There were no solid bits anyway and it was thick, and besides, I haven’t had a cup for over six years so I was not complainingDSC01721 - Copy.

You do not put too much sugar into the drink or you will lose the natural bitterness of the tablea.A bit of warning—if it is your first time to try tsokolate, be careful because the drink looks so cold in the cup but if you sip it, you might end up with a burned tongue. DSC01728 - Copy When I was a kid, there was this story of a man who sipped on a cup of tsokolate, not thinking that it was so hot. He tried to bear the scorching of his mouth bravely and when he saw that no one was looking, he spitted out the tsokolate right on a plant outside. The plant immediately withered and died right before his eyes.I believed that story as a kid but of course I learned later that was just to emphasize how deceivingly hot a cup of tsokolate is but I never learned that lesson. I still burned my tongue each time I drink tsokolate, and last week was no exemption.

Refreshing Island Shave Ice

IMG_1278  HERE’S a new and refreshing way to beat the heat — a cool cup of island shave ice at the newly opened Island Shave Ice in Garapan.

Stop by the place just beside ABC Store across from DFS Galleria and you will find a former police outpost converted into a stall providing refreshments at very affordable prices.

I ordered SignaIMG_1288ture Shave Ice — a heavenly concoction of specialty flavors including ice cream, fresh sweet cream topped with white mini-tapioca pearls served in a conical plastic cup. It comes with a small plastic spoon and a straw. Signature Shave Ice is a must-try — the deeper you dig with your spoon, the better the flavors get.

For its initial offering, Island Shave Ice has 14 flavors which include Island Wave, a blend of pineapple, vanilla and passion fruit; Isa Flow — mango, raspberry and vanilla; Tropical Sunset — guava, banana and strawberry; Marianas Trench — banana, orange and watermelon; and Chamorro Coconut — coconut, piña colada and coconut bites. All for $4.50 each.

IMG_1297Also available: banana, coconut, bubblegum, guava, cotton candy, mango, orange, pineapple, passion fruit, piña colada, raspberry, strawberry, vanilla and watermelon. All for $4. Add 75 cents for each add-on for more flavors such as azuki red beans, coconut bites and flakes, Oreo crumbs, gummy straws, mini-tapioca pearls and vanilla ice cream.IMG_1295

Island Shave Ice is owned by Patty Mendiola and Andrew Ellinson. Patty’s sister Celeste Mendiola, a pastry chef at Oahu Country Club in Honolulu, flew in from Hawaii to help with the preparation of the menu and flavors.

Patty Mendiola said most of their ingredients are from Hawaii.

Soon, she said, Island Shave Ice will also have ice pops with a variety of flavors for the health-conscious.

For inquiries or reservations, email

First published at the Marianas Variety here

Coffee, croissants and tarts at The Coffee Room N-106

IMG_7594 (2)ENTERING the Coffee Room N-106 was like stepping into a fabulous private room adorned with exquisite decorations.

While a group of Russians was having coffee and a lively conversation at one of the tables, a friendly food staffer guided me and my companion to the table near the counter and handed each of us a one-page menu. I ordered cappuccino and quickly scanned the sheet hoping to see croissants. I was not disappointed. Our food staffer said the croissants were freshly baked and kept warm, and he was right.

My companion ordered Napoleon Tart which was served a few minutes after his latte macchiato. My companion was not exactly a lover of desserts or anything sweet and it was amusing to see him quickly finish his Napoleon Tart. At first glance, it looked like an ordinary pudding but we were told the tart wIMG_7625as made of 21 very thin layers of puff pastry and alternate assorted delicious fillings and served in just the right size — big enough to fill you and small enough to make you want more.

I tried a bite, thinking it was too sweet for my taste but it was not. It was very good and I had to stop before I finish it. I went back to my croissant. It was warm, crunchy and flaky and not at all oily. It was the kind that melted in your mouth.

The Coffee Room offers a variety of coffee including espresso, double espresso, Americano, double Americano, cappuccino, café latte and latte macchiato — all from $3.75 to $5.50.

It also serves other beverages: signature teas, milk, orange juice, fresh orange juice, apple juice, Aqua Panna, S. Pellegrino and Coca Cola in a bottle.


Napoleon Tart

The Coffee Room likewise serves a selection of sandwiches: cream cheese, salmon, tuna salad, chicken loaf, roast beef and vegetarian.

Sitting hot and freshly baked on the shelves are various flavors of muffins, including blueberry, chocolate, the muffin of the day and assorted mini-muffins.

There’s also biscuit caramel, biscuit chocolate, chocolate cookies and candies.

The Coffee Room and its clear glass walls provide a relaxing ambiance with its blend of quaint   and modern decoration.*?

The glass-topped tables are paired with rattan-backed chairs, frames on the walls, brass and gold statues, bright and colorful rugs on the floor, lanterns on the walls and tables, and glass jars on the counter. There are also tables and chairs outside for those who want their coffee outdoors.


Latte Macchiato

Businessman Igor Karapetyan, general manager of K Family LLC, owns the coffee shop and the building. He was personally assisting and serving customers when we came in.

The Coffee Room N-106 is located on the ground floor of the Family Commercial Building in Garapan across from the Bank of Saipan.

It is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Sunday. Credit cards are accepted. For inquiries and reservations, call 233-3106.

Coffee, crepes and more at The Shack


Okonomiyaki, one of the must-try favorites at the SHACK

WELCOME to The Shack, the newest rave in the island where ‘hunters, fishermen, politicians and other liars are welcome.’

Although it’s still on a soft opening phase, The Shack has become a trending household word as the satisfied diners try their unique dishes and go back for more.

It was my second time to visit The Shack for lunch yesterday, and was looking forward to something new. A friend and I had The Shack’s famous Chili Beans on Rice and the equally famous dessert called “The Dentist” before.

We headed to the farthest table for two against the wall and Glen Hunter, who runs The Shack with his mother Gloria Hunter, and Glen’s brother Randy, came to assist us.

Mom Gloria’s special version of fried rice and egg during the weekends, and we decided to try that. Glen also recommended the okonomiyaki and I said yes, not knowing what it was.


The Favorite

Glen served us the fried rice topped with eggs over easy first, which we started to attack immediately. Next, he served us the Shack’s version of Okonomiyaki, a very tempting flatcake splattered with sauce and Japanese mayo and topped with bits of onion leaves and fish flakes which looked so alive like they were waving.


Shack Breakfast Akai Bowl

Although it was so tastefully served that I didn’t want to ruin the plating, I was hesitant to try it, not knowing what was inside. I watched my companion slice off a bit from the side and ate it. When he sliced another portion immediately after the first bite, I decided to try it. One bite is all it took, and we kept going at it until there was nothing left of the whole okonomiyaki. We even scraped off the remaining sauce from the plate.

Glen explained that the okonomiyaki, which is one of the most popular dishes at The Shack, literally means “what you like” and their version contains a mix of corn, mushrooms, noodles, tofu, mongo sprouts, cabbage, and more. One bite will stop you to analyze the flavor and you’ll discover it’s a bit of everything—salty, sweetish, a bit sour, a bit spicy but blended beautifully together in one savory flavor that would send you wanting for more. Glen said diners can customize the Okonomiyaki and diners can order what they want to be stuffed inside the pancake.

We were not even halfway into our meal when Glen served us another delight called The Favorite. It is a dessert made of Nutella and bananas wrapped in a think warm crepe folded into quarters and topped with whipped crème. I don’t have a sweet tooth but the empty dish is a testimony of how well we liked it.

We were already very full when Glen came again and let us try the latest breakfast treat—The Shack Breakfast Acai Bowl which is a small glass containing layers of Frozen Puree of Acai Berries and Mixed Fruit on top of layers of Homemade Kefir Yogurt topped with layers of Honey, Nut and Raisin Granola and topped with dates, banana slices and fresh strawberry slices.


Mom Gloria’s version of fried rice on egg, only at The Shack

I looked at the Shack Breakfast Acai Bowl doubtfully and voiced out that it was too small for anyone’s breakfast. Glen said that’s what everybody said, until they try it and find it even hard to finish everything off. He was right, the Acai breakfast bowl was small but it packed a punch and should never be underestimated. We capped our lunch with tall glasses of lemonade.


The Dentist, one of the most popular favorites at The Shack

The boldly warm orange tables and walls of the wooden deck and the glaring neon green chairs on the tables below the deck outside is a big contrast to the cool and simple rustic beauty inside The Shack. A sofa occupies one part of the restaurant with a low table. Sack curtains hung from the sides of the glass windows, allowing sunlight to stream inside. Paintings adorn the walls, along with books on the shelves, lamp shades and bric-a-brac on the walls. The mix of modern and antique décoration provides an overall homey ambiance of like dining or having coffee at your own home.IMG_6653

“It’s all about relaxation, of having tea, coffee and crepes and hanging out with friends and family,” Hunter said.

Every day is never the same at The Shack. Mom Gloria prepares varied lunch specials. Check out their Facebook page everyday for the lunch specials the next day.

20130810_144324 (2)Don’t miss out Mom Gloria’s special carrot cake for a sweet, moist slice of paradise. Check out the menu board for the list of crepes available. Beverages available include Espresso, Shack coffee, Shack teas, fresh lemonade, classic iced tea, beer and wines.

The Shack has ample parking spaces outside and WiFi is available free.IMG_6668 (2)

The Shack Saipan is located across from Downtown Market in San Jose, Oleai and open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. They are closed on Mondays. Credit cards are accepted. For reservations please call 235-7422.

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