Lunch at Circa Eatery 1850

Welcome to the deliciously natural Circa Eatery 1850. It’s quite a dining experience with a combination of a hearty meal and local cuisine served into one. They serve healthy and amazingly cooked food without the artificial ingredients. They describe themselves as a modern global cuisine in homage to its South East Asian heritage. Inspired by the ‘slow food movement’, which promotes the practice of using heirloom recipes, sustainable local produce and fair trade lifestyle. Everything you see here have been locally sourced and grown.

Photo by: Reiyakhu

The interiors had a very rustic feel from the ceiling down to the place-mats. The menu was simple but everything on the list there was something I would love to try. They even have a view of the busy kitchens to which you can see right down their hall to the right.  It was instagram worthy from top to bottom.

Photo by: AyosaOi

The restaurant is said to be built mostly by using recycled timber and bricks. It’s quite noticeable when you observe the place from top to bottom from bolts to the beams including the fittings! But let’s just not talk about the place, let us now discuss their reasonably priced food which I have tried so far…

Drinks

They have various drinks available including imported beers and wines. Here’s coffe and watermelon shake. You can check out more information on their menu here.

Spinach Ricotta Canneloni

This would be by far my personal favorite. It’s a pasta bake with spinach filled canneloni topped with ricotta cheese. It was creamy and oh so good with their freshly baked bread on the side. Be careful though, it’s served piping hot!

Uni & Shrimp Pasta

This is one of their best sellers for their pasta. Might I say it was a bit dry for my preference but it was alright because this dish actually reminded me of the sea with its umami flavor which was then topped with heaps of arugula and fresh tomatoes. I recommend this if you just want to snack on something.

Sirloin Steak Frites

The steak was oh so tender and perfect when combined with their gravy. This meal had a side of steamed vegetables, fries and sweet potato wedges aside from rice.

Photo by: AyosaOi

Roasted Bone Marrow

I quite enjoyed myself immensely savoring this tasty dish which might be the death of me. I’m quite the fan of beef bone marrow and I’d be definitely denying myself if I didn’t order this. This my friends, is something you should try without second thoughts because it easily gets sold out! The marrow was rich and creamy and you could tell that it was sizzling in its own fat. You could then spread it evenly on their freshly baked bread. I had to order an extra serving of buttered vegetables and baked herb potatoes just to minimize the guilt of eating this all by myself.

I vow to come back to this place again and again especially when the need to eat something hearty and almost healthy arises. Also, did I tell you that their bathroom has speakers to which you can NOT be awkward doing your business (I found it cool). The service was great! They were very friendly and accommodating and they answered my questions very promptly.

You can Circa 1850 Eatery at the gound floor of Red Planet Hotels, just before you reach the lobby entrance. find  can get a reservation by calling 08822-741 850 or 088-852 1850.They are open between 7:00am – 2:00pm and 5:30pm – 10:30pm

HINT: If you’re staying at Red Planet Hotel, don’t forget to download their app and mention it to your waiter before asking for the bill because they offer a 10% discount!

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Eats: Pinegrove Mountain Lodge

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Hunger was setting in pretty quick after the ziplining so we headed to Pinegrove Mountain Lodge for meal time. I was hesitant at first seeing as there were not much people and the place looked fancy for a lodge but the feel was quite comfortable. The food was pretty good too! Their portions were at a considerable size! I scarfed down each plate with gusto for the beast that I am.
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Care for some apple crumble with vanilla ice cream on top?

Here’s a photo of their menu for your perusal: IMG_0791

Maui’s Salad has got mixed greens, sliced apple, carrot strips, sweet corn, toasted cashew nuts, croutons, topped with parmesan cheese and accompanied by a strawberry vinaigrette
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I do wish they had their cheese fries available though, I enjoyed it on my last visit. Also, they had the campfire kind of smores which you had to to prepare on their specially made round marble table!

It may not look it but their cheese fries was good for three people, unless you got a voracious appetite for potatoesCampfire smores by the fire!

IMG_0804Pinegrove is quite the ideal place if you’re in for a hearty meal with a homemade feel. It’s cosy and peaceful. The staff were very friendly and they even let us connect our choice of music to their Bluetooth jukebox!  Talk about being accommodating. The service was prompt ohm did I tell you that the food was good? Yes? The prices are mid-range but considering the taste and portion, it was absolutely worth it.

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Eats: Dahilayan Forest Park

Can’t decide what to eat once you get to Dahilayan Forest Park? Fret not. I have listed this post as a sort of food diary and a list of things you can definitely munch on like Ian’s Nuts. They sell roasted chestnuts there at the Forest Cafe Park which you can purchase as an edible souvenir to friends and families.

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Taste some of Ian’s Nuts

IMG_0062 IMG_0063Beef Salpicao and Bibimbap with a side of Kimchi. Their menu is affordable and the service was swift.

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Tinolang Manok

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It’s a hearty chicken soup for dinner that’s good for two with grilled cheese and mango float for dessert at the Forest Park Cafe before calling it a night.

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The weather is frigid at 7AM there. Better bring a couple of sweaters if you’re staying for a couple of days. I recommend you get their hot chocolate because it’s my personal favorite there. It’s made from real cacao beans and the chocolate intensity is mouthwatering. I was already halfway done with my hot choco when I remembered that I had to take a photo of it. They also offer silog meals for breakfast. I added an additional order of waffles which had a side of pineapple. Their balcony view is awesome.IMG_0180 IMG_0183 IMG_0186 IMG_0410

Snacking on some garlic and cheese pizza before trying out their rides. This was pretty good. Then had bulalo for dinner. Soup is the go to during the evenings because it easily warms one up.IMG_0552 IMG_0573

Breakfast for Day 2. I had some dangsilog and added an additional fruit platter. It was a chilly and exclusive morning at the Forest Park Cafe because there was no one alse around the premises.IMG_0580 IMG_0593 IMG_0768Trying out their halo-halo before leaving! Halo-halo is always good any time of the day and at any weather.

If you’re looking for chips and other snackable things to take with you, they have a sari-sari store right beside the Forest Park Cafe which is very convenient. The cafe has a wide variety of food to choose from. I personally don’t see it as a cafe but rather some sort of summer camp mess hall. If neither of these on the list have tickled your fancy, try the food at Pinegrove Mountain Lodge which is just a couple of steps away. You can check it out here.

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Eating Ox Brain at Majid’s Persian Kabab

We had dinner at Majid’s Persian Kabab, a small food place which may look simple and uninviting for some, but in my mind I was pretty sure it had it’s own appeal considering that Jess insisted that we try it out. The aroma of well seasoned barbecued meat was already wafting through the air. They serve kebabs, flat breads, Biryani and many other Iranian food to which you can choose from at very affordable prices! Sadly, I didn’t get to take a photo of the place but all I can say was that it was an open area which was well ventilated. Some would say that this would be an eatery with it’s quaint monobloc chairs and tables arranged simply.majid5 Of course I had to pick out the Goat Kabab! I’ve not tried this one yet and it was served with flatbread, a side of yogurt, a grilled tomato and hot sauce! You could roll it into some sort of Shawarma. The meat we excellently done, it wasn’t gamey at all. It was delicious especially  with the hot sauce. Their servings were slightly small but you’d be surprised how heavy this is for the tummy. We had salad to go with this as well. AS you can see it was diced and seasoned with olive oil and some sort of vinaigrette.majid3majid1 Here’s something I’ve been meaning to try after reading the menu, can you guess what it is?majid2 It’s Ox brains! Don’t let that thought make you cringe though. I’m pretty sure this was what they call Maghz. Steamed brain from a bovine and doused with olive oil and turmeric and then pan-fried! I’m pretty sure this may look slightly unappetizing but it’s worth a try if you’re up for a gastronomic adventure at 40php only! I generously squeezed some calamondins on if before my first bite. The texture was very creamy, not as slimy as you may think and flavor was very interesting especially if you’re the type that’s quite fond of bone marrow from Bulalo! I ordered three servings of this one because I’m pretty sure there’s nothing like this back at home!majid4If you ever find yourself in Davao, do look for this place for tasty gem of a Persian food that won’t hurt your pocket! Majid’s Persian Kabab is located at J. Rizal St., 8000 Davao City, Philippines You can check out their facebook page here. They open Mondays to Saturdays 11:30 am to 10:00 pm (take note, not open on Sundays)

Let’s Bulcachong Tsong!

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This place holds something of interest to those in search of an authentic Davao dish called Bulcachong. What is it exactly? First of all it’s buffalo(carabao) meat that’s been cooked for several hours to utter tenderness and seasoned generously with ingredients known only by the maker named Chong. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a taste of this infamous stew, back then I was still a short term teenage runaway. I have always craved to taste this once again and my wish finally came true!

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As you can see the soup has a rich orange tinge to it. There’s a slightly overpowering aroma of spices and meat. It may be a bit intimidating for a first timer with how it looks. I do assure you the richness of the flavor and the tenderness of the meat is similar to that of Bulalo or Pochero yet different in its way. One serving can already fill the stomach of a starving man at just 90php only. They also provide extra soup for you in smaller bowls.

Rapa sa Toro, sarap para sa lahat!

The best way to eat this is to generously squeeze several calamondins! Some would add more chili (not me though). There is a slight kick of spices (especially ginger) once you swallow the broth. Take note that the meat has some bone shards at times. So pay attention to what you’re eating. I was told that this serving was a local’s comfort food at night. Some prefer to eat this during the early hours of dawn after a drinking session.

bulcachong2 They have outside seating as well to those who want that breath of fresh air which they price their Bulcachong at only 75php. We enjoyed our food inside the premises though since it was quite a hot day. The main store is open for 24 hours, this is absolutely the ideal place try something local and heavy on the tummy. Bulca Chong Restaurant is located at General Luna near Gaisano Illustre just a block or two after Apo View Hotel.

Over Powerbowls and Tea at Shaka Siargao

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Shaka Siargao is one of those go to spots for those wanting to do a digestive reset. They serve cold pressed juices, smoothies and bowls of the freshest fruits and vegetables found on the island. Trying where possible to keep their products organic to maximize its flavour, and throwing in a few superfoods here and there, you will be left feeling rewarded, as well as satisfied for giving your body the goodness it deserves. They’ve also got a wide selection of teas as well. We stopped by here after our surfing sesh at  Jacking Horse. I was thinking of getting some tea but the menu caught my eye….

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The view is amazing since it overlooks Cloud 9. I passed by unusual looking trees a couple of days ago thinking they were lemons. But naaaaah. I thought lemons were imported from some other country. Turns out their lemons are locally grown and look more drop shaped than the usual ones you see at grocery stores. Shaka Siargao doesn’t just do smoothies and bowls, they  offer photography services as well. The place also serves as a gallery of awesome prints and they’re up for sale! Guess who just found out he had a photo here…

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I was thinking of this just being a light snack for today’s lunch. Turns out this became the lunch itself because each bowl packs quite a punch. Their servings looked a tad small at first since it was served on coconut shells, just as I was about to finish it midway my stomach was already telling mo to give up. All of them were very satisfying, fulfilling and not once did I feel guilty indulging myself since it was all fruits and fiber! We tried…

 

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the Bom Dia. This one had the biggest serving compared to the other two. This one had fresh fruits and granola in acai coconut blend.

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This one is the Green Bowl. It’s made up of kale, saluyot, pineapple, mango, honey, ginger, cucumber, coconut water and a double shot matcha to boot! This was the one I least liked in terms of flavor but the nutritional content is definitely worth finishing to the last spoonful. It was like a fruity cold vegetable stew that was very popular among vegans in the area.shaka7 The Cloud 9 Kook which was a superbowl made up of bananas, oats, mangoes, berries and sprinkled with a dash of chocolate. This was by far my favorite. The chocolate really went well with the tangy aftertaste of the fruits. I loved the texture of the oats and nuts because it went well with the smoothie underneath.

 

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Margarita Pizza and Penne Vodka at Kermit’s

We headed over to Kermit Siargao for a hearty dinner after that island hopping with our newly acquired golden skin tones. I was looking forward to trying out their Margarita pizza! Did you know they cook their pizzas and calzones in brick ovens? The dough is homemade and you can watch how they bake and create their goods. The Italian receipt are all authentic with fresh ingredients form the market and imported from Italy. The service was quite fast since we surprisingly got our orders in less than 20 minutes! The area is quite spacious and is ideal for groups and families. The staff were very friendly and you can even request to have your photos taken. They also have a book borrow section, Wi-fi and board games! You can check out their menu hereSiargaoD35SiargaoD36

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(left)Cold cuts & cheese platter. (middle)margarita pizza. (right)Penne Alla Vodka. All tasty and not a hint of regret was given that night.
Photo by Leia Khu Bartolome

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Chinatown in my Eyes

My ever so sprightly BFF Chris decided to take me to Binondo for a day to soak in the sights and sounds of all things found in Chinatown! First to greet me was the largest and brand spanking new Chinatown arch in the world! It’s now the largest in the world at 3.8-feet taller than the one found in Washington, DC. The foundations of the arch are 30 meters deep to prevent collapse in case of earthquakes. It was said that the creation of the said arch was funded by the city of Guangzhou. DSC_0358

The driver kinda looked at us funny and chuckled just as were about to get off the taxi. We told him prior that we were going to Estero and he wondered why of all places would we want to go there. Hmm that makes it all the more a curiosity for me.

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Found this at the base of another welcome arch. Are you a lion or a dog?

DSC_0368 Binondo is a district in Manila and is referred to as the city’s Chinatown and is the world’s oldest Chinatown. Its influence extends beyond to the places of Quiapo, Santa Cruz, San Nicolas. It is the oldest Chinatown in the world, established in the 1594 by the Spaniards as a settlement near Intramuros but across the Pasig River for Catholic Chinese, it was positioned so that colonial rulers could keep a close eye on their migrant subjects. It was already a hub of Chinese commerce even before the Spanish colonial period. Binondo is the center of commerce and trade of Manila, where all types of business run by Filipino-Chinese thrive.DSC_0367

What an excellent day to go out for a stroll…. make that brisk walking. It wasn’t that warm and the wind was alright.  Busy busy streets and this one was a holiday! Hello Ongpin Street. DSC_0369

Sugar cane like it’s nobody’s business by the street. I used to nibble on these when I was a kid while watching TV. The first of many nice things to see and hopefully try out?

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This particular shop at Ongpin St. caught my attention so I definitely had to go in!

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To which I did not ever regret! Check out this post for more photos and a whole lot of stuff to see and what exactly happened while we were in the premises. DSC_0414

We wandered around for a bit looking for the spot that served frog legs. Looks like we already passed by it since it was nestled by the side of the bridge. This place is popularly known as the “Estero Fastfood”DSC_0401

Situated right beside an “Estero” – a spanish word for Creek, which held an array of meats and seafood! The one to the far right piqued my interest.DSC_0405

Hi Chris! Looking pretty spiffy today dearie. I wonder what’s in store for us after this.

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This was what they call Bamboo clams, some call them Razor clams. This one was cooked Adobo style and it was my first to try them out. The texture was that of the usual rubbery chewy soft clams you use for soup. It’s taste though was slightly stronger and had an almost fishy essence to it.

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Frog legs! I haven’t tried them before but I daresay there’s always a first! It wasn’t so bad once you get over the image of what used to be a kicking live frog. There was a millisecond though where I thought of marshy areas and croaking. Tastes absolutely like fried chicken! The meat was less oily too. It was best paired with the soy sauce and calamansi combo!  Lunchtime.

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We got to do some more strolling and Chris definitely knew I was up for a bit of fruit shopping!

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This my friends is a Longan. A close relative of the Lychee and far chewier than it. They were so easy to peel and yes I had to buy some of these. DSC_0417

Lychees! It’s the real deal you taste from juices and jellies! They kind of looked like naked Rambutans. Very juicy.

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*inserts Fruit Ninja related humor* Dragon fruit!

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There were a lot of roads to choose from and we were headed to Lucky Chinatown mall, this here is Benavidez St. Too bad I didn’t get to check Wai Ying. As you can see the area had a lot of fruit and vegetable stands.

While waiting for Chris to finish his little chitchats I was silently observing this group of people in a table and I find out they were doing free portraits!

One of them obliged me to take a seat and yes I will show you what the finished piece looks like at the end of this post.

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Chris was next. I can’t believe how they totally got his features!

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Ending our visit with grilled oysters yum. It has been generously sprinkled with garlic and loads of butter. Delicious. They’re selling  these like hotcakes!

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….and here is the art piece you’ve been waiting to see! TADA! This will serve as a reminder as to how I will look like after 50 years or so. But hey, it’s free!

Going for Indian with Firozian

I’ve been missing Biryani while Ste was craving for some Kebab for several weeks now so we decided to head on to the nearest Indian restaurant for lunch which was the Firozian Indian Tea House. It was a couple of blocks worth of walk from Fuente but a little brisk walking will always be good for the body. It was our first time so we had to rely on GPS and a printscreen for directions.
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Location

Firozian currently has two branches. The main branch which we went to is located at Don Jose Avila St., Cebu City. The other is found at IT Park. The Capitol branch is nestled between a Korean Restaurant Soul Jang Ban and a Julie’s Bakeshop. Easy to find but the parking space is limited.

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Place

I hear they’re currently renovating right now but on our visit, the place had a quaint Middle Eastern feel to it with their warm gold overtones and complimenting patterns. They had small tables good for couples or people wanting to play chess. They have board games there as well which unfortunately noticed too late because we were done with our meal. haha.

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I suggest you look around first because there are many good spots considering that the curtains also serve as cubicles to which you can have your own space. You do have to take your shoes off once you step up the red floor.  The place is well ventilated and lit despite the lack of windows. The only place for sunlight to enter would be the entrance so don’t forget to keep track of time!

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Food

To the left of the entrance, you can glance up at their chalkboard menu. Menus like these are very updated compared to the regular once since they can easily change what’s available and not.

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If you’re keen on looking through the actual photos, they also have the paperback menu. Considering that some of these dishes aren’t on the Filipino food dictionary. The menu also has a short description with what each dish contains. We decided to test the waters by going with light meals. Waiting time was about 15-30 minutes but I didn’t mind. Well cooked food is good food.

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Here it is!  a 2 piece Chicken Kebab meal and the smell was very reminiscent to that of the food area at a Souq. It was a very hearty meal and I even liked how the tomatoes were done. How I missed the roti for this one. The kebab kind of look like overcooked chicken hotdogs but don’t let the look deter you. It’s drizzled with yogurt that has been spiced to perfection. This dish was cooked very nicely and the flavors just exploded in my mouth. DSC_0234

This basic looking chicken Biryani surely packs a punch with the spices. Now i’m not a fan of spicy food but the fire on this one didn’t deter my need to actually finish the whole thing…with help from Stela of course. I could finish off a liter of water in one sitting because of this one! It had bite-sized chicken pieces along with diced onions and a lot of spices I dare not utter and for you to discover when you visit there as well. I loved every spoonful of that yellow rice.  DSC_0241

The tables are low and there are a lot of pillows there so don’t be ashamed to cross your legs or just about sit in any position you’re comfortable with. That’s us before we start to dig in to our meal.
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And the best way to end a good meal is with some Indian Chai considering that it’s a tea house after all.DSC_0251and to try out their mango Khulfi which is very much similar to an ice drop encased in a metal shot glass. This was pretty alright.

Overall, I liked the place and would very much visit again to try out the other stuff from their menu. The price was very affordable considering that my dining experience was very nice. Their food servers though weren’t a cheerful bunch that it made me think about their wages. Okay, enough about that. The whole time it made me reminisce of those on the go Indian restaurants found at the Souq. The aromatic smells just made me want to eat more spicy food and drink up some lassi to which I did but forgot to take a photo of. It’s a yogurt shake!  I was impressed with their food. I very much recommend this place to anyone who is up for spicy Indian food!

I hear that the owner Firoz, does Turkish coffee readings! but you have to contact them first at +63 905 353 1770. I look forward to that on my  next visit.

Meet an MRE

What is an MRE?
The Meal Ready to Eat is a totally self-contained complete meal.It’s the main operational food ration for the United States Armed Forces. One MRE = one meal.The packaging of an MRE is designed to withstand rough conditions and exposure to the elements. Inside each MRE bag is an entree and a variety of other food and drink items. MREs come packaged in cases with 12 MREs per case. There are currently 24 different “menus” or varieties of MREs. Menus 1-12 are packaged in a case designated Case A and menus 13-24 are packaged in Case B.

What’s in an MRE?
You can find a listing of the exact components of each MRE on the MRE Menus page . The military makes a few changes to the menus every year so you will find a different menu listing for each year. In general, though, each MRE contains the following:

Entree – the main course, such as Spaghetti or Beef Stew
Side dish – rice, corn, fruit, or mashed potatoes, etc.
Cracker or Bread
Spread – peanut butter, jelly, or cheese spread
Dessert – cookies or pound cakes
Candy – M&Ms, Skittles, or Tootsie Rolls
Beverages – Gatorade-like drink mixes, cocoa, dairy shakes, coffee, tea
Hot sauce or seasoning – in some MREs
Flameless Ration Heater – to heat up the entree
Accessories – spoon, matches, creamer, sugar, salt, chewing gum, toilet paper, etc.

Each MRE provides an average of 1,250 calories (13% protein, 36% fat, and 51% carbohydrates) and 1/3 of the Military Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals. A full day’s worth of meals would consist of three MREs. Watch the actual unboxing below:

I’ve been wanting to try them so badly for some time now after randomly coming across several vids from youtube! I wasn’t even expecting on getting one by surprise. Thanks to the cousin Eka who fotunately had the luck to visit a military surplus store before leaving.

She brought with her two kinds of MRE(Meal Ready-to-eat). It was Menu 12 which i’ll be taste-testing and Menu 5 to which will be part 2. Now take note that I opened mine a tad too early considering that I got too overexcited before grabbing the camera. I’ve also listed what this menu contains below:

MENU 12 (Vegetarian)
Penne with Vegetable Sausage Crumbles
Toaster Pastry (Chocolate Chip)
Instant Pudding (Chocolate)
Filled Pretzels
Wheat Snack Bread
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Beverage Powder, Carbohydrate Electrolyte (Grape)
Hot Sauce (Pepper Sauce)
Accessory Packet A
Spoon
Flameless Ration Heater
Hot Beverage Bag

If you want to know more about MRE’s then I suggest you go check out this site: http://www.mreinfo.com