This quarantine has been about food that’s both comforting and inventive. Can we blame ourselves? Food after all can give us a reassuring feeling that everything will be fine despite the world seemingly crumbling before our eyes.
[READ: What’s ‘comfort food’ anyway?]
But even before the pandemic, baking and its end-product, bread, has been known to soothe and comfort us. Hence, the rise of quarantine baking.
But bread on its own can only go so far. Humans crave for something new always. A new flavor, a new experience. We even have a word for it in Filipino, “umay,” or the lack of joy from continuously consuming the same thing. And with the one ingredient most abundant to us in quarantine—time—everyone, from home cooks to chefs are dreaming new things or even just reimagining classics.
Sandwiches are arguably one of the easiest snacks/meals to put together. Merriam Webster defines a sandwich as “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between.” But creative chefs are blurring this very definition with never-before-seen-or-tasted combinations that make us question, why in the first place food labels are so rigid! Here are some of them.
Lazy Oeuf by Metronome’s very French sandwiches
What are they? French onion burger with foie gras and duck confit on brioche
What’s new? Chef Miko Calo’s takeout concept Lazy Oeuf combines convenience and comfort with her French culinary training. I mean, who stuffs prized foie gras in bread? Not that it’s any ordinary bread—it’s housemade brioche.
Sambar’s Malay dish translated into a burger
What is it? Nasi lemak burger
What’s new? Known for their Pan-Asian specialties, chef Nicco Santos and Quenee Vilar have a new concept called Sambar and one of it’s best-selling items is this burger. It’s fried chicken fillet layered with sambal ikan bilis or spicy anchovy sauce tucked inside a brioche bun specifically made by home baker 28 Derby for this recipe.
Tetsuo’s French-Japanese crowd-pleaser
What is it? Karaage croix
What’s new? If you have been closely following this East-Asian concept from it’s first branch in Katipunan to its eventual expansion in Poblacion, you know that Tetsuo’s biggest asset is their chicken dishes. This is no exception. It has the same spicy karaage that the restaurant has been known for except tucked between flaky slices of croissant together with a unique Japanese fusion condiment: Ponzu mayo.
Metiz’s very Filipino sandwich
What is it? Lechon kawali sandwich
What’s new? Apart from its crunchy, kanin-na-lang-ang-kulang, putok-batok filling lechon kawali, Metiz’s specialization in fermentation still stuns in this sandwich with green mango atchara, cucumber, liver pâté, pepper leaf, and house hot sauce.
Panaderya Toyo’s breakfast-inspired sando
What is it? Longganisa sandwich
What’s new? Panaderya Toyo’s sandwich strays away from the over-the-top assemblage of carb, protein and greens. Instead, it borrows the form of a Japanese convenience store sando but with Filipino breakfast staples longganisa and atsara.
Half Saints’ refined cake sandwiches
What is it? Afternoon tea sweet cake sandwiches
What’s new? Unlike all of the other entries on this list, Half Saint’s is sweet and is meant to be eaten as a dessert. And instead of using a bread base, it has a light almond sponge cake called a joconde biscuit. A serving comes with three cakes with different fillings: milk chocolate with dark chocolate chunks, matcha latte with roasted pili and coffee with cacao nibs.
Panko Pussy’s Philly—but not quiet American—sandwich
What is it? Gyutan Philly sando
What’s new? The quarantine brainchild of the people behind non-traditional izakaya 12/10, this sando concept—though it features more Japanese flavors—also does a little fusion, especially with the gyutan Philly. It’s a sando no doubt, complete with billowy milk bread but with the thinly sliced beef tongue mimicking the taste of a Philly cheesesteak—sans cheese.
The Test Kitchen’s best companion to K-Drama
What is it? K-Drama burger
What’s new? You know kimchi grilled cheese? It’s that but since this is a Josh Boutwood restaurant, you know it is about to be elevated. He does so but adding perfectly cooked ground chuck patty to the mix resulting in a cross between a kimchi grilled cheese and a cheeseburger.
Header photos courtesy of Lazy Oeuf by Metronome, Sambar, The Test Kitchen and Tetsuo
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Writer: CHRISTIAN SAN JOSE