Goldilocks’ Instant Filipino Meals
Previously, I posted a review of Goldilocks’ instant meal in a package, the dinuguan. It is one of several ready-to-eat items one could find in Filipino grocery stores. Finally, expatriates have a way of enjoying traditional Filipino comfort food that would certainly bring back memories of life in the Philippines.
Today, I tried three other Goldilocks instant meals — laing, lechon paksiw, and bistek Tagalog. Just like the dinuguan, they all come in a good-for-one packet, ready to be boiled in water or popped in the microwave. Here’s how each of them fared in My Bay Kitchen:
This is a dish popular in the Bicol region of the Philippines, oftentimes consumed as a vegetable complement to meat or fish dishes. It is made of taro leaves mixed with coconut milk and spiced up with chillies. Like many of the Bicolano dishes, it is hot and spicy. It could be totally vegetarian or mixed with tiny pork slices.
Goldilocks’ version, like its dinuguan, was a little on the salty side and could use a little more spice. It is also more soupy than what most Filipinos would experience when consuming the home-cooked version.
I give it 2.5 stars out of 5.
The traditional lechon paksiw is usuallymade from leftover lechon, or roast pig, often served at big family and community gatherings like fiestas. Like the roasted version, the best part is the pig’s skin. Of course, the skin loses its crispiness in the paksiw version, but it is, nevertheless, the first thing one would pick with a fork.
In some instances where leftover lechon is unavailable, Filipinos use leftover pan-fried lechon (kawali), made from deep-fried sliced pork belly.
Paksiw is a cooking method where meat or fish is simmered in vinegar.
Goldilocks’ version approximates the taste of home-made lechon paksiw, although again, it is on the soupy side. It is obvious that the pork ingredient wasn’t leftover roasted lechon. I wasn’t even sure it was leftover lechon kawali. It seemed more like a processed version of thick bacon slices. Nevertheless, among all the Goldilocks’ instant meals I tried, the lechon paksiw was the best.
I give it 3.75 stars out of 5.
If the term “bistek” sounds familiar to non-Filipino speakers, it is because it is a colloquialized version of the “beef steak.” This traditional dish is made of thin slices of beef cooked in soy sauce and lemon juice, garnished with fresh slices of onion rings.
Goldilocks’ version was a disappointment. I may start sounding repetitive here, but their bistek was very soupy, and the beef was almost like slices cooked overnight in a slow cooker. Perhaps this was meant to be some kind of beef stew? Even if I drained all the liquid, the meat would not look and taste anywhere close to the real bistek. I had to add the fresh onions myself, as you might see in the picture.
I give it 2 stars out of 5.
A LITTLE NOTE
I have always been a fan of Goldilocks and enjoyed their cakes and pastries when I was living in the Philippines. In California, before Filipino fastfood stalls “invaded” the malls, it was my go-to place when I craved for Filipino dishes. Their fast-food section featured many of the favorite Filipino foods, cooked pretty much like they would be in a home kitchen.
Perhaps Goldilocks hasn’t quite overcome the big challenge of processed, pre-packed food. As yet.