Meals & Refreshment

Here Comes AjiPanda™ Your Best Friend in the Kitchen

Here it comes! Your best friend in the kitchen is here!

AjiPanda™ is a cute panda icon that conveys someone shy, caring, happy and loyal. It personifies how a humble pack or bottle of AJI-NO-MOTO® Umami Seasoning fills the role of “Your Best Friend in the Kitchen” by offering an ever-reliable way of bringing out the natural goodness of food.

Ajinomoto’s new campaign, which also features teen queen Kathryn Bernardo, presents the benefits of its dependable brand of seasoning to a new generation of cooks and food lovers.


AJI-NO-MOTO® comes from sugar cane, corn or cassava and is manufactured through the natural process of fermentation. This product is safe, convenient and effective in making food taste delicious.

This is because it is simply free glutamate, the most common among amino acids (the building blocks of protein). It provides the taste of umami to food in the same way that sugar adds sweet taste or salt adds salty taste to food.

But what is umami? Umami, is the fifth basic taste alongside sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. It is the savory, rich and full taste we often experience in meat, seafood, cheese, tomatoes and mushrooms.

Consider the delightful composition of chicken, green papaya and malunggay in tinola or the medley of cheese, ham, pepperoni, tomatoes, green and red bell peppers on top of a pizza. The combinations and layers of these glutamate-rich ingredients make dishes very delicious and enjoyable.

Remember that AjiPanda™, your best friend in the kitchen, will help work wonders in your cooking so that you can share many happy meals with your family. Visit for healthy and delicious recipes.


Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation (APC) is an affiliate of Tokyo-based Ajinomoto Co., Inc. Established in 1958, APC lives by its promise to provide consumers products that will always give the delicious taste to healthy and nutritious meals as embodied in APC’s slogan Ajinomoto® “Eat Well, Live Well.®” APC’s complete line of quality food and seasoning products are produced by international affiliates and local toll manufacturers using Ajinomoto’s license, quality standards and technological expertise. APC’s products include AJINO-MOTO® Umami Seasoning, Ajinomoto® Brand Ginisa Flavor Seasoning Mix, Ajinomoto® Brand Chicken Powder, PORKSAVOR® All-in-One Seasoning Mix, CRISPY FRY® Breading Mix, CRISPY FRY® Seasoned Crumbs, TASTY BOY® All Purpose Breading Mix, AJI-SHIO® Seasoning Mix, Ajinomoto® Brand Sinigang and “amino Fres-C” Instant Drink Mix.

Not All Fruit Cakes are Created Equal

The fruit cake (or fruitcake) as its name suggests is a cake made with fruit (chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit) as well as nuts and spice. While there may be a fruit cake for everybody, as sang by the Filipino rock band Eraserheads, in the end not all fruit cakes are really made, created equal. Some just fit your taste, some are just a delight to your palate.

The fruity gift

The fruity gift 🙂

I have always thought about getting a fruit cake for Christmas for a few years now but somehow I always keep forgetting to get one when Noche Buena comes. But this year, I count it a blessing that I got one as a gift 🙂 Thanks to Ericka’s Pasta Story 🙂 But since my hubby and I would most probably be away from home during Noche Buena this year, we decided to sample the fruity gift earlier.

Well, we ended up finishing off the fruit cake in just two sittings. It was too delicious to resist and keep inside the refrigerator for long 🙂 Truly not all fruit cakes are created equal.

The last 4 slices!!

The last 4 slices!!

Ericka’s Pasta Story, an Italian Restaurant and Cafe, is located along Km.4, Libertad, Butuan City. You may reach them for fruit cake orders and more through their FB page or through land line: (85) 3413762.

And now for some trivia:
Do you know that if a fruit cake contains alcohol, it could remain edible for many years? Based on reports, there is a fruit cake baked in 1878. It is kept as an heirloom by the family of Morgan L. Ford in Michigan. And guess what? Jay Leno sampled it on The Tonight Show in 2003.

One Evening with Ravioli

When you make friends with people from other countries, you have the benefit of learning a bit more of their place and yes, their culture. And you also get to know a bit more about their food. And in some instances, you also get a chance to taste what it is like.

Well, that is what happened when my husband and I got introduced to Dante Noaro at Ericka’s Pasta Story in Butuan City. This Italian businessman not only shared to my husband and me what his culture is like that one evening, we also had the added benefit of tasting the ravioli he personally prepared.

Dante loves to tell stories about his travels and of course, Italian food :)

Dante loves to tell stories about his travels and of course, about Italian food 🙂

What is the ravioli? The ravioli  (ravioli is plural by the way, it’s singular form is raviolo) are a traditional type of Italian cuisine. The ravioli are a type of filled pasta or dumpling. They are composed of  a filling sealed between two layers of thin pasta dough. But as Dante has said, the sky is the limit in your imagination when you prepare any food 🙂 And so the ravioli he prepared had dough mixed with different ingredients: some with malunggay leaves (moringa oleifera) in the dough and some with squid ink!!

Ravioli with tomato sauce

Ravioli with tomato sauce

The filling also varied for that evening’s ravioli: pechay (Chinese cabbage), squid and chicken meat. Ravioli are usually served with broth or sauce. What we had that night was a choice of ravioli with tomato sauce and ravioli with sage and butter. My favorite was ravioli with malunggay 🙂  This was the one with pechay  as filling and with sage and butter. It was supremely delicious 🙂

At the moment, ravioli is not yet fully offered at Ericka’s but you can order them by just giving them a call (tel. no. 341-3762 ) or getting in touch with them through Ericka’s Facebook page. They also have some good pasta and pizza that you can try. Some of these maybe a bit pricey from the more commercial ones we are used to but it’s because a good part of their ingredients come all the way from Repubblica italiana via Dante’s efforts, of course.

Dante visits the Philippines twice a year and personally trains the staff in preparing “real Italian food” (this is why their pasta and pizza do not taste like the ones usually sold in the country which are already “adjusted to Filipino taste”). And yes, he has inspired and collaborated in the creation of Ericka’s.


Pepperoni & Quattro formaggi (pizza with 4 types of cheese)

My favorite pizza: Pepperoni & Quattro Formaggi (pizza with 4 types of cheese)

Dante had plenty of stories for us that evening at Ericka’s but one of the best things we remember was the taste of the ravioli 🙂 Want some? 🙂