Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Secret Ingredient

August 18, 2010
Balkan Express
Jose Abad Santos Street
San Juan City

In the Yugoslavian film by director Branko Baletić, the Balkan Express was a group of con artists posing as musicians. The restaurant, on the other hand, is nowhere near being a poser.

Balkan Express is a restaurant that recently opened near our place and we were excited to try it out. Coming from the gym, we were definitely hungry. We ordered three of their dishes so that we could get a good sample of their food:

Pljeskavica - Their classic burger. It tasted really good but at first I was surprised by it's rubbery texture. Then I reminded myself that maybe, their version of the hamburger was this way. It tasted a bit peppery which I like and it was very filling. It brought back memories of eating a longganisa burger in Boracay, I don't know why. Not the best burger in the world but not bad at all!

Goulash - Beef stew with noodles. The soup was really soothing and it was coincidental that it was drizzling outside. Very good comfort food although a bit bland to my taste. That little sting of warmth and spice made it perfect in its own little way.

Chicken "Batak" - Grilled chicken with rice. One of their specialties, a juicy grilled boneless chicken with a very generous topping of mozzarella cheese. It's definitely a must try.

Do not get me wrong, the food isn't as mind blowing as one would expect but what it offered was a good combination of Serbian soul food and hospitality. Comfort food which, in my opinion, will truly remain unbeatable.

The dishes reminded me of something I had as a child and I'm not even Eastern European. Maybe that's the thing about all home-cooked meals in the world. Different in flavors, textures, and tastes but united by a single ingredient...

Heart.

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