The Plate Department


Zac Ardena is one of the newer additions to the Calgary culinary talent pool. This George Brown Chef School graduate has worked in many high-profile restaurants and hotels in Toronto, such as Momofuku and the Ritz Carlton. Zac seeks to become a voice for Filipino cuisine and culture through his writing, food and videos. At the moment, he works as a Chef de Partie at Blink Restaurant and Bar.


Scotch Kwek Kwek

This appetizer dish is something I came up with for last year’s “Balik Kultura” event at Oxbow; where I, along with 3 other Filipino chefs, came up with our own personal takes on our favorite Filipino dishes. There’s nothing I love more than relaxing with a cold beer after a day in a hot kitchen. This unique take on kwek kwek, a battered and fried quail egg, is a great pulutan that goes perfectly with your favorite cold drink.



12 Quail Eggs

1 lb longganisa sausage meat, removed from casing

1 Cup All-Purpose Flour plus ½ Cup for dredging

1 Cup Club Soda or Light Beer

2 Tbsp Ground Annatto

3 Tbsp Cornstarch

½ Tsp Baking powder

½ Tsp salt

1 Cup white vinegar

½ Cup water

1 quart of oil for frying



Boiling and peeling the quail eggs:

  1. Prepare an ice bath for the eggs to prevent them from overcooking after boiling.
  2. After bringing a pot of water to a rolling boil, carefully drop the eggs in and let boil for 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Immediately remove the eggs from the water and place into the ice bath.
  3. Combine the vinegar with the water in a container. Once the eggs have cooled, place the eggs in the vinegar mixture and let sit until the eggshells have softened. This may take at least 1 hour.
  4. Carefully peel the softened shell off the egg. Try finding the bubble on one end of the egg and slowly work from there.


Preparing the batter and frying:

  1. Heat the oil in a small pot or wok on medium-high heat, or at approximately 355°F (or 180°C).
  2. Combine the 1 cup of flour with the corn starch, annatto, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk the soda water or beer into the flour mixture until it forms a smooth batter, with the consistency of pancake batter.
  3. Separate the longganisa meat into 12 even portions. Wrap each quail egg with the longganisa meat.
  4. Dredge each wrapped egg in the remaining flour then dip into the batter. Make sure the egg is completely covered in the batter!
  5. Fry for about 3 minutes, then remove from oil on to a paper towel lined plate.
  6. Once cool, enjoy with your favorite kwek kwek dipping sauce!