One for Me, and One for My Homies


Every now and then I’m left to fend for myself at home whilst my wife goes out gallivanting with her girlfriends.

I miss my wife dearly on such occasions, I really do. But as soon as she’s out the door I start whoopin’ and hollerin’ as I revel in the chance to revert back to bachelordom, if only for a few precious hours.

Although I can, and probably should use this time alone for more noble and productive activities like putting up some shelves in the garage, doing the laundry, or showering, more times than not I just end up drinking copious amounts of beer. Well, more copious than usual.

My wife’s most recent excursion couldn’t have come at a better time as I’ve just discovered malt liquor from the Philippines.

Malt liquor! From the Philippines!

Now I’ve had my fair share of San Migs in my lifetime as that beer is fairly easy to find in any supermarket here in SoCal. But I’ve never had the pleasure of Red Horse Malt Liquor before. And I use the term "pleasure" loosely here–Red Horse isn’t exactly great beer, but it hits the spot when you have absolutely nothing to do and few other beer options in the fridge (how’s that for a ringing endorsement?).

I’m not exactly a connoisseur of malt liquor, but I’d be lying if I said my lips have never touched the welcoming wide mouth of a Mickey’s 40, or if I said my fingers have never caressed a slender Colt 45 tall boy. (Wow, that last sentence could use some heavy-duty masculine editing. Eh, I’ll leave it be.)

Anyhoo, unlike the 40 of Mickey’s or the Colt 45 tall can, the Red Horse I found at a local Filipino market came in the form of a 6-pack. A sixer of malt liquor isn’t something I see everyday, but then again it’s not often that I’m shopping for malt liquor. And it’s probably a good thing that I hadn’t discovered Red Horse until recently. If Red Horse were around while I were in college, I’d probably be writing this post with black crayon on a piece of cardboard from beneath the comfortable confines of a freeway overpass–or at the very least still living with my parents and having to split my sixer of Red Horse with my dad.


Red Horse weighs in at 7% alcohol by volume, which is a bit more alcohol than typical American beers. And it also isn’t very red in color, but more of a pale golden (and no, I don’t usually drink malt liquor out of a glass). Also, according to some stories I’ve read on the internets, legend has it that in the Philippines, a bottle featuring a "smiling horse" signifies a bottle with even more of an alchol kick. I’m not sure how true that story is, but I’d be more than happy to find a smiling horse in my six pack–it’d kinda be like finding the prize in a cereal box, but for adults, drunken adults.

After downing my first bottle of the Red Horse, I needed to put something solid in my belly lest my wife come home to an unshowered husband passed out on the floor (which is worlds worse than a showered husband passed out on the floor. The act of bathing signifies real spunk and gumption and should count as a household chore when applied to weekends). Luckily, I’m always prepared for such occasions. While I may be unfamiliar to the wonders of Red Horse, I am an old veteran when it comes to Filipino canned sardines in tomato sauce.


Whenever my mother was short on time and ingredients, she would sometimes open up a can of sardines, heat them up with some onions and tomatoes, and then serve the whole shebang with rice. As basic as that sounds, I loved it. In fact, ever since I graduated from college, I’ve always made sure to have a few cans of sardines in my cupboard for when times were tough. It was bachelor food at its finest.

Even now, with a pantry that is stocked much better than my days as a bachelor, I still keep a small stockpile of canned sardines. And what better time to enjoy canned goods and malt liquor than when the wife’s away?


Stop rolling your eyes. Canned sardines are delicious, especially if you gussy ’em up a little bit. What’s that you say? It’s food only a lonely husband/swingin’ bachelor would enjoy? Well, I say nay to that notion (or should I say neigh? Ha!). It’s food fit for a king.

Gussied Up Filipino Canned Sardines for One

2 tsp. oil
1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
1/2 small onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
1 small can sardines in tomato sauce (I prefer Ligo brand found in Asian markets)

In a small pan, heat the oil and chili flakes over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion and sweat the onion until softened, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and tomato and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the sardines and tomato sauce and continue cooking until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Serve over steamed rice.


  • manggy March 3, 2008, 9:32 pm

    My wife’s most recent excursion couldn’t have come at a better time as I’ve just discovered malt liquor from the Philippines.
    Wow, this will probably go over your head but this reminds me of a beer ad from the Philippines that came out a while back. It had STEVEN SEAGAL! He said “I’ve found GOLD in the Philippines.” Very corny.
    I didn’t know we had malt liquor here. I wonder what I can cook with it…
    LIGO!! What a classic :)

  • Katrina March 3, 2008, 10:13 pm

    Wow, they export Red Horse now? I’m not a fan. Mostly I know Red Horse as the beer people drink when they want to get drunk quickly and cheaply…not that I have anything at all against that, in fact I’m all for it, and have tried more than once to drink Red Horse to achieve that very result. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I just don’t like how it tastes.
    Manggy, I remember that cheesy Steven Seagal ad! It was for Tanduay Rum Gold. Now THAT’S something I always have in my pantry. 😀

  • Fran Magbual March 3, 2008, 10:50 pm

    How funny! My husband just discovered the Ligo and we just stocked up last night. Up until last week he was convinced that Long Life sardines were the best because that’s what Mom always bought. (what is it with you Filipino boys and your moms?) Well, Long Life was out of stock and he begrudgingly bought some Ligo. Let’s just say Long Life is out and Ligo is now in. :-)

  • Chad March 3, 2008, 11:47 pm

    This is SO Filipino Marvin, once again you have proved that you are one of the fold. Back here in the Phil, Red Horse and Colt 45 are the choices for quick kicks (making the San Mig Light look all wussy and nansy-pansy). I didnt expect you would ever be posting a can of Ligo in your blog though. Good of you man to be going back to the roots…

  • Mila March 4, 2008, 1:04 am

    Ha! What a combo, sort of healthy too if you think about it. Let’s not.
    I bring my sister and brother in law cans of Argentina corned beef from here, he loves the stuff. Maybe I’ll bring them Ligo instead!

  • Just a plane ride away March 4, 2008, 4:23 am

    Sardines over freshly cooked rice. Amen!

  • veron March 4, 2008, 7:05 am

    I have had a taste of red horse once…in college I think. I’m not a fan of beer, but I can see how delicious this would be with sardines and rice…oh my… now I have to go get myself a can of sardines.

  • darbunk March 4, 2008, 10:35 am

    I love canned sardines with onions, chili and chopped cilantro over rice. People who laugh at that don’t know what they’re missing. :-) In fact, I think that’s going to be lunch today!

  • Matt Hurst March 4, 2008, 12:53 pm

    Nothing can compare to caressing your fingers around a tall boy of Colt 45 and whilst your other hand gently handles a square-pattied cheeseburger from Wendy’s. Oh, and this lovely display of affection toward food should be shared amongst friends in a small rental car in the parking lot of a hoops arena.

  • raissa March 4, 2008, 1:58 pm

    I have never tasted Red Horse because I wasnt much of a fan of beer until recently when I had my first taste of San Mig Light. But I did hear stories if you want a quick and cheap buzz, Red Horse is the way to go LOL
    I love sardines! Holy Week is around the corner so I expect to eat tons of it with scrambled eggs on the side and steamed rice. =) and perfect way to eat sardines is a squeeze of kalamansi juice over it. Yummy!!

  • elmomonster March 4, 2008, 3:16 pm

    Hilarious! As always!

  • Jen Tan March 4, 2008, 5:07 pm

    Hey Marvin…red horse—i have never tried…maybe because I am not fond of drinking beers…a girl thing perhaps? But it does have that reputation here in Manila…to get you knocked out in no time at all hahaha :p
    Ligo…wow..I think I haven’t had that for a loooong time…good with rice and how about pan de sal! =)

  • oggi March 4, 2008, 6:55 pm

    Marvin you have just given me an idea on what to do the next 2 weeks…the hubby is in Manila, heheh…unfortunately I don’t drink beer…but I will get a can of Ligo sardines and eat it with rice or pandesal and just like Raissa I love it with squirts of calamansi.

  • pleasurepalate March 4, 2008, 8:36 pm

    Wow, I haven’t had canned sardines in so long, but after seeing the pics and reading your post, it brings back such memories. Hmmm..I think I’m going to check my pantry now. Sardines over rice sounds really good about now.

  • Wandering Chopsticks March 4, 2008, 9:44 pm

    Add some fish sauce and it becomes VNese-style canned sardines. 😉 I used to eat that with French bread to mop up the sauce. My aunt recently made that and it brought back lots of childhood memories.

  • joey March 4, 2008, 10:33 pm

    Whoa! Red Horse! I have had it only a couple of times in my life — I don’t handle beer so well and this one packs a punch so…
    I remember that Tanduay ad! Like Katrina, that is one thing I always have in my pantry :)
    I love Ligo (or 555) prepared this way…we used to do this at my mom’s too :) My husband just finished our last can so gotta buy more!
    When my husband is away I get wild with all-veg meals and spend all my time on the internet! Hahahaha! What a dork.

  • JO March 5, 2008, 4:31 pm

    Oh man, I love ligo and sibuyas. LOL. I use the spicy kind and serve an over-easy egg on top. OH MAN. Love the blog. =)

  • NJ Julie March 6, 2008, 8:53 am

    Rice & sardines are the easiest thing to put on the table when you can’t think of anything else to serve! And hey, sardines are very healthy, especially the bones! Not bad huh? Although I must say, I prefer the jarred sardines over the canned ones. Have you ever tried them? Hubby & I love Montano’s brand–we ask his mom to buy a few jars for us whenever she goes home to the Philippines. =)

  • Lorena March 6, 2008, 9:56 am

    Oh, sardines and rice! I recently bought a can of sardines in tomato sauce at the local grocery store (Chicken of the Sea is decent if you don’t want to go to the Asian or Filipino grocer). Once I threw it in the shopping cart, my Caucasian husband asked me what it was. I just told him it was comfort food and left it at that. Of course, I ate it with rice and, like Wandering Chopsticks, it brought back a lot of memories…Good stuff!

  • White On Rice Couple March 6, 2008, 1:28 pm

    “I miss my wife dearly on such occasions, I really do.” – Why don’t I believe this?! :)
    We are just discovering the awesome world of Filipino beers and have spent much time as some Filipino markets. Again, my most favorite customer, Carina, said she was going to bring me a bottle. Don’t know which one she’ll bring, but can’t wait. I told her about you site and she’s got a crush on you!

  • Gem March 8, 2008, 12:11 am

    I love LIGO with miswa… that’s it.

  • james March 8, 2008, 1:04 am

    My mom did the same but she taught me to eat with my hands. It tasted better that way. Malt liquor. Fo real. Pour mine in a glass and I’ll take a swig when I get the hiccups from eating the sardines and rice too fast. Comfort. Yeah.

  • Babette March 8, 2008, 7:00 am

    I have several cans of Ligo canned sardines in my pantry too. Before I knew I was pregnant with my son, I was craving for seafood and I cooked Ligo sardines with onions. :)

  • Hiro March 8, 2008, 7:35 am

    have yet to try RED HORSE… definitely on my list:)

  • ed b. March 10, 2008, 3:07 am

    Red Horse + Ligo sardines = Hardcore Pinoy
    i’m now having doubts whether you really grew up in the US…maybe you’re just masquerading as a FilAm… 😛

  • Cynthia March 12, 2008, 7:40 am

    Gosh Marvin, you make me want to go have sardines and rice right this minute!

  • Burnt Lumpia March 12, 2008, 11:44 am

    Steven Seagal peddled rum in the Philippines, Manggy? I wish I could’ve seen that commercial. I’m sure it’s hilarious.
    I’m not exactly a fan either, Katrina. But I had to give the Horse a try.
    Hello Fran! I’ve never tried any other brands besides Ligo, and I don’t think I want to;)
    Thanks Chad. I’m not above posting anything in this blog. Ligo sardines or whatever, anything goes as long as it’s tasty.
    Canned corned beef is another one of my favorites, Mila!
    Nothing beats it, Plane Ride!
    Red Horse isn’t the greatest beer, Veron, but it is good with sardines.
    Hi darbunk! I’ve never tried it with cilantro before, but that sounds delicious.
    Hello Hurst. Good times.
    I’ve never had sardines with kalamansi juice either, raissa. I’ll have to give that a try too.
    Thanks elmo!
    Mmmmm. Sardines and pandesal! Thanks for the suggestion Jen!
    Alone for 2 weeks, oggi? I’m sure you’ll be able to cook more than just canned sardines:)
    Hi pleasurepalate. It’s funny how a simple can of sardines can be comfort food to so many people:)
    Dub C, does vnese canned sardines also come in a tomato sauce? Or is it just fish sauce?
    Hi joey! I wish I could get my hands on a bottle of tanduay here!
    Over easy egg on top?!! That’s the best suggestion yet, JO! Thanks!
    Hi NJ Julie! Thanks for visiting my blog. I’ve never had jarred sardines before, but I will be on the lookout for them.
    Hi Lorena! I didn’t know chicken of the sea did sardines too. I’ll look for that as well next time I’m at the store.
    W.O.R.C., it’s true! I do miss her. And thanks to mentioning my blog to more people.
    Thanks for stopping by, Gem!
    Hi James. My mom never taught me to eat with my hands, but I believe you that it tastes better that way!
    Hi Babette. Your son will probably grow up with super powers since he was fed Ligo in the womb! ;P
    Try it at least once, Hiro. It’s got quite the kick.
    Ha! Thanks ed b.! That’s a very nice compliment, but I really am FilAm;)
    It’s quick and easy to make, Cynthia. So it’s good at a moment’s notice.

  • Ed March 12, 2008, 2:09 pm

    You were never taught to eat with your hands?!? (Can you do it now?) Ohh, so deprived!

  • desie the maybahay March 12, 2008, 9:57 pm

    another ligo (with lots of onion and tomatoes)on rice fan here! and of course calamansi squeezed over it.
    marvin, i end up drooling everytime i read your posts (ok, except maybe the post on your TV appearance). the food you feature bring back lots of wonderful childhood memories…

  • Lulu April 9, 2008, 8:30 am

    I made this last week – it is awesome!! I haven’t found Ligo yet though. I can see why this would bring back good memories for you, sort of like an italian kid like me and dishes like “pasta and peas” or pasta fagioli. I’ll be making this a lot – sardines are so good for you!

  • Michael July 11, 2008, 10:32 am

    I really like Red Horse. Unfortunately, the only place I can find it is at a local Filipino restaurant.
    The thing about Red Horse is that although I’ve read a lot of bad reviews of it on the Internet, it’s a damned sight better than most of the pisswater American beers that Joe Sixpack tends to favor.
    Red Horse is light and refreshing, the alcohol content is nothing compared to most of my favored Belgian beers, and it goes great with Filipino food. What more do you need to know?

  • jaime duarte February 26, 2010, 5:51 am

    Awesome tips. Yes Red Horse is a fine filipino beer.

  • Ben March 3, 2011, 11:55 am

    I spent 8 memorable months on Mindanao and have fond memories of hanging out at the motorcycle shop (after Yam DT200 was fixed!) sitting around with about 6 people drinking Red Horse Philippino -style…. One cup gets filled and drank until empty then re-filled and passed to the next guy… and so on… until all done. Very social way way to chill with some really chill people.
    P.S. loved all the food from Tuba to Kinilaw. Miss the deep south!

  • Si Teroy October 8, 2011, 6:53 pm

    Rookies TALAGA!!
    I’m from Mn and have downed more Red Horse the Hamms.
    It is good, especially if you’re on an Island, it’s 95 degrees, and a guy will run down to the sari-sari store to get one for ya for about a quarter.

  • הגנה עצמית November 3, 2011, 2:49 pm

    Delicious! I love this food. Thanks for sharing this one. I like such recipe.

  • sigh June 18, 2013, 2:15 pm

    I just recently started following your blog and been reading based on the Recipe Archive.

    Your recipe, add cheese. Put between 2 slices of bread. Good for when you can’t wait for the rice to cook (because you just finished the last of the left over rice a meal ago). I got that idea from dessertcomesfirst.


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