Sunday, April 13, 2008

Made in Manila

Favourite Filipino Food

I have never understood why Filipino food is not so popular outside the Philippines.
Everytime I go to Manila I find the food delicious, the dishes varied, the cooking earthy and innovative, the ingredients fresh and often pleasantly surprising. Pinoy cuisine certainly deserves to be much more well known around the world than it is today.

Here's a great meal I had last week at Recipes restaurant, SM Megamall, Trinoma, Manila.
A tiny, unpretentious restaurant serving local classics that had me and my Filipino colleagues licking our spoons.

Pic courtest
Gising Gising ( which I believe means 'wake-up wake up') a spicy combination of ground pork and very very finely chopped green beans, cooked in coconut milk spiked with chilies and fish sauce. I absolutely loved it.

Pic courtesy www.
Lechon Kawali. Pan-roasted pork - in this case the belly of suckling pig - boiled and then pan-fried till the skin makes a crispy crackling and the inside is soft and sweet. Served with a broth of soy sauce and vinegar, over a bed of kangkong greens

My only decent pic from the lunch. Other shots didn't work well, so I had to borrow the other images from
My first taste of the Filipino classic Kare-Kare. Rich, creamy, peanut sauce stew of oxtail and tripe, cooked with eggplants, okra, and banana flowers. The thick creaminess comes from a mixture of peanut butter and ground roasted rice. Nutty and delicious. Served with Bagoong, a fermented shrimp paste which frankly was a little unncessary.

A nice photo-review of Recipes restaurant


Next day over lunch I was introduced to some more delectable dishes at the top floor of Serye Restaurant & Cafe in Eastwood City, Libis, a restaurant with a bit of old world charm and a menu laden with many delights.

Laing: a mixture of chopped taro leaves and pork, stuffed into little bundles of whole taro leaves, and cooked in coconut milk.

Inihaw Bangus: A simple grilled milkfish, the fish very fresh, the grilling just right.

One restaurant I never miss is Lasa, at G/F, Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center
Hearty al-fresco dining, cheap San Mig, and lots of local specialties.

Chicken and Pork Adobo: chicken and pork stewed in vinegar and garlic, a dish that carries both Spanish and Mexican influences like many other things in Philippines

Mechado: beef stewed in tomato sauce

Pic courtesy

Bicol Express: sauteed pork strips cooked with coconut cream, shrimp paste and chilies

Pic courtesy;

The ubiquitous Sisig: pig ears and liver, onions, garlic and pepper, all chopped up and cooked till crunchy and served on a sizzler plate. Once you start you can't stop.

Chicken Inasaal: barbecued chicken marinated with citrus and anatto seeds. A specialty of Bacolod ,a small town in the Visayas region of Central Philippines.

Pata: crispy, deep-fried trotters

Sinigang: tamarind soup broth that seems to be served complimentary with most meals at Lasa

Lots more to be discovered, so looking forward to my next trip to Manila.

Meanwhile I found this fascinating blog


My recent food posts

Street food in Taiwan

Sichuan food in Cheng du

7 course degustation menu, Taxi, Melbourne

Recent posts

Eating Asia
'Lost' whisky distilleries of Scotland

Bacon and Chocolate

Schmap Melbourne Guide


Anonymous said...

how come nothing on Kolkata?


Reine said...

Eating Kare-Kare with bagoong is a MUST. Haha! But in case you didn't know, the best bagoong for Kare-Kare is the sweet-salty-spicy kind. If that's the bagoong that came with my Kare-Kare, I can't stop! :P