Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Hello Annabanana (cue)

Do you still dream gothic dreams? Next time you dream, dream of food, dream of the stuff we used to down with gusto, and now, regretfully must forego in the cold light of diabetes and cholesterol and gout and highblood.

Yes, mate - stuff like chicharong bulaklak, balun-balunan, day-old chicks, penoy/balut, chicharong baboy, burong talangka, bulalo, longganizang Baguio (puro taba), tocinong Kapampangan (puro salitre), La Paz batchoy (which includes chunks of lechon de leche and crispy chicaron), lechon macao (lechon kawali), bitukang asado, aligi ng alimango, chicharong balat ng manok, kinilaw na tuna, Chinese ham for Christmas, real Anchor butter, marca Pato queso de bola and lately, adobong balut, sisig and crispy crablet with ice cold San Mig.

Food in binary pairs ? - don't forget mami & siopao, champurado & tuyo, pandesal & karne norte, sinangag & paksiw na isda, kari kari & kilawin, sinigang & adobo, pancit & fried lumpia, macapuno over halayang ube and of course that famous Pinoy breakfast trifecta: tapsilog. That last one has apparently been affected by the economic downturn and food shortages -: returning Pinoy vacacionistas assure me that tapsilog is long gone, there's only, ahem, pakaplog. That's pandesal, kape at itlog, the poor man's breakfast. You go to the restaurant and ask the waitress: Miss, pakaplog nga. Har de har har!

Our generation is also hopelessly Americanized, thus: bread & butter, burger & fries, fish & chips, bacon & eggs, hotcakes & maple syrup, pork & beans,roast beef & gravy ---- even the diet food: soup & salad, fruit & cheese platter, etc. Elvis Presley's favorite food remains the stuff of legend: fried peanut butter & sliced banana sandwich.

But since you were waxing nostalgic about your favorite food and the neighborhood places that you got them from, let me give you my own list of where to find the best food in Manila of our time:

Mami / siopao - Ma Mon Luk, Quezon Blvd., Quiapo; later near Sto Domingo Church, Quezon Blvd. Ext., Quezon City
Siopao asado - Maxim's restaurant, C. M. Recto Ave.
Turon saging w/langka - the sidewalk vendors outside UE on C. M. Recto Ave
Bibingka - Ferino's, Juan Luna St., Pritil, Tondo
Halo-halo - the food section, Central Market, Quiapo, where the vendors would fight each other for your patronage
Hopia - Chinese bakery on Echague St., Quiapo
Native merienda - Little Quiapo restaurant, C. M. Recto Ave., near U.E.
Chinese lumpia - w/grated peanuts - any one of several hole-in-the-wall stalls on Raon St., near Quezon Blvd., Quiapo
Fried chicken - Max's - Dewey Blvd., Baclaran
Fried lumpia - Max's - Greenbelt, Makati
Barbecue - the cafe at the corner of Juan Luna and C.M. Recto in Divisoria; honorable mention: Jack's near Monumento in Grace Park
Chicharon - Asia Chicharon in front of FEU near the corner of C. M. Recto & Quezon Blvd
Foot long hot dog - Brown Derby, Quezon City
Ho to tay soup - Hen Wah Restaurant, Rizal Avenue, Sta. Cruz
Shrimp sandwich - La Perla Restaurant, Bustillos St., Sta. Cruz
Comida China - Panciteria Moderna, Sta. Cruz
Chinese take-out - Panciteria Wa Nam, Binondo
Chinese lauriat - Panciteria San Jacinto, Binondo
Burger sandwich - Tropical Hut, San Juan
Sweet spaghetti - Makati Supermart coffee shop, Makati Commercial Restaurant
Beef longganiza w/rice - Ambos Mundos restaurant, Sta. Cruz
Fried egg & giniling sandwich - sidewalk vendors outside Jai Alai, Taft Avenue (only at night)

Food fashions come and go and sometimes they never come back. I think we've seen the last of the arroz cubana (fried egg & giniling) rolls sold outside Jai Alai on Taft Avenue, simply because Jai Alai itself is gone.

Do children nowadays know about pandesal with matamis na bao --- standard recess fare for children in the elementary grades in our time. Do people still spread condensed milk on a piece of toast ? It would be reassuring if that was still on.

And finally, the regional cuisine test: You're a great cook, Anna, so tell us - when you do putchero, do you take off the balat of the saging or not ?



ysrael said...

Rolly is right on some Pinoy food , some of them are not healthy to eat and maybe its one of the reason why the life's expectancy of Filipino are shorter compare to other countries. Those list of food's outlet he mention is also familiar to me. When I was a kid my dad and I used to eat in Ma Mon Luk in Manila and our favorite, of course is mami & siopao. ( Some food historian believed that "mami" was invented by Ma Mon Luk, he was a Cantonese immigrant who popularized the dish in Chinatown,Manila in 1918. The term itself is a combination of Ma and MI..the chinese word for noodles)
Well, the best talaga 'yung burger sa Tropical Hut, San Juan and those burger w/ matching tomatoes & pipino sa Sta. Cruz at Recto.
Maybe TAPSILOG (tapa, sinangag at itlog) or PAKAPLOG (pandesal, kape at itlog)are popular but it's not a typical Filipino breakfast, it's KANKAMTUY (kanin, kamatis at tuyo)
Hay, nagutom tuloy ako sa post na ito :)

Lawstude said...

Hello. Thanks to you and Rolly, ill book mark this entry so I will have a guide on my future food trips on Manila.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think you missed much in the prohibited list :) The binary pair list is quite impressive that I have to print a copy of it haha:)

Well, even here in the other side of the world, tapsilog and longsilog are still ever present in Pinoy eateries-cum grocery stores here :) I once brought a non-Pinoy pal to a tapsilog brunch after our early moring tee off. He loved it :)

PAKAPLOG and KANAMTUY ? hehe.. funny sounding sames. BTW, PAKAPLOG doesn't so endearing in the Ilonggo language :)

This is one DANDY post !

julie said...

My kids love condensed milk on bread :D Its pandesal and cheese that they like..Yung matamis na ba bao, ginagawang candy when I was a kid but I was not fond of it, I like the pastillas better.

We have eaten at the Ma Mon Luk too, my hubby loves that place.

Rudy said...

Hmm, I still recall that barbeque stand at the corner of Juan Luna and C.M. Recto Ave. (formerly Azcarraga st), but it wasn't a cafe as I remember... it was a dimly-lighted beer house, especially at night. It was (and still is I think) owned by a guy named Cundangan. Hence, most oldtimers here still refer to that corner and its decades-old two-story building by the same name. BTW, Myrna, you may have seen a picture of that in one of my posts about those street vermins, este... vendors pala, hehe.

Rudy said...

Oh and Rolly, I think you forgot to mention the granddaddy of all mami houses here in RP. The original Ma Mon Luk house along Benavidez street in Binondo, where it all started. It's still there, but is now called Ma Su Ki... :-)

Princess said...

Condensed milk on toasted halved pandesal? Still the best. But now that hubby has diabe, naputol ang maliligayang pagkain ng matatamis.
Ho To Tay is another one that I miss so much. The more I went down the list the hungrier I got so.......
Kumusta na?

myepinoy said...

so, you are a great cook pala. Pwede ba maka-sample nang iyong mga lutuin next time na mag bakasyon ako?

kakagutom ang post na ito...sana bakasyon ko na!

karen said...

hi anna!
kakagutom naman ang post na ito...

btw, i have a tag for you!

have a great week ahead!

exskindiver said...

hi mc.
just me chesca checking in.
nothing new.

pulang-gubat said...

You must belong to a generation near mine.. but still very much younger.. but your comments really bring back so many memories.. I will surely write about mine soon....

Gypsy said...

I just came over from another food post (Carlotta's) and as I commented in the Carlotta's blog, I no longer feel frustrated since I am going home soon so all this yummy heart attack specials are within reach!! Yehey!! Hope to finally meet up with you, Anna!

pining said...

wow, nakakagutom naman itong post mo...yumyum :-)

Anna said...

back in the days when diabetes was unheard of, mom brought me up on condensed milk slathered over a still sizable pan de sal. now she cautions be about doing the same for my daughter ...

caryn said...

OMG, is there still a ma mon luk resto in manila?

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