“Kaon ta!” is similar to the salutation pronounced “Bon Appétit.” Food for the soul as they say the best way to eliminate stress. It can be considered sin after a few months if you found that you gained weight and cannot take away your eyes from food.
Metro Manila is one of the best and famous tourist attractions to foreign visitors. What is amazing about this city is that it never sleeps. People are so hospitable here that’s the key. You’ll never find a place where people can communicate well with foreigners.
This article will entice you on how we gained popularity in tourism and became the most hospitable country in the world. It isn’t enough to say that you visited a place and stayed inside a hotel. You need to know the very soul of this country. Food! It opens our consciousness in the rich culture and history of a country.
Please prepare not just your pen and paper handy or your smart phones to set-up itineraries, also to bring a piece of cloth or table napkin to wipe something off from your lips if you fail to hold so.
Rank 10: “TAPSILOG”
Let’s start with our breakfast, “Tapsilog.” A coined-word of “Tapa” (dried or cured beef), “sinangag” (garlic rice), and “itlog” (fried egg). Commonly garnished with “atsara” or pickled papaya. Each Tapsilog restaurants have their own recipes for their cured beef. Most of these recipes were inherited from their ancestors that makes it “taboo” for them to discuss. The price is for Php 75.00 or $1.69. Spending such amount is more than fair compared to it’s taste. One of the best restaurants that you can visit for this is “Goodah!” at Caltex EDSA Station corner Connecticut St., San Juan.
Rank 9: “BIBINGKA“
“Bibingka” is commonly served every holiday seasons. Starting from “ber” months (from September to December). Due to recession, entrepreneurs tend to invest most in food industry. As so human’s basic necessity is food, there’s no reason that their product will not be sold. The buyers will be the jury in this industry.
Combination of cake like and coconut mixture with salted eggs (“itlog na pula”) and grated cheese (“kinadkad na keso”). Sold for around Php 95 to Php 105 only. The aroma of this food will not smell like any other else especially the burnt banana leaves. Juanchito is one of my favorite cook for this delicacy. Located at G/F A. Francisco Realty Bldg., No. 83 Katipunan Road, White Plains, Quezon City.
Rank 8: “KUHOL SA GATA” (Snails in Coconut Milk and Water Spinach)
The counterpart of “Escargot” dishes in France. This is considered one of the unique recipes here in our country. Sautéed garlic, onions, and ginger. Adding the exotic taste of snails along with the cream of coconut milk. Enlightened with green leafy vegetables and chopped “siling labuyo” (chili).
Sold for Php 350 per order, for 2-3 persons. I find this in “Singing Cooks and Waiters” restaurant in Ongpauco Building Roxas Blvd., near the corner of Senator Gil Puyat Avenue, Manila. What is good in this restaurant you’ll find it very entertaining. You’ll have to stay for a longer time and order more food, because the waitresses and hostesses can really sing well. That will keep you looking away from going out the doors of this fine restaurant.
Rank 7: “KARE-KARE” (BEEF STEW in PEANUT SAUCE)
Old-fashioned Filipino stew simmered in thick peanut sauce and complimented with “bagoong” (pickled fish). Combination of ox-tail and leafy vegetables is the common ingredients of this recipe. This is known to be served in most occasions or “fiestas” (Fiests). If you’re just staying along Makati, Sentro 1771 is the best spot for this food. Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center Makati City.
Rank 6: “SISIG” (Sizzling)
A famous “Kapampangan dish.” Careful, this dish is a sinful dish. “Nothing beats the first kiss” as they say. Once you get hooked, you’ll never stop craving for it. Chopped barbeque and sautéed pork head and liver with pepper. Served in a hot sizzling plate sometimes with thick sauce. Impeccably catered especially for beer lovers. Trellis Sisig Restaurant is one the best restaurants that serves this dish. For over 30-years, they perfected the unique taste of it. Located at 40 Matalino St., corner Kalayaan Avenue Diliman, Quezon City.
These are just our appetizers. We’re just half-way there to quench your taste for food. The last five of our presentation here focuses on the aspect of being a true Filipino. It sounds that it is common for us but it crystalizes the true meaning of our culture.
Rank 5: “ADOBO”
A unique Filipino dish that has been famous to any foreigner. It has been known for its rich taste complimented with pepper. It has been known that our original recipe for Adobo is only formulated using garlic, onion and vinegar. This is one way of preserving food since there’s no refrigerator yet that time. When the Spanish dominated our culture, Spaniards introduced the use of soy sauce imported by Chinese traders. It blends well with the fresh meat of chicken and pepper, delicately preserved by vinegar topped with bay leaf. There’s no any other good place for this but our home and any restaurant in Manila.
Rank 4: “PANSIT MALABON” (Pancit)
A flavorful dish that originated from Malabon, Manila. Well known from combining noodle, seafoods, and powdered “smoked fish” (tinapa) and poured with rich sauce. Malabon is well situated in the coastal areas in Manila that defines the main ingredients of this dish. One the best restaurant that serves this is Aling Norma’s Pansit Malabon sa “bilao.” Located at 25 L.R. Yangco St., Navotas City.
Rank 3: “BULALO” (Stew)
I you are still hammered with hangover last night because of our sizzling plates. Think of indulging in to a hot stew that will bring out sweat from your body and took away your dizziness. This is one of the best dishes that we can find here in Manila. Boiled beef and preserving the bone marrows. Delightfully served with leafy vegetables and piece of corn. Adding pepper powder, calamansi juice, and chili will give you more boost in the morning. “Bulaluhan sa España” is best known for this dish. Located at Antipolo St., Sampaloc, Metro Manila.
Rank 2: “INIHAW” (Barbecue)
The true taste of Filipino foods can be found along the street. “Inihaw” or barbecue is one of the main course in Filipino meals. We’ve been known for serving “adidas” or “feet of chicken” and “IUD” or smoked intestines of chicken. Usually served by dipping it to a mixture of vinegar, chilli, onions and garlic. Barbecue in this city comes in variety. If you’re comfortable in with this, try other venues that serves the best barbecue in the city. “Aling Nene’s Barbecue” restaurant is well known for this dish. No intestines, no adidas, just plain meat of pork. Located at 1300 Vito Cruz corner South Super Highway Manila.
Rank 1: “LECHON”
Make way for the king! This is the centerpiece of any fiesta table in our country. Lechon is best known to have a unique taste and pondered with manual and hard labor of cooking. This extremist dish is one of a kind. You’ll be mesmerized by the shinny-dark-brown skin of this food. You’ll never forget the sound of the crunchiness of its skin while slicing it in to pieces. It is really no doubt, the most sinful food served in our plate. Dipping it in to a thick liver sauce will bring out the true flavor of the meat.
The magic potion used by the cooks are combination of spices and herbs sealed inside, rubbing it with sauces and flavorings while being cooked. This will at least consume 2-3 hours before it can be serve. The most destined spot for this is in N.S. Amoranto St., Laloma or Malabon Manila.