I have been frequenting Ma Mon Luk for years now because my father loves their mami and I love their siopao. As far as I know, there are only two branches left, one in Banawe and the other is in Quiapo. I haven’t been to the Banawe branch because it is quite far from where I stay. Besides, I like the old and badass vibe the branch in Quiapo exudes, being at the heart of probably the Metro’s most, uhm, interesting place. I think the interiors are original and unchanged from when it was opened decades ago — the marble tables, wooden chairs, huge ceiling fans, high ceilings, stainless pitchers and glasses as tall as cups. When I visit the place with Pangs, I feel secured because my father looks like a goon himself (haha). One time though, I invited Tords, Chabs and Dai to come and I was really scared because I will be liable to whatever will happen to the lives of these three.
Dai had Beef Mami and she loved the beef I even have a funny video of her eating with much gusto. She was so drawn to the beef she forgot Mami has soup and noodles. She said it was tender and juicy and she can live eating only those. I think she’s a bit exaggerating at that point but her facial expression really showed how grateful she was for those strips of beef.
I, on the other hand shared a bowl of Special Mami with Chabs and Tords because I could not finish one order. I really don’t like thick noodles but Ma Mon Luk is an exception. Yes, the noodles are thick but they don’t give you the icky feeling when eating, like, your mouth is already full of noodles and there’s no room for the soup and the meat. The chicken, as always, was tender and delicious without the monosodium glutamate-y taste.
We also had Special Siopao. The best Siopao for me is my father’s Asado and second place is his bola-bola with chorizo and red egg but this comes in a close third place. Ever since someone told me that Siopaos are made of cat’s meat, I’ve been very picky. Whenever I have to eat this white delight, I first take one bite and decide whether the meat is cat or not (not that I have tasted cat meat, I just base my judgement on my instinct). Ma Mon Luk’s is NOT made of cat meat by all means. Special siopao has red egg and its saltiness complements the fluffiness of the steamed buns, the filling, and the special sauce that is a bit sweet.