Food Photodump 8: Malate 2.0

I did not realize that I haven’t updated this blog for close to three months. I actually have a couple of drafts (by drafts I mean posts with pictures and nothing else) and was supposed to finish and publish them during my summer vacation in the province but our desktop computer back home is shitty, ads keep popping up and WordPress doesn’t seem to work well I lose my patience before writing one paragraph. Now that I’m in Manila to enroll, I’ll try to post as much as I can before going back (didn’t finish the post before leaving for the province so here I am typing thru my phone -_- ).

Pagsy sent me a message on Facebook asking about the lack of recent posts. I was touched because I didn’t think friends were still visiting this site since most of them have moved on from blogging and into the real world. Char. Hi Pagsy! I know you miss Malate the same way I miss you so this photodump is especially dedicated to you 🙂

First stop is something I discovered in Harrison Plaza. Though it is the first modern shopping mall in the country, it’s not exactly teeming with visitors nowadays because it pales in comparison with newer malls. Victory Malate is just a stones throw away so I usually eat here once a week. Tired of the same old fast food, I decided to try Hanna’s Vietfood.IMG_5166Banh Mi and Beef Pho. These were cheaper than the ones I’ve tried from other Vietnamese establishments. The Pho was good though I’d appreciate a little more flavor. Thankfully there’s hot sauce. The Banh Mi filling was delicious but I hate the bread. It’s so hard I think my palate suffered from chewing because the crust was scratching the roof of my mouth.IMG_5167Next is Nihonbashi Tei. I’ve actually seen a branch of this establishment before since it’s located just across Erra’s. However, we visited the one along Pedro Gil street near Hyatt Manila.IMG_4934I was with Ramm and Dai and we had seafood ramen, spicy toro maki, takoyaki, and a plate of assorted sushi.

The serving size of the ramen was big all three of us shared in one order. It reminded me of the one I tried in the restaurant beside Choto Stop (I think) in Little Tokyo. It’s more like lomi to me but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t any good. In fact, Ramm, who’s a picky eater, liked it. Spicy toro maki is their best seller, one piece is enough for me. The person who enjoyed it most was Dai. As for the takoyaki, all three of us agreed that it was delicious. The balls were smaller than what I’m used to but there was more than enough tuna flakes, sauce, mayonnaise and octopus. I’m not really knowledgeable when it comes to sushi, I just eat what looks good and it works 50% of the time. The plate below looked and tasted familiar except for the Uni. I still cringe whenever I remember the taste. I found out it was sea urchin and it might take some time for me to like it (that is, if I ever eat it again).IMG_4495A new restaurant in Robinson’s Ermita is House of Lasagna. I once ate there alone and finished a single order of Beef Lasagna and a slice of New York Cheesecake (too good and huge for 90 pesos). On another visit, I bought vouchers online and went with my family. We had Beef (again) and Carbonara Lasagna plus Southern fried chicken which was promising on paper but ordinary in real life. I enjoyed carbonara the most. The beef variant tends to be nakakaumay after a while because the serving is big and there’s an abundance of cheese, not that I’m complaining. I want to go back and try three-cheese, alfredo and pesto. They offer lasagnas in three sizes. Single, half tray (4-6 pax), and whole tray (10-12 pax).IMG_5282Another relatively new restaurant at Rob is a ramen place called Tsukomo. Come to think of it, there’s been a lot of construction going on in the mall but the one I’m most excited about is the opening of Pablo (because cheese tart!). For the mean time, I had a dose of cheese-topped ramen. Just like what the age old saying says, cheese makes everything better. According to the servers, it was one of the most famous joints in Japan.

Original price for each bowl is I think 420 pesos but it’s a pleasure to know that half-bowls are available because sometimes you just can’t fit that much food in your stomach no matter how hard you try. Anyway, this was their promotional poster:12301465_1671855273061390_2950883085442704408_nWith those words you’d think you’ll be blown out of your mind upon first bite. Nope. Expectations lead to disappointment. Char. I just hope people stop making promises they can’t deliver which is adamant in the food business nowadays. That’s what I call food propaganda.

The yellow bowl is Marukyu Cheese Ramen. It’s basically a combination of cheese and miso on pork-based broth with fries.Yes, you read that right. FRENCH. FRIES. It was really good at first especially the soup — rich and creamy just like what we expected. But as the warmth dissipates, the thickness and sogginess of the noodles begin to annoy you. Also, I don’t know how it’s supposed to be eaten but we desperately prevented the cheese from mixing with the soup because we liked having a huge amount of Gouda with every bite. After finishing all the clumps, we we’re left with nothing so we didn’t touch the ramen anymore.

The black bowl was Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen. It was really good I’d take it any day over the Marukyu Cheese Ramen. But then I remember the taste of the cheesy broth while it was still warm so I take it back.

The red bowl, called Marukyu Tomato Cheese Ramen is basically the yellow bowl with tomatoes. If you find the saltiness of cheese a bit too much, then this one’s for you because the tomato sort of balances out the flavor with its sourness. Also good when warm. However, when it has already cooled down, the same complain with the plain one arises. In Tords’ words, “parang Spaghetti” HAHAHA!

The last one is the Tsukono Crispy Dumpling aka Gyoza. It was easily one of the best gyozas I’ve tried it made us forget the atrocities of their cooled down cheese ramen.IMG_3112A musty try aside from the gyoza (and ramens na nga rin) is their kakigori. Just like what my Instagram caption says, “Ice, gatas at mango syrup lang yan pero ang sarap“. Totoo!IMG_3114Up next is from Mr. Pizza, a Korean franchise. This was one of their bestsellers, Shrimp Gold. Gold pertained to the crust. Other choices include egg tart, cream cheese, and mocha bun. Which were all promising especially the cream cheese.

We ordered Gold because it was Dai’s favorite. Only after it was served did we find out that Gold meant it was made of mashed sweet potato. No wonder because Dai loves kamote. Ramm and I, not so much. So we endured eating the crust. After a couple of bites, we got used to it. Plus, the pizza itself was really good. But the prospect of what could have been *cough*cream cheese*cough* didn’t leave my mind. We ate the the middle and gave Dai all the crust, that’s what friends are for.IMG_3736Meeting bebe’s boyfriend at Lau Chan. For the first time, greens were served at our table! Also, the bebes approved! 😉LTDP7361Erra’s which is a staple. Maybe I’ll never get tired of their ramen and buttered chicken. Too many good memories!IMG_3140Oarhouse has been getting a lot of customers these past few months thanks to Anthony Bourdain I think the only time it isn’t full is past midnight, an hour or thirty minutes away from last call.IMG_3154I prefer drinks on the rocks because I get brain freeze (plus pangingilo) with shakes but the latter lasts longer, there’s more time for catching up.IMG_3147Just beside Saint Paul University Manila is Mr. Poon. For some reason, despite passing by the place almost every day for four years, it didn’t cross my mind before to eat there despite the promise that it’s been around since the 1970s which normally would get my attention.

I only got to try it one night with my father and brother. We wanted Chinese food but were too lazy to go to Binondo. After that first visit, I’ve been back half a dozen times with a couple of different people.

Special beef. It’s prepared in a really simple no-frills way. So good especially if you want to remind yourself why you’ll never be a vegetarian haha.IMG_2679When I first saw Ma Po Tofu on the menu, I knew I had to order it. I was transported back to my younger self watching the anime Cooking Master Boy where the dish was central to an episode. It might be my feels talking but it was delicious even though I’m not a big fan of tofu. I was expecting it to be super spicy (thanks to another anime, Angel Beats!) but it was just right, might be toned down for the Filipino palate.IMG_2682Table during my first visit. Other favorites are their siomai, hakaw, prawn with sauce, and very oily Mr. Poon fried rice.IMG_2684Mr. Poon takes pride in serving the best braised beef mami. That’s a bold claim so I had to taste for myself. For starters, the serving was huge my father and I had a hard time finishing it (we had other orders tho). I won’t go into details except that the noodles played a huge part in my decision but my  verdict is: it’s not. A decent rendition, yes. Miles better than some I’ve tried but the best beef mami (braised or not) in my vocabulary is still Ling Nam. #ANDSTILLIMG_2846Midtown Diner is a place I visited with Jinkee one or two years ago. I think I said in a previous blog post that the only reason to come back is the ambiance because food was meh. I was wrong. That was a time when I’ve only tried their pancakes. Turns out there’s more to their menu. There’s Hole-in-the-wall, bangsilog, swordfishsilog (forgot the tagalog name), etc etc.IMG_3516And of course the ambiance is still a factor. You can read newspapers in the morning and watch the television with fellow customers in the afternoon/at night.

Downside: They’re only open for half day on Saturdays and closed on Sundays. I know because I unsuccessfully tried to have Dai’s recommendation of T-bone steak from their lunch special for half a dozen times before actually eating the darn thing.IMG_3517Discovered a new Korean restaurant near Remedios Circle! The name’s Ulkeun and though the annoying minimum of two meat orders is implemented, we don’t mind! Their kimchi and tofu soup and tteokbokki are good! Plus, it’s open during unholy hours (I think 24/7)!IMG_3222Revisited Shawarma Snack Center (the smaller one). I thought I’d like the yogurt dip but I didn’t. I appreciated the eggplant-based one better. You really wouldn’t know whether you like something or not unless you taste first. The falafels (is that what the round things are called?) were dry. Brought my father here and he enjoyed their value meal of 85 pesos for rice, viand and salad.IMG_4417Studybuddy Tordsie at CBTL glasshouse. The place is not really conducive for studying come night time because the lights make you sleepy but we stay there anyway.IMG_3779L: My favorite trio from one of my favorite restaurants! Add the sour cream and chives potato side dish and they’re my favorite quadro (?). Kenny’s yogurt seems diluted, the corn muffin is sometimes dry, and the burrito is just an excuse to utilize already existing ingredients but combined, they make me happy. R: glasshouse during daytime. Discovering the space is the only good thing that came out of the overdue renovation of CBTL Adriatico’s second floor.01Last but definitely not the least is the carinderia near where I live, the one I promised to bring you [pagsy] to if you sleepover again. The offer still stands for when you come back 🙂

The Bicol express is really good I order it every. Single. Time. (It doesn’t really look like that in the Bicol region though) All for 35 pesos. I don’t know how to survive without carinderias and I’m always thankful for them!IMG_2597That’s it Pagsy, hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it (okay di talaga ako nagenjoy dahil nangalay ako kaka type sa phone haha).

Bakasyon ka na, kain tayo 😊

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