Cycle 3 – Item 243
4 (Tue) September 2012
Seafood Platter + Pancit Bihon + Ihaw Pusit
at Seafoods Fiesta Foodhaus
-Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines-
Research Trip to the Philippines: Day 2 of 3
- Day 1 (3.242 Chinese-Style Fried Chicken)
- Day 2 (3.243 Seafood Platter + Pancit Bihon + Ihaw Pusit)
- Day 3 (3.244 Steamed Crab in Chili Sauce)
In Manila. Here to meet with the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific in developing a tool to assess health legislation in countries across the region. If all goes well, I should be jet-setting around Asia for the next few months in continuation of the project, same project that brought me here twice last year. I’ll be in town until Wednesday night.
Robinsons Place is a shopping mall.
For dinner, I wanted a thoroughly local experience, so I went to Robinsons Place. Although I usually rise to the challenge of ordering food, especially when it comes to food that I’ve never tried before, the dizzying array of dishes on display at the central food court had me cowering in fear. I don’t know why, really. Most of the dishes weren’t labeled, but I could see exactly what I’d be getting. Granted, I wouldn’t know how it would taste, but at least I wouldn’t be blindly ordering something bizarre. Even though Filipino cuisine can be extreme in flavor – often very sweet and/or very sour and/or very fishy – it’s still generally Asian in character and thus reasonably palatable to someone like me. And with the most expensive items capping out at around 100 pesos (less than US$2.50), it’s not like I couldn’t afford to experiment.
Nevertheless, I scuffled back and forth along the line of stalls half a dozen times, unable to pull the trigger. The first couple times, the hawkers encouraged me to eat. The next couple passes, they began to laugh at me. Eventually, they just rolled their eyes. Ever so briefly, I contemplated the option of retreating to the predictability of a sit-down restaurant elsewhere in the mall, but I knew that I would never forgive myself.
As I was eating, I noticed that other patrons all had but a single dish on their trays, Filipinos not being huge eaters on a daily basis, which was likely why the cashier had looked at me strangely as I was ordering so much food. Still, it was just 220 pesos (a bit over US$5) for everything and a cup of orange soda. Overall, I kinda enjoyed the experience, not so much the food, prompting the cynic in me to note that a food court rarely serves good grub, so this was probably not very good even by local standards.
Chic-Boy is a Filipino restaurant chain. Specializes in grilled chicken (“Chicken”) and pork (“Baboy”). The menu also offers the usual line-up of Philippine favorites. Founded in 2010, the business already has more than 100 branches across the country, including one located a few blocks from WPRO. Open 24 hours.
Beyond hunger, I was eager to further my exploration of Filipino cuisine, so I went out again in search of grub and ended up at Chic-Boy, another 24-hr eatery in the neighborhood.
Lechon is a Filipino dish. More of a general method of cooking, originating from the Spanish tradition of roasting a whole suckling pig on a rotating spit over an open flame, later served with an apple shoved in its mouth. On the island of Cebu, lechon consists of meat, typically chicken (“manok”) or pork (“liempo”), not necessarily whole, that’s been marinated in vinegar + lemongrass + soy sauce + spices, then slow-roasted on spits.
The chicken was awesome. The lemony flavor intensely/insanely good, also one of the juiciest birds that I’ve ever experienced – maybe 4.0. And only 125 pesos for a half (US$3).
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN THE PHILIPPINES)