Cycle 5 – Item 7
12 (Sun) January 2014
at Mr Poon
-Malate, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines-
For the past few days, I’ve been staying at Tropicana Suites, a serviced residence. At the WHO rate, 48,000 pesos per month (a little under USD 1,100, about 35 per day).
After one day, I was already done with the place. Ants, everywhere, so aggressive that they’d swarm a glass of water left on the table. Only the bedroom has AC, which is a deal-breaker. No cable TV. No lights in the dining room. The most uncomfortable chairs that I have ever experienced, ever. Kitchen hardware was subpar. I had to get out.
I asked everybody in my division about better options. Fortunately, I was put in touch with a broker, who showed me a couple available units this afternoon – I’m moving tomorrow.
Mr Poon is a Cantonese restaurant. Affiliated with the Tropicana, which doesn’t have its own kitchen, Mr Poon provides “room service,” on trays with plates covered in plastic wrap, from 06:30 to 22:00. Cash only.
On TripAdvisor, reviews were rather lukewarm about the hotel but seemed to regard the restaurant as a silver lining.
The food was generally okay.
The chicken appeared to have been first roasted (Cantonese style) and then finished off in the deep fryer (Filipino style). It was a bit underseasoned but among the juiciest chickens that I’ve ever encountered.
Bitter melon is the fruit of the tropical vine Momordica charantia. Looks like a cucumber/zucchini but riddled with bumps. Popular in certain parts of Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. In the Philippines, it’s known as “ampalaya.”
At the time of ordering, I had no idea what ampalaya was and just took it upon the server’s recommendation for any green vegetable. Totally/utterly/completely/entirely bitter, it didn’t offer room for any other sensation. I did manage to finish the portion, even though I was wondering if maybe it had gone bad, the vegetable normally tasting like something else. Bitter melon isn’t really the kind of thing that a server should recommend to a customer who’s never tried it and doesn’t know what to expect. Anyway, I’m glad to have experienced ampalaya, but I doubt that I’d order it ever again.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN PHILIPPINES)