10.283 Fried Mixed Grains


15 (Tue) October 2019

Fried Mixed Grains


at Purple Yam

-Malate, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines-

with KF, KD

The occasion was a belated thank-you to my team for their tireless efforts that helped make APPFGH5 a success (see 10.228 Tavu Snapper).

The owner’s childhood home – on the corner of Bocobo and Nakpil – valiantly withstanding the urban development of Malate.
The entrance makes it feel a bit like a speakeasy.
The main dining hall is what likely would’ve been the living room.

I had been looking for an opportunity for a second visit to Purple Yam (see most recently 8.226 Hipon Sinigang), both to reassess the food and to get better photos.

As before, the prix fixe menu was at the discretion of the kitchen – though they did ask when I was making the reservation whether any in the party had “dietary restrictions.”

The food was excellent.  Each dish individually was well conceived, executed with pristinely fresh ingredients, perfectly seasoned, beautifully plated.  As a spread, the dishes provided a balance of complementary flavors and contrasting textures, a mix of varied proteins and vegs and carbs.  And, very importantly, the final three dishes were served family style, in ample quantity, leaving each of us exactly as full as we wanted to be.  Without question, the best Filipino meal that I have had the privilege to experience.

Grilled Eggplant Dip with Cassava Chips (3.5)
Beef Pandan Soup (3.5): clean, deep, beefy flavor, accentuated with grilled mushrooms; raw scallions were a tad harsh.
Pugad (nest) Pugo (quail) (3.0): setting aside the egg – in fact, KD ate it for me – the deep-fried enoki made for a very clever and tasty nest, though the rest of the salad was otherwise unremarkable.
Pancit Malate (2.5): so-called because the coffee-based sauce was invented by this kitchen in Malate; personally, I didn’t like the flavor, but the creamy texture of the sauce went well with the glassy pancit noodles.
Kamias Sorbet (3.25): refreshing as a palate cleanser, interesting as a dish in itself.
Piyanggang Manok (3.0): expertly constructed – stuffed breasts, wrapped in paper-thin skins; dynamic juxtaposition of creamy/tangy/spicy flavors in the sauce; but ultimately the chicken itself was a bit dry and bland.
Fried Mixed Grains (4.0): perfect blend of chewy/mealy textures and nutty/earthy flavors, utterly wholesome and satisfying – for me, the best dish of the meal.
For seasoning, the grains were topped with this intensely flavored shrimp powder – tasted like crab.
Maya-Maya (3.5): crusted with Rice-Krispies and oats then deep-fried for a firm shell on one side, contrasting with the soft flesh on the other; the butter sauce was elegant, enhanced by mangosteen pods that provided pops of tang – my companions agreed that this was their favorite dish.
If not for the mixed grains, this also would’ve my favorite dish – maya maya being my favorite fish, after all.

Famously, I am not much for desserts, but I took a nibble just for a taste then couldn’t resist going all in, twice.

Three choices of homemade ice creams (from left): ube (purple yam) (3.5), sineguelas (jocote plum) (3.5), champoy (Chinese bayberry) (3.5) – personally, I was drawn to the sineguelas, maybe because we now live on Sineguelas Street?
A wide array of homemade toppings: my favorite was the caramelized bananas.

Confirms my prior observation about this establishment: “what traditional Filipino food could be if it paid more attention to quality ingredients and got back to basics” – not that any of this was basic.

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