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Taken at: The Podium in Mandaluyong City, Philippines

Today, there was a mall-wide sale at The Podium today. Ramen Nagi was offering two bowls of ramen for only PHP 600.

In the list of the best ramen bowls in the Philippines, I have Ramen Nagi at second best. I love their butao ramen especially when the noodle is a little hard and there is little spice. The pork belly tastes so delicious and it’s so tender.

Soban K-Town Grill

Korean restaurants have been sprouting in every corner of the Metro. But, one of the best ones I tried is Soban K-Town Grill.

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It was early Sunday evening and a lot of families where having their dinner. They didn’t have room inside yet. So, our plans of having to grill our own meat got squished. Anyway, there are still a lot of Korean food on their menu.

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They only have two side dishes – egg rolls and kimchi. These two are the most basic. I would have wanted the sprouts and sweet and spicy fish. Both of them are delicious. The gochujang (chili paste) is for the bibimbap I ordered. They let you decide the level of spiciness of your food.

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I ordered the ultimate beef bap for PHP 250. Not bad. And it was worth all the money. They have the hot stone bowl which makes the rice at the bottom crispy. You have all the required vegetables of sprouts, carrots, and cucumbers. I tried eating without any spice but I sorely missed all of the spiciness I take in.

It was a great dinner – add to that a bottomless glass of soban iced tea.

If you’re looking for good Korean food worthy of its price, head on out to Soban K-Town Grill in Eastwood. They also have a branch in Alabang if Quezon City is too far for you.

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Taken at: Sebastian’s in Mandaluyong City, Philippines

Sebastian’s is the premier artisan ice cream from Manila (based on their Facebook page). In the Ortigas area, it can be found in the 4th floor of The Podium Mall.

They offer various Filipino comfort food flavors such as:

  • Champorado (chocolate rice porridge) that can be topped with candied dilis (smoked fish)
  • Sapin-sapin, a local rice cake with various flavors such as jackfruit, coconut, and taro
  • Green mango with bagoong (fish paste)

There are also the usual ice cream flavors such as:

  • Cookie Dough
  • Coffee

And, there are those that are fit for the month of February:

  • Matinong boyfriend (a fine boyfriend) – raspberry sorbet,  bittersweet chocolate ice cream, and rum
  • Matinong girlfriend (a fine girlfriend) – cheese ice cream, crunchy cheetos
  • Closure – passion fruit tea ice cream, dayap zest
  • Unresolved Issues – bitter gourd sorbet, candied bitter gourd

These may all sound weird but I’ve tasted them. Unresolved Issues are kind of weird but has nice taste. While the sapin-sapin (photo above) is my favorite. It has a lot of flavor and isn’t too sweet. They captured the jackfruit correctly and there’s latik found within the ice cream itself.

So if you’re bored with your usual ice cream, you can drop by the store and grab a cone / cup for at least PHP 100. Prices depend on the flavor you’re ordering.

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Taken at: Tosokchon in Seoul, South Korea

One of the things you have to try in Korea is samgyetang (삼계탕). It is literally ginseng (인삼) chicken (계) soup (탕). It is usually eaten by Koreans during summer months to help relieve the heat. It is perfectly good for cold weather too because of the soup.

We arrived with a long line out front. However, don’t fret, the line moves just fine. The real challenge, for those who aren’t used to it, is the Japanese style of dining. The tables and chairs are reserved for big groups.

Service is fast and the food delicious. I have not tasted this one before but from my initial reaction, I needed more salt for taste. The rice inside the chicken is sumptuous and perfectly captured the ginseng, jujube, and garlic taste.

Hakao and White Chicken by Ying Ying Tea House

In Manila’s Chinatown, there are a lot of authentic restaurants that will satisfy your craving for Chinese food. And since it’s full of Chinese patrons, Monica Geller will surmise that it’s a good restaurant. It’s one of the restaurants we weren’t able to visit on our food trip around Chinatown.

One of those restaurants is Ying Ying Tea House along Dasmarinas Street. On a good day, if you’re not familiar with Mandarin, everything will sound foreign to you.

Service is fast. As soon as you sit down, you’ll be given your teapot and the house tea that comes with it. You need not wait too long for your order to come too.

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I love hakao in all of its forms. However, the skin on this one as moist as I want it to be. It easily disintegrated too (see photo). The filling, though, is heavenly. It’s probably one of the best, filling-wise.

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For the main meal, I ordered the white chicken with ginger sauce. It’s my first time to taste a ginger sauce with chopped spring onions. It was better than I thought it would be. You’d first taste the spring onions and the ginger will come in the after taste. The chicken was steamed perfectly – the flesh separates from the bone. And, this is totally a personal preference, the rice is a bit dry for me. I like wet rice like the ones used by the Japanese and Koreans. But, over-all, the serving is big and the food delicious.

There are a lot more interesting items on the menu. The next time I’ll be in this side of town, Ying Ying Tea House won’t be left behind.

Akamaru Chashu by Ippudo Philippines

Nested in Megamall’s Mega Fashion Hall is Ippudo Philippines. Just 2 years in the Philippine scene, it battles with tried and tested restaurants for a share of the ramen market in the Metro.

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To be honest, it was a bit of a letdown for me. The serving was big. The spice was something I can handle. However, it was a bit too oily and salty for me. My chashu were on the thinner side of things.

To say things bluntly, I’ve had better.

What I like, though, are the noodles. I like my noodles a little less than al dente. I like a bite. The noodles with medium hardness did that for me.

The ramen was something worth trying. Will I return to Ippudo Philippines? Yes; probably to try the other items on the menu. The gyoza looks good.

 

Ultimate Burger by Burger and Kebab Brothers

Lilac Street in Marikina has now blossomed into a street for all of your food trip cravings.

It’s one of the Brothers chain of restaurants (including Burrito and Breakfast). I was looking forward to a tasty burger since it’s my first meal of the day. Note that it was already 4 PM when we arrived.

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You have seven layers of love in this thing, not necessarily in order:

  • black sesame seed buns
  • romaine lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • grilled onions
  • honey-cured bacon
  • American cheddar cheese
  • two burger patties

For PHP 220, you have all you need and more. Then, if you add PHP 45 more, you get a cup of lemon iced tea and fries.

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I was bit disappointed with the number of fries. But, the upside is that they’re real potatoes and not oily at all. Plus, served hot and fresh from the pan. It needed a little seasoning, though.

Now, the burger. The burger was good. You get the feeling that it really came from the grill. The patties were as fresh as they can be. But, they didn’t put enough binder because the patties fall apart easily – even with just one pass of the knife. Everything went well together and it was satisfying.

One thing that let me down was the burger was a bit greasy. Having started a low fat, low sodium diet makes me sensitive to these things now. But, over-all, good burger.

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