Going back to the Manila Ocean Park last weekend became a trip not only for your happyfoodies to rediscover the oceanarium but to fish for something else – the food offerings at the Makansutra Asian Food Village located at the Ocean Park mall.
Makan means “eat/eating” in Bahasa while Sutra means thread or line holding things together (or metaphorically, a collection of such lines or things such as in the Hindu scriptures) in Sanskrit. This is especially meaningful as Makansutra is envisioned to be a place gathering together fare from all over Southeast Asia sold hawker-style. Granted that one may not always have the opportunity to travel but at Makansutra, one can let his/her taste buds do the traveling. Will K.F. Seetoh, the Singaporean foodie who inspired this enterprise, approve? Tag along with your happyfoodies and find out.
Lagal[og] said: I like the idea of putting together the different foods of Southeast Asia in one place. Also, the concept of an open island kitchen where diners can see what’s cooking and how the food is being prepared. The concept maybe hawker-style selling but the dining area is nevertheless spacious, orderly, clean and well-lit. The view of the bay especially during sunset and the evening certainly adds to the dining experience. Having a separate counter for drinks and desserts really helps keep the queues at the food ordering and payment counters short.
Ironwulf said: I actually like the hawker-style eatery enhanced with touches of elegant designs and furnishings like the batibot chairs, the improvised open-can lamps and the oriental-design touches on the wall entrance. What’s better is that one can easily see the prices on the chalkboards. The prices are reasonable and cheap which enticed me more to check out the place.
Lagal[og] said: The Yum Voon Sen provides the palate a fresh start. The glass noodles (sotanghon) are soft yet firm, the parsley and shrimps adding hints of flavor along with the tangy, slightly sour sauce. The Laksa is also flavorful, if not a bit overladen with coconut milk. But it has a curry-spiciness that grows on you the more your slurp on the noodles and the soup base.
Ironwulf said: I’m glad that there is finally a resto offering Bak Kut Teh in Manila, one of my favorite Asian dishes. But the Bak Kut Teh here in Makansutra is still quite far from the taste I’m accustomed to — either the Malaysian or Singaporean variants. For one it’s too generous on the garlic and pepper so much so that the flavor was too strong; it was also a bit too salty. The meat wasn’t as tender as I like.
Lagal[og] said: For our main meal, we had Nasi Goreng with Satay. The rice was fried right, full-flavored with subtle hints of chili. The sauce that came with the Satay was really nutty which is the way I prefer it. Another nutty number was the Pad Thai which came al dente with more than hints of peanut flavor.
Ironwulf said: The Beef Satay was a lot closer to how they make it in Singapore. I like to eat the beef variant more as I find the beef absorbs more of the flavor herbs and spices. I definitely like how it was served on the plate. The beef was grilled evenly and the peanut sauce definitely brought me back to Singapore when I was eating it the last time around. I also tried the Mee Soto Indonesian noodle. I like the rich herb taste of the soup with potato served on the side. The noodles were thick and heavy, really filling.
Lagal[og] said: We forego the usual soda and sugary iced tea in favor of Southeast Asian concoctions like the Michael Jackson (Soya drink with Black Gulaman) and Bandung (Rose syrup with Milk). I gravitate towards the Bandung for its fruity but not overly sweet taste, laced with lychee-like flavor.
Ironwulf said: If you like soya drinks, Michael Jackson would be a wise choice as it is your regular soya infused with black gulaman. The Chocolate Dinasour which is an ice choco drink overloaded with choco powder was a little over the top, price-wise for me as I could have made one at home.
Lagal[og] said: To cap the meal, I had the Ice Kachang (Red beans with shaved ice dessert) which I liken to our halo-halo, give or take a few ingredients. This one could be a bit creamier but there was a rich compendium of red and green gelatin as well as the peach which make it a refreshing way to cap the meal.
Ironwulf said: For dessert, I tried the Bubur Chacha which is a warm dessert of rich coconut and palm sugar with nuggets of tubers and yam. It kinda reminds me of our local guinatan but much sweeter with more coconut. A bit heavy for dessert but good.
Makansutra Asian Food Village
2nd Level, Manila Ocean Park Mall
Quirino Street, Luneta Park, Manila
Telephone: +63 2 567 3512