The Morato area has long been a favorite haunt for eager diners. And why not? The selections are nice and the prices are usually much lower than those in Makati. It can be quite a drive or a ride away though especially for those who live in the South but at times, you stumble upon a place that’s worth the trouble. Could 145o be one of those?
Vietnam may be our Southeast Asian neighbor but our cuisines seem to be poles apart. Pinoy food is typified by very rich flavors, often subscribing to the idea that “if a little is okay, more is better”. On the other hand, Vietnamese food is more about the subtleties of flavors and the prudent use of herbs and spices. This may explain why Vietnamese food is nowhere as popular as say, Chinese or Thai cuisine, over here. Perhaps, the key is to strike a happy balance between subtlety and saturation – the formula that Aquaknox, Manila’s newest Vietnamese Contemporary restaurant, is using to catch the fancy of Pinoy diners. The operative word is: “contemporary” meaning authentic and yet updated. Come with us for a taste of Vietnamese with a fine dining twist.
Long, long before KFC Original Recipe/Hot & Crispy Chicken and Jollibee Chickenjoy, there was Max’s Fried Chicken. This enduring brand has been part of the Pinoy consciousness for generations, many thanks to the superlative taste of its chicken. So much so that diehard loyalists would say fried chicken is Max’s and Max’s is fried chicken. This is well and good but as with any aging food establishment, it is wise to keep offering something new to appeal to the younger, more fickle diners while providing a welcome surprise to diners like us who’ve grown up eating at Max’s.
The Max’s strategy it seems is to come up with dishes to complement its famous fried chicken. Happyfoodies think it’s a swell idea as Max’s will always be about chicken first, other dishes second. We recently paid a visit to this old favorite and see what’s new on the menu that’s worth trying.
The weather alternated between overcast and rainy when we ventured to Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte. It’s been a long trip, having gone from Tawi-Tawi to Zamboanga City and northwards to Dipolog so instead of letting the rains dampen our spirits, we took it as a sign to slow down on shooting and make the most out of the sleepy weather. Having billeted ourselves at one of the pension houses along the city’s Sunset Boulevard, we had the rare luxury of being steps away from eating places. We consider ourselves very lucky indeed to have stumbled upon Kamayan ni Manay just before the heavy rains came again and obscured the nice view of Dapitan Bay.
For the foodie with a bigger than average appetite, there is a constant battle waged against small portions. Should I place two orders instead of just one? Should I place an additional order after the first one comes? Such is the perennial dilemma of the hearty eater. Count us happyfoodies in that category.
Happily, there’s no such dilemma at Bigby’s Café and Restaurant. With roots in Cagayan de Oro City, Bigby’s makes its way to Manila, opening its newest branch at the atrium of SM Megamall recently. True to its name, the food we were served came in big, nay, humongous portions. But how does the food taste? Follow us as we navigate our way to the Bigby’s food trip menu.
Our flight schedule to Zamboanga City fell on Christmas day so it was imperative that happyfoodies should have a good Christmas dinner away from our respective homes.
But we want something else other than the usual hamon and other holiday foods so at the suggestion of our tricycle driver, we ended up in Hai San Seafood Market and Restaurant. Was the meal worthy of a holiday dinner? Was the food delicious as it was filling? Happyfoodies would soon find out.
Visit Zamboanga City and almost everyone tells you not to miss tasting the famous Curacha, a hybrid crustacean that bears resemblance to the sea crab and a spiny lobster. The name means “cockroach” in Chavacano, maybe because of its appearance. But don’t let that unappetizing translation dissuade you from sampling this tasty crustacean, which is caught only in the seas of Zamboanga and Sulu.
Short of buying a live one from the market and cooking it yourself, the best way to enjoy this treat is to eat at Alavar’s Seafood House, which is just a short tricycle ride from downtown. First item on the agenda is of course, Curacha. But happyfoodies got some welcome surprises from other items in the menu.
One of the highlights of visiting the island of Camiguin apart from the sceneries that fill the eyes is the food that fills the tummy. This island, which lies northeast of Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao, boasts of the sweetest buahan (lansones) and creamy pastel (soft buns with milky or fruity fillings). Boarding off the ferry at the town of Benoni also puts one within walking distance of the Tanguines Lagoon, a sort of causeway that connects a travel lodge-cum-floating restaurant to the sea – the J&A Fishpen/Travel Lodge.
It’s virtually impossible to miss this establishment. Ask any of the locals to recommend a place to have good food and a relaxing time and they’ll most likely point you to this place. And they have very good reasons to do so.