More of my favorite dishes.
Really Good Food Part 1 here.
Choi Garden’s Peking Duck
Peking duck is my ultimate celebratory dish. Seven years ago my Bin and I split an entire duck between us when we found out we were pregnant, and when Boo was old enough to come out to eat, we discovered that she liked Peking Duck too.
Chinese Peking duck masters roast the duck by hanging the bird around its neck, ensuring the coveted brittle skin and juicy flesh. It’s easy to flub and I’ve had more lousy Peking ducks at supposedly famed Chinese restaurants than I care to admit. Fortunately, there are plenty of places in Manila that take their Peking ducks seriously: Peking Garden’s is outstanding as is Choi Garden (ha, with their prices, they better not flub up!) The unctuous – and yes, that word does finally seem appropriate to use – meat enclosed in a just-steamed floury pancake, its richness cut by leeks and cucumbers dabbed with hoisin sauce is the sort of dish that invites reverie. And watchfulness: I’ve stayed too long in one of those duck-induced daydreams only to wake up and find no more pancake – or duck – left for me.
12 Annapolis St. cor. Purdue St.
San Juan, Metro Manila
Milk from Hacienda Macalauan
You’ve got to expect that after writing posts extolling the finding of Greek yogurt at the local market and discovering (finally!) really good milk, it’s obvious how much of a dairy freak I am. So you can imagine my glee when I spy bottles of milk from Hacienda Macalauan (HM) in the chiller section of my supermarket. Previously, HM milk was only made available to high-volume customers like hotels and chain coffeeshops.
Milk from Hacienda Macalauan (HM) is what I call my ideal milk. Creamy and full-bodied, it’s got none of that cooked or tetra pak taste that most pasteurized milks have, specifically those that have been ultra- heat-treated to death. Milk from HM is pasteurized but it’s not UHT so it tastes as good as milk is meant to taste. Of course this freshness comes with a short expiry date – four days at most. During this time, mornings are extra special because I brew myself some really good lattes with it, and pour some onto Boo’s (Frosted Wheaties) and my (Shredded Wheat) cereal. Whatever’s left over I use in overnight waffles. The goodness and availability of real milk can’t be undervalued.
Hacienda Macalauan Milk
Available in 5 variants from Fresh to Chocolate Low Fat Milk
Approximately P78 at larger supermarkets.
Le Bistro Vert’s Calamansi Pie
I’ve yet to eat at Le Bistro Vert (silent “t”), that self-proclaimed bastion of sustainable eating, an as-of-now-ambiguous phrase that has yet to catch on in Manila’s dining circles. But its purpose is pure and admirable. I will write about it soon.
For now, their calamansi pie is what sustains me through this sweltering summer. It speaks to my proclivity for all things citrus and sour, the majority of which are well-documented in this blog. The pie is the lightest of custards, so soft it shimmies, injected with a spark of sunshine from the little native lime. Its coolness lulls, flirts with the briefest of a sweet then bracing finish before sliding down the hatch. Summer, shine on.
Le Bistro Vert
Streetside, Fraser Place
Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati
Open Mondays-Fridays, 7am ”“ 10pm
Saturdays, 7am ”“ 3pm
- photo taken with my Nokia 6700 Classic
Travel Café’s Halo-Halo
I’ve eaten quite a few of these multi-colored plethoras lately, the garishness of their contents as glaring as the heat. The ingredients, limited only by imagination and number are often inversely proportional to the amount of ice (too much) and milk (too little). Icebergs’ version suffices, although I find the addition of cornflakes to be wrong on so many levels; Max’s giant halo-halo that touts to serve 6-8 people, works in concept but the execution … well, needs work. Its valley of crushed ice dilutes the darn thing, leaving a watery, lavender mess, evidence of a shameful lack of ube ice cream.
But Travel Café’s got its halo-halo proportions right. A cornucopia of all the traditional ingredients I expect to see in a halo-halo are here and there’s just enough ice to cool not crowd everything out. I like that there’s a sufficient amount of milk in the bottom of the stemmed glass – most restaurants assume that the ice cream will be milky enough. Not so for people like me who think that the halo-halo milk at the bottom of the glass is the best part.
THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED.
2/F Greenbelt 5
Ayala Center, Makati
The Terrace at the 5th’s Laing Pasta
This dish is the only reason I eat at The Terrace at the 5th. I won’t get into why this restaurant doesn’t appeal to me nor why I often just order the pasta to go. But what I will tell you is that this dish is an exemplary, edible example of Filipino ingenuity.
Who is the wondrous mind that conceived that gabi leaves cooked in gata (coconut cream) could so fragrantly suffuse a tangle of noodles while small shrimp seemingly gambol in the background? There’s a hint of ginger and black pepper added here and with such restraint that I only really notice the ginger in a bit of burn and fragrance on the finish.
THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED.
The Terrace at the 5th
G/Floor, Greenbelt 5
Ayala Center, Makati
729.6860 / 729.0860