i never imagined i'll travel to philippines especially manila as i found there's nothing special there (on book and internet). but suddenly i have to go there as that was my last chance to meet my sister before she travel farther :D *i can't afford the ticket to costa rica!
manila is like jakarta in 1990's -the excellence than jakarta is they has mrt/lrt. jakarta is way more stylish than manila in terms of the architecture, the people,,, but talking about the stylish people, even the jakartans is more stylish than the manilas, people here is much more mannered especially when it comes to que. ok we're here not to compare these cities. we're here to talk about the food!
when i was there, i just came back from a three months devastating life in jakarta *lebay. i just wanted a relaxed vacation to recover my soul. and being in manila was right thing to do... :)
my first culinary in manila was not-so-filipinos. it's a slice of guava cheesecake and silken tofu lychee from museum cafe - a cozy cafe next to ayala museum in greenbelt, the largest mall in manila. it was my first visit cafe in manila and it was a great experience! i meant to order those menus as i've never seen it in indonesia cafe's menu. the cake and beverage were a perfect soft combination and evokes a hip coolness to my first experience in manila. it's such a good companion for a cozy afternoon. one plus point from the cafe was.. the waiters and waitresses were cool, deft and friendly. me likey their uniform much!
as it's a large mall, they have food district on greenbelt 3. this cafe is one of my favorite. the interior, the mouthwatering mini cakes, it's all more than perfect. the stylish elegant bizu patisserie. i miss this cafe so much :(
BANAPPLE PIES AND CHEESECAKES
BANAPPLE PIES AND CHEESECAKES
later i found the manilas especially the youngsters love to eat cake and drink tea =) i found many (milk) tea house and cafe which sold cute yummy cakes! so as the cafes i've entered, they must have choices of dessert.
on a lazy afternoon, i walked down tomas morato street and found banapple pies and cheesecakes, a busy little cafe located in i terazzo mall. what to eat on a-cafe-you-suddenly-found? their bestseller! banoffie. sugary biscuit crust at the bottom - big cut bananas covered with caramel topped with cream and chocolate swirl. i love it on every single bite, delicious and not too sweet. no wonder it becomes their bestseller =) it tasted even better alongside a cup of warm cinnamon tea on a cute dotted table :)
FILIPINOS TRADITIONAL CAKE
besides the western cakes, i also tried filipinos cakes such ensaymada and bibingka which found easily at supermarket or mall. ensaymada or ensaimada is a pastry product from spain. in simple explanation, it's a bread topped with grated cheese and sugar. when i ate it, there's nothing special about it actually, it tastes simple. maybe the simplicity makes the people wants to eat more and more. i think the popularity is like kasutera in japan.
the other one is bibingka. it's a spongy cake made from rice flour plus coconut water infused with exotic aroma of banana leaf. it's moist and sweet. later i found there're many varieties of topping, it could be cheese, coconut, or pineapple. it's best served warm and usually filipinos eat it alongside a glass (or bottle) of calamansi (lime) juice.
BARBARA'S AT INTRAMUROS
you don't visit manila if you don't visit intramuros, the walled city, a vast old district and historic core of manila. with manila on foot on my hand, an easy guiding book by josefina p manahan, i explored it without getting lost. the book recommended barbara's, a little chill cafe with spanish ambiance right in front of san agustin church in the area of casa manila. so i tried it and sit on a table with parasol outside the cafe. the book said to try on pancit bijon which i found later as fried vermicelli with vegetables and minced meat. haha...
as i'm a-too-lazy-to-think traveler, i tried everything written on it. it said to try on the cakes! so instead of carrot cake, i tried the brazo de mercedes, a yummy rolled white-egg-made-from cake with yellow custard. the name reminded me of one of telenovela i used to watch when i was a teen, maria mercedes. hihi.. the ambiance inside the area is very spanish they still keep the architecture like it used to be. it was a little bit cloudy and a little bit raining, i saw two of japanese tourists riding a two wheel (i don't know the name) accompanied by the hotel staff located next to barbara's. the staffs were very friendly, they greeted as they passing me by. have i told u filipinos is well known because of their hospitality? :)
WOODEN SPOON by CHEF SANDY DAZA
search it on trip advisor and it'll be on the top-list manila recommended restaurant. wooden spoon by chef sandy daza. located in katipunan, in front of atteneo university, slips in among the shops along that area. soon when i passed the door i find a little well-decorated-interior-cafe. i had a good feeling about the food. sister said usually it's really busy, you even have to que to get a seat! fortunately we came after lunch hour. again, we ordered the restaurant's favorite! to be a real filipinos, i ordered pork hihihi... lechon kawali, it's said every's filipino's favorite. fried small cut pork served with 3 different dip sauces. my sissy ordered wooden spoon crispy chicken and a big bowl kangkung for two of us. as desert lover, we didn't miss it of course. we ordered customer's favorite a delicate white pudding topped with rice flakes (sort of). delicious! it's smooth and neutralize all the rich seasoning on the food we've just eaten. the food was great, the place was nice :)
here's another trip advisor top-list and there're funny touching story to reach this cafe. it's located near my sis' condo but we didn;t know precisely the location. so we asked a tricycle's driver to get there -he said he thinks he know the cafe- and passed along the tuazon street and still didn't find it! we said to the driver it's ok, maybe we'll eat somewhere else, there're some restaurants along the road. after leaving us, suddenly the driver came back! he said he know where the cafe is! hahaha.. so we rode on it again and he drove us there! such a nice driver. may god bless you.
so..romulo is a simple white and black casual dining cafe located in the corner of a quiet road. they offer a home ambiance dining experience as it build from an old home. you can sit on al fresco or indoor. we chose to sit indoor. it's lengthwise not so spacy. black and white photographs of romulo with famous politicians -apparently he's one of important politician- decorated the cafe as point of interest on one side of the wall.
i found many cafes concept in manila is food sharing not a la carte as we've known. we ordered a super yummy baby pusit (squid) in garlic and bagnet pakbet, a filipinos typical vegetables topped with chucks of cripspy pork *hiyek i'll never eat it again. for the drink, as i was obsessed to be a real filipinos, i picked buko shake (coconut shake) as my beverage. haha... sister said filipinos love to drink buko. romulo has an authentic must try dessert and yes it tasted realllyyyyy gooodd. it's sansrival with caramel, a mouthwatering layer caramel crust cake with cream.
last but not least! the fast food u MUST try: jolibee. the filipinos fried chicken fast food, the biggest mc donald's' competitor-kfc is not so popular. it's on every corner of the town. finally my curiosity brought me there. it's fried chicken like usual but what makes it favorite is the dip sauce. they don't use tomato or chile sauce but a special sauce with flavors of spices. after eating jolibee i felt like have baptized into a real filipinos :P
all of the meals above was in fairly reasonable price. the is one thing i love about manila. there're always at least a handsome cute waiter in the cafe and the service was always satisfying. it was a great experience for me as a tourist coming there. one tips if you're doubt to enter a restaurant a cafe: if you see a lot of people coming there, the food must be worth to try!
*after 7 years blogging, (finally) i changed my blog's address from duniariri.blogspot (dunia means world) to ririprabandari.blogspot :)