Comfort Food Crawl Series Part 1: The Classic and Staples

CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT YOUR COMFORT FOOD IS?

It is a dish that our mother or our Lola used to make us during our childhood – it can be that good bowl of Sinigang, Arroz Caldo, or Mac & Cheese. Regardless of what the food is, it soothes our souls and comforts us in such a way having that dish makes everything seem okay. A dish that provides emotional comfort to us and linked us to a place or time when we were kids when situations and life weren’t this complicated.

 

 

In this Food Crawl Guide Bianca and I will share our calibrated initial Top Five (5) places where we grew up eating and thru a random select group who also provided their consensus stamp of – YES! to these five spots.

 

 

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I have lived in Mayon for only a few years after we transferred to the southern part of Metro Manila. As I was growing my craving for Pares always brings me back to this place.  My siblings and I would drive from Bicutan to Retiro at 2 AM just to satisfy our cravings. It has been in business for more than two decades. It is amazing how this humble fast food/eatery attracts people from all walks, of social class, from taxi drivers, students, millennial young professionals, Chinese businessmen. The food here satisfies everyone. They grew up eating the same Pares meal with their parents and now they’re adults they carry it out then shared with their children.

People order what they want. The food is served fast and hot. They sit down, do not talk and just enjoy a good meal of Pares. Everything runs efficiently in this place, even the patrons know that they need to eat their food fast as there are other customers eagerly waiting their turn.

The beef Pares is slow-cooked beef stew, a bowl of garlic rice with bits of chorizo and scrambled egg, and paired with soup. They boil the beef briskets in a pot with water, salt, and onion. Cooke until it is soft, tender, falls off easily. They put soy sauce, brown sugar, star anise, and pepper. Simmer everything to perfection. The sauce is thick that wraps around the beef brisket with the just the right ratio of meat and fat.

 

 

A complete set of Pares will cost you 110php (2.10 USD) as of April 2018. Expect to spend 300php (4 USD) for two people. You already have 2 sets of Pares, 1 side viand or noodles and share a bottle of cold Coke.

Now that I’m 33 years old. I still come back here for the food, for the memories, whenever I want to share something great with a friend and when I need to be reminded that life can be as simple as a bowl of Beef Pares.
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Charlie’s Wanton Special is a Hole-In-The-Wall Chines neighborhood restaurant in Mandaluyong and San Juan where they have  3 generations of following from their patrons. It is straightforward, no-frills Chinese restaurant staying true to their core product- Serving the best damn noodles in Metro Manila.

The restaurant looks like an air-conditioned canteen from the 90’s which was leveled up by having an A/C. Ample parking space up front with an old beaten up signage hanging above their mango tree between Meralco wires.

Since their specialty is their noodle soup dish they have a special open kitchen dedicated to that dish where you can see the assigned chef whip out and create egg noodles from scratch while large pots of broth surround him.

 

The Beef Wanton Mami is probably of the best or THE BEST. Flavorful and clean tasting beef stock, fresh hand pulled egg noodles that are chewy and cooked perfectly, meatball size wantons and their beef chunks reminds me a lot of authentic Chinese pares.
If you’re looking for affordable, no BS and authentic Beef Wanton Noodles head over to this humble nook in Mandaluyong. Customer service is great actually, it was pretty evident that their wait staff has been loyal to them for more than 20 years.
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What is Kansi in the first place?

Define Kansi /khan-Sy/ an Ilonggo version of bulalo; a cross between Sinigang (sour meat soup) and bulalo (bone marrow soup). They first boil beef shank and bone marrow in a broth. then instead of using sampalok to make the soup tangy, the use the local batuan fruit found only in Iloilo.

Comfort food will always be relative for every Filipino where they have their respective regional specialty dishes. A home-cooked meal with these dishes has special places in your heart. For those in  Pampanga one of them is sisig, for those in Bicol they have laing, and for Bacolod, one of them is Kansi.
Pat Pat’s Kansi has been making their signature dish since 1999 in Jaro, Iloilo. In their Makati branch, the neighborhood itself is quite hidden but it actually has a few homes turned restaurants.  A lot of their customers are those from Bacolod who miss their staple food, those in Manila who discovered their secret, and those foreigners trying something new and unexpected.
Photo: JT Dingsalan
As my order arrived I was overwhelmed by the size of the bone in front of me, served in a regular size bowl it looked humongous almost paleolithic. And when you peek inside, you can see that beautiful marrow peering out. The piping hot soup produces an aroma in the air that could only come from this delicious dish. On my first spoon full, my eyes widened, what could this be? Looking over at my friend, she encouraged me to take another bite. The rich meaty broth was perfectly balanced with this sort of sour tangy-ness of the batuan fruit with just a hint of sweetness.

 

 

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Aling Sosing’s Carinderia, a legendary restaurant on the corner of a shaded street in Makati, is among the best of the best places to eat when in Makati.

 

Photo: I Love Philippines (Green Mango(

 

Curbside al-fresco with plastic tables and chairs spread along the street of Palanan in Zobel Roxas Makati. You will see patrons squeezing their way through their peppered outdoor setup.

A makeshift grilling area openly displayed where they grill up their house-famous Inihaw na Liempo. A big slab of grilled pork belly. Smoking and grilling over hot coals, the fatty slabs of the pork belly slow grill and smoke away to ensure they are embedded with an unbelievable smoky flavor.

 

 

 

It is mandatory to get of course the Inihaw na Liempo, Beef Caldereta, and their Beef Nilaga. We’re pretty sure you’ll order a cup or two of extra rice.

 

 

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We’re saving the 5th establishment for dessert. There’s always room for dessert right?

A converted ancestral house along Ocampo Street has been selling their chocolate crinkles, brownies, and lemon squares for almost 30 years now. Before becoming the woman behind all the baked goodies, Becky used to teach Religious studies in the lower grade of St. Scholastica’s college, just a few blocks away from their flagship store.

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If you pass by an all-white wooden house along 1061 P. Ocampo (formerly Vito Cruz) corner Bautista Streets (Singalong, Manila City), with newly painted white walls, you’d hardly notice the old-school signage which quietly proclaims that this is the original and main branch of Becky’s Kitchen.

Top picks to ger are their Brownies with cashew nuts, Chocolate Crinkles, Swiss Chocolate Cake, and our current favorite Victoria’s Secret (Brazo Cups)

 

Why These Establishments Matter?

 

For us, Good Food is Good Food. Food quality and the taste is KING. No matter how “IG-worthy” a pseudo-fusion restaurant is people will continue to come back and will turn into as a repeat customer if the food that is being served to them is something valuable, good and comforting.

Their facilities may be rough around the ages,  but it cuts through that the glam facade and continues to serve their loyal patrons’ valuable products for years. More than 20 years in the business? Heck! they must’ve been doing something right.

Let these classic establishments serve as a good example to the current and incoming entrants in the market that instead of focusing too much on over-hyping certain food trends who will only provide short-term success.

You go to this kind of place for the food, for the consistency of taste and for the memories.

Thank you for dropping by! We’re still sticking to our Mission Statement and that is to provide unbiased reviews (for curated contents), raw, honest and sensible recommendations for our readers.

Please comment below for your recommendations! as we will be doing another round of our Top 5 Comfort Food Series – For May 2018. Please follow us on our official Instagram Page and Facebook for real-time updates and use the #FatGirlsDayOut during your #DayOut photos!

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Note: 

  • All list are researched for, paid for, calibrated against our CX rating, and curated by the content creators. The Fat Girls Day Out team were discreet during their visit.

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Engage with us; experience@fatgirlsdayout.com or fatgirlsdayoutph@gmail.com


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