El Chupacabra in Poblacion, Makati is a Mexican restaurant which earned its credo to be serving really good street tacos and cheap local beers. I remember stumbling at this joint back in 2012 while my former date and I wanted to still hang out and […]
Brunch x Matchmaking Event crafted by Hops & Brews and Fat Girls Day Out. It will happen on August 11, 2018, from 10:30am-3: 00pm.
Every time someone recommends Vietnamese when dining in Manila, we’re a bit skeptical. In our recent trip to Hanoi, we sampled all kinds of Vietnamese Street Food from pho to spring rolls, and other local specialties. It was disheartening to learn that when we got back to Manila. We couldn’t find the same quality and taste.
We couldn’t understand how this cuisine was overlooked and did not receive the same kind of attention to detail that Chinese or Japanese cooking gets.
Vietnamese food is basically a combination of 5 fundamental tastes, (ngũ vị): spicy (metal), sour (wood), bitter (fire), salty (water) and sweet (earth), corresponding to five organs (ngũ tạng): gall bladder, small intestine, large intestine, stomach, and urinary bladder. Vietnamese Cuisine combines these five elements in perfect balance to produce their dishes. They use fresh ingredients, complimentary textures, meat, and a reliance on herbs and spices to complete the taste. It’s one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide. Their most common ingredients are the fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, rice, fresh herbs (lemongrass, coriander, mint), and vegetables.
When we first heard on Nha Em, we were not sure on how it was going to be but we kept an open mind and tried their dishes.
Nha Em is in the Sky Park area of SM Aura. They have indoor and al fresco seats available at your pleasure. The décor itself was filled with wooden furnishings and Vietnamese icons hanging on the walls. Reminiscent of a Vietnamese home.
Our Top Picks:
Chả Giò (P305) – Pork and a variety of fresh vegetables rolled and deep fried. Use the lettuce to wrap the roll and dip in the sauce. It’s a sweet-salty mixture that’s sure to keep you hooked.
Phở Bò (P415) – This was one of the highlights of our Hanoi trip, and we’re glad to say, they lived up to the expectation. Beef slices on top a bed of rice noodles and clear beef broth. Add a bunch of fresh mint, basil, beansprouts and a squirt of lime. This heightens the experience and adds different textures and aromas to the dish. You can also add some sriracha if you want it spicy.
Bánh Xèo (P425) – Vietnamese Crepe made with coconut milk and turmeric, filled with an assortment of fresh herbs and shrimp. The proper way to eat this is to slice into it then put it in a piece of lettuce and pour in a bit of their dipping sauce. It’s a nice balance of flavors and varying textures.
Bún Gà Chả Giò (P395) – This particular dish was a newfound favorite in our Vietnam trip, We were curious to see if they could replicate it. We tried the Hanoi version where they serve the soup and meat together and the noodles apart with the vegetables, Nha Em’s version was from Saigon where all elements were in a bowl with just the dipping sauce as separate. We opted to pour in the sauce, the first bite was like going back to Vietnam. Their rice noodles were perfectly thin, silky, and bouncy. Each bite from the bowl had all the elements of the dish we remembered.
Tôm Kho Tảu (P795) – Humongous river prawns on a bed of crab fat. This dish comes with three River prawns, the prawns itself are tender and are perfectly covered with the crab fat. We insist you try this with plain white rice and ask the server to give you more crab fat sauce( It’s FREE!).
Vietnamese Iced Coffee – Strong flavors of the Robusta beans shine thru even with condensed milk added into it. It’s exactly how we remember it. You can even tell your server how strong you’d like your coffee to be.
OUR OVERALL TAKE
Nha Em means “my home” in Vietnamese, and what exactly what they do. They take you to their own home experience. Chef Sam Al-Suhairy and his team were all trained in Ho Chi Min in Vietnam, while all recipes are from his mother. Quality check is implemented by Chef Sam’s mother, to ensure that it’s up to par with her standards. She visits each branch to check, and we say that’s the best test to check for authenticity.
We’re glad to say we’ve finally found an authentic Vietnamese restaurant that was able to assimilate our experience in Vietnam. They bring over ingredients straight from Ho Chi Min to provide diners a taste of what Vietnamese cuisine should be. While it’s on the pricier end, we would gladly spend a little more if it means being able to experience their food once again.
Restaurants change and improve and this review will be obsolete over time. – Yes, this review is biased, but NOT towards the sponsoring restaurant, BUT towards the Fat Girls Day Out’s discerning taste buds, so don’t expect scientific objectivity. Yes, we will always account and prioritize you as- Our Audience. Our Reader.
Disclaimer: Our visit to Nha Em was sponsored, so we wouldn’t be able to validate our CX metrics for this one. What we can offer is our HONEST outtakes from each dish.
- Location: Fifth Floor, SM Aura Premier, C5 Road Corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
- Average Spend: 1400php/2 Pax
- Store Hours: 10am-11pm
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La Mère Poulard in Manila is the fourth branch of the renowned French restaurant. The original restaurant still sits in Mont Saint-Michel, while the two other branches can be found in Japan. There are only 4 La Mère Poulard in the whole world and that includes their venture here in the Philippines.
South America is a country with a cultural and culinary diversity. Comprising over 12 different countries and varying influences from their European neighbors. South America has some of the best dishes in the world, and their lasting legacy and flavors have already made an impact […]
Escolta in her glory years was known to be grand in its architecture and as a centralized location that houses malls, drugstores, stores and stand-alone theaters. She was roaring lioness that commands respect and adoration in her time. It was the commercial hub of Manila during the early 1900s and was a witness to many pioneering establishments in the country: first ice cream parlor, first movie house, first electric tram among others. Come 2012- a group named 98B COLLABoratory was created. It is an artist-run advocacy and space initiative in Manila. They focus on community building, networking of artist, local material merchants and kitchen. Their main objective is to create a space where creative centric individuals from all forms of disciplines artists, designers, curators, writers, musicians, filmmakers, activists, educators, researchers, cultural workers, performers, architects, and students together with the general public. The Den resides at the back of the First United Building offering a hidden refuge from the gritty outside world.
Dim Lights, Congruent Shapes, and Good Coffee
In all essence of its name- “Den” it really oozes that vibe. You can pursue activities privately like reading, doing some light work, and perhaps simply sitting quietly contemplating things about one’s self.
The Den is a specialty coffee shop in the heart of Old Manila that is meant to play with form and functions while paying respect of their space. Don’t expect big comfortable coaches, typical wooden chairs conducive to reading. This coffee shop is dimly lit, ambient playlist piped in that will tolerate you to just wave off.
Grey slabs of concrete mixed with industrial wooden fixtures and colors give this 82 square meters of space a distinct deep character. Started as just a coffee shop idea with a manual pour over pop-up. The three owners Gabriel Villegas and his partners Carlo Magno, and Arts Serrano saw the opportunity to open this concept coffee shop. The owners are also the architects behind The Hub.
Wooden platforms with intersecting lines, a form of shapes that exudes balance.
With The Den’s beaming character, they also attract various segments of customers. Here you will find creative young individuals, the lost tourist, office workers from nearby buildings, students cutting classes or on a date. Although mixed with different people and you would expect loud chatters these dynamic customers also flows with this coffee shop’s character.
They get their beans from Kalsada Coffee which directly sources their beans directly from micro-farmers and an organization that pushes boundaries in coffee processing for the local coffee industry.
Aromatic notes fills your nostrils as you take in the bold flavors emanating from the cup. Rich, creamy, and smooth.
This will be our go-to coffee space in Escolta
Just sitting in this coffee shop you can feel its authenticity and thoughtful execution of design and function. There are minor cracks on the wall and even old paint remnants that they didn’t cover up to maintain the essence of respecting every inch of available space of the First United Building.
A nondescript space at the back of a classic Art Deco building hailing from the Queen- Escolta. The Den is your gracious host inviting you to come ins and enjoy a cup or two of their specialty coffee.
- Address: First United Building, 413 Escolta Street, Binondo, Manila
- Opening Hours: Today 11 AM to 9 PM
- Official Facebook
- Official Instagram
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We want to give homage to the OG- of the Pinoy fast food playground. The almighty Tropical Hut Hamburger. Find out which menu items are our staple and why we always choose to return despite of their dilapidated fixtures.
The result of the collaboration between DoubleDragon group and chef Margarita Forés, Islas Pinas is a project that aims to spark an unrequited love for the Philippines and to cultivate patriotism by through diaorama heritage display and Filipino cuisine.
When Yuval and Norfar Mann moved to the Philippines from Israel about eight years ago, Norfar struggled to find restaurants that cater to vegetarians like her and most of the times vegetarian dishes that were being served to her wasn’t really 100% vegetarian at all. On February 2016, the couple opened Chaplin at Century City Mall in Makati. Chaplin serves authentic Israeli cuisine, pastries, fine coffee and curated cocktails.
Just on the 4th floor of Century City Mall, Chaplin is a great quick refuge from the bustling chaos of Kalayaan Ave and Poblacion. Its standalone restaurant has a breezy and nice Al Fresco set up and a minimalist interior fixture from the inside so customers won’t divert focus away from the food.
The Fat Girls Day Out crew immediately had an impression that once we sat down we would definitely stay for hours. Glass walls, plush couches, and the soft indoor lights all contribute to the laidback ambiance.
Chaplin takes its cue from no less than the Charlie Chaplin. The owners are fans of the legendary comedian.
The Essence of Israeli Cuisine
Israelis have developed and continue to enjoy a delicious cuisine rooted in the uniqueness of Israeli society itself. Israeli cuisine demonstrates the true melting pot that is Israel. Coming over from over 80 countries, Jews have returned to their motherland, bringing with them the food ideologies and recipes they developed during their journeys. Such culinary traditions and methods span 3,000 years of history. Imagine that. Of course over the years these cooking traditions have been shaped over time form Africa, Europe, and even Asia.
Basically, all cuisines are an interplay of many forces- from history, sociology, and agricultural. Israeli is the best example of that. Coming from many confluences “Israeli” originated from the wider spectrum of Middle Eastern cuisine. Popular outtakes are their Falafel (deep-fried chickpea balls served in pita bread), Israeli Salad which consists of cucumbers, tomatoes that are chopped distinctively into small pieces. Eastern European influence is also integral to their cuisine, with the use of sour cream. Expect heavy use of olives and olive oil, wheat, chickpeas, and fresh yogurts.
We like starting off with a nice aperitif. We ordered their house-recommended house Mojito.
Tel Aviv Mojito (375PHP)
Thick sweet cream layer with lemon zest on top which complements the drink below
A sampler platter of cheese sticks, samosas, and falafel. Try it with their 3 sauces (roasted bell pepper, yogurt, pesto)
Tons of fresh greens, juicy tomatoes, crispy red onions, toasted pita bread, crunchy cucumbers, a zesty lemon dressing.
Pureed chickpeas mixed with tahini, lemon, olive oil, salt, and garlic. This particular dish was quite overwhelming with the generous serving size and different texture. they added some crushed green chilies, cilantro, and whole chickpeas to the top that just changed the experience. Add this to the kebab, to the pita, or to any dish they serve.
Roasted eggplants, tahini, garlic and lemon topped with almonds and parsley.
The combination of bulgur mixed with lots of fresh mint and parsley is sensational. A bit of olive oil and lemon juice finish it off beautifully. They mixed in some dried cranberry and added some sweetness to give the dish a more balanced taste.
Deep fried Cauliflower with a tinge of sweet soy based sauce, parsley, and chili. This is not a dish we usually order in Mediterranean restaurants but this is wildly addicting.
Baked filo pastry with amba eith, ground beef, lamb fat, spinach, herbs, and pine nuts.
Bourekas are nothing short of edible perfection — heavenly little parcels of dough crisped with hot oil or melted butter and stuffed with any number of delicious savory ingredients.
Chicken Thigh Kebab
Served with grilled vegetables, long grain rice, and side of pita bread.
Traditional Turkish Coffee with Baklava.
Strong dark coffee with notes of cardamom and cinnamon served in a traditional Turkish coffee pot. Pair it with the crispy, nutty, and creamy baklava. These two elements together create balance for your dessert.
Why Dine at Chaplin?
Makati is an active city with full of ADHD individuals making you want to randomly move for some reason. It’s hard to find time to just sit back, relax, and enjoy a solid meal with friends or family. The food that we sampled was excellent and comforting. Israeli food has a lot of similarities in terms of character to Asian-style dining. Their food is served in big portion sizes that is meant to be shared family-style.
Israeli cuisine is a well worth dining experience worth sharing with our loved ones.
- Location: 4/F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Ave. Makati
- Operating Hours: 8am-11pm
- Spend Ratio: 1,400php for 2 pax
Most won’t have any clue just yet where to take their precious Dads, so the Fat Girls Day Out crew listed our top curated recommendations to help you out!