From torched steak to stinky tofu, we’ve narrowed down what you need to eat in your next Taipei trip and where to find them.
Tag: street food
It has all the beautiful textured disarray you see in movies, a remarkable food culture that will introduce you to new and unusual combinations of flavors. With the just right amount of English where you still need to struggle to get around and to actually feel that you are traveling.
“La Chinesca”, as known in Mexican history, gets its origin in the Chinatown neighborhood of Mexicali where that is the highest concentration of Chinese immigrants to date. They outnumber Mexican Nationals 10,000 to 700. The area which they occupy is called “Chinesca”. In Chinesca, it is common to see the Chinese try to preserve their Art, Food, and Culture thru festivities like calligraphy writing, movie showings, and food festivals. It is also a common sight to see the local restaurants adapt to the local tastes. This is perhaps the only area in Mexico where you can find Shark fin tacos, and a Chinese man wearing cowboy boots while having a burger and green tea.
The fusion of the East and South America is very evident in their food and culture. To bring this concept to light, Chef Bruce Rickett’s travelled to Mexico, the land of tacos, to learn more about the Mexican art of taco making. La Chinesca, is his passion project, to bring a bit of Mexico to home. I believe that this is what he tries to bring in his 19-seater restaurant in the middle of Aguirre St. in BF Homes, Paranaque. It’s very similar to his first restaurant Sensei, his initial venture into Japanese before the Mecha Uma and Ooma fame he has today.
It can be hard to find since there are no signages. Once you see Imbiss and Songkran it’s right across beside the organic place. Look for the wrestler sign and you know you’re near.
The space is quite small and can get loud when full. I recommend sitting by the window or by the bar so you can watch the chef in action. The walls are decorated with posters from different Hollywood films and icons from China, Mexico and some pop culture references that feature the taco.
Since we came early on a Sunday, there were still seats available.
Let’s get to the tacos. Once seated, they give you their menu where you simply tick off what you want. They then serve your their 3 sauces, the Salsa Roja, Chipotle, and Salsa Verde.
CARNE ASADA, 110 PHP
This taco with the hanging tender steak is quite similar to the steak they have at Sensei and Ooma. It then topped with esquites (a Mexican street food salad), creme and salsa. The steak is cooked very well, but I felt it lacked the texture of the usual taco I like. The flavors blended well together, but if you don’t eat it immediately it tends to crumble on your hand.
CARNITAS, 90 PHP
This taco had flavorful pork confit, bean puree, picked onions, roasted pineapple, and chicharon. This was very balanced in texture and flavor. The pork was well complimented by the sweetness of the pineapple, then tanginess of the pickled onions. The chicharon was a nice touch to add another dimension to the dish.
HUACHINANGO, 100 PHP
For their version of fish tacos, they use a battered snapper. The deep fried fish for me was a bit disappointing. Rather than a crisp batter, it seemed a bit soggier. The different sauces on the top complemented it well but lacking the texture we look for in fish tacos.
CAMARONCITO, 90 PHP
We’re not sure how I feel about this taco. The shrimp inside was fresh and delicious with the mozzarella, however, I didn’t like the small shrimp pieces they used to top it with the sesame leaf. It made the taste of the shrimp a little too fishy for my taste.
Insider Tip: We suggest you order one taco at a time, the soft tortilla crumbles after you add the sauce. It get’s a bit damp and the piece breaks. To enjoy the taco more, get it one by one, then eat while it’s hot.
La Chinesca throws away your typical notion of what a street taco is. In this true meeting of Eastern influences and South American taste, Chef Rickett’s combines both worlds in his use of ingredients and food preparation style. La Chinesca produces the bi-racial love child of China and Mexico with their unique tastes, textures, and combinations.
Call me old-fashioned, but we prefer the good old street taco with the grilled meats, chopped onions, and cilantro. But when we get a craving for something more refined we’ll find ourselves back in La Chinesca, and devour their unique tacos, guacamole, paired with a bottle of Corona.
- 248 Aguirre Ave., BF Homes
- Operating Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 11am to 2pm; 5pm till we’re out
- Contact Number: +632 738-0724
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Our experience and insight to the recently concluded World Street Food Congress
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, 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.
When I was just 5 or 6 years old, my granddad would always take me to buy Pares to this place just 2 blocks outside our house back in the mid-1980s. We have it to go and bring back home for dinner. On Sundays, my mother would take us after church to the same Pares House to reward us for sitting steadily for 1 hour without whining while listening to the Pastor’s sermon. It has been in business for more than two decades. People of all ages and all walks of life come to this place to enjoy a good set of stewed beef brisket.
The Original Pares Mami House is at the corner of N.S. Amoranto (famously known as Retiro). Red and white walls are scruffily faded and the bright orange bowls are readily available to welcome patrons. The place is simple, again scruffy, and raw. But you can see the old hardware of aluminum, paint on the wall, faded old menus that it is a heritage restaurant and the tradition of eating at this place had been passed on from generation to another.
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.
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. Cooked until it is soft, tender, fall 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.
As I ended my stressful day at work at 10 pm. I decided to drive all the way from BGC, the Fort (Taguig) and go to Retiro. Purely out of whim and I was reluctant about certain aspects of that week. A lot of things going thru my mind. I need a meal that will remind me of the good things. A meal that reminds me how my mom would feed us for comfort. I arrived past 10:30 pm and saw this huge crowd gathered around the service area.
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. SUV’s, pedicabs, motorcycles and taxi cabs are parked strategically around the restaurant. As I have mentioned earlier, everyone here is equal. In our country that is pretty subdivided by socio-economic class, this is quite a rare sight.
I have to give credit to their service system. They have this lean efficiency of order taking, serving your food up until you get your tab. They are assigned per area of the diagonal space, take your order stick the order sheet and total bill behind your table then in less than 10 minutes you’ll be served with your order. A pitcher of complimentary distilled water with ice will greet you while you wait. The way the service staff moves is like a choreographed dance that is well rehearsed.
There are other restaurants serving Pares (popular ones):
- Jonas Pares (La Loma , BGC fort), One of the 1st establishment who serves Pares. Grew up eating here as well, but over the years the recipe seems off and different. They weren’t able to maintain their original recipe.
- Pares Retiro (P.Tuazon and other branches), one of the new ones who even COPIED THE PARTS OF THE NAME perhaps to confuse people that this is the Original Pares place in Retiro. But they are not connected at all. Good cuts of beef and affordable.
- Pares Mami House (Espana Blvd.)
- Best Friends Pares Mami House (Mandaluyong), sweeter taste. Not comparable.
- Kumpares (mostly peppered in Las Pinas, Market Market Taguig), this is. Nevermind. Don’t even try it.
But none of these competitors or copycats can battle out The Original Pares Mami House. I recommend ordering the classic Beef Pares, of course, the camaron rebusado and their campto soup. Good food stands the test of time. You do not need so much forward thinking concepts and expensive restaurants to satisfy your search for palate satisfaction. A complete set of Pares will cost you 90php (2 USD) as of May 2017. 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.
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