Sunday, 15 May 2011

Mooning Over Manang's at Midnight Mercato

I went on a harabas four day break to my beloved Philippines last week. Four days and a multitude of things to do did not stop me from embarking on my favorite thing to do in Pinas – bonding with family and friends over great grubs!

My literal first stop, straight from the airport at 2 AM was Midnight Mercato at the Bonifacio Global City. Admittedly, some of the stalls have closed when we arrived, but the place was still bustling with people.

The atmosphere was pretty laidback. Without the really noisy, market feel that I was expecting, perhaps because we arrived near the closing time.

We bought all the food to go and ate them at home which is just 20 minutes away from BGC.

A stall selling Bagwa ( a riff on bagnet and bawang) gave us small tidbits to try. The samplers, being cut into tiny cubes were really crispy and flavorful, so we bought 2 packs of the meal set ~ slices of bagwa, rice and a sunny side up egg.

Sadly, the actual bagwa we got was not as crispy as the ones we tried at their stall. These were rather oily, but I suppose I we nuked them for a few minutes in the oven or oven toaster, these would get a bit crispier. Still, the flavor was pretty good. And the stall also sold Bagwa ready to fry packs which is pretty convenient. However, being a GI (genuine Ilocana), I feel one can approximate this Bagwa pretty easily at a fraction of the cost ☺ Just marinate Liempo strips in garlic, patis, a dash of allspice (ngo hiong) for a few hours, steam them for a few minutes, let cool then deep fry. It’s a pretty straight forward dish to make, and cheaper too!

I told my Mother and my niece, who picked me up at the airport, that I wanted to check out the Midnight Mercato to get some ideas on a food biz I’m conceptualizing. I lied! Hahaha! The biggest reason for my incessant need to drop by MM was Manang’s Fried Chicken.
After reading reviews after mouth-watering reviews of Manang’s, often being compared to Bonchon’s Korean Fried Chicken, and being Seoul-based myself, I wanted to taste it for myself.

At PHP 120.00 for seven pieces, it was quite a steal! I had the chix glazed with the spicy sauce. And while it is definitely not like the fried chicken we have here in Seoul, it is great on its own! The chicken pieces were fried well, the seasoning was spot on and the glaze, the glaze! I know now why this chicken has gotten quite a following. And for the price, the price! This is really a great bargain.

We also bought a few pizzas from the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza shop for my pizza lovin’ brother.

He liked his pizza, but then for him, walang masamang pizza except panis! I took a few bites and the crust was good, the fillings balanced. My only rant was the red sauce. It was so sweet! I hate sweet red sauce on my pizza.

We also bought some other stuffs but they were at best, forgettable so I will not describe them in detail. Suffice to say that we will not buy them again.

Sickly Sweet Lasagna and yucky chicken rolls.


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