Noms

Classy Turo Turo at Mannam Comfort Filipino

It’s taken forever for me to write about Mannam but it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the spotlight. Because they do. They honestly do. I wanted to write about them as soon as I took my first bite of their noms. And I would have if not for unforeseen events and laziness life getting in the way.

Let me stop the rambling and tell you about that one weekday I was in Makati for lunch. It doesn’t happen all that often because I live and work in Taguig but it just so happened that I had some errands to run on that side of town that day. By noon, I was done and I wanted a quick lunch before heading back to the office. Went straight to Food Choices because it near and it seemed like the most logical option since I was alone and I didn’t want to eat in a fancy little restaurant by myself (and I didn’t want to splurge). Food Choices is pretty quiet on weekdays, lacking the usual shrieking of babies, the giggly laughter of hormonal teenagers, and the general buzz of busy.

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Mannam Comfort Filipino can be found in Glorietta 4 Food Choices

Holy shoot I’m rambling again! Sorry, I do tend to go on and on about unrelated things. Anyhoots, I found this new (to me at least) stall in one corner where the old Cucina used to be. What drew me to their stall was their food displays- their noms out front in scrubbed metal pots and pans, not unlike those you find in your typical carinderias, but with a certain air of classiness about them. Maybe it’s because of the simple block lettering that reads “Comfort Filipino” to the side, or the large screen displays of their menu, or the uniformed service staff that seem to know what they’re doing, or the combination of all of those things make the tiny place look quite.. elegant.

Mannam is the official name of this little place and I had all but confused it with the restaurant in Greenbelt 2 called Namnam (you can’t blame me, eh?). They both advertise comfort food, Filipino-style. They even have the same color scheme, baby blue and classic white. Up until now, I’m not entirely sure if the two are affiliated but the food selections are different, that much I can vouch for.

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Kumpletos! For just p149, you get a satisfying full Pinoy meal.

Am I rambling again? Okay, let me try to get back on track. So Mannam offers Filipino combo meals called Kumpletos, complete with rice of choice, ulam of choice, gulay of choice, sawsawan of choice, and Lemongrass Sinigang soup. Reminiscent of the Pinoy turo-turo, but somehow fancified. Meat choices include Tapa Style Grilled Beef Belly (which looks so nommy, I’m all set to try it next time!), Inasal-Style Grilled Chicken, Bagnet-Style Pork Belly-licious, and Butterflied Fried Tilapia. Their rice choices include White rice, Tinapa Rice, Garlic Rice, and Bagoong Rice.  My Kumpletos meal that day was a combination of Tinapa Rice, Bagnet-Style Pork Belly-licious (the best seller!), and Kare Kareng gulay. I got all that plus free Lemongrass Sinigang soup all for p149 bucks!

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Mannam’s Bagnet-Style Pork Belly-licious

My tray was pretty full, because they serve food in large plates. Add in the soup, veggies, and sauce bowls and it can get pretty crowded. I’m not sure where to start, but I think I should say that I’m usually an ulam hoarder and a half-rice type of girl. One Kumpletos meal from Mannam comes with a mountain of rice and although I’m not proud to admit it, since this is a food blog and I’m mostly honest, I have to say that I guiltily finished every morsel TT_TT. Here I declare that Mannam’s Tinapa Rice has usurped the imaginary BaconTunaMelt trophy from Kanin Klub, former holder of the Best Tinapa Rice award (I hold a gala night in my head once a year).

Good rice can be ulam by itself but Mannam doesn’t stop at just good fantastic orgasmic rice. Their ulams could and should win awards. Mannam’s Bagnet-Style Pork Belly-licious in particular, is belly, belly-licious. Sinfully so. A slab of fatty pork belly is seasoned and cooked bagnet-style, salted and fried to mouth-watering perfection. The meat was so juicy and tender that cutting into it was effortless, even with my flimsy plastic spoon and fork. I savored it all- meat, fat, skin, oil, rice, soup, sauce. In the end, I was in bliss.

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Soft, tender, and perfect.

The good

  • Comfort Filipino food, served with a touch of class.
  • Large servings.
  • Cheap and fantastic noms.
  • Easily accessible.

The bad

  • The one stall they have is in Makati, and I’m not there.
  • Maybe they could offer more ulam choices.
  • Nothing to complain about, really.

The bacon

5 out of 5 bacons! Mannam is perfect. It’s a little stall where you can grab a quick, large, and affordable Filipino dish that’s unique, filling, and delicious. Perhaps the choices are a bit limited, but what they offer now are pretty darn fantastic, there really isn’t room for complaints.

Mannam

Food Choices, 3rd Floor, Glorietta 4
Ayala Center, Makati

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Noms

Le Family @ SM Aura

The name doesn’t exactly make you think of the country of Vietnam or anything related to it, but Le Family is actually a Vietnamese restaurant. Although a tad modernized, they feature authentic Vietnamese noms, if we’re basing it on the number of actual Viet diners who choose to eat there (a good bunch).

Le Family is located at the topmost floor of SM Aura, along the row of restaurants that lead to/make up the Sky Park, where you get an excellent view of the city. I’ve been eyeing it for a while because their prices seem reasonable and the ambiance looks homey but other more traditional restaurants have always won the where-to-eat-for-the-night coin toss for one reason or another.

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Clockwise from top left: Fresh Spring Roll or Goi cuon tom thit (p168), Crispy Squid or Muc chien xu (p260), Fresh Spring Roll or Goi cuon tom thit (p168), Fried Rice with Salted Fish and Chicken or Com chien ca man ga xe (p180)

It finally got bumped up recently and I was finally able to sample their noms.  I’ve been to Vietnam a total of once and from that one trip, I’ve associated Vietnamese food with vegetables, coffee, and pho (pronounced like “fuh” rather than “foh” or god forbid, “foe”). Minus the coffee, Le Family has all these and a bunch more. They have a pretty varied selection of Vietnamese dishes on their menu including a whole section dedicated to barbecues, which I didn’t really expect. Apparently, they like barbecues too.

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Clockwise from top left: Beef Soup with Beef Tenderloin or Pho ba tai (p200), Chicken with Honey (p230, Beef with Lemongrass or Bo nuong xa cay (p280), Fried Beef with Chili Oil or Ba xao sa te (p280)

For appetizers, they’ve got Fresh Spring Rolls or Goi cuon tom thit which is amazexxorz. The roll is made up of a healthy bunch of chopped lettuce, carrots, sprouts (I think), and usually some shrimp or pork wrapped in a soft, transparent, almost jelly-like wrapper. Dipped in a spicy-ish peanut-ish sauce, it is a yummy vegetable treat. Srsly, these fat, healthy rolls are enough to keep me going back to Le Family.

Tried their pho too, of course, particularly the Pho ba ta or Beef Soup with Beef Tenderloin. An order is good enough for sharing, if you have other dishes among your group. The soup base is a little tastier than expected, which is actually a good surprise (a little too tasty is better than too bland).

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Fried Pork or Ba roi ap chao (p280)

Most of the noms were good, refreshingly different from the typical (Chinese/Pinoy) dishes we usually go for group meals. My favorite of the bunch that we tried is the Ba roi ap chao or simply, Fried Pork. You would think this is nothing special, fried just pork liempo is available in most local restaurants after all, but you would be wrong.

Ba roi ap chao is the bombest of the bombs. If Ba roi ap chao were a person, I’d probably be hanging on to its every word completely enamored and I’d be screwed because I’d give it everything I have. It’s not simply fried pork belly, the Ba roi ap chao is super thinly sliced belly of pork seasoned with a bunch of secret, delicious, and I’m pretty sure magical spices. It’s yummy, simply put. Writing about it actually makes me want to drop work for the day altogether and go there to order this one dish. And rice of course, I’m Asian, hello.

The good

  • Relatively healthy noms.
  • Tasty Vietnamese noms.
  • Good service.
  • Affordable meals.

The bad

  • Some dishes are too salty.
  • Uniformity, some days one dish is too salty, other days it can be perfectly seasoned.

The bacon

4 out of 5 bacons! It’s a shame that we don’t get many Vietnamese restaurants in the city because Vietnamese noms are  healthier than most other cuisines (except rabbit of course) but are quite tasty. Thankfully, Le Family adds to the short list. Although some orders can be a hit and a miss, on the whole, Le Family still gives you a good selection of yummy Vietnamese noms.

Le Family

5/F SM Aura Premier, Mckinley Parkway
McKinley Hill, Taguig

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Press

Say Yes To Freedom: Starbucks Celebrates Independence Day

Calling all Pinoy coffeeholics! Starbucks will be offering an Independence Day Promo tomorrow. On June 12, you get a tall handcrafted beverage of your choice for every purchase of a Philippine Collector Series or Kape Vinta Blend merchandise. Celebrate Pinoy Pride tomorrow! For more information on this and other Starbucks promos, visit the Starbucks Promotions page.

Say Yes!
Say Yes!

Say Yes to Freedom Philippine Independence day Promo:

  1. Customers will receive a complimentary Tall handcrafted beverage for every purchase of ANY Philippine Collector Series (mug or tumbler) or Kape Vinta products (250 g. whole bean or tumbler) on June 12, 2014.
  2. Demitasse set is not included.
  3. Complimentary handcrafted beverage must be redeemed on the date, time and point of purchase only.
  4. Starbucks handcrafted beverages include brewed coffee, espresso-based beverages, tea, hot chocolate and Frappuccino Blended Beverages.
  5. Bottled beverages (bottled water, fruit juices) and brewed Starbucks Reserve™ are excluded from this promotion.
  6. This promotion cannot be combined with other offers and promos.
  7. Offer is only valid in all Starbucks stores in the Philippines.

Per DTI-NCR Permit #4209, Series of 2014.

Noms, Press

Chunky Blue Bell Ice Cream

Ice cream is my cure-all. And although I know that there is no scientific basis to my claim, I feel that all problems/sicknesses/sads can be fixed by a few spoonfuls of good ice cream. I always have a ready tub of the stuff in my fridge for Mondays days when I feel like the universe is against me.

The people of Blue Bell Creameries and I are kindred spirits. Last week, I learned a bit more about this not-so little ice cream company that started way back in 1907 in the little town of Brenham, Texas. Back then, they were called Brenham Creamery Company and kept their special ice cream in a large wooden tub with ice and salt and delivered by horse and wagon (how novel!).

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Blue Bell’s Rocky Mountain Road and Red Velvet Cake

Valuing quality, they chose the finest and freshest ingredients to make the very best product (and they still do, up ’til now). Their special ice cream soon quickly gained a loyal following among friends and neighbors. One hundred years later, they still value the same old fashioned ideas in making their ice cream prioritizing value, quality, and variety above all else. Since then, they’ve grown to become a steady market leader in the ice cream industry. Blue Bell Creameries have a combined dollar share of 23% in all markets where their ice cream is sold topping even Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s (Source: ACNielsen SCANTRACK Data 2012).  

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Made with loving care.

Some friends and I had the chance to try a couple of Blue Bell Flavors last week- Red Velvet Cake and Rocky Mountain Road.

Red Velvet has seen a rise in popularity, everyone and their next door neighbor now offers red velvet flavors in various foodstuff, ice cream included. I’m a fan of the red velvet flavor in general, to me it’s tasty without being too rich and light enough without being too bland. In ice cream though, I find that the red velvet flavor usually gets washed out by either the sweetness or the coldness (I’m not sure which) that the only tell that it’s red velvet is the color. The Blue Bell version had more than enough red velvet cake bits mixed in the ice cream that you’d for sure get a fair share of large cake chunks per serving giving it more red velvet flavor than most.

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Large chunks of cake inside!

While the Red Velvet ice cream was yummy, it was the Rocky Mountain Road that was a hit with everyone. My photo may not look like much, but this little number had generous amounts of  large chunks of brownies, walnuts, and marshmallow swirls in it. No scrimping on the ingredients, that’s what you get with Blue Bell Ice Cream. The ice cream base however, isn’t as creamy on the Rocky Mountain Road as the other ones. But with all the bits and pieces that the ice cream has, a less creamy ice cream base means it’s lighter on the tummy.

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Brownies, walnuts, marshmallow swirls aplenty!

Next time you’re in the mood for ice cream (everyday, right?), you may want to give Blue Bell Ice Cream a try. You’d be getting good quality ice cream that wouldn’t disappoint. Blue Bell Ice Cream is available in major supermarkets all over the metro.