Around three minutes away from the busy, noisy street of the Katipunan road is the very well-known strip that is profuse in various establishments that offer a wide array of food for those with big and adventurous appetites. Maginhawa is home to many restaurants that have caught a lot of people's attention, and recently, the newly-opened StrEat: Food Truck Park at Maginhawa has garnered attention big enough to make their area of the street a little congested from all the people trying to get dropped off at the entrance since there's very limited parking nearby.
It was showering and our initial thought was to find a shaded area to eat. We settled at the Thai restaurant Me Love You Long Time. The restaurant was the corner of the food park and within its three wooden walls were quirky decorations, from the multicolored bottle lights or the Buddha heads on the counter, that sets the atmosphere to relax. Our first order was the Beef Rendang (Php 159). We suggest you go early to this food park because the service is unbelievably fast when there are barely any people. When the dish arrived on the table, in record time of less than ten minutes, it looked amazing. One of us forgot that we had to take a picture first because she couldn't wait to try it and she just dug in. The rendang sauce is sweeter and nuttier compared to the normal rendang sauce, which usually has a mild spiciness. Sadly the sauce was a bit watery. As for the beef, it was easy to pull apart and super tender. Totally worth the price. Along with his dish we ordered a Thai iced tea (Php 49) that happened to be milk tea.
We left one of our companions to finish off the beef rendang to circle the rest of the place. We decided to order the Picnic Bucket Number 1 (Php 120) from Crazy Chef. This was four-piece wings in spicy sauce served with rice. The crispy, but somewhat small, wings were coated in sauce that was quite spicy, even to the numbest of taste buds, but also had a hint of sweetness. Apart from the heavy wings, we ordered a small cup of Kwek Kwek (Php 50) which seems a little pricey for a few pieces and a little splash of spiced vinegar that was barely there.
Next was a burger from G.R.E.A.T Burger Truck. You can't miss the bright red food truck near the entrance. We ordered the Flying Pig (Php 160) that was a burger that included bacon and fried egg. We hoped for more bacon. We also hoped for crispier bacon. But in the end, it was pretty filling and worth the price. On the side were crinkle fries (Php 100). Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, just how fries are supposed to be. To wash it all down, we got a bottle of Homemade Raspberry Iced Tea. It was a bit too sweet for homemade iced tea, but hey, on a summer day it was definitely refreshing.
Mexikombi is the most adorable food truck there is so far. It caught our attention probably because it was one, a red Volkswagen van from the 70's (probably why the place is called Mexikombi), or the mustache painted on the face of the car. The booth was decorated to resemble a cute little backyard fiesta. We had the Chicken and Beef Soft Tacos (Php 130) with Blue Lemonade (Php 35). For the chicken taco, you could taste that the chicken was really marinated for a while. It's just a big explosion in your mouth. The spiciness is just right. The beef was saltier than the chicken but that wasn't technically a bad thing. However, we prefer the chicken because the beef taco was around your typical taco with a soft shell. Both tacos had a good meat and toppings ratio. The people in charge of the food truck just tempted us to buy one of their drinks because it was placed in a beautiful mason jar jug. We could see the lemon, and basil!, floating in the jug. The drink was subtle, refreshing and perfect for the humid and hot afternoon.
Round two was much sweeter and a lot weirder. We had the Swiss Missed (Php 120) from The Lost Bread. What was really cool about this drink was that it had this squirter filled with kalhua. The alcohol didn't overpower the drink at all, just gave it a little kick within all that creaminess. This drink should be shared with another person. If we had any significant others, this would be the drink that we would share with them.
Something we noticed that kept coming out of Me Love Me Long Time's kitchen were the spring rolls. On impulse, we ordered the surprisingly cheap dish (Php 99). A lot of people were ordering it probably because you would never get fresh spring rolls at this price anywhere else. Well, not anywhere we have been so far. It would have been better if it was served cold but there's no doubt about it that these spring rolls were fresh, from the shrimp to the mint used. We wondered if it would be better if it would fare better with that Thai fish sauce dipping sauce instead of the peanut dipping sauce they had.
Then things got weird when one of our friends brought to the table The Soul Food Truck's Fried Cheese (Php 70). Dont complain about it being only three pieces. Remember that this is pure unadulterated cheese deep fried to a golden crisp. After a few bites, you just want to call it quits. This snack was made for sharing. Definitely. What was scarier was its dipping sauce. The cinnamon flavor is strong in this one, very strong.But when we each took a bite of deep fried cheese dipped in cinnamon sauce, we all agreed that it actually worked. The sauce was sweet and the cheese was salty, plus this little spice from the cinnamon. A good snack after a few drinks. Or during a few drinks.
Speaking of drinks, Endless Summer has the best smoothies. Their Choco Banana (Php 80) and Strawberry Mango (Php 90) smoothies are just two of their long list of drinks. We wish could take 20 home for each drink.
To end the night, we entered Magpie Cafe's air-conditioned crate container. We ordered a Nutty Banana Bingsoo (Php 150). Bingsoo is Korean shaved ice. Just shaved ice. You could eat this dessert alone, when heartbroken especially, or with friends like we did. It's comforting in this summer heat since it's reminiscent of our country's own halo-halo. It had shaved ice with milk topped with bananas, chocolate, and crushed nuts. Except that the shaved ice wasn't as sweet and comforting as to the ice in halo-halo. Strangely the nuts tasted like the nuts they serve on airplanes, or Happy Nuts? Maybe if they didn't use peanuts that were a tad bit salty, or just used a different type of nut, it would have tasted better. There was also an out of place tube ice swimming with the shaved ice.
Overall, StrEat is the place to go when you're in for a chill night out with your friends or even with your family. It's a small area with limited tables so, do come early and snatch up a seat. Oh, another plus side: you can bring your pets! Just make sure they don't make a mess.
- Anna and Daniela
Hitting the streets is the best way to discover a country's culture since you get to see everyday life. For the food factor, you could say that eating street food is a great way to immerse yourself in the country's culture. Below are some snacks from all over the globe that will make you cry in hunger!
Italy has a different take on rice balls. Arancini are usually made out of rice, ragu, tomatoes sauce, and mozzarella or peas. It's called arancini because of its orange color, arancia meaning orange and arancina meaning little orange in Italian. (x)
This snack is so popular in Hong Kong that it was named most popular street food in the country. Egg Waffles are made through pouring waffle batter into two hot plates with half-spheres scattered across the surface to create its shape. The first time I saw these things I hoped that in each egg there would be like a cream filling inside. Sadly my expectations were too high. But they do come in different flavors like strawberry, chocolate, or coconut. (x)
I'm talking about the authentic Mexican tacos here and not the ones you eat at Taco Bell. Authentic Mexican tacos are made out of soft tortillas that can be either rolled or folded. The filling can practically consist of anything you have, but essentially has some sort of protein. The original meaning of the word meant to plug or wad. (x)
Fries in sandwiches, yes! This South African snack originated a place around Cape Town where people would literally just put whatever leftovers they had into two slices of long bread. You can't say what the Gatsby usually is because there are many varieties sold in the country. However, one of the staple ingredients are fries or hot chips. (x)
At first poutine looks like someone's really drunken idea for a snack. But hey, it's a fucking good idea. Poutine is made out of cheese curds and gravy-like sauce over some crispy fries. Not only is it a street food, although also sold in many diners around Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, but it's also the ultimate comfort food. God bless Canada. (x)
Dinamita probably gets its name because the stem of the green chili and the cylindrical shape is similar to of a dynamite's. Essentially it is made out of a long green chili, seeds removed, that is rolled up with cheese in a lumpia wrapper then deep fried. Sometimes there would be meat inside like ground beef or ham.
Wouldn't it be great to have one international market that sells street food from around the world? If that existed, may my wallet and liver rest in peace. Amen.
- Words by Anna and illustrations by Kim
Arancini | Egg Waffles | Tacos | The Gatsby | Poutine | Dinamita
As they all say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. My grandma made it a point to drill into my mind how it's essential to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Hence, the breakfast table was overflowing with a wide variety of food that we were all expected to munch down. Personally, I find breakfast food to be the best and there's no better way to start my day but with a big, Filipino breakfast. A typical Filipino breakfast consists of fried rice, sunny-side-up eggs, and choice of meat - or more commonly known as silog.
Silog comes from the combination of the terms sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg). Basically, anything can be a silog meal. Just add the suffix -silog to anything and there you have it. The possibilities are endless, but the original silog was the tapsilog.
The tapsilog consists of the silog and beef tapa. Tapa is thinly-sliced, marinated, and dried beef that sits in loads of either soy sauce or oil when served. This king-of-all-silogs is best served with atchara (pickled papaya strips) as a side dish and with either vinegar or ketchup as condiment. One of the best places to get tapsilogs at is this small restaurant inside the University of the Philippines called Rodic's.
Longsilog stars the longganisa, a sausage flavoured with different spices that make each version of it taste very distinct. Every region in the Philippines has their own version of the longganisa. The most popular ones are from the areas of Vigan and Lucban.
The tocino is made from pork belly and is usually cured for 2-3 days to create that sweet and soft meat. The people from Pampanga make the best tocino that is known all around. This is best when dipped in vinegar. With fried rice and egg, the tocilog is ready.
Bacon is one of the breakfast favorites of a lot of people. This is probably the Western version of the tocino seeing how they're both cured pork. Those deep fried, crispy strips of pork work really well with the fried rice and egg to create baconsilog.
Boneless Bangus (milkfish) is available at most supermarkets and is very easy to purchase. Some come in packs that have already been marinated, so all that's left to do is to fry them up and serve with fried rice and egg for a simple bangsilog.
The original idea behind the silog meals was to consume the leftovers during dinner from the previous night. Basically, anything can be a silog. Be it fried chicken, grilled squid, or pork chop, just serve in a plate alongside fried rice and egg, and there you have your own silog.