Saturday, August 25, 2012

Affordable Meals at Manang's Chicken

I still can't forget the first time I have tasted the famous chicken at Manang's Chicken.
Since my dining experience there have always been good, then I was confident to bring my kid with me at Manang's Chicken even if I have a tight budget. 
One boring Saturday, my 4-year old kid and I decided to check out the new Wilcon City Center along Visayas Avenue.  We always pass by that establishment, but never been there so I guess it is about time to check it out. I know that they have an arcade and Manang's Chicken there so everything was already planned. I let my kid play first before having late snack/early dinner at Manang's Chicken. The huge logo and screaming red interior made this restaurant hard to miss...even from afar.
It was surprising that Wilcon was not that crowded and it was on a Saturday...I think mainly because the mall is less accessible than its nearby competitors like Savemore, Cherry and Circle C.  If you have a car, then it would be easier...but if you are commuting, then only those who live along Visayas Avenue would find this place accessible. 
The staff of Manang's Chicken were friendly and accommodating....they should be because there were only like 2 pairs of customers eating there plus us...LOL.

I like the design of the restaurant...very bold and bright which gives you more energy to eat...LOL...unlike dim restaurants that would make you want to sleep more than dine. I ordered chicken with original sauce and spaghetti meal which is worth P124. I really prefer the spicy one, but my kid won't be able to eat it so I have to settle for the original sweet soy sauce. I also ordered rice worth P15 because I won't be satisfied eating just the chicken. That meal included a drink already so imagine spending only P139 for two people...isn't that worth it?
I am not that fond of their spaghetti because they use like cheese sauce on top and not real grated cheese. The noodles was a little overcooked and the sauce was kinda sweet. I was trying to force my kid to eat it, but he does not like to so I let him taste the bestseller of Manang's Chicken, which is their (bon-chon style) chicken. My kid liked the taste of it so we shared the chicken. I was glad that their chicken was huge unlike other restaurants so both of us were satisfied with what we ate. We just took home the leftover spaghetti and to my surprise, my kid ate it when he got home..LOL. Maybe he was just not in the mood to eat spaghetti at that are weird sometimes.

Despite of the sweet and cheese whiz spaghetti, I highly recommend Manang's Chicken because of their affordable meals and of course their superb chicken! Here is the Manang's Chicken Menu for those who are interested in eating there. 

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Busog Ang Bulsa at Tyan sa Chic-Boy

CHICBOY: is the common term used by many Filipinos to a guy who has many girlfriends derived from two words "chicks" meaning girls and "boy" which refers to the dude. 
This term is now often affiliated with the Pinoy Restaurant CHIC-BOY (chicken at baboy). Whoever gave that name to the restaurant is really smart because it is very Filipino and it clearly indicates what its specialties are. 
CHIC-BOY's closest competitor is Mang Inasal since they both offer almost the same menu having Chicken Inasal as one of their specialties. 

Me and my kid got stuck at Munoz when it rained one Saturday night so I decided to have dinner first while we wait for the rain to subside. The first restaurant that you will see when you enter Jackman Mall is Chic-Boy and beside that is Mang Inasal. I was torn where to eat, but I decided to go for Chic-Boy when I saw their ad on Spaghetti worth P44 only because my kid loves Spag. 
What I also like about Chic-Boy is that they have more choices in menu and I remember having a bad experience at Mang Inasal where the chicken was really tiny and the sinigang na boneless bangus only had 1/4 half-sliced piece in it. The restaurant was spacious and we sat in this long bench so that my kid have more room to play while eating. As you can see he had fun playing with the toothpick.

I ordered Spaghetti worth P44 for him and I got the Chibog Busog Meal Chicken Inasal (Petso part of the chicken) which is worth P99 and that included unlimited rice and soup. So total bill is less than P150. Perfect for Pinoys who have a huge appetite, but has a limited budget. 
The spaghetti has real cheese on top unlike Manang's Chicken and it tasted just okay for me (since I prefer Italian-style spaghetti) but my kid loved it so it must be good.

I did not drink the soup much, but it tasted like sinigang. The Pecho is slightly burnt, but it still tasted good and it is quite huge so I shared some of it with my kid. He actually ate a lot that night, finishing the spaghetti and even ate chicken inasal with rice. The rice is wrapped in pandan leaf to give it that aromatic flavor. It is best poured with chicken oil, but not too much or else you might end up feeling dizzy. 
I tried to limit myself into eating only 1 and a half rice even if I wanted to eat more. My overall dining experience at Chic-Boy was better than Mang Inasal so if I get to choose between those two restaurants, I would certainly go for Chic-Boy again...because there are more choices and the food tastes better.
Here is the Chic-Boy Menu happy eating!

UPDATE: I returned to Chic-Boy yesterday and decided to order for the Lechon Cebu which is worth P125 with unlimited rice and soup. Add P25 and you get unlimited iced tea. 
I was expecting the real Lechon Cebu (roasted pork), but it was grilled lechon kawali so I was a bit disappointed. If I was expecting lechon kawali, then I would really be delighted because the pork was tasty and cooked just right. I can even eat the pork fat and skin even if they were not that crunchy because it was not that oily. The suka (vinegar) was a perfect match for the grilled pork. I actually finished 1 and a half rice with this meal...SATISFIED! 

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Get A Taste of Singapore at Ang Mo Kio

My friend Rico has been bragging to me the new restaurant of his brother Ang Mo Kio even before it has opened. When I was surfing for new vouchers at Ensogo, I saw this   great deal on Ang Mo Kio: Pay only P250 for P500 worth of food and drinks. So I decided to buy a voucher so I can check out if their food was really good.
My workplace is just walking distance from Ang Mo Kio, which is located at the 3rd floor of Podium Mall in Ortigas Center. I invited my former colleague to join me for lunch since the voucher was about to expire. She's really a nice person so I decided to treat her and was also excited to taste Singaporean food. I have never been to Singapore (what a loser!), but I have eaten at different Asian fusion restaurants so the food there was not that alien to me. 

I was looking for dishes that would amount to P500 so that I won't have to pay extra because if you exceed the amount of the voucher, they would charge you tax and service charge. I decided to order the Half Hainanese Chicken with 2 Rice which is worth P448 and was looking for a dish that is worth around P50. I was supposed to order the Chicken Wings which is worth P45, but I overlooked the note there that it should be minimum order of 3 pcs. I asked the waiter what he can recommend that is worth P50 and he pointed to me the Roti Prata,which is exactly P50 per piece so I ordered one piece.
I have eaten Roti Prata before, but this was new to my friend and she said it tasted good. I agree with her because the roti is soft and the curry is flavorful. The other rotis I have eaten before are a bit thinner, but that does not really matter much as long as the curry is good.

Now the main meal has finally arrived! The Hainanese Chicken and rice have huge servings. This meal can actually be shared by 3 or even 4 people if they don't have a huge appetite (which we don't). Since it was just the two of us, then we started to eat to our delight. The chicken was tender and juicy. I was checking for blood because there were incidents that I've seen blood in Hainanese Chicken...really yucky! I was glad that the chicken was perfectly poached so kudos to the chef! 
The rice is not just any ordinary white rice because it has flavor...maybe they used chicken stock when cooking the rice. 

What I like most about eating Hainanese Chicken are using different kinds of sauces. I love condiments! It makes eating more exciting and sometimes I feel unsatisfied eating a dish without any condiments or dips. They got three sauces to choose from: ginger, chili and sweet soy sauce. Of course, I used all of them! 

My friend was in a hurry to go back to work because she only has 1-hour lunch break so we asked the bill from the waiter. I was wondering what was taking them so long because I know that I won't have to pay for anything anymore. I was surprised when he came back and asked me to sign the receipt wherein I have to pay P98 pesos more. I asked why I have to pay and he said it was the service charge. I did not have time to double check the bill and my friend offered to pay it so we can just leave. When I got to work, I was still puzzled because I have eaten in other restaurants before using vouchers and never paid any cent...unless I exceeded the amount indicated in the voucher. I checked the Ensogo voucher details again (see the photo above) and it says there that the vouchers include service charge and tax. I also saw that they charged me 2 pcs of Roti Prata. I called up the restaurant and the girl told me that's what the waiter wrote, but I insisted we only ordered 1 and I even got a picture to prove that. She said she would just return the P50 pesos. I told Rico about it and he told me to go back there so I did and when I got there the girl (Jona) gave me back the money, but I told her that I should not have any service charge. She said that all Ensogo vouchers have additional service charge already. I even showed her what's indicated on the voucher and asked her who changed the rule, but she can't answer. I even talked to Ritchie (my friend's brother) and he also thought that the service charge was not included in the voucher. But the girl never returned that to me. I left Ang Mo Kio a little frustrated. The food was great, but the waiters are sneaky! I don't know if that's their modus operandi or it was an honest mistake. Please don't ever do that again to other customers. I always speak my mind when it comes to being treated unfair...maybe others just let it pass by or never notice it. It only made me feel better when Rico told me to think of it as charity because Ang Mo Kio donated food to the victims of the recent calamity. Some would say...why would I make a big fuss of P98...but it is not about the amount, but the dishonesty of the waiters that bothers me.

I took photos of the menu for those who are interested in eating at Ang Mo Kio:

TRIVIA: Ang Mo Koi is a new town located in north central Singapore and contains many of the common features of other neighborhoods such as hawker centers, wet markets and HDB Housing Blocks. 
Ang Mo Koi is a Hokkien phrase which means "Red Tomato". Ang Mo means "red hair".
(ref: Wikipedia)

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Thin Smile for Fat Boy's Pizza

I was tempted to buy a voucher when I saw the promo of Fat Boy's Pizza! Imagine paying just half the price for two supersize 14-inch pizzas worth P590. It is like buy one and take one in pizzas and being a pizza lover, that definitely is a good deal! I checked out the website of Fat Boy's Pizza so I can see my choices on pizzas. The pictures on the website and the voucher ad made the pizza look scrumptious and really make me want to take a bite right away.
The branch I chose was SM City North EDSA Food Court because that is closer to my place. There are also seats there where I can eat the pizza because some branches are just stalls where you end up eating the pizza standing up. It was the last day of the promo and I was pressured to use the voucher. It was raining hard all day, but thankfully it stopped for awhile, so me and my kid decided to go to SM City after Church. I texted my mom to meet us there  so she can share the pizza with us. After buying some stuff for my kid, we got fruit shake then headed to the Food Court. I asked the guard where the branch of Fat Boy's Pizza is and he told me that it is not opened yet. D@#n! My kid and I walked back to The Block where there is another branch and claimed my pizzas there. It was just a small stall so my feet was hurting from standing up and waiting for the pizzas. Then, I have to carry those huge boxes of pizza back to the Food Court because that's the only place where I can eat them. 

Finally I can sink in my teeth on the two kinds of 14-inch pizzas...the girl told me that they are Hawaiian Supreme and All Meaty Special...but I think the ingredients kind of mixed up.
The supposedly Hawaiian Supreme looked different from the website. There were pepperoni, spring onion and mushroom whereas it should only be sweet ham and pineapple. There were more dough than toppings on the pizza. It was also cold like it was only half cooked. Very disappointing! 
 The All Meaty seemed to look more accurate except that again it lacks toppings. It tastes better than the so-called Hawaiian, but again it was more like eating bread than pizza. We only ate around 5 pizzas and brought the rest back home so we can put it in the oven before eating. I would have been happier and more satisfied eating a smaller pizza from Yellow Cab than eating two huge pizzas or should I say bread pizza with the same worth. Lesson learned! Don't be deceived by the pictures and the number of people buying the voucher. It is best to ask friends who have actually tasted the food. I would have been more pissed if I paid P590 for two lousy pizzas from Fat Boy's Pizza. The most polite thing I can do for Fat Boy's Pizza is give it a thin smile. 

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Ginataang Hipon with Kangkong and Sitaw

If you think all I can do is eat since I write food reviews most of the time, then you are wrong. Most of the people I know who are passionate about food/eating are also good cooks/chefs. Maybe because they want to please themselves by cooking up something delicious for them. I actually can't remember how I learned how to cook since no one taught me. I think it came out naturally because I love food and enjoy watching people cook. I am such a sucker for cooking and food shows like Top Chef, Rocco's Dinner Party, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and Will Work for Food. 

My first featured recipe is the Ginataang Hipon with Kangkong at Sitaw (English: Shrimp with Water Spinach and String Beans in Coconut Milk). 
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 cups water
1/2 kilo shrimp (cleaned)
1 tbsp ginger (minced)
1 onion (minced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
kangkong leaves (remove the stem)
sitaw (cut 1-inch long)
2 siling haba
Knorr Ginataang Gulay (it would be better to use real coconut milk)
salt and pepper to taste

 1. Add around 1 tbsp of cooking oil in medium heat pan. Saute garlic, onions and ginger.  Saute the shrimps and add 2 cups of water when the shrimps change color. Bring to boil on low heat for 5 minutes.

2. Remove the shrimps to avoid overcooking.
3. Put the string beans in the shrimp stock.
4. When the string beans are medium cooked, add the kangkong. Cover it and simmer for 2 minutes.
5. Put back the shrimps then add the instant coconut milk dissolved in water and the sili. Check the thickness of the coconut milk and add more water if needed. Season with salt and pepper.
 6. Now it is all set! The shrimps are best eaten with hands so you can easily remove the shell. Serve with hot rice and vinegar as condiment. 
Hope you enjoy this dish! I would try to add more recipes if I get a chance to cook and take pics again. Remember to taste the dish as you cook so you can adjust the flavor according to your taste. 

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