Food and Leisure

Gloria Maris revisited

FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Millie & Karla Reyes - The Philippine Star

MILLIE: Karla and I are great Gloria Maris fans. We eat there practically two or three times a month and miss the food when we fail to do so. Even when Dad was alive, we would frequent the place at least once a week. Next to Chef Jessie, it’s our special-occasion restaurant when a family member is celebrating a birthday or when friends or relatives from abroad are in town and we take them out.

When Karla and I dine together, we would always order our favorite dim sum dishes, which are comparable to Hong Kong’s dim sum fare, and that’s because Gloria Maris chefs are authentic Chinese chefs. It has become, next to home-cooked sinigang and adobo, our comfort food.

We normally order steamed siomai, delicious hakao, steamed shrimp and vegetable dumpling, steamed pork buns, asado rice toppings, roast duck rice toppings and, never to forget, sweet-sour pork. I also love their ham suy kok, which is a deep-fried sticky rice puff stuffed with minced meat and when freshly cooked, it is the yummiest thing on earth.

Most of the time, we only dine a deux and can’t order too much, and that’s the reason we keep coming back.

KARLA: The problem with coming back all the time is that we end up ordering the same things over and over. Funny thing is, it’s comfort food to us and we welcome it when we find the time to go there. We do have our moods with food, though. When I’m coming down with a cold, I order hot and sour soup. And we do run into good finds from the next table. My Lolo Joe had this habit of looking at other tables to see what they were eating, a habit I naturally got from him because I was his partner in crime who would guide him, or akay as he walked around the restaurant to watch other people eat and look at what they were eating. He said it whets his appetite, too.

A couple of years ago, it was a Sunday afternoon, Mom and I ordered the usual dim sum and were thinking of something else to order. The next table’s order came and Mom and I looked at each other. One thought went through our heads: “Who orders fried chicken at Gloria Maris?” As we watched them eat it, we decided to give it a try. And boy, were we happy! It came with kropek, which Mom loves. The chicken had a light, crispy skin and juicy meat. We ordered a whole chicken and brought home the leftovers. There’s always something you can do with leftover chicken, anyway, like chicken salad sandwiches or chicken a la king, or pop it into the toaster and even eat it as is. But that was one of our good finds from the next table.

Occasionally, we go for hotpot. Mom always gets the wintermelon with dried scallop, and I always have something spicy. But most times, we just get one kind of broth since it’s just the two of us and getting two would be too much and too expensive. We stay away from the sets because we only really want the squid balls, mushroom balls, lobster balls, and we’re happy with that. The secret to our hotpot happiness is one of the waiters named Froilan. When he makes the dipping sauce for us, his is just well balanced. But then again maybe he just spoils us so much that we never get used to making our own sauce. Ha ha.

Some other favorites are the fresh crab sotanghon, the steamed shrimps, and hot prawn salad, but I only eat the prawns and take home the fruit cocktail for whoever wants it at home. For veggies, we normally get the spinach with garlic.

MILLIE: Last week, we invited our dear friend Dr. Larry Mallari to dine with just the two of us for an early celebration of his birthday. Candy Uy of Gloria Maris prepared a very special menu for us. We were served a huge steamed lobster and shrimp dumpling housed in a dim sum basket and presented with the shell of a baby lobster. The dumpling was so huge, it was the size of a fist, but so delicious and the lobster was so fresh.

For the next course, we had a mango half cut into four thick parts and sandwiched in between the mango was a thin slice of Peking duck, in the second part fresh prawn, a scallop in the third and a kani crabstick.

The dinner had become entertaining and the focus of attention was the food.

A two-toned almond seafood soup was served piping-hot and we all watched the waiter skillfully serve the soup without disturbing the two-toned design.

KARLA: We have not dined in Gloria Maris this way as we normally stick to our favorites. Except when we are invited to weddings, which is usually family-style. But this was a sit-down dinner with several courses and, I must say, it was pretty impressive. They even had LED lights to highlight the garnish of some dishes. We also got to try the abalone slices with yellow fungus vegetables with supreme sauce on steamed egg-white custard. The next dish was crispy fried pigeon with kropek. I would have asked for steamed rice to eat this with but was already too full by this time and yet still managed to have two pieces of pigeon. Ha ha. The last course was the shredded crabmeat cooked in cream, put back into its crab shell and baked with shark’s fin on top.

We asked Candy how long these items have been on the menu. She said that a lot of them have been there for a while, but they keep updating new dishes all the time. Like us, there are a lot out there who keep Gloria Maris as a staple restaurant and go back every week. They keep making new dishes and finding new ways of serving traditional ones, so clients get to try something new once in a while. Obviously, we’ve been too stuck to our favorites to even notice, but then again, nothing wrong with that. As long as it’s consistently good, we don’t mind coming back. That’s why it’s no surprise that Gloria Maris received an award at The Choice Awards: The People’s Choice Award for Favorite Chinese Restaurant last Aug. 8 at the SMX Convention Center. It was awarded during Blosomex: Blogging & Social Media Expo & Summit put together by Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet, The KTG, a blogger collective founded by Spanky Enriquez, Zomato and the PEP Group, the company that brought us WOFEX.





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Gloria Maris is at the Greenhills Shopping Center, Ortigas Ave., Missouri St. corner Connecticut, San Juan City.

For reservations and inquiries, call 570-0921 or 570-0923-24. Follow Gloria Maris on Facebook and Instagram at OfficialGloriaMarisGH or visit http://www.gloriamarisgh.com.

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Send email to [email protected] and [email protected]. Find us on Facebook: Food for Thought by Millie & Karla Reyes.












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