Say, Cheese! Dining options for Year of Metal Rat 2020
Crystal Dragon's Happiness set menu
City of Dreams Manila/Released
Say, Cheese! Dining options for Year of Metal Rat 2020
Jan Milo Severo ( - January 24, 2020 - 4:26pm

MANILA, Philippines — Cheese is what the zodiac Moon Rat is always after, astrologer and Women’s Journal magazine editor Rene Bisquera told in an interview.

“’Say cheese’ is a way to put on a smile that is the facial symbol of success, of getting/reaching one’s goal,” said Bisquera, who could be reached at and will be in Starmall Las Pinas on January 25 at 5 p.m. for his annual card reading for shoppers.

“It’s also a year for enjoying the best. As Remy, the epicurean rodent star of Pixar’s ‘Ratatouille’ put it, ‘If you are what you eat, then I only want to eat the good stuff!’,” Bisquera enthused.

Rat Year collectibles 

Ceramic mug

Starbucks recently launched its newest merchandise collection for the Year of the Rat. Dubbed as the "Lunar New Year Collection: Year of the Rat," the collection features the cute and playful rat, amongst blossoming cherry and orange trees in bold red, gold and green Pantones. The collection is available for a limited time.

Chinese buffet

Chinese New Year buffet spread

Feast on Seda BGC’s abundant international buffet with Chinese dishes symbolizing hope, happiness and prosperity. Highlights include Peking Duck and lobster with dim sum and noodle varieties. Classic international dishes are also available.

The special buffet to celebrate Chinese New Year is offered at the hotel’s Misto restaurant for lunch on January 25 from 11:30 to 2:30 p.m. Seda BGC is at 30th Street cor. 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Auspicious offerings

City of Dreams Manila is ringing in the Year of the Metal Rat with a of Chinese New Year specialties available at its award-winning signature restaurants, Crystal Dragon and Nobu Manila. Chinese New Year-themed activities also highlight the events at DreamPlay, the world’s first DreamWorks-inspired interactive play space. The cynosure of all eyes will be a lyrical lights and sound show daily from 6 p.m. to 10 the Nobu Hotel garden as hundreds of multi-colored tulip bulbs that dot the lush greenery dance to Oriental music, setting the tone for a jovial and magical Chinese New Year up until February 15.

Cantonese cuisine with symbolisms of harmony, good luck and abundance is highlighted at Crystal Dragon’s Chinese New Year ala carte and set menus, available for lunch and dinner until January 31. Diners can toss to a prosperous Lunar New Year with a bountiful serving of Prosperity Abalone Yu Sheng, a lavish salad of abalone, chopped peanuts, deep-fried flour crisps, shredded radish and ginger, and pomelo among others, which is then finished with oil and plum sauce.

“Yu Sheng," originating from the Cantonese phrase that means “tossing up good fortune," or “Lo Hei” is a traditional Chinese New Year ceremony from Singapore, Malaysia and China. Raw fish is customarily used in the salad to symbolize prosperity, wealth, happiness and long life. During the prosperity toss, guests gather before the table, use their chopsticks to mix the ingredients together and then toss them up while saying out loud “Lo Hei!” and well wishes to bring in good luck.

Indulgent Chinese fare 

New World Hotel Makati's premium Chinese restaurant, Jasmine, offers three indulgent set menus for guests looking to celebrate Chinese New Year with Oriental cuisine. 

The Happiness set menu includes hot prawn chicken salad, lobster corn soup, deep-fried scallop with minced shrimp and pumpkin sauce, stir-fried fish fillet with black pepper and broccoli, wok-fried beef tenderloin in xo sauce, crispy seafood with fried rice and curry sauce, and chilled mango cream sago.

The roasted suckling pig salad introduces the Prosperity set menu, followed by crab roe with fish maw in bamboo pith soup, stir-fried fish fillet with bean curd and vegetables soya sauce, stir-fried prawn with snow peas and black truffle sauce, pan-fried lamb in barbecue sauce, crispy seafood rice in curry sauce, and chilled mango cream sago.

For the Auspicious set menu, the Peking duck salad precedes the dried scallop with fish maw in sea cucumber soup, braised local abalone with duck feet and vegetables, deep-fried scallop with minced shrimp and barbecue sauce, pan-fried lamb and black pepper sauce, and concludes with the chilled mango pudding.

Coconut oil for long life

Different food products made from coconut, the "tree of life."

If you’ve noticed a significant change in food trends over the past decade, thank a millennial. Comprising of over 50 percent of the local workforce, millennials now make the largest age demographic in the Philippines. Thus, the interests and preferences of these young tastemakers can greatly influence what can be found in restaurants and other retail establishments across the country.

With more from this age group getting into the trend of a conscientious lifestyle, the popularity of healthful eating habits can be the push towards the golden days of coconuts. Known as the "Tree of Life," the coconut is well on its way towards a renaissance with more millennials taking a liking to the magical fruit. In fact, according to Philippine Coconut Authority Administrator Romulo Arancon, the Philippines could potentially earn $450 million a year, given that the Philippines produces 15 billion nuts annually.

ProSource Virgin Coconut Oil is a healthy alternative oil for cooking and baking. Time was when Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) or liquid coconut oil—which is made by refining raw coconut or palm—was considered the superior oil, as it processes smaller molecules than those in most of the fats you eat, and is mainly used to obtain helpful medium-chain triglycerides that are easily absorbed into your bloodstream as ready-to-use energy. Aside from that these are a special class of fat that your body turns into energy very quickly, with three main types,–namely; C8, C10, and C12, which each offers unique benefits, from fat loss to heightened immune function.

But since the process involved in separating MCT from VCO may include additives, these benefits are therefore negated. And recent studies have shown that Virgin Coconut Oil, which was once shunned for its high saturated-fat content, is now considered a superfood as it is rich in Lauric Acid, which the body converts into monolaurin that also serves as an antimicrobial agent.

With this in mind, and following extensive research, local coconut producer ProSource Coconut, Inc. (ProSource) and its international brand NUCO, saw the need to respond to a significant change in market behavior over the past 15 years. From the ProSource Virgin Coconut Oil being their major product for trade, the business has now shifted into a multi-product venture offering non-traditional coconut products that will cater to the growing concern for health and wellness relevant in today’s generation.

Don't forget dessert

Mango Graham Mug Cake, No Bake Chocolate Hotcake Cheesecake, Homemade Blueberry Lime Ice Cream, and Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins.

Preparing delicious desserts can be a daunting task especially if you’re a novice in the kitchen. No worries though, it’s now easier to whip up top class desserts with Maya, and without a stove or oven to boot. From fluffy mug cakes and muffins, to fruity cold treats, make good use of these four quick recipes to put impressive desserts on the table for your whole family.

Join the Mango Graham craze with Maya Happy Mug Cake mix. Skip the long lines in different malls and create your own Mango Graham Mug Cake at home. Simply combine a pack of Happy Mug Caramel Mug Cake Mix with mango juice in a mug, put it in the microwave for one minute and 30 seconds, then top with chopped fresh mangoes, graham crackers, and whipped cream.

If you’re craving for chocolate and cheesecake, then this No Bake Chocolate Hotcake Cheesecake will surely hit the spot, and it’s so easy to make. Prepare cream cheese filling by beating cream cheese with sugar in a bowl. Place a cooked chocolate hotcake (made with Maya Chocolate Hotcake Mix) in a pan and pour enough cream cheese filling on top. Repeat this step to make layers, ending with a hotcake as the topmost layer. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours to set and finish up by coating the entire cheesecake with dark chocolate ganache.

If you don’t want to bring store-bought dessert to your next potluck party, but don’t have the confidence to try an elaborate recipe, just make Homemade Blueberry Lime Ice Cream. Beat heavy whipped cream until it peaks, and mix condensed milk, lime zest, and lime juice in a bowl. Blend the lime-milk mixture with the whipped cream, then add blueberry filling and lightly mix until it creates swirls. Freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight to give everyone a refreshing treat.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins make snack time more exciting. Give muffins a twist with the classic combination of peanut butter and jelly. Mix Maya Oven Toaster Butter Cake Mix with peanut butter in a bowl and beat until soft. Add in eggs and milk, and blend until everything is well incorporated. Fold in half of your favorite strawberry jam in the mixture, pour in prepared muffin pans, and bake in the oven toaster or steamer.

Hydrate naturally

Chinese New Year is  a  time  to indulge and binge a lot -with all the eating, drinking, dancing, and singing during parties. By the time the party is over, it’s time to rehydrate.

Vita Coco coconut water is a natural beverage with nutrients, electrolytes and coconut goodness that is great for  hydrating. Made with all-natural ingredients,  and  with no coloring and artificial flavors, this product is locally made in General Santos City. For every purchase, P5 goes to Hope In A Coconut, a program designed to help Filipino farmers by building classrooms for their community and providing quality seedlings. Since the start of 2019, the brand has claimed to have helped more than 500 farmers.

New branch and offerings

Lechon Baka Milo Severo

Filipino restaurant Kuya J has opened its newest restaurant in City Walk Plaza in Eastwood City, Quezon City. The launch, led by its long-time endorser Jericho Rosales, will also unveil the restaurant’s new look and the introduction of its newest menu offering.  

“The opening of Kuya J Eastwood marks a truly important milestone for us as we present our new menu offering, the Lechon Baka, which is a delicious proof of our efforts to come up with new twists to local favorites. We will also reveal the restaurant’s brand-new interior design and logo that will soon be adopted by other Kuya J restaurants,” said Ton Gatmaitan, marketing director of Kuya J Group.

The new look features a modern and spacious with homey interiors that’s perfect for big and small gatherings. The overall design gives the place a whole new feel, making use of earthy color tones to give off a cozy ambiance. Kuya J will also be unveiling a cleaner, more streamlined logo to complement the new look.

Apart from the new look, a new menu addition, Lechon Baka—a char-grilled beef ribs with tender juicy meat paired with Kamote Fries, has been introduced. This is aimed as complement to signature dishes such as Grilled Scallops, Lumpia Presko, Kare-Kare, Crispy Pata and Halo-Halo Espesyal, to name a few.

Sizzlin' year ahead

Ebi tempura

New Year is the perfect opportunity to try new things and what better way to start it right than having a tasty feast somewhere that is familiar. To kickstart 2020, Teriyaki Boy and Sizzlin’ Steak introduced its new and improved menu. 

If you’re craving for some well-seasoned beef, there is Beef Teriyaki, smothered with the signature sauce. If you fancy some deep-fried dishes, check out Tonkatsu, made from imported US pork battered with a Japanese style breadcrumb, deep-fried until golden brown, and served with cabbage salad and a drizzle of sesame dressing. 

For seafood lovers, there is Ebi Tempura, three prawns coated with Japanese tempura batter, fried until lightly crisp, and then served with tempura sauce. 

Sizzlin’ Steak has also put forth a variety of premium beef dishes. Start-off with Sizzlin' Beef Belly Rice – thin, tender slices of beef served with your choice of sauce (Teriyaki Sauce, Steak Sauce, Gravy, Teri-Mayo, Garlic Basil Sauce, or Cheese Sauce). Also, there is Create Your Own Sizzlin’ Meal – choose and surprise your taste buds with a delightful range of high-quality meats to pair with rice, your choice of side dish, and sauce. 

Year of the OG

Doughnuts brand Krispy Kreme kicks-start the Year of the Metal Rat with new offerings: Original Bites, Choco Hazelnut, Original Glazed Doughnut Popcorn and Original Kreme Chiller.

Original Bites are the middle parts of the brand’s OG doughnuts. Choco Hazelnut is the same glazed doughnut topped with hazelnut bits.

Made in collaboration with gourmet popcorn maker Chef Tony is the Original Glazed Doughnut Popcorn. Likewise, the OG now has its own ice-blended version, the Original Kreme Chiller.

New flavors from Taiwan

Taro milk tea

Yi Fang Taiwan Fruit Tea Philippines introduces a new beverage series to its menu line-up. The Fresh Taro Series features three new drinks, the Fresh Taro Green Tea Latte, Fresh Taro Milk, and Fresh Taro Milk with White Pearl.

In keeping with the brand’s commitment to use only fresh ingredients, the new beverages will feature the brand's freshly mashed sweetened taro. Taro, locally known as gabi, is different from the purple Filipino ube. Taro has a light lavender color and when mashed, has a thick consistency. No powders or artificial syrups are added to the drinks.

The Fresh Taro Green Tea Latte contains fresh mashed taro, cream, and milk, and is also topped with freshly brewed green tea. The tea gives it a nuttier and earthier taste. The Fresh Taro Milk contains the same fresh mashed taro, paired with milk and cream. This is a non-caffeinated beverage option for kids. For an additional upgrade, the Fresh Taro Milk with White Pearl adds some chewiness to the beverage. All three drinks come in cold and hot versions, with add-on sinkers such as regular pearls or aiyu jelly available as customizations.

Food delivery option

The mobile app is dedicated to bringing food lovers around the world their favorite meals from curated local restaurants.

Food delivery service Foodpanda kicks off the new 2020 by offering a 20 percent off discount on over 1,000 restaurants in all key cities. Customers can enjoy discounts on a wide range of international cuisine restaurants.

The campaign goes live for the whole month of January to extend the celebration of the Christmas and New Year season at the comfort of their homes.

“We are a food-loving nation and to us, food is a form of celebration. We believe these amazing deals will give our food-loving customers a reason to celebrate the new year more for the whole month of January,” shared Camille Hadjeri, International Markets Manager for Foodpanda Philippines.

The mobile app is dedicated to bringing food lovers around the world their favorite meals from curated local restaurants. Since its creation, the on-demand food delivery service has grown to more than 27,000 partner restaurants in more than 190 cities across 10 Asian and Central Europe countries globally. It is active in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Romania, and Bulgaria. It belongs to Delivery Hero, worldwide leader of the food delivery industry. 

Through the app's website or via the new iOS and Android apps, customers can enter their address and view a curated list of restaurants serving their neighborhood. Once they have found their meal of choice, they can place an order in the comfort of their home or office, paying online through foodpanda’s secure platform. The order is then carefully prepared by the restaurant, picked up by the foodpanda rider and delivered straight to their doorstep.

New food app

It’s out with the old and in with the new as McDonald’s welcomes the year with a new way to avail of discounts and deals, with the new app, your new one-stop shop for discounts and deals. The new app gives customers exclusive deals that can be redeemed at the Front Counter, Take-Out Counter, and Drive-Thru in all of the brand's stores nationwide. Simply search “McDonald’s” on the App Store or Google Play Store to download.

A year of growth

After opening its first branch in Banawe, Quezon City last 2017, Macao Imperial Tea has displayed unprecedented growth. After just a couple of years, the brand has aggressively expanded and has now opened its 100th branch at Robinsons Place Manila. 

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