A taste of one city
(The Philippine Star) - October 27, 2017 - 4:00pm

This city, which houses a mental health center, some of the biggest malls in the country and a city hall that becomes its own island with the slightest drizzle, is rarely celebrated as a hub for comestibles. Yet having lived in Mandaluyong — sa labas (if you’re still into that joke) — since my infancy, I’ve noticed how the food scene in the city has changed in the past couple of years. Suddenly, we’re spoilt for choices — from all varieties of cuisines and at all high-low price points. We’ve seen ourselves traversing less into Manila, San Juan, Makati, or Pasig (hello, neighbors!), and instead crossing to Mandaluyong if we want our fill of fluffy pancakes, piping hot arroz caldo, and authentic king dao spare ribs.

Even better is how these food spots aren’t inside malls and have found their spaces down almost-secluded side streets. They’re all almost too chill and unpretentious. As much as I value the exclusivity of these holes-in-the-wall joints offered to us Mandaleños, I think it’s high time the rest of the world got to know about the edible treasures hidden in this city of ours (even if that means there’ll be a higher chance of you seeing me in my tattered pambahay while munching on the crispiest chicken wings).

Aling Tonang’s Palabok

Let’s start with a classic. Known to many Mandaleños as the source of legit pancit palabok, Aling Tonang’s has been dishing out home-style Filipino dishes for generations. Aside from the tasty noodles, their Pinoy viands are also strong contenders. Try the beef kaldereta or binagoongan with heaps of steamed rice. (470 Boni Ave.)

Goto Believe

Magic is what happens in this garage- turned modern lugawan. The name of the game here is D-I-Y. Start by choosing a base between the plain rice porridge, and one that’s loaded with goto. Then you choose your toppings — from grilled isaw to every kind of offal on a stick to crispy tempura and soft-boiled eggs. (630 San Rafael St.)

Cusina Negrense

Skip the trip to Bacolod and have your piping hot soup of batchoy in this tiny nook instead. As its name suggests, Cusina Negrense specializes in all things delectable from the Negros region. Make sure to try the Bacolod Kansi, which is the sour version of bulalo, and the Adobo de Silay, an adobo sans the soy sauce.  (425A Sto. Rosario St.)

Hammock Kitchenette

Wonder why they took on the name hammock? Because it’s exactly what you need to get into after a feast of their bagnet specialties. They have pinakbet, sinigang, and kare-kare all loaded with the well-loved crispy, golden pork belly chunks. The best part? Each dish is just around P120 and is already good for sharing. (40B Basilan St.)

8 Tables

This list won’t be complete without a Chinese entry. While there may be more established options in the city, 8 Tables offers classic Binondo-style fare served in a homier setting. You’ll never go wrong with a meal of fried rice (they have many varieties available), 8 Tables Beef, and Lo Han Chai. Bring home a bilao of pancit canton, too! (93 San Rafael St.)

Bakmi Nyonya

Indonesian food may be quite unfamiliar to the Filipino palate, but its flavors actually hit close to home. There’s the bakmi, a tossed noodle dish that you can top with ayam (chicken and mushroom), udang (shrimp cake), or their vision of siomai. Indonesian sate sticks, ayam goring or fried chicken, and beef rendang are also great intros to the cuisine. (Pioneer Street Market, Reliance St.)

Chef Arnold’s Pizza

I can still remember the first time I had their margherita pizza! It may be a localized, hence more affordable, version, but the flavors are still spot on. They make their own crust, which is baked until crisp but slightly chewy — this makes all the difference! I suggest one pizza per person. (722 San Rafael St.)

Yuan’s Wings

The market may be saturated with chicken wing options, but there’s definitely space in it for something as crispy, delicious, and addicting as Yuan’s Wings. Choose from lemon pepper, classic buffalo, garlic Parmesan, or Yuan’s signature spicier to coat your wings, although nothing beats the old-fashioned fried in my book. Their Bangus a la Pobre and Spam Fries are must tries, too. (Maysilo Circle)

Masing’s Special Barbeque

Selling meats on sticks for more than 35 years, Masing’s has become an institution on the Mandaluyong street food scene. Branching out from the classic pork barbeque, they now also sell chicken and pork isaw, dugo ng baboy, and even chicken inasal skewers. And since Christmas is right around the corner, they’ve also started selling bibingka and their infamous special puto bumbong topped with grated cheese. (Paraiso St. corner Boni Ave.)

Felipe’s Taqueria

Mexican food has a place in many people’s hearts and Felipe’s offers even more reason why. Under one roof, you can get every permutation of the taco — soft, street, crispy, and puffy — and fill it with every type of meat on the market. Their taquitos and flautas will also make your visit even more worthwhile. Make sure to down it all with a cool glass of tamarindo. (547 Shaw Blvd.)



  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with