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Philippines suggestions

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Going to Manila, Bagio, and Bohol. Any suggestions on where to eat would be great. Don't care about type of food, only that it is good as we are not expecting too many great places there.

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  1. Why not start by checking out some of the Philippine places in New York? Link below. This will give you some idea of what you will find in Manila. Realize that people from the Philippines have told me that, good as the NY places are, the food in Philippines is infinitely better. People travel the country seeking out the perfect sisig, etc. Check out Manila's leading food blog at www.marketmanila.com though you may have to browse the archives, since the most recent posts describe european chocolates and Christmas dinner.

    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    1. As in many parts of the world, foodblogs have become the hottest thing in the Philippines in recent years. Of several very good blogs, two that come immediately to mind are karen.mychronicles.net and marketmanila.com

      I find the owner of the first blog to be more intrepid as well as more thorough in research. Many of the food items showcased on this blog are true rareties, having never been treated elsewhere before, either on the internet, or in print. Read the enjoyable recent entries on sopas and duman for instance; even connoisseurs of Filipino cookery would probably never have heard of these items. Make sure to click to see the entire post on sopas as it gives some wonderful insight to very traditional forms of baking in the Philippines.

      Marketmanila.com has more popular appeal and also treats quite a bit of non-Filipino food items (recent posts are on chocolate souffle etc). Still, it can be quite enjoyable. The blogger is I believe from Bohol. Search with key word Bohol and you should find posts on jalea de ube from Bohol, manta rays from the same island, Tagbilaran Market in Bohol, broas and so on.

      1. I just got back from Manila 2 days ago. The groaning elastic in my waistband will attest that one can dine very well in Manila. Of course, it helps to be a native, and surrounded by people who appreciate good food. But even a casual visitor can enjoy himself with some patience (traffic can be very bad) and the right information.

        I've only been to Bohol for the diving (no memorable meals.) And I haven't been to Baguio in years, but I hear that Mario's in Baguio is still serves decent Filipino-Spanish food, and that a relatively new place owned by restauranteur Billy King (forgot the name) is also very good. And, if it's still around, Cafe by the Ruins was fun in an "alternative" sort of way.

        On to Manila. It's a huge city: around 10 million people, with the congestion and pollution that come with the numbers. Where you eat will depend largely on where you stay.

        Makati is probably the best area for dining. For Filipino-Spanish food, try Circulo, on Pasay Road at one end of the Paseo de Roxas--wonderful sisig. Tsukiji, in the same building, has high-end Japanese cuisine. You'll get excellent Thai food at People's Palace in Greenbelt 3. Greenbelt 2 has Bizu, which serves better macarons de Paris than I can find in SF. If you want Greek, try Mati at the Powerplant Mall for crisp baby calamari and chicken souvlaki. A very good local coffee chain with several locations, including Rockwell, is Figaro, which serves coffees brewed from liberica beans. If you can manage to be in Manila on a Saturday morning, you must go to the weekly "market" in the Salcedo Village parking lot. Along with some meat and veggies, there are food stalls selling everything from charcoal-roasted catfish, to quenelles, to garlic peanuts, to excellent butter cake.

        In Malate, the Adriatico Arms Hotel on Nakpil Street has an excellent little restaurant serving Filipino food: kilawin (ceviche), Bicol Express, lumpia, prawns in coconut milk, etc. There's also Hizon's, an old-fashioned bakery that serves very good food, and some of the best enseimada and hot chocolate in town. And, though I haven't been there in a few years, I still remember the charming setting and crispy pata at Cafe Adriatico, right on Adriatico Circle.

        In the Ortigas area, the Chinese restaurant (the name escapes me) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel is very, very good, as is the Japanese restaurant at the EDSA Plaza Shangri-la.

        If you happen to be staying with friends, I hope they can take you around. But if you have a chance, the company of at least 5 friends, and about $75, you can order a whole roast pig--a Cebu-style lechon--delivered to your door. My favorite is by Lechon Family, tel. 7249353. I think you'll come back with some pretty good memories. . . Do post when you return and let me know how you did!

        1. I just got back last week and had an amazing trip.

          In Baguio I would recommend Barrio Fiesta. You need to walk down Session Road past the SM Mall. That place has been there for a while and still serves the most authentic Filipino food with decent sizes. I probably had the best Kare Kare there and the best lechon. I was with a group of 10 people there and food was great.

          In Manila I would recommend the buffet at Philippine Plaza Hotel. Its a very high quality buffet and out numbers selection than what you would find in Las Vegas. The hotel is first class. Buffet will cost you around $30 USD per person but it was worth it.

          I also recommend Tong Yang which is a Shabu Shabu restaurant. There is one in Makati on Jupiter Road. For $10 USD its an all you can eat Shabu Shabu. Not only that you also get to roast meats on a grill. And if you think that is over there is a table with cooked food and salads and a halo halo dessert station. Food quality is on the high side. Just be careful they sometimes charge 500 Pesos for uneaten food. So be sure to eat what you take.

          You can really eat well in this country if you know where to go.

          7 Replies
          1. re: designerboy01

            Barrio Fiesta is a bit iffy for an American tourist, don't you think? What about Aristocrat? Is that still around?

            1. re: JungMann

              I'm an American tourist. What is iffy about it? The food is pretty authentic and probably the only Barrio Fiesta I would go in the Philippines. The other Barrio's are not as good quality.

              1. re: designerboy01

                It's authenticity is the iffy part. It's a little dirty-looking. I'd more likely send someone to Makati. Sorry, when I saw "boy" at the end of your name, I assumed you were Filipino.

                Anyone know if Aristocrats is still around?

                1. re: JungMann

                  That place is authentic. I just ate there with my Filipino friends in Baguio. Baguio is about 5 hours drive from Manila. I only recommend Barrio Fiesta in Baguio. The one in Makati Avenue is scary from the looks of it. The other Barrios don't compare to it.

                  1. re: designerboy01

                    I always go to the Barrio Fiesta on Makati Ave when I'm in Manila - good fun always (although the food, like most filipino food, doesn't really do it for me.) For food, Kai in Greenbelt 3 is really good, and Circles buffet in the Shangri-la is probably the best buffet I've ever experienced!

                  2. re: JungMann

                    That was a funny crack. "Boy" or "Jun" or "Dong" or "Ding" would have been give aways.

                    1. re: JungMann

                      Oh I drove by Aristocrats last week in Manila. Its still there.

              2. If you're in the Quezon City area near U.P. check out Trellis, an indoor/outdoor restaurant featuring the cuisine of Pampanga. A great place to hang out for beers and some mouth watering sizzling sisig. One of the best I've ever tasted. Also try the sizzling baby squid. Or the green mango with bagoong on the side. Fantastic atmosphere especially during the rainy season. A great place to kill a few hours. Sadly it was closed the last time I was in RP but hopefully I'll try again when I return in December. Goddamn I miss the homeland!