Category Archives: food

Foodie: Beerhouse (Kapitolyo Brewing Co.) and Behrouz Persian Cuisine

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A few months back (months talaga!), some colleagues and I decided to grab some drinks. One of them lived in Kapitolyo and so she knew about this local beerhouse which brewed their own beer, aka, craft beer. Don’t be fooled by the masa name ‘beerhouse’ as the place is quite nice and cozy. I know cozy is not exactly a word you usually describe a pub but really, the place was very inviting and had the ‘relaxed’ vibe. 
 


We went there after work and was able to avail of the Buy 1, Take 1 promo that they had so we only paid P150 for two glasses of locally crafted beer.

 

Best part was that we could buy food at the nearby food park and bring it to our table at the Beerhouse, since they really don’t offer any food. We ordered so much food!

 

I’m not a heavy drinker but I do like supporting local businesses and I encourage you to do the same too.

 From beer to no beer, again a few months back, I was craving for some kebab so my friend suggested we eat at Behrouz at Metrowalk. I have been wanting to try that Persian restaurant! We went there on a weeknight and the place was deserted. The restaurant is huge with plastic chairs and tables, giving it a food court vibe.

 

What they lacked in ambiance, they made up with in food. The servings were huge and super delicious! We had the chicken and beef kebab plus roasted tomatoes and onions and naan. It was so good! I highly recommend this restaurant if you want your fix of yummy, authentic-tasting kebabs. Do note that they only serve halal food so that means, no beer allowed (though really, kebabs would go so well with an ice cold San Mig).

The best P20 Froyo

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Hands down, Fancie’s Frozen Yoghurt located at SM Megamall’s Grocery Store at Mega B is the best and most affordable froyo I’ve tasted. Perfect when you just want a small serving of froyo for dessert or snack. Move over over-priced Blk 513 charcoal froyo. Their menu goes as low as P20 for a cup or cone of regular froyo – which is very generous in serving – to P89 for their smoothies and P65 for their bigger froyo cup with toppings. Toppings are P10 each. 


Tip: bring your own toppings. On my first time, I had the oreo toppings for P10 and it was like just 1/4th of the cookie. Not worth it so just stick to the froyo itself and bring your own favorite toppngs. I brought a cup of cheerios with me! 🙂 

Foodie: Taco Vengo in Megamall

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My friend was craving for some Mexican food and since our favorite Mexicali no longer exists in Megamall, we decided to try the newly opened Taco Vengo located at Upper Ground Mega A, between Wendy’s and Sbarro. I’ll say it straight up: their serving is not value for money. Like, a guy with a healthy appetite (or a girl with an appetite like ours) would not be happy with their serving.

With that said, let me share the context of my conclusion. Me and my friend ordered their soft taco – mine was the pork cheek confit and hers was the honey soy chicken – at P115 each then we shared the nachos por machos (P245). Taste wise, I absolutely loved it. It was really good, there was so much pork filling, the meat was soft and moist, the dressing and toppings of the nachos worked well together (toppings included jalapenos, salsa and even a soft boiled egg). There were two types of hot sauce – Perfect Girl (sweet and spicy) and Bad Boy (sour and spicy). I absolutely liked the Perfect Girl. It complemented my tacos and nachos well.

 

But as you can see in the photos, serving was terribly SMALL. Just one teeny, tiny, probably 3×3 soft taco. I mean, I think I finished my taco in 3 bites. Seriously, who gets full just by eating their taco? And for the price? Horrible. It is not for the middle class taste bud and pocket like mine. But for those rich kids and burgis, probably it’s ok. So if you’re looking for value for money, don’t go here. But if you want to splurge, then by all means eat here because really, the food tastes great. It’s just the portions that are too ‘unfair’ for the cash out. But because I did like their taste, I’ll probably go back and try their burritos and lunch bowls and then see if they really are not value for money.

 

On the bright side, interior is nice and cozy, like an old refurbished house. Plus points that they used an old container van as their kitchen.

To conclude, we were so unsatisfied with our lunch that we still ordered takoyaki and ice cream from the food court. Haha!

Foodie: BlackBird

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My high school barkada and I try as much as possible to have our Christmas party before the year ends. This time, we decided to rent an Airbnb condo in Makati and stay overnight. But before that, dinner in Makati was in place. Our restaurant of choice was BlackBird Makati. Because I am not ‘high end,’ I had no idea what it was or where it is located but my friends kept saying it’s a very posh restaurant, posh as in ‘wear heels and a nice outfit’ kind of posh. Haha! We made reservations and at 830pm, found ourselves in BlackBird located at Ayala Triangle.
 


Ambiance and location wise, it was divine. Low lights (though not good for photos), nice architecture, pretty interiors and even a prettier restroom. But coming in, you can immediately smell the ‘fake rich’ in the atmosphere. Or maybe that’s just me being judgmental. Haha! We were seated at the second floor which was perfect because it was just us and another group of elderly, so we were free to laugh out loud, because hello, we were having fun and our laughter can’t be stifled by some ‘posh’ joint. Their second floor though is not recommended for ‘weak’ people because it is pretty high but the view of the surrounding Makati is nice.


Moving on to the food we ordered. For starters, most meals would start from P500. I have no qualms splurging every once in a while as long as the food is great so my expectations for the food we ordered was extremely high. We ordered the Black Bird Burger, Meat and Cheese Pizza, Mushroom and Asparagus Lasagna, Grilled Pork Belly and Seafood Pasta (just check their menu for the official names). For the drinks, we had the Pomegranate Lemonade, Lime and Cardamon Lemonade and a Lemongrass drink. Our total bill was P4500 and for that price, I was not happy with the food. It was good, better than most mid-level restaurants, but nothing spectacular. For the price we paid and the snooty people in it, I expected fireworks in my mouth. Unfortunately, that never came. Or maybe I’m expecting too much? Probably not. Most of my street food eats abroad are way better than this. #CertifiedTraveller

 

The burger was so-so but to be fair, my two friends liked it and said it had a smoky taste to it. Seafood pasta was not popular for all of us. Grilled belly was good but you know what’s better? Reyes barbeque. Pizza was meh and easily got hard. I guess the best among all our orders was the Mushroom lasagna but not recommended for just one person since you’ll easily get umay. Both the lemonades were absolutely sour! Who can drink that? We asked for syrup and finished the whole jar they gave us. I was really disappointed with my pomegranate lemonade because it tasted like powdered Kool Aid. Appalling. The lemongrass was the best among the three.

 

And don’t get me started on the staff. Ugh. The waiters were absolutely horrible. Not once did I see them smile. Or maybe that’s their style? Or perhaps they are judgmental because we don’t look like rich kids? Either way, I always enjoy my food being served with a smile or at least good manners. They remind me of Mac Cosmetics sales people. Kung makatingin ng masama, wagas. Eh sales person at waiter ka nga di ba? Customers, whatever they may look like or whoever they may be, are still your customers and should be treated the same way as others. Kala mo kung sino. We’re all paying customers, mind you. Pero nung nagbilang ng 1, 2, 3 para sa picture, tree ang pronunciation sa number 3. Haha. OK enough of that.

To end, I would not want to use my hard earned money there ever again nor would I want someone to treat me there. Like, if a guy I dated brought me there, I would be very upset with him and he won’t get a second date from me. Ganung level.

Halal Grocery Items Available in Philippines

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As previously mentioned, a Muslim friend visited the Philippines and so started my quest for everything halal. Aside from the halal restaurants we tried, I also brought it upon myself to find grocery items that are halal so he would have something to eat during breakfast or snacks or when we can’t find a halal restaurant.

I must look strange to the people around me because every time I took a grocery item, I would turn it over, scan it for the logo and if it didn’t have the halal logo, put it back on the shelf. If it did have the halal logo, it went into my basket. Hehe.

 

I wanted to buy some items that could pass as a meal so I looked for breads, roti, canned goods and even pasta ingredients. The following are what I found which are readily available in leading supermarkets and are all halal certified:

Found the complete ingredients for a halal spaghetti – UFC Tomato Sauce, Prime Mushrooms, Century Tuna, Eden Cheese, and Ideal Pasta. Plus Frozen Roti, which even before has always been a favorite of mine. I usually have this in my fridge. 

For the snacks, I think they were easier to find. A good rule of thumb also is to find products made in other Muslim countries like Malaysia, as usually they have the halal logo. Halal snacks include: Quaker Oat Cookies, Rebisco Coconut Biscuits, Skyflakes, Magic Flakes plus we found halal Pringles too. Magnolia ice cream was also halal.

We went to Corregidor and needed to pack our own lunch so I decided to buy some bread plus spread. The only halal bread I found was Village Gourmet. Spreads include Cheezee Spread, Eden Mayo, Dari Crème, Yummy Peanut Spread. Breakfast items also include Maya Hotcake Mix (my fave) and Pascual Yoghurt.

Was surprised that so many condiments were halal like Barrio Fiesta Bagoong (fave), Jufran hot sauce (fave), Silver Swan, Datu Puti, Mafran, Papa and UFC ketchup (I have a thing for our local ketchup). Both UFC and Minola oil are halal.

 

For the drinks, I had to find Coke that had a halal logo since my friend did not eat anything without Coke (yes, he takes Coke for breakfast). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any. My friend said that probably Coke is ok since they have the same formula and ingredients world wide. I checked the official website for all halal foods in the Philippines and thankfully, Coca Cola is there. I just wish they’d have a halal logo for easier identification. So glad my friend did not commit anything haram (forbidden) for the sake of Coke. Haha.

 

Did you know that even water can be halal? I did not know that. Nature Spring is halal, C2, Lipa Buko Juice, plus Great Taste Coffee, Krem Top creamer, Nesfruta, Magnolia Milk and Yakult.

I was surprised that even laundry detergent (Champion) and toothpaste (Happee) could be halal! Haha. I’m a Hapee convert for a few years now. Aside from the fact that they are Christians and employ disabled people, they now have additional brownie points for being halal.

I know there are more halal certified grocery items readily available in Manila. These are just a few of them and hopefully, other Philippine companies will also get halal certified (I’m talking to you, Del Monte and Dole). I mean, halal certified items are a billion peso industry. So here’s to our local brands having halal products. For more info, please visit this  website. 

Halal Restaurants in and around Manila

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A friend of mine visited the Philippines and just like any other typical Filipino, I started researching and planning on things to do, places to go to and food to eat when he came here. But unlike the usual tourist friends that I had, this one was Muslim, meaning I was met by the biggest challenge so far (but super fun) in planning a vacation for someone else -– where to eat. Because he can only eat halal food.

Though the Philippines has a large community of Muslims, finding restaurants and food items that are halal is not as accessible or easily available. If he were any other tourist, I’d just ask him if he wanted Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Filipino food and go to a nearby mall or tell him to go have a food trip in Manila. But that’s not possible with halal. Would you believe I spent hours researching and spending time in the grocery store checking products, turning them over and looking for the halal certified logo? More on that later. 

For now, to help other Muslim brothers and sisters find a restaurant to eat in, I have listed some restaurants which are halal certified. We were only able to eat at Habib, Martabak and IRRI cafeteria (plus Ahmad Brothers in Baguio) but I included those other restaurants based on research. Of course, this is by no means exhaustive so feel free to add more.

Ortigas/Greenhills:

 Habib Restaurant, Greenfields – what’s great about this restaurant is that it’s open till 5:30am everyday except Sundays, wherein they are open until midnight. The kebabs are really good (approx. P265). Though on one occassion, when my friend ordered chicken biryani, it was served to him cold. 

Another great option is in Greenhills which have a lot of halal restaurants, due to the numerous Muslim vendors.  

SM Mall of Asia:

Martabak (Indonesian Cuisine) – the only halal restaurant I could find within SM MOA. But I was surprised that the small restaurant was packed. We ordered satay chicken with roti, which was expensive at about P250 but not bad tasting. Mango shake was also available.

 

Los Banos, Laguna (inside UPLB): 

International Rice Research Institute Cafeteria – To think that there are a lot of international students and even employees in Los Banos, I was disappointed that there were no halal restaurants near UPLB. There was once an Indian restaurant we ate at – Ashok – but when we dropped by, they no longer existed. Good thing IRRI cafeteria offered halal food (where my family and I always go to), though quality of food is not so exceptional.

 Based on research, here are some other halal restaurants you could try:

 Bonifacio Global City: Halal guys (also available in Megamall), Persia Grill, Beiruti Bite Express

Makati (specifically in Glorietta/ Greenbelt): Kashmir (Rustan’s Supermarket); Gilak by Hossein (2F Greenbelt 3); Pasha (G3); Mediterranean Cafe (G1); New Bombay (food court or Ground Floor))

Bonus: Baguio

Since he went to Baguio, I helped him research on halal restaurants and found these three:

Ahmad brothers cafe 

Address: Jose Miguel Building 2, #1 Yandoc Street, corner Naguilian Road) located beside justice hall, basement of hotel caterina

Contact #: 0908 740 7284

Ali’s House of Shawarma

Address: 177 Upper Bonifacio st, in front/near SLU Waldo Gate

Rumah Sate Restaurant 

Address: Located at Ketchup community

It was quite fun and challenging for me to actually research and find halal restaurants in the Metro. Made me realize how difficult it probably is for our Muslim friends to find good food here. I know there are more hole in the wall halal restaurants in the metro – a thorough search in the internet will show this – so you just need to do your homework beforehand. Up next, I will share some grocery items we bought that are halal certified.

Chia Seeds: Is it worth the hype?

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Chia seeds have been all over the healthy-living hemisphere so I finally gave in and tried it out. It’s quite expensive and only a few specialty stores and online sellers have these. But good ol’ Robinsons Supermarket was carrying the brand Super Food Grocer and chia seeds was one of their products. It’s P375 for 227g which is a pretty good deal, if you first want to try it out. Healthy Options also has chia seeds but are much more expensive.


Basically, I just add a teaspoon or two of chia seeds in my drink, usually coconut water. I let it soak for 5 minutes so it would turn into a gel-like consistency. Some people have said to be disgusted by the texture but since I live in a gulaman-sago country, which is how the chia seeds feel like after soaking, I actually enjoyed the texture. It’s a great addition to your drink and any search on the internet will show numerous benefits of adding this to your diet (I got sold on the fact it made you feel fuller longer).

What they don’t tell you though is it is best placed in a bottle so you can constantly shake it. Once, I used a cup for it and the seeds stuck together and turned into a yucky sphere of seeds. Haha. So best to place your drink in a bottle so you can shake it to keep the seeds separate.