Tag Archives: Thai food

BOXPARK MNL: Eating Outside the Box

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Welcome to District 1 (QC), BOXPARK MNL! To grace our ghetto district with a food park is a gracious gastronomic sign!

Northern foodies will finally have options other than Cocoy’s Pares, a Veneto and our string of lechon manok stalls.

For 2 consecutive Saturdays we scoured BoxPark MNL along Congressional Ave. for early dinner fares. Unfortunately we missed Cajita churros on both accounts—so 2 points for Mr. Diggins for being the consistent dessert provider.

Points also for the hasty service, Mr. Diggins, so we start off the gastro-journey with you.

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Mr. Diggins serves ice cream with waffles, with 4 topping/flavours to choose from. We consistently bought that Black Bay because it seemed like the best choice.

Come on, can’t go wrong with chocolate popcorn and syrup!

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I had tried the Great White as a novel choice, and whilst the pretzels did look pretty, my heart still lingers to the Black Bay. With the very filling waffle, cooked on-the-spot, a good deal at P95!

We normally eat at the Thai Food table, since it has a roof (#Nona) and that cozy corner garden ambience. This explains why most of the purchases went to this stall, but don’t get me wrong, they were all worth it—including the wait!

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We loved the Pad Thai since it was quite a steal at P100, had shrimps and loads of tofu. The flavour was acceptably Thai (and not too overwhelming), it was filling on its own and only gluttony would dictate buying from the neighbors. The Thai Fried Rice was the rice counterpart, but I really find noodles the more enjoyable carb option.

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The lady cooks the food upon order, which can take some time during peak hours. Luckily Mr. Diggins kept us company during those waiting hunger pangs.

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The chicken tenders came from 1957 Chicken Stop and had gravy and cheese dip choices. From the looks of the cheese dip, you could guess it was diluted Cheezee whilst the gravy is the normal one. The chicken tenders were, well, tender and fresh, and partially reminiscent of a slight KFC peppery flavour.

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Colonel Frank’s serves hotdog sandwiches with a twist, but my brother was not interested in any innovative venture and just wanted to enjoy a plain dog on the brioche. He got what he wanted (no idea how he communicated this plain jane request), but was not too happy with the bread (he was expecting French flair) and the hotdog (had better)—which is probably why Colonel Frank’s is best enjoyed with the mac and cheese on top.

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Pie Guys opened a bit late (or we came too early) so the Mashinator (Pulled Pork) came in during dessert time. With spuds and pie forming the crowning glory, it was comfort food variety that was really filling. We had to bring home the other half of the crown.

Last but not the least is the Mexican place with the longest name: Plaza de Taqueria Mexicana Cantina. The “Taqueria” held quite a queue one early Saturday afternoon because it was one of the few stalls open.

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The Taqueria, that day, was quite busy: the orders didn’t come at the same time (forgivable), the girl kept on referring to the enchilada as “chalupa” (so we thought it was the wrong order) and they forgot my fish tacos (but pretended not to).

While I have no idea how the back kitchen operates, I could imagine it was topsy-turvy with folks calling everything and each other “Chalupa!” Kaloka.

While the food items certainly looked lip-smacking delectable, they were more mediocre than their beautiful plating.

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The nachos were hmmm-kay and the fish tacos held tiny fish chunks and more salsa.  The salsa was spicy great, but the portion was on the pequeno side.

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The Quesodilla seemed pretty comfy in its wooden block, but when a slow eater finishes it in a jiffy—you know someone wants to have dessert ASAP!

While I haven’t tried everything in BoxPark MNL (Cajitas huhu), our initial verdict that that we shall come back for Thai Food’s Pad Thai! And if we have room for dessert (wait, we always do!) it’ll be Black Bay by Mr. Diggins.

Goodie, finally a QC foodie destination right along our ghetto Congressional Avenue! Finally a spot on the map!

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High Five: 5F Mega Food Hall

megamall food court

Stumbled upon this not-so-secret niche at the 5F of the Mega Fashion Hall. It’s not quite a hush-hush place, since it’s really spacious, but blame me for feeling lazy to get all the way up to visit the ice skating rink.

Megamall Food Hall

I bet Megamall frequent mallers will roll their eyes at my discovery, but let me roll my eyes in return:

The 5F Mega Food Hall is awesome, quiet and my favorite feature is that—you don’t reek of food afterwards!

That is like food hall Heaven for the likes of me! Of course I don’t expect you to feel the same.

SM Mega Food Hall

With an array of tenants that could please even the pickiest eater, I say, any trip to the 5th floor is worth it and warrants a comeback.

Mega Food Hall Tex Mex Nav

Of course I had my cheat sheet beforehand and knew my first destination: Tex Mex. A sucker for anything Mexican and a lover of all things salsa, a taco lunch was necessary.

Tex Mex Mega Food hall

Mexican food megamall

We had the Chicken Taco Salad and Nachos. The Chicken Taco Salad whose name I couldn’t even remember (but I could swear it has the word “pollo”) was okay. I say “Okay” in a sense that when you look at it, you already know how it tastes like.

That’s exactly how it was, mediocre and the straightforward taco salad.

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The Nachos were multicolored and I requested that the beef be separated—a simple request that took some time to process—but at least they got it right!

Despite the overwhelming mix of primary and secondary colors, the entire dish was bland including that awfully yellow cheese sauce. The only flavor that stood out was that of the olives and good thing, olives are friends.

Mega Food Hall Nav

Nav is a neighboring Thai restaurant that serves turmeric! How can you say “no” to that? But I already had the Tex Mex conditioning so I only spied 2 Nav dishes on the spread.

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 Pad Thai and Squid (with steak rice, supposedly). The pad thai looked delectably seasoned and the noodles just chewy enough to make you eat slowly and delightfully. The squid tasted like Bon Chon and the rice was devoid of steak. The egg was a curious deep fried presence but sweetened at some point—so some dabbing was involved. Sorry about that.

However with the price range and assortment that the 5F Mega Food Hall has to offer, well, 1) I will be back, 2) I will return, and 3) I shall bring a friend!

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Falling off the Mango Tree

lazy black cat food blog quezon city

First time I ate at Mango Tree, I was up high in Thai bliss I even came up with an equally action packed title, Swinging by the Mango Tree  (@BGC).

That was because I ate for free.

The second time around, the experience was not rocking, rolling, or even swinging; it was not even close to repeating! Yep you guessed it right, I paid for my meal, this time at Mango Tree Bistro Trinoma.

Me, the thrifty semi vegetarian paid quite a price for this meal, so it was far from swinging by the tree and more of digging for spare change. With an economy like this, it’s time I embrace the Third World, live in acceptance and spend in penury.

The cost of my meal could feed a family of 10 in today’s GDP and so forgive my extravagance. As a form of penance I will abstain from milk tea for 10 days, a day for each family member.

And to think all I had was the Pomelo Salad, Pad Thai Jay and Red Chicken Curry.

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The Pomelo Salad has quite the complex presentation, with its pomelo-shrimp headdress, lettuce bed, onions, carrots and a smorgasbord of dressing flavors. Enough to battle with a Sinulog mask, it was very exquisite tasting and a creation of marvel. Even pomelo haters will be awed by this construction. However for the penny pinchers, you are probably better off eating a pomelo drenched in ACV and a wee bit of lettuce—roughly the same banana!

quezon city thai food restaurant

Pad Thai Jay offers the vegetarian pad thai but with the egg net that egg-maniacs can’t say no to. This elaborate 80s ‘do is also probably the reason why the dish costs quite a lot for mere rice noodles—unless inflation has reached only the fish sauce industry at this awful proportion! I understand the pomelo but pad thai? While the noodles were delectable and very enriching, I believe it’s time to finally learn how to cook my own pad thai jay.

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The chicken in red curry was—how do I say this without sounding so lame—ho-kay.  It was positively mediocre—the chicken chunks were standard, the curry was mildly spicy but could do more with that curry tang. There were vegetables swimming in the same sauce but were the least enticing. While the curry went well with the savvy noodles, they would surely do well with rice—note for the rice eaters, a vast group that dropped me off their subscription list.

While the dishes were extensively and craftily made, those seeking to protect their pockets are probably better off dining elsewhere. If you’re on a date though, well that’s another story. But if flying solo, don’t fall off the mango tree like me.

Learn to cook pad thai at home—or in my case—go one flight up, Banana Leaf!

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Soi What? (Soi, New Glorietta)

j.anne gonzales food blog

Once I get a craving for Pad Thai, there’s no stopping me. Pad thai seems to be my 2013 comfort food which people close to me may find strange since I dislike peanuts, abhor fish sauce and have never been to Thailand—like that matters—but I just felt like adding it.

What’s more alluring than pad thai is pad thai with that crafty egg net. As I tell my peers, who can say no to egg served so artistically? I would welcome that with an open mouth and an empty plate!

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Soi Thai Restaurant at the new Glorietta (that’s what they call it, I swear) serves Thai food, which personally I did not care about, since I only went for the egg-netted-pad-thai. Turns out, the Vegetarian Pad Thai is not bedazzled with that lusty egg net! So if you are after the egg like me, go for Chicken Pad Thai, which thank goodness, we had the proactive gluttony to order.

That evening, we were advised that the Pad Thai noodles would go from fettucine flat to rounded slim—about twice the diameter of vermicelli. Like I care.

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When the noodles came though, it seems that I do care. The thin noodles were interesting to masticate but then again, you go looking for that flat chewy presence that makes pad thai, well, pad thai. Plus the serving seemed so miniscule, I could finish a plate and still go for other dishes and 2 kinds of dessert (which I did in retrospect). The sauce was ho-hum in sweetness and the tofu barely there. At least the chicken chunks were on the average size. Of course the egg did not make that big of a difference and only made an ooooh impression for the photo op. After the first bite, I could honestly say that I would not be dreaming of this anorexic noodle dish for the poor, much less crave for Soi more.

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The Seafood Curry though was interestingly something I couldn’t stop eating, until the very last morsel of curdled curry. It was a bizarrely arranged dish that somehow tasted so well. Even the onion tasted so damn good! Imagine that.

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The Pandan Chicken and Grilled Squid did not deviate from their expected taste, so they were both on the safe side. Turns out I am not quite a fan of grilled squid—not sure if it was me or does grilled squid just taste so raw? Must be all the burnt calamari I’ve been eating.

seafood glorietta restaurant

Oh, and half of the pandan chicken was chicken skin so if you’re a skin-hater like me, consider it bit of a rip-off. Rip off the pandan leaf to unveil a rip-off. Nice.

Soi Glorietta was packed that Friday night; I imagine people really love the noodles and rice which seemed to flood the other tables. Since I only came for the pad thai and was met with an anorexic dish that had more nuts than soy, I’d say better luck next time. With noodles that thin—pho hoa skinny—I’m better off going to the gym.

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Thai Will Be Done (@Oody’s)

Thai food is best described as vibrant, diversely flavored and patron-choosy—which is why I’ve never been too fond of it, being one of the patrons forced to face its spite. The spicy part, I can endure, but the liberal flavor of fish sauce and peanuts has not been too friendly to my salt-averse sense of taste. The Legaspi Market’s Pad Thai though, drastically improved my assessment on this dish and presented an opportunity of, possibly, craving Thai food in the future.

And crave I did.

 Oody’s Greenbelt was a mindless choice, logistically advantageous and appealing to the Makati walkers. That, and for some odd reason, my peers did not consider Banana Leaf an option. Pity—and so Oody’s it was!

 

My quest for Pad Thai was thwarted though, by the flaunting photo of the Pad Siew. Less pallid, fortified with greens and devoid of peanuts—it seemed to reach out to me, and so I ditched the Pad Thai fancy. It was a choice not to regret. Pad Siew literally means “fried with soy sauce” and its rice noodles were chewy yet tender, just the way I imagined them for weeks. The chunks of chicken and scrambled egg were generously incorporated in the dish and not placed as a measly siding. While a bit on the oily side—what can you expect from stir fried noodles?—I suspect a cup of tea would assuage the risk of a shortened lifespan. Nonetheless, the tea never emerged, but rather, a hefty crepe with ice cream. I suppose there’s always room for dessert.

The Pad Thai and Noodle Soup with Chicken were not mine to begin with, but let me provide snippets of the comments from my equally hungry and opinionated mates:

Soup:

“I suppose it’s okay.”

“I’m only eating soup because I have gastro-something. I sure hope it’s not spicy!”

“I’m paying this much for this soup? Hmmm.”

When asked for comparisons, “Of course Pho Hoa serves much better soup. This doesn’t even come close.”

Pad Thai:

“Wow, that’s a lot! But your Pad Siew looks way better!”

“You can have some of my Pad Thai, you know.” To which I nearly screamed, “No, thank you!”

I rest my case.

 ON THE SIDE

House appetizers – The spicy peanuts and fried wanton made lovely centerpieces and to our delight, were rather tasty. “Refillable” was another key to securing our economical enjoyment. As for hygiene, well that’s another story.

Service – Undertaking the challenge to serve us water in small, decorative glasses, Oody’s waiters nearly regret their insensible decision. While tall glasses graced other tables (I wonder why), they opted to serve us, human camels and giant gulpers, the beakers amongst their dishes. Concession was made by leaving a pitcher instead, but that was after about 3 rounds of Water, please. Your free peanuts are choking us!”

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