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Manilan Specialities... And Where to Try Them

November 13, 2017
Calling all pork-lovers, sausage-addicts and nice-ice fans: the Philippines has a packed menu of culinary enticements. Let LUXE put them on your plate – here are the top national specialities to sink your teeth into, and where to find them...

Lechon

Get your roast-suckling pig (aka lechon) fix at Pepita’s Kitchen, where you’ll be welcomed by the ‘Lechon Diva’ herself: Dedet Dela Fuente, who serves incredible lechon-loaded feasts from the comfort of her own home. Here, the coal-roasted pork comes stuffed with a multitude of creative, calorific fillings, including truffles, foie gras, shrimp paste-flavoured binagoongan rice and more.

Adobo

Adobo is another national favourite, starring chicken, pork, squid (pusit) or vegetables stewed in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaf. Try yours at Grace Park, a farm-to-table, organic eatery run by Margarita Fores. The succulent lamb stew is served with its natural companion: rice; add some sides – butter-garlic adlai (a local grain) or creamy polenta, perhaps.

Longganisa

Chorizo-fans should waste no time before trying longganisa: the Filipino version of the spicy Spanish sausage. Traditionally, longganisa is flavoured with paprika, cinnamon, aniseed, garlic and vinegar; it’s sold fresh and must be cooked. This is considered the morning pork (a bacon alternative, if you will), so hit up Early Bird Breakfast Club for its excellent version. Other porcine lures here include a smoked bacon slab and bacon chicharon. Want a slightly more Willy Wonka-style take on the sausage? Sample Black Sheep's savoury ice-cream; this Filipino-Chinese restaurant by chef Patrick Go has plenty of other tricks up its sleeve.

Halo-halo

No trip to the Philippines would be complete without trying the country’s much-loved sweet treat. Get your chops around some halo-halo at Ilustrado Intramuros. This sugary, colour-pop mix of shaved ice and condensed milk comes with myriad toppings, including boiled sweet beans, coconut, sago, gulaman (agar jelly), tubers and fruits.

Leche Flan


Last but by no means least, the most popular pud in the archipelago is miraculously whipped up from mere eggs and milk with a soft caramel topping – a kind of crème caramel, if you will. And nowhere nails it better than The Lobby at The Peninsula Manila. (They also scoop up an excellent halo-halo.) Diet be damned!

Pepita’s Kitchen / 6 San Pablo St / Makati / +63 2 425 4605 / 8.30am-6.15pm daily / facebook.com
Grace Park / G/F / One Rockwell / Makati / +63 939 934 7223 / 10am-10pm daily / facebook.com
Early Bird Breakfast Club / G/F / Century City Mall / Kalayaan Ave / Makati / +63 2 403 1897 / 7am-9pm Sun-Thu, 7am-10pm Fri-Sat / earlybirdbreakfastclub.com
Black Sheep / UPRC 1 Bldg / Chino Roces Ave / Makati / +63 927 783 7038 / lunch & dinner Mon-Sat / facebook.com
Ilustrado Intramuros / 44 Calle Real del Palacio / Intramuros / + 63 2 527 3674 / 10am-11pm Mon-Fri, 11am-11.30pm Sat-Sun / ilustradorestaurant.com.ph
The Lobby / G/F / The Peninsula Manila / +63 2 887 2888 / manila.peninsula.com

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