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25 August 2008

Restaurant Review | Wong Nai-Nai

Wong Nai-Nai
6 Christian Street, Grace Village, Quezon City
Type of Cuisine: Chinese
Average cost per person: Php 50 to Php 65 (US$1.11 to US$1.45)
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarnostar

It isn't often that we venture into this particular area of Quezon City. Since we were going to be in the area for an org affair that day, our friend, Francene, insisted that we have lunch in a place she called Wong Nai-Nai.

Situated within walking distance of Grace Christian High School, Wong Nai-Nai is a small, unassuming hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant. It was pretty empty when we arrived (around 1.30pm), but we were told that during lunch time and after classes the place was always packed. Upon perusing the menu, we could already understand why.

Their prices are really cheap! We thought that it would mean that the servings would be small, so we were very pleasantly surprised when we discovered that their servings were very generous as well. And, even better, the food was good! We realized then why Francene was so fond of the place,and why it was so popular in that area.

Wong Nai-Nai is definitely worth a visit, if you're near the Grace Village area! Delicious food in generous servings and surprisingly low prices -- three things that instantly won our favour.

Steamed SharksfinSteamed Sharksfin (Php 25, US$0.56)
We ordered this under Wendy's recommendation (a friend of ours who was the only customer there when we arrived). Of course, it's not actually made from a shark's fin. We suspect its prolly pork prepared so that it would taste like sharksfin ought to. Whatever it is though, it's very cheap and yummy.

Kiam pung and Adobo EggKiam Pung & Adobo Egg (Php 30, US$0.67, & Php 10, US$0.22, respectively)
This is what Francene calls the Filipino-Chinese sort of comfort food (her exact words were: "If Pinoys' comfort foods are bulalo, isaw, etc., these are the Chinese's counterpart for that."). Tasty and savoury and incredibly cheap.

Chicken TeriyakiChicken Teriyaki (Php 65, US$1.45)
Wendy swears by Wong Nai-Nai's chicken teriyaki: "Super yummy!" There's a delicate balance of sweetness and spiciness. The chicken is not too tough and not too soft either. They don't try and make the dish look bulkier by putting too many vegetables and too little meat -- really great value for your money.

Wanton NoodlesWanton Noodle (Php 65, US$1.45)
It was surprising to see how generous they were with the serving. We don't think we've ever had a bowl of noodles with so many wantons till Wong Nai-Nai -- Francene wasn't kidding when she said to Joey, "That's a lot! Sobrang nakakabusog yung mga noodles nila!"

Chicken Steak NoodleChicken Steak Noodle (Php 65, US$1.45)
The chicken steaks themselves were a bit tough, although plentiful. The noodles were great, and made Harrell rather wish that he'd ordered the Wanton Noodle like Joey did.

Walking back from Wong Nai-Nai
Wong Nai-NaiWong Nai-NaiWong Nai-NaiWong Nai-NaiWong Nai-NaiWong Nai-Nai

Reviewed by Harrell and Joey.
Special thanks to our guest reviewers, Francene and Wendy.
Photography by Joey.
See more photos on Joey's flickr.

18 August 2008

Bloggers' Event | Chef Lisa Leong

BongHealthy Asian Cooking with Singaporean Celebrity Chef
Bong at Tang City
Glorietta, Makati City

Singaporean Celebrity Chef and Gourmetician Lisa Leong taught Filipinos weeks back, including members of the media, in an event in Tang City Glorietta, how healthy food should never be bland, colorless and boring, and can even taste great.

Being an advocate of new Asian healthy cuisines, with more than 25 years of culinary experience and expertise, she used SUPER COCO Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and COCOS *MCT Powder to turn her dishes into a healthier choice.

(*MCT or Medium Chain Triglycerides are organic compounds that are extracted from fresh coconuts, which contains beneficial lauric and capric acids, found in human breast milk. These compouds list numerous health benefits such as boosting the immune system and protecting the liver.)

She prepared for us 5 dishes that night. First up was the Pandan rice with spicy anchovies. The rice was good, especially when paired with the spicy anchovies, but don't expect a lot from the rice--it can only take you that far.

Next up was the Dancing Singapore Laksa (spicy). It was my first time to try Laksa, and I fell in love with it immediately. I love how the spices blend, and how the dish comforts you. Then, she prepared the Pandan Cake using a rice cooker. It turned out really great -- soft, warm, and intact. The taste is definitely better than a chiffon cake.

After that, she made the MCT Pandan Kaya on toast. I love the taste of the Kaya she did; it wasn't too sweet, and it a "melts in your mouth" kind of Kaya. Lastly, the MCT Jingle Glass Jell-O crowned the whole experience. It is the best gelatinous dessert I have ever tried!

Capping off the event, Tang City provided bloggers and members of the Media a simple yet scrumptious Chinese dinner which sampled what the restaurant can offer. It was just unfortunate that we were already full from all the taste testing we did from the demonstration of Chef Lisa.

Along with this, she had a Healthy Lifestyle Cooking Course in Manila - a series of cooking workshops sponsored by Team Asia Corporation from August 8-9 which was held at different Tang City branches in Robinson's Place Ermita and Glorietta.

On a more personal note, I can see that she's very exuberant, and passionate about what she does. I think that her outlook in cooking healthy food, and sharing it with other people, with a couple of quips here and there and in between her demonstrations, what makes her cool and click with any crowd.

Chef Lisa Leong with Team Asia Corporation President and CEO Mr. William T. Guido


Reviewed by Bong.
Photography by Bong.
See more photos on Bong's Flickr.

12 August 2008

Thank you! ♥

Never did we imagine that our less than four month old blog would be counted as one of the most influential emerging blogs of 2008! We feel incredibly blessed that we were given this honour and we are so very thankful to everyone who believed in us, who cheered for us, and who helped us get to where we are now.

This was all just for fun, and to find that what we do for fun is something that people enjoy and find helpful makes us all very proud. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou to everyone who reads, comments, shares, enjoys, listens and gets involved in our blog!!

And, of course, thankyou and congratulations to Ms. Janette Toral for hosting and spearheading this wonderful project! There would be no Ten Most Influential Blogs named if not for her.

Again, thankyou so much to everyone who has given us love, support, and votes (hahahh!) -- you know who you all are :) We hope you continue to read and enjoy what we do :)

Lots of love,
Your Manila Foodistas
Joey, Bong, Harrell, Pat, Tiff, Mark, Hannah & Kat

Harrell, Joey & Bong at the Awarding

You guys made this possible -- thankyou!

10 August 2008

Restaurant Review | Leslie's Restaurant

Leslie's Restaurant
Silang, Tagaytay City
Type of Cuisine: Filipino
Average cost per person: 200-300 (US$5-8)
Overall Rating: starstarstarnostarnostar

Conveniently situated along the highway, Leslie's Restaurant opens its doors to accommodate weary travelers with authentic Filipino food and breathtaking views. The cool air this time of the year offers the perfect excuse to indulge in body-warming food the restaurant has to offer -- this meant more protein-rich food were of priority for us.

The ambiance is very Filipino, as it features a Nipa Hut inspired spacious interior with wooden chairs and tables to go along with it. The restaurant is seated on a cliff with quaint little outdoor huts overlooking Taal Lake and the famous Taal Volcano.

The dishes were in large servings, typical of the Filipino extended family setting. The taste of the dishes were not of the extraordinary but the scenery and the warm Filipino feel and taste made up for it.

It was the birthday of Gwen, who, coincidentally, was with the Foodistas. With Filipino restaurants, roaming guitars and singers are typical and are a unique part of the ambiance. It also exemplifies music as a vital part of the Filipino culture. The song numbers were very good and completed the Foodistas' dining experience.

Kare-KareBeef Kare-Kare (Php 299, US$6.85)
The beef was very tender and it can be easily separated with the use of a spoon. The sauce was rich and tasty. A person with a liking for large helpings of sauce with meals will find this dish heaven-sent.

Special BulaloBulalo Special (Php 499, US$11.44)
The star of the meal. Both Bong and Harrell have Bulalo as their favorite soups. The cool weather upped this Bulalo experience even more; they both agree that it's definitely the soup of warmth. The bone marrow cut (Harrell's favorite part of the dish) was very large and there was more than enough for everyone.

Crispy KangkongCrispy Kangkong (Php 175, US$4.01)
A must for fat seekers. The Foodistas thought that it was too oily. Your usual deep fried Kangkong and batter - with extra oil.

Tuna BellyTuna Belly - Small (Php 330, US$7.56)
Very fresh, soft, and tender. Definitely better than Sukat Sili's, according to Tiff and Bong. The tuna was seasoned well and the taste did not overpower that of the dish. Definitely a must-try.

Harrell, Tiffy, Bong

Reviewed by Bong, Harrell and Tiffy.
Photography by Bong and Tiffy.
See more photos on Bong's and Tiffy's Flickr.
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