Milky Way Cafe
Recommended Sinigang na tilapia sa miso (snapper in sour, miso-based soup) and nilagang ulo ng lapu-lapu (braised head of grouper)
"Milky Way serves the best sinigang soup – not too acidic, balanced, and the miso is served on the side just like wasabi. Some prefer to eat it with a strong miso flavor, some don’t. If I’m feeling under the weather, I always order this. The grouper soup is made from good stock, delicious cooked with leeks, cabbages, string beans and onions, and I think with a little ginger. Milky Way gets the best fish available in the market. You always get consistent taste. You can have the nilagang lapu-lapu with boiled potatoes so it’s light and easy to eat, but It’s best eaten with a steaming bowl of rice. The meat on its own is already very good."
Powerplant Mall, tel +632 756 5026, www.cafe.milkywayrestaurant.com
Recommended Sinigang na bangus sa bayabas (milkfish guava stew)
"Abe’s style is simple. You can eat the sinigang bangus sa bayabas on its own or as a main course with steamed rice."
Serendra branch, tel +632 856 0526, www.ljcrestaurants.com.ph/abe/
Kainan Au Gusto
Recommended Tinolang manok (chicken soup with green papaya and ginger).
"Kainan Au Gusto’s tinolang manok is yummy, cooked using native chicken, papaya instead of sayote, ginger, onion, and lots of malunggay leaves. Kainan Au Gusto is a hole-in-the-wall in Pasig, opened to serve budget diners, primarily chauffeurs waiting for their employers dining right next door at Cafe Juanita restaurant. It gained quite a following. Everybody’s Café also serves frog tinola cooked with upo, garlic and miswa or thin salted Chinese noodles."
21 United Street, corner West Capitol, Pasig City
Recommended Bulalo (slow-boiled beef shank stew)
"Leslie’s in Tagaytay City still serves the best bulalo in town. Leslie’s bulalo is a whole, big, chunky beef shank with bone marrow that’s super tender. The beef they use is from Tagaytay or Batangas so it’s really good. Leslie's, sadly, has problems with consistency, or at least the main branch in Tagaytay has. Sometimes the beef is so tough that I’m forced to send it back to the kitchen. That’s the problem with keeping such a big place. The secret is to go to a smaller branch." [Check out the newly opened Sky Ranch branch]
Sky Ranch branch, Tel +6346 413 2678, www.facebook.com/pages/Leslies-Restaurant-Skyranch-Tagaytay
Recommended Paksiw na bangus (milkfish stewed in vinegar)
"Everybody’s Café in Pampanga uses big-sized milkfish bought from neighboring Dagupan. It’s meatier and less bony. The fish is cooked in vinegar, ginger and green chilli, doing away with the use of bitter melon and eggplant popular in other regions. It's served with bagoong or small fermented shrimp sautéed with lots of garlic, chilli, oil and a little sugar. Sapsap (ponyfish) or banak (sea mullet) fish can be used instead of the milkfish for this dish."
Tel +6345 860 1121, www.facebook.com/everybodyscafepampanga
Recommended Batchoy (mami noodle soup originating from Iloilo)
"Ilonggo grill’s batchoy is good. Batchoy is mami noodles cooked in chicken stock, shredded chicken, pork, liver – which I’m not a fan of – and spring onions. I like mine served with egg and chicharon (crackling). There are also many good batchoy hole-in-the-wall places along Taft Avenue in Manila, near De La Salle University."
The Landmark food court branch, ground floor, The Landmark, Makati Avenue, Makati City. The Landmark Tel +632 810 9990
About Chef Sau del Rosario
Chef Sau trained at the Culinary Institute of America. He worked in various kitchens abroad, including the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, Swisshotel's Equinox, Restaurant L’universe in Nice, France, Le Devellec in Paris, Luna in Shanghai, before coming back to the Philippines to open the successful M Cafe in Greenbelt 4 and Chelsea at the Fort in Makati. He owns bread commissary Food Garage, and is now culinary director of the Center for Culinary Arts, Manila.
Originally published in Inflight Traveller's Bakasyon July to August 2012. Updated July 2015