Manila Stories and Tips

Eating out in Manila

I don't remember going to many restaurants in the three days we spent in Manila--instead, I reveled in eating at the stalls or cafeterias where you just point to a selection of dishes on display. Compared to the food of other parts of Southeast Asia--such as Thai, Malay and Indian--I think it is usual to call Filipino food boring, though that may be a bit unfair. One thing distinct about Filipino cooking is its ability to combine major ingredients together, such as pork and fish, chicken and shrimp. While growing up Chinese in Vietnam, I have eaten many roast suckling pig, but nowhere did it come with a sauce made predominantly of shrimp paste, strange at first, but addictive.

While in Manila, you may want to go to one of the upscale restaurants that serve Filipino food, though there are not many. A popular one is Kamayan, where patrons eat native-style with their hands, though forks and knives are available. I especially liked the steamed fish in bamboo leaves. Kamayan also features traditional entertainment. Musicians play, there is some dancing, and patrons are also invited up to the stage to do some dancing. This is a great opportunity to push your co-workers on stage--they can get fairly silly, and you can snap pictures for future blackmail (I am just kidding, though they are great to show around the office when you get back) opportunities.

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