Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top 12 Food Finds in Manila

I have just read this article, Top Twelve Food Finds by its lovely author of whom I have been a long time fan.  I have been to a few of the places featured in that article and wanted to give my personal opinions on two of the restaurants featured .

Snowman Izakaya
This is located in Polaris Street in Makati - off Jupiter.  This place is quite good, Makati prices with many Korean patrons.  It serves both Japanese and Korean food and as written in the article the Dragon Roll there is the absolute best I have ever had (as a counter point I just had the Dragon roll in Jozukin, Forbes Circle and was not at all impressed), the Dragon Roll in Snowman is indeed the tastiest because it gives you the most “meat’ and not rice.  Furthermore, I was extremely impressed to see from my window seat the owners (I think) walking in with fishing rods and coolers hauling what seemed to be still live catch to the restaurant.  The place itself is interesting with its Soju on ice, hence the term “Snowman”.  It is an excellent date place, the bunk seats especially give you some semblance of privacy although I do recommend you go a bit late on a weekday.

Chicken and Beer – BBQ Chicken at Forbes Circle
This place has branches, one in Cebu, another in Makati, one in Molito in Alabang.  This is my favourite Korean chicken by far, somehow Bon Chon seems way overrated to me while Chicken and Beer is truly outstanding.  Expect to pay about 280 pesos for six pieces of spicy chicken, the ultra hot chicken will get you a warning from your server, if they like you.  Beer is 350 pesos a bucket.  This place is consistently good, and gets crowded sometimes because it is a very steady place to hang out.  During lulls in conversation there are flat screen tvs playing non stop K pop so you can stare at Korean goddesses doing coordinated dance all together and unlike Western girl or boy bands with a max of 5 members with K Pop you can feast your eyes on up to 15 girls gyrating in unison!  On another note, do not park your car on the street in the circle itself, parking is a bitch because it is limited, you may have to walk but there is a big chance your car could be towed and there is no bigger downer than to have a few beers and see your car not where it is supposed to be J

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Zaifu and Isshin

Isshin is a quaint little Japanese Restaurant along Pasay Road (Arnaiz Avenue) Makati City.  I remember going there waaayy back in 1997.  It was one of the places to have a hearty meal right before heading home after a long night of drinking. It only closed briefly at around dawn and opened again at ten am.  The interiors are simple, like a box with Japanese decor, although they have the low tables on the right side, the left side is a concession for space and the tables are cramped and the right side a concession to their Japanese heritage.  

 Tofu steak

The Dragon Roll all Japanese Restaurants have nowadays

Tamago variant with carrots

 Inside Zaifu

They say the testament to how good a restaurant is is if nationals from that country actually eat there.  Well, Isshin is full of Japanese people.  Matter of fact, even Japanese tourists with their ehem, girlfriends.  Hmmmm, just like Pasay Road in general as we all know that Pasay Road approaching EDSA is filled with Japanese establishments and the opposite direction will bring you close to Little Tokyo.  Anyhow the food is relatively inexpensive.  Don't expect gourmet dining, think of regular Japanese dishes such as tempura, ramen and don buri done very well.  Dessert is complementary, usually ice cream which tops of the experience nicely.  Its not a place I would go to on a first date but rather after a late night or for Sunday lunch.  For a date place with Japanese food, I highly recommend Seiji a little down Pasay Road, I will write about that next.

Zaifu, is located in the basement of Rockwell Power Plant Mall, it is by Isshin so think of it as a big Isshin with none of the charm.  The food is good and the same, the ambience just feels oddly tacky to me since what works as a hole in the wall does not work in a mall setting where I expect businesses to bring their A game.  Maybe they shouldn't have let people know it was by Isshin.  Also, where is the ice cream?  But again, go for the food.

Operating hours:
10 am to 4 am -  I have to double check this because says that it closes at midnight, but I have seen it open early morning.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cameras and Pictures

I just noticed from my first two posts that I have no pictures.  I have never been much of a "cam whore" matter of fact, I am the furthest from it.  But as a picture is worth a thousand words I think I better take some to add to my posts.

But what camera to use?  I own an iphone 4 which in my opinion takes wonderful pictures so I will be using that primarily.  I have an old Sony Cybershot (circa 2007) and it really has nothing on my iphone.  But as I like sharing my experiences, this research came about from my shopping for a birthday present for my girlfriend.

Panasonic Lumix Lx 7
This is what I hear most professional photographers turn to when they want a point and shoot.  It looks kinda big and is heavy (relatively).  It also boasts of a long battery life.  A point which is moot to a casual photgrapher like me, my sony lasts for days even on tour, I don't really take lots of pictures.

Cannon S100
The S95 is impressive but the S100 is better, the S110, you don't really need as it is a S100 with Wifi.

I ended up with the Cannon, it is user friendly, has a beautiful interface, is fast and well, takes wonderful pictures.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tagaytay, Part I

The blog is called "Man About Manila" but well Tagaytay is close enough (I'm tempted to put a picture of the  "Close Enough" meme but that would be too geeky, as if its not geeky enough I had to mention it).

There are two places in Tagaytay that I have tried recently, apart from the perennial Antonio's which you can check out here, featured on CNN!  Its there in the volcanic fun section.  Well Antonio's is good, very good actually.  Its a bit pricey but again, with high quality of food and the famous romantic backdrop making this the standard "proposal" template place, bring girl to Antonio's then propose.....

Anyhow, I would like to talk about other gems I found in Tagaytay.

Bawai (read more here and how to get there Our Awesome Planet)

This is an off the beaten track Vietnamese restaurant that is highly recommended you order in advance.

and Country Suites

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Filipino Food

Despite the popularity of international cuisines in Metro Manila, Filipinos will always love and seek out Filipino food. I can never go long without my Crispy Pata, honestly, I'd take it over lechon, and I loooooove lechon.  Speaking of which, I heard from my barber that there is a new craze in town, "Lechon Buwaya" which is for non Filipino speakers - Roasted Crocodile, sells for about PhP6,000.  I will update here when I find out how to order this.

I will admit, I have never brought my girl to Filipino food yet but as this is so close to my heart I want to put this list up.  Even with the many food and beverage services in the Metro, Filipino food has never lost its place and is continually evolving to fit the different tastes of Manila people.

When it comes to Filipino food, there are some restaurants that have made their mark to become staples in the industry. One such restaurant is Barrio Fiesta. Known for their crispy pata, Barrio Fiesta prides itself in celebrating traditional Filipino food in the country for years. Kare-kare is also a popular order when eating in this establishment’s many locations.

Another staple in the Filipino food industry is Kamayan. First opened in August of 1977, Kamayan took Filipino food from the local karinderia and turned it into an upscale dining experience while still preserving the tradition of using hands instead of utensils. Serving Filipino food buffet-style, this restaurant is known for their lechon de leche, seafood platter, kalderetang baka, and kuhol sa gata among other popular Filipino dishes.

With the advent of good Filipino food came its natural pairing with Filipino beer. Establishments like Dencio’s Bar and Grill and Gerry’s Grill merged the concept of classic Filipino cooking with the beloved local beer. Dencio’s Bar and Grill has become a popular drinking spot to enjoy local beer buckets together with famous beer companions like sisig, inihaw na liempo, and tokwa’t baboy.
Gerry’s Grill has also gone this direction by serving up grilled Filipino food to go with local beer selections. Its menu choices include grilled bangus, tuna belly, blue marlin, squid, chicken, and pork barbecue.

Some Filipino restaurants have chosen to serve specialty food, and a famous Filipino specialty is grilled chicken, or inihaw na manok. Places like Bacolod Chicken Inasal and JT’s Manukan are known for some of the best grilled chicken recipes served with rice and atsara. They also serve other grilled parts of the chicken like the liver, heart, and intestines.

While these establishments have chosen to go simple, other restaurants have taken Filipino cuisine to a whole new level by adding a touch of class and turning it into a fine dining experience. One very popular fine dining restaurant found in Brgy. Kapitolyo is Café Juanita. It is a famous spot for romantic dates over delicious Filipino dishes as its surroundings lend a warmth and old-age glow to this quaint restaurant. Some of the restaurant favorites are kare-kare, pork ribs adobo, and fried lapu-lapu with tamarind sauce.

Abe is another Filipino restaurant that has taken local cuisine up a notch in terms of presentation. Adding exquisite detail to loved Filipino dishes, Abe has menu selections like lamb adobo with popped garlic and fried catfish all to be enjoyed in a rather lavish setting. One can only expect to pay a little more in this restaurant compared with other Filipino restaurants.
Filipinos have always been about tradition and get-togethers and this tradition is never more evident than in the taste and textures of Filipino food. More and more food and beverage services in Manila have come to embrace this tradition in food that the industry has come up with so many ways to enjoy a truly Filipino dining experience. 

Man About Manila Begins

Hello everyone!  This is the first post of "Man About Manila" my blog of where to go for couch potatoes or home bodies based in Manila like me.  This came about from my need to know where to go.  You see, I am seriously dating a foodie, gourmand, traveler girl who I am crazy about and the thing is, I couldn't be further the opposite!

I never really traveled because I rather save money and save it to later spend on an expensive gadget or just plain save the money.  Then I really never saw the value in eating out, I found it a horrendous waste of money, might be my undeveloped palette or penchant for devouring fast food but well, never really ate in anything better than Friday's (that I was paying for of course).

This all changed when I met my special someone, she doesn't demand but rather this is me wanting to make her happy.  Thing is, how does someone who doesn't really go out, socialize or eat out do?

I began to.....

  1. Ask friends.  Every "foodie" has different tastes which should be experienced, I ask each for their best picks and try.
  2. Looked at many websites -,,,,,, - just to name a few.  I worked in the Yellow Pages before so I know what the listings go through to be accurate at all times so I will link to them for contact info because I will definitely forget to update all the places I list here.
  3. Read the lifestyle section of print newspapers - Philippine Star and the Inquirer mostly.
  4. Lifestyle magazines when available - Lifestyle Asia, Metro, Mega Magazine - I don't read local men's magazines, I find the editorial mistakes too much for me to forgive, except for Vault magazine.
  5. Became more observant of the world around me, if I see something new I take note and check it out.

So check this blog out, its is my journey into where I am going nowadays, making up for lost time, particularly with food and night life.  Who knows?  I may get into cooking next :D