Our Awesome Planet

Our Awesome Planet

July 13, 2009

Makansutra Disappointment...

July 13, 2009

Makansutra Disappointment...

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I was super excited to try Makansutra Asian Food Village at the 2nd Floor of Manila Ocean Park. Ever since our family's Singapore food trip (see: Singapore Makan Food Trip - My Top 10 Favorites! and Singapore Makan Food that did not make the cut), I was craving for authentic Makan cuisine here in Manila.

I had very high expectations because the food stall is owned and managed by KF Seetoh, the author and founder of the Singapore food bible - Makansutra. I must admit OAP was inspired by it.

I was disappointed. First, I failed to meet KF Seetoh (by a few days) and the Singapore Chefs when they opened Makansutra. Second, the food tasted like another Pinoy version of Makan dishes because of the all-Pinoy chef crew. None of the 38 pinoy crew "had ever been to nor eaten anything from Singapore and Malaysia."

Having said that, the Makansutra Asian Food Village is worth a try because 7 out of my Top 10 Makan Favorites are available and the hawker-style food court concept is something unique in Manila.

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The Pinoy Chefs in Makansutra were trained by Five Singapore Street Food Masters (source: Tips from the Masters in opening our food court in Manila):

1. Mohd Hussin (or Sam)  from Alhambra Padang Satay at Gluttons Bay by the Esplanade;

2. Mohamed Nasiruddeen Hudek (or Deen) from Flavours Prata (210 South Bridge Road);

3. Francis Yeo (Ah Heng) from Tian Jin Hai Seafood (01-09 Zion Road Riverside Food Centre);

4. Alex See of Geylang Lor 29 Fried Hokkien Mee (396 East Coast Road); and

5. Cheng King Tong, Hokkien- and Mandarin-speaking full-time trainer.

I'm still hoping to meet KF Seetoh and any of the Singapore Street-food Masters one of these days when they visit Manila.

Let me give you a tour of the Makansutra Asian Food Village...

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Satay (P135 - Chicken, P120 - Pork, P160 - Beef). Indonesian Style Sweet & Spicy meat skewers with a rich peanut sauce

Makansutra Asian Food Village is designed in an open-kitchen island setup with 14 stations serving Filipino, Singaporean, Malaysian, Thai, Indian and a few Western dishes. It is similar to a food court or Kopitiam style where you can order from any of the self-service cashiers. It is like going to a hawker place located in the middle of a restaurant setting. 

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BBQ Chicken Wings (P125) Chicken wings chargrilled for juice and fragrance

Satay and the chicken wings are the most popular dishes that are already available here in Manila. We decided not to order them anymore because you can usually get them at other Asian restaurants.

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Filipino Favorites including Pork Sinigang (P80), Beef Bulalo (P80), Pork Adobo (P80), Chicken Adobo (P80), Chop Suey (P70), and Grilled Tilapia (P125)

Of course, our Filipino food favorites are available and served turo-turo style.

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Most of the Makan soups are available, including Singapore Laksa, Lor Mee, Bak Chor Mee, and Hae Mee Soup.

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Prawn Mee Soup (P130) 

Instead of the Singapore Laksa, we ordered this prawn soup for the kids -- but it was still too spicy for their taste buds.

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Oyster Omelet with Rice (P125)

My wife Rache was craving for this oyster omelet but she found it too oily. The oysters were cooked separately from the omelet -- this is not how we remember this particular dish as cooked by the hawkers of Singapore.

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Thai dishes are also available...

Khao Gai Jao (P100) - Thai crispy egg rice with spicy minced pork
Khao Kai Moo (P100) - Thai stewed pork trotter in a sweet spicy sauce with rice
Khao Pad Krapao Gai (P115) - Thai spicy basil chicken rice
Tom Yam Soup (P110) - Spicy sour & refreshing with meat vegetables and rice

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The most popular station, of course, is the Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice!

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Singapore Chicken Rice (Regular - P140) - Fragrant jasmine rice cooked in chicken stock with poached chicken, pickles, piquant chili -- Singapore's National dish

It was good but not something to rave about. The rice lacked the flavor and aroma that we love in our chicken rice.

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Bak Kuh Teh (P95) - Prime Pork Ribs  "Tea" infused, with Pepper and Garlic

The taste is a bit subtle. It is almost the same way we cooked it at home using a Bak Kuh Teh mix.

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If you are a fan of Roti Prata, check out the Malaysian/ Indonesian cuisine stall.

Nasi Lemak (P125) - Soft coconut rice with fried chicken wing, seafood sambal, potato cutlet egg & cucumbers
Gado Gado (P90) - chopped & blanced fresh garden greens with egg & rice cakes smothered in an indonesian sweet spicy peanut sauce
Mee Rebus (P90) - Singapore style boiled yellow noodles flooded with a rich, thick seafood sauce with egg, bean sprouts & tofu
Roti Prata (P90) - South Indian flipped & pan fried bread with a smooth curry - 2 pieces per order.
Nasi Goring with Satay Fried Egg (P125) - sambal fried rice with 2 sticks skewers, fried egg & archar (sweet spicy pickles)
Soto Ayam (P90) - Indonesian style, light spicy chicken broth with yellow noodles shredded chicken bean sprouts & potato cutlet

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Pinoy Chef cooking the Singapore Fried Noodles

Cha Kway Teow (P120) - Kway teow & hokkien mee wok fried in sweet & savoury soy sauce topped with seafood & bean sprouts
Cha Hae Mae (P120) - been hoon & hokkien mee wok fried & braised in rich prawn stock topped with prawns, squid, pork, bean sprouts, & chives

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We are going back to try the Chili or Pepper Crabs! (Let me know if anybody tried it already...)

Chili Crabs (P1,800) -  Singapore's National Favorite - done in a thick spicy tomato & eggy sauce
Pepper Crabs (P1,800) - Robustly enlivened with black & white pepper, oyster sauce & Chinese wine 
Grilled Sambal Bangus (P390) or Tilapia (P275) - Banana leaf-grilled with an addictive onion sambal & calamansi
Sambal Clams (P300) or Squid (P275) - Flash-pan fried with a smooth sambal
Punggol Mee Goreng - P150

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"You see what you like, order, pay and go eat in an environment with an eclectic mix of kopitiam tables, chairs and old Spanish style street café furniture with Indonesian tok panjang seatings."  

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Dimsum, of course!
Siomai (4pcs - P75), Hakaw (4pcs - P95), Taosi Spareribs (P75), Chicken Feet (P60), Tai Pao (1pc- P100), Asado Pao (1pc - P40), - Bola bola Pao (1pc - P40), Chicken Pao (1pc - P40), Lin Yong Bao (1pc-P40), Tausa Bao (1pc- P40), Beancurd skin (P60), and Cheon Fun (P70)

Kung Pao Chicken (P100)
Seafood Muifan (P125) - fluffy rice smothered with seafood & eggy sauce
Seafood Horfun (P140) - fried kway teow with seafood & sauce
Prawn Paste Chicken (P200) - golden fried chicken pieces marinated in Chinese paste & wine (3pcs)
Ginger & Onion Fish Slices (P130)
Sweet & Sour Pork (P130)

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If you are looking for a safe order for your foreigner friend or for your kids, order the western dishes...

Spaghetti Vongole (P110) - done in white wine reduction sauce with juicy clams
Seafood Marinara (P130) - refreshing tomato sauce spaghetti with fresh seafood
Fish & Chips (P175) - done golden brown & crispy
Grilled Chicken (P175) - boneless chicken thigh with mushroom sauce
Spaghetti Aglio Olio (P130) - pan tossed in olive oil, garlic & fresh seafood
Grilled Beef Striploin (P300) - sirloin, grilled for smokiness with caramelized onions
Spaghetti Carbonara (P120) - creamy pasta with streaky beacon

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The food is definitely oily, using authentic Singaporean ingredients and cooked the Pinoy way.

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Here is a tip: You can pay via Credit Card at the drinks and desserts cashier. We ordered around P600 and we got 4 complimentary tickets (worth P150 each) to watch the Little Mermaid show. :) BTW, we just went to Manila Ocean Park to eat in Makansutra without entering the Oceanarium itself.

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The Drinks and Beverage lineup is almost complete --> Beverage, Drinks | Juice & Desserts

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Michael Jackson (P60) Soy Milk with Black Gulaman and Longan Drink (P45).

Aidan liked the longan better because it has the same flavor as taho.

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Kopi/ Teh (P45) with Roti Kaya Toast (P80 - 2 pieces)

Kopi and Roti Kaya to end your Makansutra meal!

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Ice Kacang (P85).  The Makan Halo Halo version that we shared family-style.

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Cheng Tng (P75). If you are adventurous, try this healthy and sweet dessert made of longans, barley, gingko nuts, white fungus, pandan leaf and red dates. (I had to finish this myself...)

Makansutra Food Village

Makansutra Asian Food Village
2nd Floor, Manila Ocean Park, Luneta, 
Behind the Quirino Grandstand, Manila, Philippines 
Opening Hours 11am – 9pm daily

Live an Awesome Life,  

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Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2009. 
blog: www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
prof. blog: AntonDiaz.com
mobile: +63917-LOVEOAP (5683627) 
email: anton@diaz.ph

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