GLORIA MARIS Restaurant, specifically the one in Greenhills, is our all-time favorite go-to place for authentic Cantonese food in Manila since 1995. My wife's Chinese family likes holding their special celebrations here, and I love the yummy consistency of their food every single time.
Last year, Gloria Maris moved to a new location with an impressive fine dining ambiance and an introduction of modern Cantonese cuisine to take the dining experience to a whole different level.
Here's our modern fine dining experience at Gloria Maris Greenhills:
There's something very primal about eating meat-on-a-stick and that's what makes it fun. Apart from the taste, it's also the eating experience that defines the food and that's what I like about street food. In the Philippines, there are a lot of barbecue stalls that peddle all kinds of grilled meat. Other countries have different versions but the concept remains the same.
In the Mercato weekend markets, Giga-Bite has combined the best of the Philippines and Middle Eastern/Mediterranean street fare. This food stall offers barbecue, isaw (intestines), and kebab. The stall's name gives a clue on the serving size of each order. What makes this a must-try is the secret blend of barbecue sauce that has all the flavors going on—sweet, salty, and tangy with a hint of spice. Probably the only other thing you'll need is a cup of steamed rice to make it a complete meal.
THE INTAN, which literally means "rose-cut diamond", is the Peranakan house-museum of Alvin Yapp, collector and curator of Peranakan antiques and purveyor of Peranakan culture in Singapore.
Peranakan means "descendant" and pertains to the ethnic Chinese who migrated in the 15th-16th century to the Malay peninsula, which includes Singapore. Although they have assimilated the Malay culture, they have distinct customs and traditions for Baba (men) and Nyonya (women). Most are elites of Singapore who have been loyal to the British than to China.
Trivia: Did you know that the Singapore Airlines flight attendant uniform is Peranakan-inspired?
The Food and Restaurant scene in Manila is booming, and finding the latest restos here is exciting as ever. Here are the best sites/apps for discovering new restaurants in Manila in 2013:
Looloo has a cool mobile community of restaurant reviewers who are very active in discovering and sharing their finds with a photo and a short review. It is a proudly Philippine-made app for Filipinos, inspired by Urbanspoon in the US. The people in looloo are down-to-earth and fanatic about discovering new restos and sharing it on the platform.
To participate, you need a looloo app installed in your mobile phone to put in your own review or to follow the reviewer that you trust. Although, you can only view the reviews online.
What I like about looloo is the curated themed newsletter they send out to all the users, to summarize what's trending in the platform. This is were I got the tip on Movie Stars Cafe.
About looloo (from the looloo team):
The looloo Community:
looloo is focused exclusively on the Philippines and now has over 45,000+ users.
looloo users come from all over the Philippines -- Manila, Cebu, Davao, Tagaytay, even Bohol!
While restaurants are popularly reviewed, looloo users also review hotels, spa, salons, and tourist attractions.
The looloo community is very active on the app. We’ve had 40,000+ reviews, 70,000+ comments and 100,000+ likes made since looloo was launched 5 months ago.
Aside from being active on the app, looloo users also meet each other in person! We have a meetup group that now has 120 members. We’ve done 2 looloo eatups so far and have had about 20-30 members attend each time. Both eatups have lasted at least SIX hours and also tend to involve visiting multiple places.
The looloo app:
With over 40,000 reviews, looloo currently has the most number of reviews for places in Metro Manila and also has the most number of restaurant reviews for the Philippines.
looloo strives to have the most accurate place database. The team physically maps and curates places on looloo while the rest are suggested by community members.
You can search for places and read reviews even if you’re not on an iPhone. You can just go to www.looloo.com using any browser -- whether desktop or mobile.
It all began when Luchi Dimatulac’s brother requested her to make some homemade chicken feet. Since she used to work in a Chinese restaurant, she thought of asking the chef how to make it. What she got was a recipe for siomai, which was an easier option according to the chef.
At home, she experimented with the recipe using one kilo of pork and let her family and friends sample some. Her taste test actually garnered some orders from her friends and that is where her “accidental business” started.
One of the most recommended places to eat in Little India is The Banana Leaf Apolo. It's like a turo-turo Indian fast food joint but with a resto format. It's the perfect lunch spot after the long and appetizing LITTLE INDIA WALK: Dhobis, Saris & a Spot of Curry.
Here's a preview of the Banana Leaf Apolo experience in Little India, Singapore: