Passed by the University of Santo Tomas on my way home to the apartment and made an impulse swing to P. Noval for the celebrated Mang Tootz Food House banana-rhuma. Here’s another traditional Filipino snack made more fascinating with the addition of innovative twists.
Mang Tootz Vergara’s combined culinary experience and stint as a bartender at the old Silahis Hotel Playboy Club helped him concoct his signature banana-rhuma, a kind of mini banana turon bongga-fied (amplified) with ingredients such as Tanduay White Premium Rhum, sesame seeds, cinnamon powder and Milk Boy (the skimmed milk powder for ice crumble).
Judging by the 180 bottles of rhum he consumes every week, we can tell that his turo-turo restaurant is well-loved by students because he doesn’t cheat on quality. One piece of banana-rhuma costs only 3 pesos and 50 centavos and viands are tagged fairly.
This place might not be new to my Ilocano readers since I know a lot of Ilocanos live in Sampaloc or are usually in the area where several Ilocos-bound buses are stationed. In fact, I am so familiar with the neighborhood since my family maintained an apartment two blocks away from Mang Tootz’s when we were younger. However, this is my first time to go back to the UST area and it was quite with a bit of nostalgia.
A zesty little piece of the banana-rhuma and getting to know the very friendly Mang Tootz and his accommodating dentist wife, Ms. Luchi, were worth the segue.