I’ve been living out of a suitcase lately. I’m also getting used to commuting the fussy streets of Manila. I managed to bond briefly with my sisters-in-law. We had lunch at Jatujak which has softly opened in SM San Lazaro. The mall is a nice spot if eating out is your thing.
If I’m not mistaken, Jatujak, named after Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weeekend Market, opened first at the SM Mall of Asia. The staff are mostly Ilocanos, so it felt kinda like home. Even the owner, Alfonso Purugganan, says the manager, has roots in Ilocos.
We ordered mostly classic Thai food like tom yum soup with mixed seafood, pad Thai and bagoong rice with semi-ripe mangoes, the sampler appetizer, consisting of fresh vegetarian rolls, shrimp cakes and pork springrolls with different sweet and sour sauces, and Thai style grilled bacon belly. Thai is one cuisine that sends my salivary glands into an overdrive. To start with, Jatujak’s tom yum soup was very good. The blend had the zesty balance of sour, sweetish and aromatic flavors, really soothing, especially if it’s your first meal in the day. The soup was tasty, with a milky quality to it, but not excessively intense. Like I mentioned before, anything with lemon grass is happiness.
The appetizers were average, but the shrimp cakes were crispy outside and nice and tasty inside, and the dips and sauces (like plum and tamarind) were obviously homemade, full-flavored, and make a wonderful match to fried food..My sister-in law’s favorite, grilled bacon belly with an excellent garlic-vinegar dip, was a find. It was tender and spicy in an appetizing way (one order is rather bitin for three). In the end, I also had pad Thai (with rice noodles, ground peanuts and lots of bean sprouts), which was worth another wait.I like noodles more than I like rice, but then the bagoong rice, mildly flavored with fish sauce, was also good. The lunch was enjoyable, nothing negative to say. The ambiance is sedately warm, prices are not that expensive and service was efficient.
Oh, how can I remember Thai coffee only now?
Jatujak Unit 116 Upper Ground Floor, SM City San Lazaro, Sta. Cruz, Manila Tel. No.: 711 5271
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