Quik-Snack: Street to Table

Goto Vendor

Here’s a quick photo walk from the apartment to Quick-Snack inside the narrow Carvajal St. within the Philippines’ center of commerce — the Manila Chinatown — otherwise known as Binondo.

TsinoyMobile PizzaPedicabFlower StandFruit VendorGalaponPickled Loquats[Pickled loquats from China]Gulay at PayongBok ChoyCarvajal Street

Find Quik-Snack inside this bustling alleyway. True to its name, the not so secret hole-in-the-wall can cook up a spread at the snap of a finger. From the greasy kitchenette to boardrooms, to office tables, to classroom chairs, to escoltas, to hospital rooms, to ballrooms (a reliable someone told me they catered a 1000 Php/head ball dinner with the who’s who in the guest list) — nothing fairytalish really, it’s a way of life in this Tsinoy district.

In nothing flat, I got hot off the pan diok pit he (stuffed shrimps or camaron relleno) and cua chai. I ate two of the pretty large diok pit he in one sitting. You won’t be disappointed with the chunky shrimp meat inside it. I have a ritual with fried food, I mix Jufran banana ketchup with Mother’s Best chili sauce, better than anything!

Quik-Snack Diok Pit HeQuik-Snack Cuachai

Similar to empanadas or pies, cua chai are stuffed with pork and vegetables. The inside of the pastry is a little slimy, yet so yummy! One piece can send you to limbo. Sheesh, I know it’s unhealthy, but best followed with a can of Pepsi. Food-crazy? You’ve got to check out this place.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Comfort Eating at Sincerity Restaurant

Sincerity Duck Misua Soup

Manila Chinatown is teeming with little restaurants serving fine eats. On Nueva St., now Yuchengco St., two blocks away from the apartment, there’s the Sincerity Restaurant that has been cooking the same old dishes day in and day out. Thankfully, for several decades now, Sincerity has been making life easier on the kind of day when we crave for our mothers’ cooking, need to buy extra viands when food at home is scant, ought to have a hot bowl of chicken soup ASAP or when we want to just sit down and not care about anything other than eat delicious food like when we were young and carefree.

Sincerity Restaurant

On our recent trip to Manila, we had our first meal at the little restaurant. The hubby wanted only one thing, a hot bowl of duck misua soup with some aromatic Chinese herbs called sibot. There was a time when I was required to eat something like it for one whole month (a Chinese post-pregnancy ritual) and after that chapter in my life, I developed a serious dislike for anything that reeks off sibot. My craving the moment I saw the menu was homestyle fried chicken with crabmeat fried rice. I now occasionally allow chicken in my diet after developing hypersensitivity in the past, though I still have to be vigilant. Happily, I might have outgrew my white meat allergy or the chicken at Sincerity was devoid of threatening synthetics. Anyhoo, I also sampled a piece of camaron relleno (deep-fried stuffed shrimp).

Sincerity Fried Chicken

The Sincerity fried chicken made us remember the fried chicken of my 94-year old father-in-law who has stopped tinkering in the kitchen. Exactly the same sweetish and garlicky flavors sealed in juicy white meat. Though the crabmeat fried rice had more egg than meat, it was beautifully fried and chimed rightly with the shrimp and vegetable roll and a dollop of the dipping sauce. Happy tummy!

Sincerity Crab Fried RiceSincerity Camaron RellenoMachang[Machang is one of Sincerity’s specialties. Inside the pandan leaves is sticky rice, chunks of pork and/or chicken, mushroom and beans, flavored with soy sauce and spices.]

Non-Binondo residents have discovered one of Chinatown’s purveyor of unfancy-but-satisfying homemade Chinese dishes. I saw pictures of Kris Aquino, Kim Chiu and other celebrity diners on the wall.

My other favorites at Sincerity are oyster cake and machang,  a must for first-time diners.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Tickling Pickles

Chinese pickled santol and mangoesChinese pickled santol and mangoes 2

Foraging in the fridge, I didn’t know these Chinese-style pickled santol (Sandoricum koetjape) and mangoes have been sitting there for quite some time now. Great! The longer these local fruits pickle, the better they are. A childhood delectation, these drool-inducing pickled tropical fruits are available only at Chinese delicatessen stores around the Metro. Sweet and sour santol was a specialty of the old Lollipops (owned by the Valencianos) near the Capitol. How I wish they revived that store! Mrs. Guia Valenciano made the butteriest butter cakes, btw. It was among our favorite hangouts back in grade school.

You gotta love these appetizing preserves. That’s why they’re called relish.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012