Hawker Style: Manila Chapter

If there is one word that defines Singapore for me, that would be HAWKER. I would go to the Lion City in a heartbeat just to have a meal in one of them hawkers. It’s just so exciting to step into one and have such scrumptuous meals at an affordable price. The choices are endless. Just thinking about them make me dizzy. A hawker place is where I’ll be when I dream to be in a food court.

It took me and my friends Marie and Mina a loong walk on Geylang to find Sin Huat. That was one during a scorching August noon. We learned that the best Crab Mee Hon could be found in this eating house. As soon as our plane landed, we started walking toward it. After half an hour of walking, our sweaty selves saw the eatery within sight.

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When we got there, though, we realized they only serve the Crab Mee Hon at night. And the only dish served at lunch is a Duck Rice Topping. We were starving like mad. And there were three big bros serving the dish. It was on every table around us. We figured, it was not so bad to try…

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It was so saucy you could barely taste the rice. The braised duck was tender and tasty. The peanuts provided a subtle crunch to the dish. I wasn’t a big fan of duck. But I would absolutely eat anything after an unsuccessful and heartbreaking search. This was all Oli Pettigrew’s fault. Why did we listen to him??

It took another trip to Singapore to arrange another trip to Sin Huat. Now, we knew where to go. And a balmy breeze escorted us during our walk. It was pleasant, and this time, Marie and I are not leaving until we get our hands on that Crab Mee Hon!

It was interesting there was only one chef who knew the Crab Mee Hon recipe. I think it was his wife who took orders, while the man of the kitchen whipped around his wizardry to prepare the dish. Table upon table, every diner patiently waited for their order. We must have waited an hour for it. I don’t remember how much it cost, but it wasn’t cheap. But when it was delivered to our table, we felt like one of the Transformers was coming for us.

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I felt like it greeted us with a RAWR. The stock filled each strand of noodle with so much flavor, like they were soaked in it for hours. Yet the noodles stayed firm, enough to hold a bit of a bite in it. The serving was good for at least three people. All its crabby goodness made us feel we won first place to an Amazing Race Challenge. Well done, we told ourselves…

I hold dear a lot of hawker memories. When they come to mind, I crave for Cereal Prawns..

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When you invite me for Fish Ball Noodle Soup, I would usually say no. But if it looked, tasted or smelled like this? I’ll be like, “Hell, yeahhhhh!”

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Something as simple, yet sublime as cold soybean curd. The best taho ever!

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And my sentimental favorite, Fried Black Carrot Cake

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And just this week, all these memories can finally come to life again. Thanks to the opening of Makansutra, at the 2nd level of Bldg A of SM Megamall.

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It was a busy opening weekend for the new food joint. The crowd poured in, early into lunchtime. It was buzzing, smoke slowly got in your eyes. It was time to decide which dish will be which.

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It would help to do a bit of early planning because you will queue for your food. Remember to bring cash. All stores are cash basis only, as of now. The dishes don’t come cheap, it will cost you anywhere between P200-P500. Service was still slow, and that’s forgivable, given the opening weekend jitters. But there is quite a  wide selection, you won’t be disappointed in that.

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I know we weren’t..

The winner of them all was the Tofu Skin Wrap at the Claypot Rice Stall. (bottom of photo) Tofu skin, stuffed with water chestnut, ground pork and minced shrimp and then deep fried to seal in the flavor. A big plate for P250? I would definitely return for that, and would not mind a wait for it!

Makansutra
Level 2, Building A, SM Megamall,
Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City


P.S. This article also appears in Mytrendingstories.com
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