By Eliza Santiago
The holidays is always the best time to discover new places. With less-than-usual traffic and metro dwellers out of town, forego the usual shopping centers and take your kids off the mall track. Here are some of our picks:
1. Dongbei Dumplings
Sooner or later, your kids should discover the wonder that is Manila Chinatown. There are streets here where time seemingly stood still, and you can share memories of your own visits. If you’ve never been, it’s a perfect way to discover the sights, sounds and smells of Chinatown. In its heart is Dongbei Dumplings, a simple eatery that serves the best dumplings in town. Known as jiaozi on the mainland, it is a Chinese staple and no place serves it more authentic than Dongbei. Try the pork and kutchay dumplings for an explosion of simple yet heavenly flavors in your mouth.
In the emerging Poblacion district is an old favorite. Bucky’s is already well-known particularly for their “Not A Brownie” brownies, a bar of pure chocolate goodness that comes in several varieties. Your kids will love the hole-in-the-wall feel, a sanctuary in the middle of bustling Makati. The fare is homey and filling, comfort food with a touch of edge. Don’t forget to order their ice cream layered with brownies for an indulgent finish to the meal.
3. Consuela Cantina Mexicana
Marikina has also made a name for itself as a food haven, with independent cafes and restaurants sprouting all over the city. One of these is a Mexican cantina serving familiar south-of-the-border dishes like chimichangas, tacos and nachos. Among their newer dishes is the Quesadilla Burger, which use cheese quesadillas to sandwich a beef patty instead of the usual bun. This summer, they are also introducing their Churros Milk Shake, a sweet, refreshing drink/dessert that will satisfy your thirst and dessert cravings. For the parents, they also have unlimited mojitos, in case you are looking to unwind a little after a long day of exploring Marikina.
4. Jerry’s Jeepney
Sometimes, there’s nothing more satisfying than a feast of Filipino food, and one way to cure it is in two words: boodle fight. Located in Kapitolyo is Pinoy restaurant Jerry’s Jeepney. Its interiors are distinctly Filipino, with jeepneys as booths and their cashier styled to look like a sari-sari store. They offer good, solid Filipino favorites, from grilled liempo to laing to sisig. Whether you choose to boodle it or order solo, it’s a good place to go when you feel like a local dish chowdown.
5. Madison Commons
Food parks are a recent craze here in Metro Manila, and one of the newer ones is Madison Commons. Each of the vendors are housed in a container van, with dishes ranging from isaw sticks and tuna kinilaw, to poke bowls and shawarma. It’s the foodpark experience packaged in convenience, with lots of parking space and well-spaced tables and a modern vibe.
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