Monday, October 31, 2016

# food # food trip

Shiok! A Shortcut to Singapore thru Makansutra

Even before Makansutra opened, I have already heard about it from my Facebook friend JJ Yulo (I met him during a seminar years ago where he was the speaker) that he together with Makansutra Chief Executive and Makan Guru KF Seetoh and Chef Him Uy de Baron are opening a hawker food place in SM Megamall.

Gathering a total of 70 to 80 Filipino chefs, the owners of the restaurants themselves came all the way from Singapore to teach the art of cooking authentic heritage street food that customers will find unique and delectable. 
“These foods became iconic and famous, became big business in many countries. The Philippines deserves this kind of food variety and I hope they enjoy this because Filipinos love and appreciate good, authentic food,” Seetoh observed. “In Singapore, we have difficulty getting people to learn how to cook as a profession. Here in the Philippines, it only took the Filipino chefs and cooks a week to learn the authentic heritage street food recipes that Makansutra offers.”
Opening of Makansutra with Chef Him Uy De Baron (3rd from left), KF Seetoh (guy waving) and Chef JJ Yulo (rightmost guy)
Photo from Carl Cuevas (Weber Shandwick Media Relations Specialist)

JJ Yulo, believes that this innovative concept in dining will be warmly accepted by the Filipinos. “Street food in general is not hard to sell. To me, it means fast, casual, delicious, humble, affordable. We want to expand the vocabulary of Pinoys beyond tapsilog,” Yulo said.

Two of the restaurant owners, Ah You of Hong Kong Street Old Chun Kee and Sam Hussin of Alhambra Padang Satay, are both positive about the reception of Filipinos to these unique Asian heritage cuisine. This being their first time to operate in the Philippines, they were amazed at the first-day turnout of customers considering it was a weekday.

In Singapore, "hawker food" is equal to "street food" but it's quite different from the sidewalk vendor food stall here in the Philippines. Those who have been to Singapore would know how "hawker food" is mysteriously yummy and cheaper than the regular restaurants.
The term "Shiok" is commonly used in Singapore & Malaysia to convey a feeling of sheer pleasure & happiness.
With Makansutra here in the Philippines, one doesn't have to fly all the way to Singapore to know why "hawker food" is the go-to food! Like how hawkers are beside each other in Singapore (fast food style), that's how Makansutra is. There's a lot of choices to be made on which stall to go to. Thus, a food crawl is needed so I suggest to bring in friends and family when you dine to be able to try a lot of food at the same time.
I love how the tables and chairs of the area are unique from each other. It makes a busy yet hip vibe of the place. The graffiti and writings on the walls and some chairs are very festive that welcomes the guests to stay and try out what hits their fancy.
Unlike the usual fast food here in the Philippines, Makansutra has function rooms where you can make a reservation for your events. On regular days, these function rooms serve as a special treatment room where you can sit, ask a server to bring you a menu from your favorite hawker stall and order from the server. There's a service charge though but for convenience of not having to walk around, carry food or fall in line, why not?
There are so much choices that you can even ask the servers around to recommend. I'm glad I get to experience this food crawl to share with you some of the yummy food I've partake which I hope you'll get to try as well.
Bandung Drink
I've started with this pink thirst quencher which has a weird name. Don't be afraid to try it because of its feminine color and alien sounding name. This drink is actually very popular in Singapore, Malaysia and even Brunei. It's a mixture of condense milk, evaporated milk and rose cordial syrup thus, it's pink!
Roti Prata Set from Curry Flurry
As simple as it looks, this deceiving piece of crunchy outside soft inside roti will make you finish it in one seating! The curry dip is so good and deliciously spicy that keeps the appetite going and going for more. Oh my goodness! Prepare to say goodbye to any diet you plan to have when you eat this.
Tofu Skin Wrap from Geylang Claypot Rice
It's a surprising discovery to know that aside from the aromatic claypot rice that will let you finish a whole pot of rice upto its bottom (where the burned part of rice are sticked on the pot -- the best part!), Geylang Claypot Rice has this Tofu Skin Wrap dish that's very crisp, glazed in a sweet sauce and not oily. Inside the wrap are ground pork and shrimps that's savory. So think about the savory, sweet and crunchy combination...what do you say? Heavenly, right?
I actually don't know the name of this dish but it's composed of braised duck, offals, pork, tofu, egg, yam rice and pickled mustard from Jin Ji Kway Chap Braised Duck. Its adobo like taste is on the salty sweet side. I don't usually eat offals but since my table-mates kept saying it's the best part of this dish, I've closed my eyes and ate a piece. All I can say is wow! All the meat are actually well-braised but the offals seem to be like sponge in absorbing all the flavors of meat that they're cooked with. I think this dish requires lots and lots of that flavorful yam rice.
Braised Duck on Yam Rice from Jin Ji Kway Chap Braised Duck
Very very tender duck slices on yam rice that's good with the chili sauce on it! Don't hold back on the chili. It is what will make this dish even more amazing that it already is! The chili sauce is quite spicy but it gives a different flavor and kick to this dish.
Another unknown dish name is this seafood noodle that has chopped chili and a shrimp paste chili sauce. Just mix everything together and savor the authenticity of this dish. It's this type of simple dish that you'll get to know if a chef or cook can cook well. If it's good, then the other dishes must be better than this! :)
Braised Beef with noodles, vegetables and egg from Gooba Hia
It's a simple, straight-forward noodle dish that gives a comforting feeling after you eat. Even if the noodles are not in a noodle soup, it's cooked well enough and somehow, the flavor of the beef complements the noodles. For those somewhat health conscious, you may just order the noodles, vegetables and egg with the sauce! By the way, the beef is very soft that it becomes flaky almost melts in your mouth.
Fried Tofu with Prawns by Geylang Claypot Rice
It's not a popular Singaporean dish but I think this dish is very worth mentioning. First, the tofu are homemade then it's very silky soft. Imagine the texture of Japanese tofu but has a little hint of egg and with fried skin. That's it, you just have to try it and know what I'm saying! This is a fantastic dish that deserves to be popular and also paired with a bowl of rice (or even more)!
The Happy Ending: Chendol and Ice Kachang
Unique sweets that needs to be explored. It's not too sweet which I find good. I love dessert but I hate it if it's too sweet. I think desserts are happy endings to a good meal that doesn't give sugar rushes or crashes.

If you're still wondering what does the name Makansutra mean? Well, Makan is the Bahasa word for “food”, and Sutra means “guide” according to Buddhist scriptures which fittingly describe what the place aims to achieve: to serve as food and dining guide through recipes that have been inherited from the forefathers of the Asian region.

Makansutra is located in 2/F Bldg A, SM Megamall. To look for Makansutra on Facebook click here and in Instagram it is @makansutraph!

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