Sea­sonal dishes you can find in Manila

Each sea­son has its own set of de­lights to en­joy


In ev­ery sea­son of the year, a fresh har­vest and the best dishes to make out of them are rolled out to de­liver ex­actly what the peo­ple would need: warmth from win­ter soups, fresh­ness from a spring salad, and cool com­fort from the frozen treats of sum­mer. Wher­ever in the world you may be, seize the mo­ment and take ad­van­tage of what the sea­son has to of­fer food-wise. Be­sides, it’s one very ef­fi­cient way of get­ting to know the place you’re in even bet­ter.


As a gen­er­a­tions-old rit­ual, the Ja­panese tra­di­tion­ally greet New Year’s Eve with a hot bowl of Toshikoshi soba, also known as the Year-End Soba. Eat­ing buck­wheat noo­dles is be­lieved to bring good for­tune and pro­long one’s life; in fact, the longer the soba, the bet­ter. And they en­joy it in a va­ri­ety of ways as soba al­lows for cus­tomiza­tion. Some would have it sim­ple, with just broth and fish­cake, while oth­ers go fancy with the ad­di­tion of veg­eta­bles and raw egg.

In Manila, many Ja­panese restau­rants let guests in­dulge in soba noo­dles, ei­ther warm or cold. Mi­nami Saki in As­to­ria Plaza of­fers a cold green tea ver­sion while Ko­moro Soba has a warm bowl topped with tem­pura.


The Pol­ish cel­e­brate the end of Lent by hav­ing a feast. Af­ter weeks of deny­ing one’s self, the Catholics break their fast come Easter Sun­day by hav­ing a fes­tive meal typ­i­cally com­prised of smoked or roasted meats, hard-boiled eggs, sausages, horse­rad­ish, and a tra­di­tional Pol­ish yeast cake called babka, a rich pas­try that comes shaped like a bundt cake, fla­vored with rum, and driz­zled with ic­ing. Babci Kuch­nia is a pop­u­lar Manila-based food com­pany sell­ing a range of Pol­ish dishes, in­clud­ing pier­o­gis (dumplings), pierniki cook­ies, and Pol­ish biala kiel­basa.


When­ever the siz­zling sun is out, peo­ple usu­ally turn to ice cream or cold bev­er­ages for re­fresh­ment. The Kore­ans, how­ever, rely on the bingsu, one of the most pop­u­lar sum­mer desserts in their coun­try. It ap­pears like a snow-capped moun­tain made out of light-as-a-feather, finely shaved ice, then dec­o­rated with sliced fruits, sweet adzuki beans, and milk.

It’s a de­li­cious thirst quencher that many Filipinos have grown to love too. Cafe Se­ol­hwa Bingsu in Boni­fa­cio Global City, Caffe Bene in East­wood, and Mag­pie Cafe along Mag­in­hawa St. in Que­zon City are some of the places where you can en­joy this icy treat.


When the weather starts to get cooler again, peo­ple warm up with dishes that make de­li­cious use of a wide va­ri­ety of veg­eta­bles, fruits, and game. They usu­ally come in the fol­low­ing forms: a com­fort­ing bowl of pump­kin soup, pot roast, clas­sic meat­loaf, ap­ple crum­ble, and the all-time Amer­i­can fa­vorite chicken pot pie. Cel­e­brat­ing fa­mil­iar fall fla­vors in a sin­gle dish, the chicken pot pie is not only easy to make, it also al­lows for cus­tomiza­tion. If time and your pantry won’t al­low you to make one, then head on over to Bondi & Bourke for their Aus­tralian Beef Pie. It is not quite the same as a tra­di­tional chicken pot pie, how­ever; it’s bet­ter. •

Above: Toshikoshi soba is a Ja­panese tra­di­tional noo­dle bowl dish eaten on New Year’s Eve.

Left: Bondi & Bourke’s Aus­tralian Beef Pie.

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