scout food trip
Whoever said that the journey is more than the destination obviously wasn’t looking for food. Presenting the first ever Scout food trip.
stop# 1 whitehouse burger cafe
Pambuli Street, Marikina Hours: 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Pambuli is such a simple, discreet street that even taxi and jeepney drivers don’t know where it is. Coming from the LRT Santolan station, take Marcos Highway and spot a Burger King along the way. Across it is a signless fork, take the one on the right (read: why street signs were invented). This leads you to Whitehouse which should be on your left, parallel to a basketball court.
Whitehouse is what you get when production designer Vanessa Uriarte’s props dump meets her partner chef Mhyca Bautista’s love for food— burgers especially. “It was originally a takeout counter, but when Typhoon Mario ooded my garage last 2013, we took the opportunity to convert it into a real restaurant,” said Vanessa.
Take time to roam around their well-curated collection of vintage ads, pop-colored oors, and novelty toys and items. It’s a good thing you’ll have lots of things to look at, because once the Whitehouse Special is served, you’ll take your time downing a tower of a burger with egg, ham, double patties, and double cheddar. Best paired with their signature Bubblegum shake.
P.S. Scout got rst dibs on new menu items. Our favorite: the chicken, crabmeat, and Asian sauce burger they call Chicken Ninja. Watch out for it!
stop# 2 cocina luna
Gen. Luna Street, Malabon Hours: 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.
The local folks refer to it as the black restaurant, and you really can’t miss it with its pitch-black matte facade and eye-grabbing love locks fence smack in the middle of the busy residential area of General Luna. The place has a rather cute collection of framed quotes and DIY installations that give contrast to its very industrial vibe, with unpainted walls and wooden furniture. It’s Ladies’ Night every Wednesday (wearing pink is optional).
Cocina Luna is the brainchild of Chef Kat Alcala who worked abroad and gured there were no good places to eat in her hometown. “My friends tell me I could’ve opened Cocina Luna in Maginhawa or even Makati, but I wanted to bring delicious food to my neighborhood.”
Despite its Euro-pub-inspired space, Cocina Luna actually serves vamped up Filipino food with items like honey-glazed tuyo on the menu. “I like experimenting on Filipino dishes, and incorporating some of the things I learned from the US into my own recipes.” Chicken strips with cereal breading, anyone?
stop# 3 exile on main st.
Leon Guinto, Malate Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Just a short walk past St. Scholastica Manila, look for a little alley lined with a bamboo fence to nd yourself in artsy Exile on Main St. (the restaurant, not the Rolling Stones album). Built to cater to good conversations over food and beer, owners Ces Santos, Happy Constantino, and Joshua So started Exile in 2012 with friends in mind. Seating capacity is a bit limited and kept to an intimate number of two to three per table. Their largest corner—a themed table with pillows, a headboard, and a hanging lamp post—is only open to groups of ve to seven people.
Their walls also serve as exhibit space and frequently host a number of small events like board game night. While all of this is fascinating, there’s also the upside-down table on their ceiling to keep you amused. Reading through their humorous menu can have you laughing awkwardly in one corner as you wait for your friends to arrive.
Order their creamy Drunken Dory and Tinapesto (tinapa pesto, get it?) for a hearty meal. Cap it all off with a serving of their brownie a la mode.
stop# 4 señor pollo
Ebro Street, Makati Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.
The corner where the cab dropped us off had a sketchy budget inn and had no street signs whatsoever. But do trust Google Maps when it says Ebro street is just a short walk behind you. True enough, we immediately saw the yellow sign for Señor Pollo, the second, more spacious sibling to the original Quezon City branch.
A whole wall is dedicated to a festive mural by local artist Dee Jae Paeste, and it extends to its glowing version in the restroom. Vintage South American posters dot the rustic place while painted typography decorate the walls. There was one saying ‘Give heat a chance’ and boy was it scorching during lunchtime.
“We’ll be installing aircons soon,” chipped in owner Daniel Mabanta. “But I’d like to stay off the malls. There’s a lack of choices for good, affordable food around here. I want to keep it exciting.” And ‘exciting’ was a good choice of word as we chowed down delicious fries, fried and roasted chicken with chimichurri, and colombian beans. Yum is an understatement.
stop# 5 crying tiger
Guanzon Street, Makati Hours: 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Sandwiched by other buildings in an unassuming street, we might have missed this gem if not for the huge mural of their logo announcing its presence. With the Thai emperor’s photo in a calendar, a looping video of Thai KTV, and mismatched oral tabletops, Crying Tiger is a piece of Thailand’s colorful off-the-street food culture here in Manila. “We traveled to Bangkok just to see what kind of street food they have aside from what we already know. Pad Thai has become too basic for us,” said Chef Mario San Pedro.
It’s a eld day for chili lovers to try the Mee Goreng, the Thai version of pancit, which packs a nice spicy punch. Moo Todd Kra Tiem Prik Thai (or garlic pepper pork, if you’re not up for the tongue twister) is a hefty meal that reminds me of the local tapsilog. Also, a bar is ready to serve drinks during happy hour.
Chef Mario adds, “What we love about Thai food is that rich or poor, everyone in Bangkok dines on the streets.” If street food is always this good, you know where to nd me.
BASIL ICED TEA, BLACKFOREST SHAKE, AND HOUSE BLEND ICED TEA
BROWNIE A LA MODE
FRIED CHICKEN WITH CEREAL BREADING
COLOSSUS TRIPLEPATTY BURGER
ROASTEDR CHICKEN WITH CHIMICHURRI AND COLUMBIAN BEANS
MOO PING (THAI BBQ)
CALAMARES AND FRIES