American ‘pikinisan’ (Part 2)
(Ed’s Note: Mr. Tulabut has been writing a series of column pieces in the past about Filipino lives influenced by the Americans during their stay in Clark. He narrated some recollections how life was in and around the former US military base during his childhood and teenage years. This is a continuation with infusion of contemporary setting. He is dedicating this piece to the late SunStar columnist Ram Mercado whom he said has always advised him to write about food trips in his travels to US)
The Pinoy Tongue
My gracious host for the longest time Uncle Sam (Samson Sanchez, an uncle of journalist-turned-diplomat Elmer Cato) and I took advantage of a sunny warm weather one Sunday after days of bitter cold and mix of snow and rain.
We took a ferry from World Trade Center at Manhattan’s lower side to Exchange One in Jersey City across Hudson River only to have big lunch a Max Restaurant (yes, that house that fried chicken built).
Starving as we were after a bask in the sun, we ordered Bulalo, Sisig Bangus, fried rice with salted fish (dilis) and of course the famous fried chicken. We topped it off with a Sago’t Gulaman for a drink and Buko Pandan for dessert. All that for $67.00.
Both Uncle Sam and I thought that the chicken had that classic taste like you never left home. The bulalo was not the typical Batangas cuisine but was good enough with the right blend of salt and lemony taste for its base soup. The sisig bangus was overdone with excessive mayonnaise on it. We could have enjoyed that lunch to the fullest, especially with a friendly Indonesian family eating beside us, but the sound of running and walking above us were a little bit annoying and they did not add to the supposed coziness of the place. We were told that the footsteps were from waiters and servers who run up to the second floor from the kitchen on stairs right on top of us.
Oh, the Big Apple now has its second Jollibee here. After many years since its opened its first branch in Pinoy country Woodside in Queens borough, the hamburger chain braved to open right in the heart of Manhattan. And it is right next to an Arby’s branch. It is also a stone’s throw away from the Port Authority terminal and the New York Times building.
Hungry from long walk of 10 blocks, I came in to almost filled elongated seating spaces near the afternoon rush. I ordered 2-piece Chickenjoy with rice, Peach Mango Pie (which are a little bit bigger here) and a Pineapple juice – all for 13.58.
Other Must Trys
A walk in Manhattan especially at Central Park would not be complete without trying those being sold at food carts on the streets – pretzels, hotdogs, what have you. A hotdog sandwich and a rehydrating drink can cost $6.00 these days. A bagel with spread of two flavors (cream cheese and a fruit marmalade) and a small coffee was surprisingly inexpensive at $4.03 the classy New York Presbyterian hospital whose coffee shop (and its other sections) looked like you are in a 5-star hotel. At the small stalls in subway passages underneath Madison Square Garden, they can cost a lot more. Ahh, the chocolate shake at this increasingly patronized Shake Shack at Union Station in DC cost 5.82. A milk tea with bubbles and pudding in Tysons Corner mall will be 6.10