Amer­i­can ‘pikin­isan’ (Part 2)

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(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

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