Tag : travel

Guide to Food in Manila

James Chan

My trip to Manila was not a pleasant one I dare say. Why?

  1. I was afflicted with a high fever for a good 3 days, leaving me feeling weak and unable to leave the room for a bulk of the holiday.
  2. Said fever came with a cold and cough which messed up my tastebuds when it came to tasting filipino food.
  3. I didn’t get to do any touristy things.
  4. Oh, and I lost money.

Taking into consideration that I was in no condition to fairly review any of the eateries I dined at, I’ll be listing a couple of local filipino food dishes that you should not miss out if ever you find yourself in Manila. (Or any part of the Philippines for that matter)

Always ask for less salt or less sugar in your dishes, them Manilans go a wee bit overboard with their salt and sugar. This coming from my pink-of-health friends mind you and not just from the sick dude.

The Filipino Food List


Filipino Food Sisig

Pork Innards (that’s what it said in the menu) marinated with Calamansi and Chili Peppers

I had this on my very first day in Manila and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Conventionally, this dish comprised of the less popular parts of the pig like the snout, the brain and liver. Still sounds good to me though!

It can get a tad “gelat” due to its richness in flavor but the sour Calamansi alleviates that just ever so slightly. Still not something I would eat by myself that’s for sure.

Beef Kaldereta

Filipino Food Beef Keldereta

Beef stewed with vegetables in a tomato based broth

There are Chicken and Pork variations to this but with a table full of beef lovers, just gotta have that beef!

Most restaurants serving meats in Manila have “fall-off-the-bone” claims and they definitely do not disappoint. Many spotless bones littered our plates as we tackled this dish piece by piece with gusto.


Filipino Food Bulalo

Beef Shank and Bone Marrow Soup

Look at the size of that beast! Isn’t that the biggest “Tulang” you’ve ever seen in your life? You’d expect to have a huge payout with the marrow but not from this bone. I think we got enough marrow to cover the surface area of 2 fifty cent coins.

Give it a little Singaporean spin with some Chili Padi or maybe just some pepper. I think it’ll taste less one dimensional. Still, it’s a good dish to have when you’re sick.


Filipino Food Fried Bangus

Deep Fried Milk Fish

With a dash of vinegar, the fried milk fish is addictive and tasty. Be wary of small little bones that have escaped the eyes of the chef though.

Pair this with an ice cold glass of San Miguel (their local beer). Oh yeah!

Fried Lumpia

Filipino Food Fried Lumpia

Meat Springrolls

It might take awhile for your dishes to arrive so why not start of with some springrolls? Not the kind that we’re used to in Singapore mind you, the ones in Manila have pork meat stuffed in them.

Might sound like a light dish but try a couple and you’ll be alarmed at how full you feel even before your mains are out.

Pork Adobo

Filipino Food Pork Adobo

Pork Stomach marinated in Soya Sauce and Vinegar

Definitely my all-time favorite dish in Manila for sure. This is the Filipino version of our “lu rou” that we find in all Teochew porridge stalls.

I personally prefer Adobo though, the meat is tender, the portions are generous and every bite is just simply sinful.

That’s All Folks!

Having these Fiipino food dishes tucked away somewhere in the crevices of your memory could be beneficial in the future. Impress your friends, impress the waiter/waitress and have a great time feasting in Manila.

Remember! Ask for LESS SALT & LESS SUGAR!

When in Manila, Mecha Uma!


I still remembered my first time visiting Mecha Uma and savoring the flavorful bite of its tuna tartare. It was so good that I always come back to the restaurant whenever I am in Manila.

Mecha Uma signboard

Global Cuisine with Japanese Influence

Helmed by Chef Bruce Ricketts, Mecha Uma serves modern Japanese-fusion styled tapas with focus on high quality ingredients. The restaurant also serves Chef’s Tasting Menu (Omakase Style). This needs to be booked in advance as there are limited quantities served per day.

My friend and I did a walk in at 6 PM on Tuesday and by some miracle, we got a table. The restaurant was full really quickly!

Small Bites with a Punch

Mecha Uma small tuna bites

Talking about the food, we definitely started with my favorite dish – tuna, foie gras mousse, pineapple and pink peppercorn sandwiched in coconut biscuit (380 PhP). There are only 2 pieces of this per serving so you will have to order more in case there are more than 2 people. Lots of flavors are packed into this dish. The thin coconut biscuit is sweet and this adds another great touch to an interesting bite. Definitely a must order here.

Mecha Uma salty and sour scallop dish

The second dish was scallop, Japanese fruit tomato, quinoa, mecha XO, tomato jus (380 PhP). This dish is salty and sour – it has that similar taste to a ceviche.

Mecha Uma raw salmon mixed with fresh ingredients

Salmon gochuzuke, barley, compressed egg yolk, sake roe, toasted roots and stems, sesame (390 PhP) made up the 3rd dish.

The fresh ingredients were mixed with raw salmon resulting in a dish that was quite surprising. It was nothing like a sashimi you’d expect from a traditional Japanese sushi place.

Mecha Uma lightly grilled octopus with dessing

The fourth dish was grilled octopus, polenta, onion, pickled corn and water cress (420 PhP). A very nice take on the octopus here. Good job Chef!

Main Courses to Share

Mecha Uma beef skewers

We ordered two main courses to share. The first was Wagyu cheek kushiyaki, crunchy vegetable, cardamom and carrot top salsa verde, mustard and raisin puree (420 PhP). This is basically the grilled wagyu cheek skewer. The sauce was slightly sweet and the meat was tender.

Mecha Uma grilled lamb shank

Our second main was apple glazed lamb shanks with ume, Szechuan pepper cream and carrot juice (650 PhP). The Szechuan peppers gave this sweet dish a refreshing spiciness to it.

Unimpressive Cocktails

Mecha Uma cocktails

Mecha Uma names all their cocktails in Japanese and are reinterpretations of the classics. My first order was Genji (Bourbon, Umeshu Yamasaki, X-Mas syrup, orange and Angostura bitter, 440 PhP).

Mecha Uma yojimbo cocktail

The second one was Yojimbo (Capel, Sudachi, Cointreau, chocolate bitter and egg white, 490 PhP). Unfortunately, both were nothing to write home about.

Sharing is caring

Mecha Uma fried rice

The food at Mecha Uma is full of flavors. The use of fresh ingredients and creative presentations of the small bites make this place stand out from typical tapas or sushi restaurants. I really like the tuna and the other small dishes. In my view, Mecha Uma is a terrific place to come share some bites with friends after work. The only downside is that its cocktails are not as good as the food. I will definitely come back again just to eat the tuna though.

Mecha Uma
25th street, between 5th & 6th Avenue, RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center, Bonifacio South, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines, Phone: +632 801-2770


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