Tourist flock Singapore to ingest not only its diverse culture but mainly of its rich culinary scene known as Hawker food. But if you haven't known street-food like Singapore's ever growing economy have undergone a serious change from what it really used to be to what we all know now.
You see. before hawker centers were established, hawkers gathered along streets to sell food in booths and stalls, just like how we would. Concerned citizens have noticed the lack of proper equipment had led to overcrowding and food safety issues such as contaminated food and polluted streets. To improve the situation, the government started relocating hawkers into properly built facilities , and these facilities are the cultural icons we know as hawker centres today.
Food tourism in Singapore had been acknowledged globally after the improvements made considering hawker food and if you have been dying to try this experience and can't yet, the closest thing is Makansutra in SM Megamall.
Makansutra is literally and an authentic Singaporean company which gave streetfood a glorified meaning. All thanks to a group of food entreps, chef and Singaporean blogger and writer KF Seetoh for bringing a part of Singaporean culinary heritage to Manila.
Tucked in at the cornermost area of Megamall Bldg. A, this is definitely a food destination inside the mall.
It looks like a food court or some would claim it looks somehow like one of the hawker center in SG.
But it actually is, as all the sellers were originally from SG which they risked bringing here.
Makansutra Celebration Platter. DIY your platter according to the needs for the group. Whether you're a couple or a big group of 10, there's a "boodle platter which definitely suits you. Set A costs around P799, Set B - P 1300, Prime Set -P 2300 and the Ultimate Set - P2900.
On my first visit, the owners have gave us a preview of their latest P 199 promo plates, which may come with a serving of soup.
May I suggest the Jin Ji Kway Meal Duck with Yam Rice (P199)? Nothing like this really in Manila, except here. A cup of yam rice on a plate embellished with slices of tender duck meat or pork belly, pig skin and Szechuan vegetables. laden with a beautiful duck gravy.
Ah Tee's Oyster Omelette Meal (P199)? A cup of Hainanese rice topped with pan fried oyster omelette with dumpling soup.
Curry Meal (P199)
Nasi biryani with chicken curry and achara
When in need of comfort from a hot and flavorful soup with meat so tender it falls off the bones, Adam's Ribs Bak Kut Teh is the thing. The broth so rich, garlicky with a hint of anise and spicy notes from the peppercorns.
One of the favorite on the World Street Food Congress was Donald and Lily's Laksa (P 250), and was mine too and you can find them now on a regular basis here.
The thick sauce manages to pack lots of flavor in itself, with a good balance of coconut milk, curry and shrimp tastes.
Of course, how can we forget about satays. SG boasts of a bevvy of skewered meats, both Halal and not and they carry distinct flavors as well, perhaps there is a good story behind each one.
For the picky ones, they can have these nachos and cheese combo.
Jin Ji Kway's Bento is another favorite.
This dish was discovered by a rich couple as they set on a quest for good food outside the normal dining places and soon enough they found this hole-in-a-wall that serve a rich rice dish that is cooked with an earthen pot over charcoals.
You wouldn't believe, Geylang originally is located at the red light district of SG. How convenient it is to have this kind of experience.
For me, it is a hit and miss, as you might compare this to Spanish Paella, and with the chard and crispy seasoned rice resting on the sides of the claypot is what people raving about. But it's not winning it for me. Though it does have a lot of texture, I found most of the rice still a bit undone but the sauce was full of umami. It's a full meal in itself as the rice is topped with chicken and some veggies.
Don't forget to mix it up before serving.
Lastly, don't forget to try the exquisite beverages being offered at Drinks, Desserts and Delicacies.
Sugarcane juice with lemon.
Milo Dinosaur anyone?
I'm a happy camper having to try Bandung again. It's a famous drink from SG and Malaysia, composed of rose hip syrup and milk. I love the rose petal aroma and the taste that follows suit, a great way of cleansing your palate from the rich and heavy dishes you try here.
What I love about Makansutra is not only is it authentic, it's conveniently located at one of best mall in Manila, and you can actually see your food being cooked right in their kitchen. This is to re-assure you that dining fun doesn't need to be costly. Makansutra proves that Asian heritage food can really make it global and I love them for bringing this kind of concept in Manila.