Although we are faced with Filipino dishes every meal everyday in our home, we still find ourselves walking toward Filipino restaurants whenever we are in malls or any place outside house. Yes, I’ve already tried French cuisine in French Baker. I’ve already been to Thailand restaurants like Jatujak, Singaporean restaurants like Tao Yuan, Chinese restaurants like Super Bowl and Modern Shanghai, Japanese restaurants like Watami and Tonkatsu by Terazawa, New Orleans Restaurant like Gumbo and a lot more kinds of cuisine that I haven’t posted in my blog. However, there is still something about our own food that gives us a spell of trying over and over again. As you will see, my restaurant reviews is composed mostly of Filipino restaurants namely Kamayan sa Dagat, KKK, Isdaan, Sarsa, Congo Grille and Gerry’s Grille. Now let’s see what Mangan Restaurant have here.
As mentioned, Mangan Restaurant is a Filipino restaurant which offers Kapampangan home-cooked meals made better. I learned that their name, Mangan, means “eat” in Pampanga. And we know how great the foods of Pampanga are. Mangan menu ranges from rice cakes, snacks, soups, desserts to heavy meals like vegetables, seafood and meat dishes. Oh I’m so excited to try these all.
Mangan’s Crispy Tadyang did not only please my eyes but also my palate and my tummy. It’s not difficult to love since it stood to its name crispy as then outside screams crispiness while the inside stays soft and tender. I applaud the meat for not being chewy because most Crispy Tadyang I’ve devoured sticks between my teeth and we don’t want that, right? At the same time, it managed to be rich in beef flavor. This deserves a two thumbs up!
Sugpo sa Aligue
So it says here Sugpo sa Aligue. Hey! That sounds yummy! I can feel that my cholesterol is already climbing up when I heard this but I don’t care. I’m a seafood lover and this is what I need. But what we saw on our table is not aligue or maybe not fully aligue. It’s more of squash in coconut milk. They can’t fool us. It’s a good thing that I also like squash in coconut milk so I still enjoyed the food. Plus, the shrimps perfectly blends with it.
In our innumerable times of visit in Mangan, Pinakbet is always on our table. It’s not just because this sauteed ampalaya, sitaw, squash, eggplant and okra is my mom’s favorite, but also because Mangan serves it in a unique way and gives it a distinct flavor even though it was cooked the way it should be cooked. The shrimp paste suits the sweetness of the vegetable since it is not overpowering. Moreover, the vegetables are fresh and crispy.
What I love about Mangan is the fact that it’s homey, not just in the vibe of the restaurant, but also in the foods they offer. In the previous dishes, I guess they’ve reached their goal which is to offer home-cooked meals that are made better. But sadly, I didn’t see the twist on their Lagat Ampalaya. It is the same sauteed bitter gourd we cook in our homes. Although they say that shrimp is added, I don’t think that it added much flavor to Lagat Ampalaya.
In reality, Okoy is eaten as a snack or appetizer. But in my family, we eat it with rice as if it is a viand. And even though it is not intentionally made for rice meals, their vegetable and shrimp fritters goes well with their Bagoong Rice and Java Rice. The Okoy itself is crispy as expected. However, there are more vegetables in it. Based on what I know, Okoy is originally shrimp fritters so there should be less vegetables than the shrimps. Nevertheless, the Okoy is still delicious especially when its dipped on vinegar.
For those who do not know, Puto Bumbong is a steamed rolled rice cake wrapped in banana leaf and served with freshly grated coconut and mascuvado sugar. It is the most sought after rice cake in the Philippines during Christmas time. I remember buying these every after Simbang Gabi. Oh it’s good to reminisce those moments while eating Mangan’s Puto Bumbong. I’m happy that they are serving this even if it is still July. Their Puto Bumbong is one reason why I keep on coming back to Mangan.
Fruits for dessert! Well, surprisingly, they are all fresh and sweet. We are so fortunate to dine in Mangan and order their Napapanahong Prutas on a summer day, a time wherein apples, oranges, watermelons, mangoes and pineapples are seasonal in the Philippines. I wonder how this platter looks like if we take our dinner not on a dry day. Will these fruits stay as sweet as it was during the time we ordered it?
When doing restaurant reviews, I usually don’t include the drinks we ordered since there’s not much to talk about. Mangan’s Ubas Shake is an exception. First, a grape shake is rare to be offered. I’m glad that they got to this idea and to idea of including the grape skin into the blend. They say that most of the nutrients of a fruit comes from its skin. And sensing this add on while drinking the shake makes me feel healthy. But even without it, their Ubas Shake is still refreshing.