When my dad arrived in Manila after staying in China for another 6 months, he was craving for good Filipino food. Driving all the way to the dampa near the SM Mall of Asia was not an option and we didn’t want to dine at the usual Filipino restaurants scattered around the Metro. We decided to drop by SM The Block in Quezon City and try XO Philippines, a restaurant which we’ve passed by a couple of times but never really stopped to try.
And am I glad we decided to dine there that afternoon!
While perusing through the menu, we were given a plate of cornicks, or fried corn bits, as an appetizer. This was gone in a few minutes as my family loves these salty crunchy snacks.
After a lot of consideration, we decided to order four dishes for our lunch. By the way, XO Philippines’ dishes are huge and are meant to be shared (unless, of course, you have quite a hefty appetite and can finish it on your own), so bringing friends and family over to share your meal would be a good thing to keep in mind. Here are the dishes we decided we ordered and were eaten with steaming white rice:
Pinakbet (mixed vegetables in shrimp paste and topped with pork rinds). Definitely one of the family’s favorites for that afternoon. Just remember to try and consume the pork rinds as soon as the dish is served as they are extremely hard to chew on once they get cold.
Ginataang Manok (chicken cooked in coconut milk). This was pretty normal for my taste; a little sweet despite the presence of chili.
Beef kare kare
This is definitely a winner. The kare kare is normally served with all the vegetables and meat mixed in with the peanut sauce, but in XO Philippines, they separated all the ingredients for you to mix by yourself. My Mom thought it was definitely odd, but I LOVED the idea. Why? Mainly because it meant that I was allowed to eat the vegetables and sauce without worrying about the beef. I haven’t been eating beef for more than 5 years now and I’m not going to be giving in anytime soon.
Bicol Express (pork cooked with chili in coconut milk). While the kare kare was fantastic, I have to say that this is my ultimate favorite. Everyone who knows me knows how much I love spicy food and this definitely hit the spot!
Once everyone was done eating and we’ve asked for the final bill, we were surprised to receive four pieces of Chocnut bars to eat as dessert! Who doesn’t love Chocnut anyway? (oh, just 3 pieces in the picture since my Brother Dear already devoured his before I could take this shot)
Overall, the food was good and the prices weren’t too bad either, considering the serving sizes. My family did leave the small restaurant happy and satisfied. I would definitely eat there again once I find myself craving for decent Bicol Express and kare kare. 🙂
***XO Philippines is located at the topmost floor of SM The Block in Quezon City. They’re on the same floor as Fitness First.