I first learned about the BGC Eats 2014 Food Tour several weeks ago before the first session started. I wanted to be join the tour, but I wasn’t able to get a ticket for myself. 🙁
Fast forward to a few weeks later, I had the great opportunity of joining several bloggers and residents of BGC for the fourth and final leg of the tour courtesy of another blogger, Mars. I had no idea what the tour’s itinerary was so I didn’t know what to expect; I just knew I was really excited for August 16 to arrive!
Our hosts for that day were Chef JJ Yulo of Pinoy Eats World and Ms. Denise Celdran. Both of them led us around the city to visit five places which offered good tasting and healthy food. They not only entertained us with their stories, they also shared a lot of useful things about food in general and the BGC area.
Our first stop was a small place located at The Fort Strip called Salo. It’s known to be the place to go to if you’re looking for budget friendly meals, especially if you’re one of those working around the area. This place gets really packed during lunch hours on weekdays.
Salo serves mostly Filipino favorites which would satisfy the local workforce’s craving for comfort food without burning a hole in their pockets. One of the dishes we had that afternoon was their Tokwa’t Baboy (Php120.00). It’s a well-loved Filipino dish made of chunks of fried firm tofu and pork in a soy sauce and vinegar sauce.
Another Filipino favorite is the Adobong Kangkong, a dish which involves water spinach cooked in soy sauce, vinegar and garlic. It’s admittedly one of my favorite ways to eat kangkong.
Since we’re talking about budget-friendly items, rice bowls are normally the perfect items to get without having to order so many different items. Salo is well-known for their range of rice bowls, from your usual Tapsilog (photo above, Php140.00) to the spicy coconut milk based Bicol Express (Php130.00).
Another variant is their Tuyosilog (Php145.00). Tuyo is a type of salted or sun-dried fish, usually enjoyed by Filipinos with rice or with a bowl of steaming chocolate champorado (porridge) during rainy days.
My absolute favorite from Salo was their kamote (sweet potato) chips. I’m a fan of sweet potatoes since they’re a lot healthier than the traditional potatoes without sacrificing flavor. The chips we were able to try came with cheese flavored powder, but I believe the chips are something a lot of us will enjoy even without the flavoring.
The next stop was another place located in The Fort Strip. Yummy Soy serves delicious soy products and is a brand which came from Singapore. It’s a very small place which you could easily miss if you’re not paying much attention to your surroundings. One good thing to note is that it’s very near K-Pub. That should help you find it!
Their chilled bean curd comes in a myriad of flavors; a far cry from the ones I used to enjoy on the streets or in Chinese stores. Yummy Soy has original (Php75.00), strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, dark and white chocolate, raspberry, almond and hazelnut (flavored: Php85.00). There’s surely something for anyone. If you’re looking for a healthier type of dessert, chilled bean curd is something I highly recommend you to consider. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something crunchy, Yummy Soy also has soya chips available for sale.
Our third stop was SuZhou Eastern Chinese Cuisine. It’s a restaurant located at the Crossroads, the area where the first Philippine drive-through Starbucks is found. It’s second floor location makes it another one of those places that’s easy to miss if you’re not familiar with the place.
Our meal started with a serving of their Sour & Spicy Soup. A regular serving of this soup costs Php180.00 and is not the one in the photo above. I found their soup to have a generous amount of mushrooms and other ingredients. It’s not as spicy as I would’ve liked, but it would certainly fit the bill for most customers. This is a type of soup which might not tickle your fancy at first sip if you’re not used to Chinese cuisine, but give it some time and it will grow on you.
Their steamed xiao long bao (soup dumplings, Php125.00) and steamed kuchay & pork dumplings (Php175.00) were best enjoyed with some black vinegar. I personally liked the xiao long bao’s sweetness, although I found the skin to be a little too thick than what I’m used to having.
By the way, SuZhou has pan-fried versions of these two items too, in case you’re interested to try them out. However, if you’re looking to eat healthy, I suggest you stick with these steamed ones instead.
We were also able to sample their Pancake with Spring Onions (Php130.00). This was my least favorite dish because despite it being very thin, I found it to be oily and bland. I’ve definitely had better versions of this dish during my travels in China and Hong Kong.
If you’re a fan of noodles, SuZhou has a number of types you may enjoy, like their Stir-Fried Beef Noodles (Php200.00).
Tofu is one of my favorite stuff to eat, so I was really happy when the Salt & Pepper Fried Tofu (Php130.00) was placed on our table. The soft tofu was coated nicely and had that peppery kick I enjoyed. Like most Chinese food, these tofu cubes are best eaten as soon as they’re served.
Fortune cookies were provided at the end of our meal. What a fitting way to end a heavy Chinese meal!
Most of the BGC Eats participants were already feeling full from all the food at this point, but we still had two more stops to go!
Located in a slightly hidden part of Serendra where Brazil! Brazil! used to be found, Phat Pho serves Vietnamese that’s been rated two thumbs up by Chef JJ Yulo himself. Phat Pho is originally from Cebu and is now open to satisfy the demand of the food lovers in Manila.
I loved their Kalamansi Juice (Php75.00)! It had the right amount of tangy and sweet flavors and served ice cold. Not to mention it was served in a chilled glass too! Perfection.
We were served two items on their menu: their Chilled Shrimp Gỏi cuốn (rice paper rolls, Php195.00) and their Chicken Satay (Php130 for 3 pieces, Php215 for 5 pieces). I enjoyed their rice paper rolls for its freshness, but it was the chicken satay that caught my heart. I thought it looked quite ordinary but upon tasting it, I was floored. The chicken meat was VERY moist, tender and flavorful; I didn’t even have the urge to dip it into the peanut sauce provided. I also loved how the fried shallots and sesame seeds added a different dimension to the otherwise normal satay. Definitely a must-try when you visit Phat Pho.
I was personally looking forward to trying their pho, but was sadly unable to. That’s now a reason for me to drag my family there and see what else we could enjoy!
It has started to rain pretty hard when we left Phat Pho to head to the last restaurant on our list. I’m so glad the sudden downpour didn’t prompt any cancellation of plans because Crisp on 28th was a place I sure didn’t want to miss. It’s location is at at the ground floor of the Alveo Corporate Center and is behind where Krispy Kreme is located.
The newly opened Crisp on 28th is owned by Erwan Heussaff and his close friends, Carmela and Julien. Carmela is the brains behind the desserts, while her husband Julien is responsible for the coffee. Like most of the things found inside Crisp on 28th, their interiors were nothing short of pretty. I honestly felt a tad underdressed when I was there, but the food and desserts distracted me from those evil insecurities successfully!
These glasses of cold iced tea were light enough and went well with the savory dishes.
We were served a lot of food during our visit. One of them was this platter of Mini Crab Cakes. I liked how the mangoes went well with the crab cakes; it made the dish feel less “heavy” on the palate.
I usually equate sliders to mini beef burgers since that’s what I normally see on the menu whenever I eat out. Imagine my surprise when we were served Salmon Sliders at this restaurant! Being a non-beef eater, this was good news to me. I really liked this one and would’ve eaten a lot more if there was still space in my stomach.
For those looking for Filipino dishes, Crisp on 28th serves several that could just fit the bill. Their Trio Longganisa consists of three types of longganisa (sausage) slices, grilled tomatoes and a fried egg on top of rice.
You could also try their Adobo Flakes instead of corned beef, if you’re on the lookout for something a little different. If I’m not mistaken, this was served with some diced salted egg and tomatoes on the side. I thought that was a nice touch to complete the Filipino theme.
You could also try their version of Crispy Corned Beef . I didn’t get to try this, but my companions said it was very good too.
This lovely plate filled with an assortment of sweets was, I think, the most talked-about item on our table. Everything looked so sinfully good that it was just impossible not to try one (or in my case, five! :p). We were served mini versions of the pastries, but these are really sold in their bigger sizes. My personal favorites were the Nutella cookies and brownies.
I had so much fun at the BGC Eats 2014 Food Tour that I highly recommend it to those who would get the chance to join it in the coming years. It’s not just a great way to discover good food, it’s the perfect venue to meet like-minded individuals too. 🙂
*Thank you to Chef JJ Yulo, Ms. Denise Celdran, Mars Callo and the entire BGC Marketing Team for letting Have at You! join this tour. 🙂