When Emily Dined in Manila

(Disclaimer: Not safe for Dieters!)

Isn't it sweet when the love of your life visits your country of birth to get to know more about you and the world that shaped your views? 
The plan to visit Manila was already set a few years back, after our week-long New York trip, the traveler in us felt that we found a true travel buddy with each other, the next country should be out of the continent. I suggested to my 🐻 that he should visit the Philippines, without hesitation at all, he excitedly agreed.
Ensaymada and hot chocolate in Mary Grace CafeMetro Manila doesn't have an ideal "beauty" to boast about when it comes to the international stage. My country is still trying to work with her insecurities, the capital region reflects that. The Philippines is lovely, but she needs to learn how to respect herself more, be refined and project herself gracefully. 
But the thing is I love Metro Manila, she's open to many cultures---food-wise, my home introduced me to different cuisines from Chinese, Spanish, American, Japanese, Arab, Korean, and many more. I believe this is what I inherited from her, being the daughter of Manila (and born on Manila Day too), and the love of exploring the cuisine of different countries.


One of the most memorable dining experiences in Metro Manila I've shared with my 🐻is the "Paluto / Dampa style dining".
The main characteristics of dampapaluto places are the presence of wet markets that sell fresh (usually) seafood and vegetables, then different restaurants nearby where you can go and request to cook (paluto) your catch according to the restaurant's style or your preference for a fee.
Seaside Dampa entrance sign in Macapagal BoulevardThere are several places in the Philippines that offer this kind of dining experience, one of the most well-known in Seaside Dampa in Macapagal Boulevard. Depending on who you ask, visiting this place has mixed negative but generally positive experiences,  one must take their haggling skills to the next level with a touch of friendliness--a key to success in any dampa dining.

The result of our wet market shopping effort was unforgettable, we enjoyed our "paluto" from Royal Kitchen. Though my 🐻 is not a big fan of seafood, he enjoyed the whole experience!
buttered shrimp

Dampa- a term loosely used that describe a roughly built hut - signifies a humble home, not fancy but comfortable and welcoming.
Paluto - request to be cooked.

Chasing the Star

As a lover of dining out, it's my dream to experience dining in Michelin starred restaurant, I found one in Manila, in one of the branches of Tim Wo Han - the world's cheapest Michelin starred restaurant. I found this place by accident while strolling in Robinson's Place Manila, their sign displayed got me intrigued that I decided to read more about Tim Wo Han and was thrilled to what I found - I suggested to my friends for the reunion so they could meet the love of life.

Tim Wo Han's famous Baked Bbq Buns

Tim Wo Han Dumplings

One thing that I must experience when traveling as much as possible is High Tea or Afternoon Tea. Having a limited time in Davao, I was not able to try  Marco Polo's "Filipino themed afternoon tea" that was being offered at that time- It's a sign that I still have to come back to Davao in the future. Back in Metro Manila, I decided to try The Peninsula Manila high tea, It's not a "Filipino theme", but at least I get to experience one in Metro Manila.

My dear 🐻introduction to Filipino food was my cooking, a few Filipino restaurants in the Vancouver area, and a couple of trips Jollibee in Tukwila, Washington.  In Manila, he saw how important Jollibee is to the Filipino psyche, there are gravy stations in KFC Philippines (drench the chicken with gravy with all of your heart's desire), we eat rice three times a day, and Filipinos welcome different dishes from around the world and loves them too!

KFC gravy pump
Endless Gravy Yay!

La Lola Churreria
Churros! Churros!

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