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Dining Out

Mang Inasal celebrates 20th anniversary with Unli-Sarap, Unli-Saya Caravan

“We’re celebrating our 20th anniversary by giving out our customers’ favorite Mang Inasal products,” said Mang Inasal business unit head Mike V. Castro. “Through our Unli-Sarap, Unli-Saya Caravan, we get to see how our patrons have been sharing their love for our food and the happy moments they enjoy with their families and friends.”

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Mang Inasal, the Philippines’ Grill Expert, spreads unlimited fun this July through its continuous Unli-Sarap, Unli-Saya Cavaran that treats customers with free Extra Creamy Halo-Halo and Palabok in different parts of the country.

“We’re celebrating our 20th anniversary by giving out our customers’ favorite Mang Inasal products,” said Mang Inasal business unit head Mike V. Castro. “Through our Unli-Sarap, Unli-Saya Caravan, we get to see how our patrons have been sharing their love for our food and the happy moments they enjoy with their families and friends.”

Launched in April, the Mang Inasal Unli-Sarap, Unli-Saya Caravan continues this July with free Extra Creamy Halo-Halo and Crema de Leche Halo-Halo to be served at Waltermart Gapan, Nueva Ecija on July 1, Waltermart Gen. Trias, Cavite on July 7, and SM Lemery, Batangas on July 8. The month will be capped with Metro Manila runs on July 14 and 15.   

Meanwhile, the free Palabok caravan will visit Robinsons Malolos, Bulacan on July 7. Succeeding schedules will be announced on Mang Inasal’s official social media channels.

Want Mang Inasal exclusives NOW? Visit www.manginasal.com for the latest updates and https://manginasaldelivery.com.ph for delivery deals.

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Dining Out

Lanson Place Mall of Asia, Manila announces offerings

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As the Chinese New Year approaches, Lanson Place Mall of Asia, Manila invites you to welcome the Year of the Wood Dragon with a delightful fusion of romance and tradition just in time for Valentine’s. This 10 and 11 February 2024, experience the vibrant festivities that will set the stage for a prosperous year ahead.

The heart of Lanson Place will come alive with the rhythmic beats of the traditional lion and dragon dance, ushering in good energy and fortune. Guests are welcome to join the traditional performance starting at 10:59 AM on 10 February, creating an auspicious atmosphere for a year full of joy and abundance. Following the ceremony, guests are welcome to join us at the 3F lobby and Cyan Modern Kitchen for the ceremonial Yee Sang or Prosperity Toss, a symbolic ritual headed by Executive Chef Kristine Oro, beckoning luck and good fortune leading the guests to a Prosperity Feast at Cyan Modern Kitchen.

CYAN Modern Kitchen: Tradition Meets Romance

Take the chance to win lucky prizes from the Tree of Luck and Love when you indulge in a delectable lunch or dinner for every single transaction of P8,888 at the CYAN Modern Kitchen, setting in motion a year of good luck.

Treat yourself to a delightful meal at Cyan Modern Kitchen to please your senses and revel in the captivating ambience while savouring a sumptuous Chinese New Year lunch buffet or an equally enticing dinner buffet for PHP 2,888 net per person.

As the sun sets on the Lunar New Year celebrations, Lanson Place transforms into a haven for lovers. A romantic evening waits for a Valentine’s Day experience with a specially curated 4-course dinner, followed by a tempting dessert buffet for PhP 3,800 net per person. 

Let the contemporary charm of Cyan Modern Kitchen captivate you, where floor-to-ceiling windows frame the scenic vistas of the Manila Bay, the city skyline, and the courtyard, crafting dining spaces that define Lanson Place Mall of Asia. Celebrate in the warmth of February by sharing moments of laughter, love, delectable fare, and abundance with your loved ones this 10 to 14 February 2024.

Extending the celebration through a relaxing stay? Lunar Escape Room Package, rates start at PHP9,888+++ per room per night for two persons inclusive of welcome amenities, buffet breakfast, lunch or dinner buffet at Cyan Modern Kitchen.

Embrace love with our Valentine’s Room Package, rates start at PHP 10,900+++ per room per night inclusive of welcome amenities, buffet breakfast, and 4-course Set Dinner for two persons at Cyan Modern Kitchen.

Grab these promos for the booking period of January 28 to February 8, 2024 through the official website now, and indulge in the perfect blend of tradition and romance at Lanson Place Mall of Asia, Manila. 

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Destinations

Still trying to find the appeal of Quezon City’s ‘Snacks & Ladders’

If board games interest you, then this resto in Quezon City, aptly named Snacks & Ladders (a play at Snakes and Ladders), should also interest you.

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If you are an 80s or 90s child, you’d be (quite) familiar with board games – those “toys” that people used to play with prior to the ubiquity of tech.

But come to think of it, even if you’re not from those eras, you should still be familiar with board games, considering the retro approach of new(er) flicks and shows, e.g. The Big Bang Theory and Stranger Things.

Now… if this interests you, then this resto in Quezon City, aptly named Snacks & Ladders (a play at Snakes and Ladders), should interest you.

WHAT’S THERE

The place along Maginhawa Street has two floors – the lower floor has resto-like setting (i.e. tables and chairs), while the upper floor has shorter tables so that the guests have to sit on the floor.  These settings are flanked by board games everywhere.

At the ground floor, there’s also a “bar”, where the order is placed/payment is made; though this is sorta unnecessary, since a waitress will approach you after you are seated.

There are over 500 different board games here; and there’s also a black board where guests can write other board games that aren’t there (a wishlist, basically).

WHY GO THERE

It helps, of course, that the place is: cool (literally, with the airconditioning properly working), and is frequented by young and young-at-heart. But if there’s a reason to come here, it’d be the board games.

As one of the very, very few places that has a lot of these board games, this is a must-visit for those looking to play any or all of these board games.

WHY AVOID THE PLACE

The food isn’t all that good (sorry, sorry…)… and are quite costly.

Taste-wise, there’s nothing to boast here – at least as far as I’m concerned.

For instance, the Hotdog Poppers (bacon-wrapped hotdog slices, basically) tastes like those freebies given by hotdog companies in grocery stores. Meanwhile, the Chicken Poppers (basically breaded small strips of chicken, which are then fried) is: a) too sweet, and b) too tiny so you’d have a hard time picking them with the provided toothpicks (meaning, be sure to ask for spoon and fork when this is ordered). And since these sell from P140, you’d question these…

Price-wise, this place is… costly.

For instance, a cup of rice sells for P30, too costly considering that good rice brands sell from P50+ per kilo. Shakes here sell from P120 – on a par with big café chains. Beers sell for P60 – on a par with regular bars.

BTW, you need to pay P50 per pax to be able to use a board game.

Also while there, expect to be surrounded by conyos. If your ears itch when you hear lazy Taglish talking, then this isn’t the place for you…

IN THE END…

The idea behind Snacks & Ladders I okay; I sure don’t mind hanging out there if only to hark back on my college days.

Kudos, of course, for the board games; and since some of them are hard to find, being able to play them in any place at all is always welcome.

But beyond this, this place’s appeal is… limited. So check if you want a café alternative; but share info on whether the place was able to keep to coming back or not…

Snacks & Ladders is located at 188 Maginhawa, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City. For more information, you may call (02) 710 3128.

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Destinations

Northern (gustatory) pride…

How “original” can an offering be the moment you take them from the very contexts that made them thrive to begin with?

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Every region (if not every town) in the Philippines has their own gustatory offerings that sort of define them – e.g. Bicol Express in, obviously, Bicol; bagnet in Ilocos; guapple pie of Negros; and so on…

This is why – when one is just in Metro Manila – when seeing all those “original such-and-such” offerings of various restos, supposedly with their preparations learned from the regions these offerings originated from, one can only really… frown. Because how “original” can an offering be the moment you take them from the very contexts that made them thrive to begin with?

This is the thought that stays in the mind when thinking of Ilocos’ empanada and okoy, particularly after one has tried those offered in Vigan City’s Nanang Sion.





WHAT’S THERE

There are actually two branches of Nanang Sion (as per the apo or grandchild of Nanang Sion herself) – one is by the plaza/near the church in downtown Vigan City (this is the “main” branch), and another one in one of the streets parallel to Crisologo (that tourist trap portion of the city, where just about every tourist has his/her pic taken). The former is a more “formal” resto; but the latter – if I may say so – has more character, with the apo’s collections of everything old (vintage, if you must).

There are wooden tables, and chairs and benches scattered on two floors, and adding to that “being in an old place” vibe/feel.

But – more apparent – are the owner’s collections of… just about everything, from rebulto (statues of holy people or saints) to scooters to bikes to kalesa (horse carriage) wheels, and so on. And while many are placed on pedestals, there are some that are made to be – literally – parts of the place, e.g. the bicycles that were cemented on the walls.

If it’s “character” you want, then this one’s worth a check, indeed.

WHY GO THERE

But – recognizing that ambiance is but part of the attraction – if there’s one thing that will make you come here, this can be summed in one word: FOOD.

Must try are:

  1. Empanada (super special, P65) – I’ve traveled to various parts of northern Philippines a lot of times, and while there, many always tell me to try the local empanada. But – considering the number of people who recommends empanada – I can’t fathom the fuss about it. In my mind (and from what I tasted) it’s nothing really special, just a combo of longganisa/chorizo with either scraped green papaya or thinly chopped cabbage, plus egg thrown in, and then wrapped in dough before being fried.
    And then I tried Nanang Sion’s empanada, and I now sorta get the hype. I’d say this: if done really well, empanada is really tasty. And this one (so far) has been the tastiest empanada from somewhere north of the Philippines for me.
  2. Okoy (with egg and longganisa, P55) – This one is also a surprise because okoy, as we know it, is nothing but fried: shrimps with veggies (some use carrots or kamote), and then coated in flour. Now be honest, how many times have you eaten okoy and actually complain with that hair-like strands from the shrimp heads? With Nanang Sion, though, the okoy is actually… succulent, with the shrimp juicy and (thanks to the longganisa) tasty.

The servings are big, BTW. So if you end up unable to finish what was given you because you’re too full already, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you…

If hungrier and in search of “real” meals (not merienda or snacks), there are “silogs” – e.g. bagnet (P150) and longganisa (P120), and the “common” corned beef (P90), siomai (P90), hotdog (P90), et cetera.

If it’s just me, though, I’d say stick to the food that has been helping define Ilocos. That way, you avoid getting disappointed…

And so, yes, empanada and okoy are good starts…

WHY AVOID IT

To start, heading to Vigan isn’t in everybody’s list of to-do. And truth be told, even when driving (instead of commuting), going there takes a while. So for those who have… aversion to long trips, then this isn’t for you.

If- I suppose – you’re a local and already have had enough empanada and okoy to last you a lifetime, then…

IN THE END…

But – let me say this – the next time someone mentions “original such-and-such” to you, and you’re having that offering outside its original context, it’s always better to have them where they (first and originally really) made them. That way, you’d be able to tell how “real” or “fake” the offering has become.

And as far as some of the best northern gustatory delights are concerned, I’d say head to Vigan City. And give Nanang Sion a try while there; for less than P100, you’d understand why “eating local” continues to be the best way to appreciate delicacies…

Nanang Sion is at Plaridel St, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. Vigan City isn’t THAT big of a place. Ask around NOT just for the location of Nanang Sion, but also where else you can grab what’s good there. I’ve encountered shy Ilocanos who demur when speaking with us outsiders; but almost always, they try as much as they can to help out and lead you where you wanna go or – for that matter – where they think you ought to head to best enjoy being there…



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