In Asia, the competition is tough when you want to be a star in the culinary world. Think of the street hawkers in South East Asia, the traditional cuisine of India and China, the crowd favorites of Japan and Korea, and the exotic picks found in oil-rich cities in the middle East: the stakes are high.
Manila seems to be rising up to the challenge. As Filipino fare finds international acclaim in Brooklyn and other spots, the world’s top chefs are setting up shop here in the metro. Condé Nast Traveler points out how more chefs go to Manila, making the current scene more interesting than it is. For long, we Filipinos have enjoyed the various influences from neighboring countries and even cross-continent imports. But with the influx of master chefs choosing to cook up specialties here, we’re not surprised Manila is up on the list when it comes to food spots worth booking a ticket for.
Lucky for us natives all we need is to know where they are and request that car. Here are the restos Condé Nast said you should hit up.
#1 Galley Vask
There are about 100,000 varieties of rice in the Philippines, many of them glutinous. This type of rice finds itself as a common ingredient for sweet ‘kakanin’ or rice-based desserts, such as ‘suman’. Cooked in coconut milk and seasoned with salt or sugar, suman is a simple fare that’s often paired with mangoes for a light dish. We wanted to highlight these two ingredients while keeping the inspiration’s simple and straightforward essence. Here, sweet Philippine mangoes (arguably the best in the world) are served with ice cream made from sticky rice, the result a delicate dessert that satisfies. #GalleryVASK #Suman
I don’t need to say much to convince you about this stop. Named 35th Best Restaurant in Asia, Vask also holds the title of Best Restaurant in the Philippines for its fresh take on Filipino-Spanish tastes and ingredients.
#2 Nobu Matsuhisa
A post shared by Nobu Worldwide (@nobuworldwide) on Mar 16, 2017 at 2:29pm PDT
The staple stop for luxury Japanese dining found a home in City of Dreams. You can have your Kobe beef fix, an eight-course Omakase meal, and various Japanese dishes given a Peruvian twist here. No need to go to Malibu to find out why the Kardashians love to have birthday lunch at Nobu.
#3 Atelier Vivanda
This is the satellite resto of Michelin-starred chef Akrame Benallal. Here you can find some good steak along with Parisian faves Scampi and Pumpkin Veloute.
#4 Foo’d by Davide Oldani
A post shared by FoodbyDO_PH (@foodbydo_ph) on Feb 13, 2017 at 3:48am PST
We’ve had a chance to eat lunch at F’ood the day before it opened and we get it. Davide Oldani (who we got to interview also) didn’t receive his Michelin star for nothing. At the very least, he got it for making an onion an exciting dish to eat.
#5 210 Degrees Kitchen + Drinkery
Another Michelin-starred chef William Mahi enjoyed his stint here in Manila so much that he decided to put up a restaurant here too. I want to, rather, need to try the pork belly roasted at 210 degrees and the homemade salmon. The promise here is fun European dining and those picks seem to be a good place to start.
#6 Lo de Alberto
Juicy Carnitas de Puerco enveloped in fresh, hand rolled and pressed corn tortillas. Time to get those hands messy! A post shared by Lo De Alberto (@lodealberto) on Nov 25, 2016 at 3:12am PST
If you need to visit a taqueria that feels like you’re in heart of Latin America, you just need to drive to Pasig. Chef Balam Nazar mixes Latin American classics with Filipino ingredients to produce authentic dishes. A point of interest? Butter made of liempo. Bye, diet!
Chef Carlo Huerta Echegaray moved to Manila in 2016 after years of culinary stints in Lima. What he brought with him are Peruvian specialities that are best enjoyed poolside at Shangri-la at The Fort. Fans of the resto include Laureen Uy and Leila Alcasid.