So we continued with our Sooo Pinoy Food Tour where we left Quiapo with a mind filled with new found knowledge and a satisfied stomach after tasting samples from Excellente Ham and Master Hopia Factory. We boarded our Wi-Fi bus that took us to our final stop of the day -- Cafe Adriatico in Malate.
Paul, upon learning that Cafe Adriatico was part of the itinerary, became so excited as he reminisced about the fun times he had dining there with his family when he was a little boy. He told me how rich and delicious the Chocolate Eh was and he remembered having the Beef Fondue on every visit. Sadly, the restaurant had to do slight changes through time and I can't seem to find his Beef Fondue in the menu anymore. However, the Chocolate Eh was still being served together with their sandwiches or pastries which makes a delicious Afternoon snack.
Our dinner began with a bowl of Sinigang na Bangus Belly sa Bayabas (Php. 220). Sure, we have been eating all day but I love Sinigang (Tamarind Soup) with Bayabas (Guava) a lot that I consumed two bowls in one sitting. The bangus belly was delicious too! I'm glad that it was not scaly at all.
After enjoying our soup, we were served with our own plates of Lola Ising's Adobo (Php. 330) which comes with rice already. Adobo is one of the most popular local dishes and no visit to the Philippines will ever be complete without trying our pork adobo. In fact, it has been a household favorite that there are a lot of adobo variations out there -- White Adobo, Chicken Adobo, Crispy Adobo, Adobo Rice, you name it! Cafe Adriatico's version makes use of fried pork spareribs cooked adobo style. It's rich in spices making it a very flavorful dish.
The highlight of the table was the Knockout Knuckles (Php. 510). Who doesn't love Crispy Pata? Deep fried pork knuckles seasoned with lots of garlic, chili and dipped into Cafe Adriatico's special vinegar-soy sauce mixture. It has that slight hint of spiciness making it different from the regular Crispy Patas out there.
We all had a feast as we enjoyed the Adobo and Crispy Pata while chatting and sharing stories with one another.
I was ready to call it a day as I was starting to feel sleepy and tired but Cafe Adriatico was not ready to let us go just yet...out came the Buko Pandan Salad which is a staple in most Filipino buffet spreads. Back home, Paul's very talented Manang has perfected her Buko Pandan Salad which became a highly-requested item amongst family members during get together.
I was only able to take a spoonful of the Buko Pandan Salad and I enjoyed the silky soft coconut shavings and the pandan gelatin that was not too sweet that I could probably finish off had I not been too full from all that eating.
While it was my first time at Cafe Adriatico, I've been a fan of the LJC group after dining at their other restaurants such as Abe which has the best Lamb Adobo in town, Fely J's and my new favorite -- Lorenzo's Way for the best Coco Loco Prawns that I'll never forget and will forever crave for.
As we conclude our Sooo Pinoy Food Trip, I look back and realized that in just one afternoon, I've had the privilege to have a better understanding and appreciation for our local cuisine. More often than not, we fail to see that that something beautiful is always right there in front of us and we would even venture out and travel far to appreciate other cuisines without even learning to love what we have here back home. As Filipinos, we have to do our part in putting our delicious local dishes in the map. Let us raise us flags for the best tasting Kare-Kare, Adobo, Sinigang and Crispy Pata. We should be proud to be able to call all these our own. Till our next food trip!
*photo credit: Paul Ang
Visit Cafe Adriatico at M. Adriatico Street, Remedios Circle, Malate in Manila. Call them at 738-8220.