Been ordering the same meal from the same restaurant for n months now? Yeah, I know how it goes. You hear a lot of buzz about a certain menu item—maybe ones with the “best seller” line attached to it—so of course you try it, liked it, and end up going for the same thing over and over again. But maybe it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and give your taste buds something new to discover.
Are you game? Of course you are. Don’t worry, we won’t feed you something nasty. We’re not that mean. In fact, we asked around the office for “underrated” or under-the-radar meals you probably haven’t tried to order—’cause it seems weird, or you just never thought they’re special—so you won’t have to miss out on them anymore. You’re welcome.
Vegan bagnet, Cosmic
There’s this vegan diner in Poblacion called Cosmic that’s sort of hidden. Before heading out to dinner at this new hip and happening restaurant at Fermina St., a friend and I grabbed a few bites there. We had their vegan bagnet. It’s this crispy slices of layered textured meat substitute and tofu (I think) that imitates the cross-sections of a usual pork slab. It doesn’t taste anywhere close to the real thing but it has a distinct flavor that’s equally delicious if not better. It’s a simple dish, really, that’s meant to be eaten with rice and dipped in vinegar but it ended up as the highlight of that night, even though we had confit duck at another restaurant right after. -Christian San Jose, Junior Content Creator, Nolisoli.ph
A recent dish I’ve tried that I think people should try as well is Tadeo’s sinigang burrito. Apparently some people are hesitant to try it because they feel like it’s not true sinigang because it’s served in a different way. They are missing out though! Tadeo’s sinigang burrito is crispy, flavorful, and generally delicious! – Sam Ong, Photographer and Videographer
Pad See-U Gai, Khuathai
I dream about this dish at night. It has such a good balance of sweetness and spices, and the rice noodles are always perfectly chewy. Well, I can’t really vouch for how close it is to authentic Thai cuisine because I’ve never been, but at this point I wouldn’t really care. All that matters is it’s crazy good. Another big bonus is that their menu is fairly big and everything’s pretty affordable. It’s a gem for me on all levels. – Giselle Barrientos, Junior Content Creator, Scout
An underrated meal that I think is a must-try is Max’s sizzling tofu sisig. It’s the perfect dish especially for those avoiding meat and what’s cool is that it’s good for 2-3 people. I think it’s underrated because when people go to Max, they more or less order the chicken meals or basic dishes. I recommend the sizzling tofu sisig for a different taste. – Nicole Ganglani, Junior Content Creator, Multisport.ph
THE BEST. I feel like it’s on-par with their chicken for reasons to eat in Max’s – Xenia Sebial, Account Executive
The weekend buffet, Likha Diwa and Soyrizo Tacos; El Chupacabra
It’s a tie between the weekend buffet at vegetarian cafe Likha Diwa in QC and the soyrizo tacos in El Chupacabra. The former I love because of the variety of their weekly menu—every weekend, they alternate among different cuisines. (They mostly do Asian cuisines), proving that any cuisine can be made vegetarian. It’s really cheap, too. For 250 pesos, you can have as much delicious vegetarian food as you want. As for El Chupacabra’s soy tacos—chorizo made of soy, topped with veggies, I add a lot of hot sauce to it—I love them because they make up the other half of my all-time favourite meal: tacos and San Miguel Pale Pilsen. It’s not exactly an underrated combination, but I find that there aren’t a lot of vegetarian tacos out there. It also proves that you can have a good meal without meat from time to time. -Catherine Orda, Content Creator, FNB Report
Cassava Chips, Mary Grace
Most of the time I go for the “best-sellers” like the ensaymada and the cheese roll because obviously a lot of people like them. I mean, I also give in to the hype every now and then, but sometimes, I think about trying things that are somehow under the radar. One of the best, if not THE BEST, “underrated” food that I have tried would be their cassava chips. I know it sounds so boring but the onion dip is so heavenly that I came back and ordered the same thing for like three days straight. I’m no food guru, but I think I know what tastes good. – Kyle Cayabyab, Account Executive
Art by Marian Hukom
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