Best Bites: 10 Things You Need to Try Right Now

Why is it that as Christmas season approaches, it seems like more new restaurants are popping up all over the city? International food brands expand aggressively as newcomers arrive—all with a common goal, which is to feed the hungry, discerning diners of Manila. Whether or not these establishments dish out excellent grub, one thing’s for sure: each of them contributes in making the Manila food scene more exciting.

Here at, I love to reminisce about the most delicious dishes I ate. The Best Bites series features the yummiest and most recommended food finds—taste-tested from one of Manila’s restaurants or uncovered from my travels. For September and October, here are my top picks:

1 | Jumbo Scallop Butteryaki (PhP450) from Rosanjin Japanese Restaurant

Rosanjin specializes in Tobanyaki, a modern-style teppanyaki, that involves an earthenware called tobanAmong its beef, pork, and seafood selections, you must try the Jumbo Scallop Butteryaki—four huge pieces of Hokkaido scallops seasoned simply with butter and a hint of soy sauce. The scallops were fresh, sweetish, creamy, and delicious, a perfect way to enjoy the natural flavors of the sea. Trust me, you will savor each bite.

Rosanjin Japanese Restaurant
3/F SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City
Menu: click here

2 | Three-Peat (PhP295, plate/PhP625, pound) from Woody’s Texas Bar-B-Q

The best way to experience a Texas BBQ joint that specializes in handmade sausages, pulled pork, beef brisket, and ribs is to try ALL of them. You can, with the Three-Peat—a platter consisting of 3 types of meat of your choice. Choose from the spicy Texas hot links, tender pulled pork, incredible beef brisket, or flavorful ribs—all slow-cooked and slow-smoked. Add PhP95 for two sides, make sure you get the Mac 'N' Queso or the Country Beans!

Woody’s Texas Bar-B-Q
7838 Makati Ave., Makati City (across A-Venue Mall)
11:00AM – 2:00AM

3 | Glazed Pork Belly from The Hungry Hound

While the sight of a perfectly-cooked slab of pork belly is enough to stir appetites, a fork-tender, melt-in-your-mouth, rum-glazed slab of pork belly is certainly even better. Enter The Hungry Hound and its monthly craft series, where in chefs Erwan and Mikko whip up bites and cocktails using a single type of booze. The Glazed Pork Belly is made with a Bacardi 8 BBQ sauce, paired with delicious carabao mozzarella, polenta, and potato crisps. This dish should permanently be in their menu!

The Hungry Hound
G/F Globe Tower, 32nd St. cor. 7th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
10:00AM - 3:00AM

4 | Mango Basil nitro ice cream from Joseph’s Craft Ice Cream

I like basil with anything, but its fresh flavors seem to blend even more impeccably with the sweet-sour mango—especially when incorporated in ice cream! Joseph’s Craft Ice Cream, an upcoming seller specializing in liquid nitrogen ice cream, has a Mango Basil variant that’s refreshing and exquisite. This tub of ice cream is not only a delight to eat—watching the creation process is pretty cool as well. Run to Shangrila Mall once the store opens this November!

Joseph’s Craft Ice Cream
4/F Shangrila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City

5 | London Cheesecake from Costa Coffee

photo credit: The Food Scout
I like my cheesecake either light and sweet or tart and heavy, and Costa Coffee’s London Cheesecake falls in neither of the two categories. Strangely, this version ensnared my taste buds, a cake that falls midway between light and heavy, and more salty than sweet or acidic. Maybe it’s just my coffee, but I found this cheesecake to be one of the best I’ve had—a dessert that doesn’t overwhelm yet delivers.

Costa Coffee - BGC
G/F One World Place, 32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Other branches: Eastwood, Robinsons Place Manila

6 | Orange Miso cookie (PhP65/piece) from The Bald Baker

I’ve known that Cy Ynares of The Bald Baker is a talented baker ever since I tried his Matchallows, but who would have thought he would come up with another quirky cookie flavor that works so amazingly well? My latest favorite: the Orange Miso, a soft butter-orange cookie with subtle notes of salty, nutty miso. The exquisite cookie packs dark chocolate Callebaut Callets and 80% dark chocolate coins from South Cotabato. Buttery, a tad citrusy, a bit sweet, some texture, chewy—now this is my type of cookie.

The Bald Baker

7 | Mango Chewies cookies from Mama’s Kitchen – Iloilo

Among all the goodies my sister took home from her trip to Iloilo, the one that I loved the most was the Mango Chewies cookies from Mama’s Kitchen—chewy, moist cookies studded with candied mango bits. While the chocolate and peanut butter flavors were also delicious, they were on the crisp side rather than chewy. The mango variant destroys all desires at sharing.

Mama’s Kitchen
Osmena Street, Arevalo, Iloilo City, Iloilo

8 | Panna Cotta from Seasons – Manila Pavilion

Everything points towards perfection with Chef's Giovanni Sais' Panna Cotta, an explosion of flavors featuring a sweetish-tangy strawberry consomme, a creamy panna cotta, a luscious sliver of chocolate, and refreshing mint. The way everything blends is an orgasm inside the mouth. As the song goes, "whatcha gonna do with that dessert?" You hoard this one, my friend, then devour it whole.

G/F Waterfront Hotel – Manila Pavilion, U.N. Avenue cor. Ma. Orosa St., Malate, Manila
Fax: +632.526.2552
Breakfast buffet: 6:00AM – 10:30AM; lunch: 11:00AM – 3:00PM; dinner: 6:00PM – 10:30PM

9 | Citrus Cinnamon Sangria (PhP300) from Liq My Stick

Aptly and cleverly named, Liq My Stick specializes in liquor-infused popsicles—or poptails—made with real fruits. I loved the Citrus Cinnamon Sangria, an orange-flavored, St. Remy brandy-infused popsicle that comes with a jar of shiraz and cabernet sangria spiced with cinnamon syrup. The best way to enjoy this is to dip the popsicle into the sangria—doing so releases all the flavors in a sweet, intoxicating harmony. Even the frozen orange slices add to the fantastic fusion!

Liq My Stick

10 | For Days cocktail from The Hungry Hound

For Days (second from left)
Bacardi is not something you would see in my top choices for booze, but the For Days cocktail from The Hungry Hound’s craft series is a concoction that was hard not to love. Made with Bacardi White, Bacardi Gold, orange juice, Angostura bitters, lime juice, clove syrup, coconut milk and banana liquor, it has all the components of a perfect cocktail—potent alcohol, sour elements, and sweeteners. See if you can ask the guys at the nearby Niner Ichi Nana to whip it up for you!

The Hungry Hound/Niner Ichi Nana
G/F Globe Tower, 32nd St. cor. 7th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
10:00AM - 3:00AM

BONUS: the breakfast at Pan Pacific Manila

Simply put, the breakfast buffet at Pan Pacific Manila was terrific. It’s well-curated with a good mix of American, Mediterranean, European, and Asian cuisines. An extensive bread station fills one corner, and another one nestles delicate cold cuts and fresh salads. Roast beef, hash browns, pancakes, waffles, and many more American staples await huge cravings, while mini-cakes and pastries tempt those with sweet teeth. It’s great value for money at PhP900 (complimentary for 2 checked-in guests per room).

Pacific Lounge - Pan Pacific Manila
21/F, Pan Pacific Manila, M. Adriatico St., cor. Gen. Malvar St., Malate, Manila
+632.318.0788/Toll-free: 0120.001.800

Tell us about your best bites!

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