What is it about these Pinoy dishes that make them taste so much better when we’re eating them during a downpour? Perhaps it’s the way they warm our throat and tummy, or remind us of simpler times with family and friends.
Whatever it is, these four Filipino favorites always hit the spot. Next time it rains (and you know it will), treat yourself to any or all of these delicious My Pope-recommended stormy-weather staples.
Traditionally prepared with slices of chicken, ginger, toasted garlic, scallions, black pepper, a hard-boiled egg, and a pinch of saffron to give it its yellow color, this savory rice porridge also goes by the names lugaw (the umbrella term for rice porridges), congee (the term used in Chinese restaurants), goto (which uses ox tripe as its meat), and okayo (Japan’s take on the dish). North Park loads up its bowls with crystal prawn, shiitake mushrooms, Pacific clams, sliced tender beef, fish, and other premium ingredients. Luk Yuen’s Halo-Halo Congee is a meaty extravaganza of chicken liver, pork ball, stomach lining, and slices of beef; for a guiltless indulgence, order the Fish and Vegetable Congee. Goto King satisfies your craving for less than P100, and Lugawan Republic packs in the carbs with its Pilugaw—that’s a rice porridge with sotanghon noodles, chicken, black mushroom, toasted garlic, chives, and quail eggs.
If you’re looking for a warm but sweet treat, why not opt for a bowl of Pinoy classic champorado? Early Bird Breakfast Club prepares it with dark and white Belgian chocolate designed to look like the symbol for yin and yang. Slice substitutes the sticky rice with granola, walnuts, almonds, banana, and peanut butter. XO 46 Heritage Bistro Filipino serves it cold and shaped like a brownie with mantecado ice cream on the side. And you like your champorado cooked the good old-fashioned way, visit Market on 5th Avenue for its soupy concoction, and Tapa King’s downright homey version.
If rice is too heavy, try noodles in a clear broth. The ubiquitous Chowking has affordable mami topped with your choice of beef or pork siomai, as well as a lomi (whose soup and noodles are thicker). If you happen to be in Manila on a rainy day, check out Chinatown and its authentic mami offerings. Chuan Kee, reputed as the oldest fast-food place in Binondo, has 22 soups and noodles to warm you up, and Masuki (a.k.a. the oldest noodle house, also in Binondo) has serving sizes meant for sharing.
End your rainy-weather food trip on a sweet note. Before milk tea, this humble serving of silken tofu, arnibal (brown sugar syrup), and sago balls was our go-to street food snack. Have a warm cup courtesy of your suki vendor in the morning, or try these elevated iterations: The Baker’s Table and Dekada interpret taho as a cake (the former features a middle layer of soymilk custard and tapioca, the latter tops its tofu pudding and fresh white cheese with generous portions of sago and syrup). And Bono Artisanal Gelato has a seasonal dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and soy-based gelato enhanced with coconut syrup and sago balls.