Recently, a reporter for the food section of a well-known international newspaper asked for my opinion regarding the “single best dish” that I would pick right now in Manila, for a possible feature in her paper along with other favorites from around the region. I presumed this meant (1) a Filipino dish (2) at a readily accessible restaurant (as she wanted to know where and how much) (3) that would be palatable to local and the foreign readers of the newspaper and their well-read website as well. I responded that I didn’t eat out that much and perhaps wasn’t the best person to ask, but when pressed, I knew exactly which dish I was going to mention.
Mrs. MM’s and my current obsession is Mamou’s Kurobuta Pork Sinigang… it is wonderful! We make pork sinigang at home all the time, but let me tell you, this restaurant version consistently blows our socks off, despite it oddly being a little bit different every time we seem to order it… We had it when it was in the “testing” phase, or the “hmmm, what do you think, maybe it will make it to our menu stage” and it was thick and sludgy with taro root and you practically needed a knife to work your way through it. Then recently, we have had it where it is a little more orange, possible from having riper tomatoes in it, and the pork appears to have been pre-caramelized in some cases. Whatever the method, the result is worthy of mention, and I guess you will have to try it for yourself to see if you are a fan or indifferent…
I should mention that I know the owners of Mamou and consider them good friends, so you can take this endorsement with a grain of salt. But if you have any doubts, and eat at Mamou anyway, tear yourself from your regular favorite dish and try this one. Just the right hint of sourness. A thickened broth. Enough veggies to balance the guilt. Nice pieces of the justifiably famous Japanese pork (though these pigs raised in America). I have it with red rice, probably to mitigate pangs of fatty guilt, but I imagine it is great with white rice as well.
And if the restaurant is full, just order take out and pig-out in the comfort of your own home. :)
While I sent my pick and photos to the newspaper in question, it seems the article may not push through, or at least my pick won’t be published as I did not agree to have my real name used. Serious papers probably think it’s absurd to print “Marketman recommends…” sort of along the lines of “Batman drives the Batmobile himself, no chauffer to park the oversized winged vehicle in tight mall parking spots… (imagine what a spectacle it is when he tries to load premium gasoline at a self-service station)…” :) At any rate, if you were wondering what to have for lunch or dinner during the cool days before and during the Christmas holidays, try Mamou’s sinigang. Gosh, I hope this means they ramp up sinigang production or I will get a “Sir, out of stock” answer the next time I visit. :)
A previous post on Kurobuta pig’s jowls/cheeks, here.