Sunday, May 25, 2014

Degustation at the Mega Fashion Hall (Mega Mall) 1

Last week, the Mercato Centrale invited me to join a group of selected few foodbloggers and lifestyle writers from mainstream Philippine media to sample gourmet servings of foreign restos and bakeshops in the newly opened Mega Fashion Hall wing of Mega Mall. This newly constructed wing of the mall is just along the side of EDSA highway in Ortigas business district of Mandaluyong City. There is a layover underneath the building for the north-bound EDSA buses where you can disembark if you take a bus ride. The MRT Shaw Station is just a hundred meters away that you can walk your way from the train station. The new wing is used to be the open parking area of the mall. The parking area is still there, but this time it is underground and for a fee.    

The interior of the newly constructed Mega Fashion Hall wing of the Mega Mall

The Mega Fashion Hall officially opened last January 28, 2014. Then four months later, a food tour was organized and I was among the lucky food bloggers who were invited to join. It took us about four-hour to raid the gourmet restaurants and bakeshops, mostly originating from neighboring Asian countries and across the globe. Of course, local cuisine was not left behind in the list. We dined international that night.

Anton Diaz briefing us at the start of  Degustation food tour

The food tour dubbed as "Degustation" was with the coordination of Mercato Centrale with its CEO and co-founder, Mr. Anton Diaz, guiding and giving us tips on what to expect and what to do in the tour. 

A box of one-piece cinnamon classic roll
The cinnamon classic roll of Cinnabon bakeshop
We converged in the ground floor and right after the briefing we were first introduced to the Cinnabon bakeshop and each of us got a boxed of one-piece freshly baked cinnamon classic roll. I always like the scent of cinnamon that I sometime used cinnamon sticks to flavor my pork and chicken adobo and a dash of cinamon powder in my champorado for its appetizing aroma. The scent of Cinnabon's cinnamon pastries is aromatically better. For me, the cinnamon classic roll is a perfect pair to a freshly brewed coffee. 

Chef Rea Gomez handing over us flyers and samples of their artisanal gelato
A cup of mango sake
Sampling the cold delights of Bono Gelato
Just a wall apart from Cinnabon is the Bono Gelato where Chef Rea Gomez personally handed over us samplers of their artisanal gelato. Among the flavors of the day we sampled was the mango sake, a blend of Philippine mangoes and the Japanese sake (rice wine).  The taste was a fusion of distinctively Pinoy lusciuous fruit that unarguably marked a craving-for-more aftertaste in the throat. No doubt, the sake finished it in a moment and it was a perfect conditioning for our next stop.

Dimsum with condiments
Our next stop was at the first branch of Tim Ho Wan in the Philippines. It is the first franchise outside Hong Kong  next to Singapore. Coincidentally, that day (May 20, 2014) was the first day of operation of the Tim Ho Wan in the Philippines.  

Being popular in Hong Kong and Singapore, its opening in Mega Fashion Hall - Mega Mall was a big hit.  The tables in the restaurant were all taken by the excited customers that the management arranged us a row of few tables outside.

Machang
We were served with dimsums, Chinese machang, and one of kind delectable pork buns, freshly baked and still warm. Read more about Tim Ho Wan Philippines in my other blog.




Kyochon in Mega Fashion Hall of Mega Mall is packed with diners.
Lee Min Ho appears to be dining Korean fried chicken dishes

Then we turned around the corner in the ground floor and found ourselves in Kyochon, a Korean resto.   What greeted us on the doorway was a table set of Korean fried chicken dishes and the huge pin up poster of Kyochon endorser Lee Min-ho,  a South Korean actor, singer and model, who played a leading  role in Korean television drama Boys Over Flowers. 




 
Kyochon has no more space for us. Their fried chicken must be great.  The tables were all taken by dining customers. Instead, we were handed each a sample of Korean fried chicken wrapped in paper box and 2014 Kyochon Global Standee Calendar placed in Lee Min Ho printed paper shopping bag.  When I got home that evening, I enjoyed the great tasting Korean fried chicken that I thought I was Lee Min Ho that night (LOL!).


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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mei Wei Lu (Street of Good Food) in Binondo to be launched next weekend

The MERCATO CENTRALE formally announced the launching of

MEI WEI LU 美味路!
LUCKY CHINATOWN WALK
Lucky Chinatown Mall
May 24, 2014 (Saturday) at 11:00 a.m.

The Mercato Centrale is coming to LUCKY CHINATOWN MALL in Binondo to celebrate the prosperous launching of the Street of Good Food or Mei Wei Lu!

Expect lots of great eats and authentic finds at MEI WEI LU! 


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Discover awesome food & culture secrets in one of the world’s oldest Chinatowns - Binondo of Manila


Join the Lucky Chinatown Tour
and discover Chinese culture at the awesome food & culture secrets of Chinatown Manila 

 
The LUCKY CHINATOWN walk way where the Awesome Food and Culture: Secrets of Lucky Chinatown is held every Saturday. Most of the food stalls featured in the tour are not around on weekdays. Experience the First Awesome Food and Culture Tour: Secrets of Lucky Chinatown. It's one of a kind. The tour is a can’t miss experience and will run for 4 hours, from 11:00AM to 3:00PM on May 10, 24 and 31 and on June 7, 2014. Each batch is limited only to 30 persons. Hurry up, buy your ticket now. Guests can buy tickets at the Lucky Chinatown Concierge or the Eastwood Mall Concierge. For more info call the Lucky Chinatown Concierge at 576-8139 or visit www.megaworldlifestylemalls.com
 
This time, Mercato Centrale set up a wonderful food and culture tour in Binondo, Manila. Ms. Tinay Magtira, the Communications Manager of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls wrote the following: 

One of the world’s oldest Chinatowns, Binondo lies at the heart of the Filipino Chinese experience and walking its streets is a great way to discover Chinese culture, from its deeply rooted religious practices to its delectable cuisine.

This May, Lucky Chinatown, a heritage project of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls in Binondo, will be the place to go to explore some of these fascinating traditions at the Awesome Food and Culture Secrets of Lucky Chinatown Tour.

Hosted by Our Awesome Planet’s Anton Diaz and Mercato Group’s RJ Ledesma, the food and culture tour costs only P888 and will run for 4 hours, from 11:00AM to 3:00PM on May 10, 24 and 31 and on June 7, 2014. Guests can buy tickets at the Lucky Chinatown Concierge or the Eastwood Mall Concierge.

At the intimate launch of the tour, guests were able to sample a variety of authentic Chinese dishes and learn more about Chinese traditions. The first stop was at the Botanical Herbal Hall at Lucky Chinatown Annex A, where Chinese tea was served.  Tea is well known for its medicinal benefits and is believed to have been enjoyed by the Chinese for more than 4,000 years. 

HONGKONG BOTANICAL HERBAL HEALTHY TEA are not the conventional tea we found in the Awesome Food and Culture tour in Lucky Chinatown. They are from brewed organic dried fruits and flowers. No preservative and no sugar added as they are naturally sweet and refreshing. Each flavor has distinct medicinal benefit to drinkers. You can have the the Plum tea, LO'5 Tea, the May Bloom Tea, or the Pear'c Tea (in that order from Left to Right)

Guests were able to taste different teas like the Lo’5 or Momordica Grosvenor Five Flowers Tea, with Oriental Wormwood, Chrysanthemum, Honeysuckle, Selfheal and Kapok, which can help reduce phlegm, the Snow Pear Chrysanthemum Tea, said to improve eyesight, Maybloom tea, which is good for lowering lipids and Plum Tea, which aids digestion.

Offering a prayer with incense in Miao De Amituofo Pureland
Teaching how to hold an incense and offer a prayer at the Miao De Amituofo Pureland
Some books and literary prints about Buddha are given away for free by the Miao De Amituofo Pureland to the participants of the Lucky Chinatown Awesome Food Culture tour

Their second stop was at the Miao De Temple, where they were able to light incense and learn more about the meaning of this age-old ritual. Next was a feast of delicious dishes at the Chinatown Walk – from Fu Dao Dumpling, Sate Seafood Noodles with Dumplings were served, while Cha Cha Food House dished up Wanton Noodles and Pumpkin Cake (said to be good for the skin), two dishes popular in the northern region of China. Other Fil-Chi favorites like Cua Pao, Maki Mi and fresh lumpia was also on the menu, courtesy of Mr. Fast Foo.

Reflexion Studio

At Reflexion’s Studio, guests were able to learn more about traditional Chinese wedding and engagement practices, for example, the tea ceremony and “teng hun” described as an act of wedding etiquette performed by the soon-to-be-wed couple before their wedding. Guests were also able to take home a commemorative photo of their tour group.

Phoenix Dragon - The Feng Shui Store
At Phoenix Dragon, guests were able to listen to a forecast on the Year of the Wood Horse from a renowned feng shui expert. 

Mr. RAINBOW SNOW explaining the concept of his many-flavored and colorful snow flakes delight.

Then they were able to try refreshing summer treats from Rainbow Snow, a dessert place inspired by the Taiwanese dessert culture located at the Food Junction at the 4th Floor of Lucky Chinatown. Rainbow Snow specializes in snow ice dessert, which is like a mix between ice cream and sorbet.

FISH SPA at the Wellness Sanctuary acupuncture and detox. The Dr. Fish Spa Therapy is lots of fun for those who are ticklish

A 15-minute EAR CHINESE ACUPUNCTURE is free for those who participated the Awesome Food and Culture: Secrets of Lucky Chinatown
TUI NA foot massage at the Wellness Sanctuary acupuncture and detox.
The Chinese also have a long and varied history of medicinal practices and at Lucky Chinatown’s Wellness Sanctuary, guests were able to choose between trying acupuncture, tui na or fish spa. Acupuncture is a system of healing that involves pricking of the skin or tissues with needles to alleviate pain and to treat various physical, mental, and emotional conditions that originated in China.

Wellness Sanctuary also offers Fish Spa Therapy services wherein tiny fish, called the Doctor Fish, clean off the dead skin in various parts of the customer’s body.

BIRTHDAY NOODLE is with very long noodles and thick soup with shrimps, coated quail egg, fish balls, and fish fillet, thinly sliced pork, and bokchoy leaves. Ideally served when wishing a long-life to the birthday celebrant. It is offered at the Tao Yuan Restaurant





The experience, both cleansing and relaxing, was followed by a sampling of another traditional Chinese food practice – the lavish lauriat. The word "lauriat" is actually derived from the Fookien dialect and means special occasion. A lauriat usually consists of at least 10 special dishes and dining lasts for hours.

Guests were able to try some of Tao Yuan’s best-sellers like their delicious Mango Lapu-Lapu, which is fried lapu-lapu with ripe mango and green mango sauce and their Hainan Chicken with Chicken Rice.

MANGO LAPU-LAPU is an original recipe created by Tao Yuan Restaurant. It is actually an upgraded variation of sweet-and-sour fish. The lapu-lapu (grouper) is deep fried similar to Tagalog "binukadkad"then laid flat on sweet-and-sour sauce made with a special Singaporean sauce with finely chopped red chilis, and the fried fish is topped with shredded ripe mango and garnished with sliced cucumber, tomatoes, onions, capsicum, and ginger

“Being a heritage project, Lucky Chinatown is committed to showcasing the best in Filipino-Chinese culture. So we are very excited to partner with food experts like Anton Diaz and RJ Ledesma to bring people the Awesome Food and Culture Secrets of Lucky Chinatown Tour this summer. It’s a great introduction to different aspects of Chinese culture and the variety of Chinese cuisine, all in one place,” said Kevin L. Tan, First Vice President and Commercial Division Head of Megaworld Corporation.
For recreation lovers and foodies, this tour is a can’t miss experience! For more information on Awesome Food and Culture Secrets of Lucky Chinatown, please call the Lucky Chinatown Concierge at 576-8139 or visit www.megaworldlifestylemalls.com



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About Edgie Polistico

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Author of Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary - the first and only published Pinoy food and dining dictionary. The book won the national category as Philippine's finalist to the Gourmand Awards international food writing contest in Yantai, Shandong, China to be held in May 2017. A lexicographer who began to compile and wrote his first vernacular dictionaries at the age of 14. A collector of contemporary and vintage dictionaries, both local and foreign.  A linguist studying the many dialects you can find in the Philippines. A blogger maintaining at least 11 blog sites. A researcher of food culture, Pinoy pop culture, interesting places and structures in the country, local transportations, Philippine churches and other places of worship of any religion and beliefs, local anthropology, socio-cultural issues, and whatever interesting about the Philippines and the Filipinos. A visual artist who uses pencil, watercolor, pen, and fingers as medium of expression - once an editorial cartoonist of local broadsheet and campus publications. Created his first hand-made comics magazine and participated the Marian watercolor exhibits in his hometown parish while in high school. A photographer taking at least 2K photos a week in the field while on travel for almost two decades now.  A poet hiding most of the time. A low-profile historian studying continually the origins, history, and progression of many places in the country. A computer programmer who wrote the codes and designed the software application of his digital Cebuano-English dictionary and distributed it for free around the country and over the internet. A traveler who had been to all four corners of the Philippine archipelago, and still setting more footprints anywhere in the country.  A holder of professional driver's license once took the wheels for UBER. A home cook who loves to enhance, modify, elaborate, experiment if not invent more of  Pinoy dishes and delicacies.

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