I may have mentioned before that our own local cuisine is closest to my heart and tummy. And because of this fascination for Filipino food, I have visited and reviewed a number of restaurants that offer it. As of this writing, I have shared my experiences with 384 Filipino food establishments. Mangan, a member of the esteemed Cabalen Group, is my next story to you.
Mangan is a Kapampangan word that means let’s eat. And eating we did together with their team and my close foodie friends, Chel (@chelinumerable), Raina (@konyoqueen) and Miguel @mykeasy). It was an intimate invite filled with mostly Pampanga inspired dishes. I had the liberty to choose what we had, I guess it was perks of arriving first at the venue. This spot is located in the newest renovated wing of Robinson’s Galleria in Ortigas, Quezon City.
The ambiance here gives a homey vibe. It has a touch of a modern with feels of Filipino heritage. The table sizes are mostly designed for groups, depicting the usual set-up of a Filipino dining, the more people, the merrier.
Anyway, the food arrived and they came in with an inviting aroma. We hurried our usual photo shots so we can sip and bite our way to Mangan’s specialties. I started off with their version of Bulalo. They call it Bulalong Baka with Mais. The meat was tender as expected, and its soup was full of flavor. I got loads of vegetables on my own bowl so I can balance all the chuncks of beef I also took. This was my runaway favorite dish that day.
Our hungry team got Sisig too, probably the most known offering from Pampanga. Personally, I am not a fan of it for its fat and grease. I found Mangan’s relatively tasty though but a bit burned on some parts.
I love Kare Kare and we shared a spin off with seafood. The sauce was on point- it was thick, creamy, peanuty and slightly sweetened. The squid and shrimp, in particular were also cooked well, no hints of gummy texture.
Another sizzling plate arrived, and it was classic Fried Chicken filled with a tad salty gravy. The meat, however was seasoned well, and had the welcoming crisp to it. To balance this, have it with Mangan’s unusual Laing Rice. It’s like having your greens and carbs in one go!
To end this journey, we had a Christmas combination of desserts, Bibingka and Puto Bumbong. I liked that the muscavado and grated coconut were separated giving one the liberty to create his or her combination.
For refreshments, we shared their distinctly curated Watermelon and Cucumber shakes. Since I found these oversweetened, I settled for all natural fresh Buko instead.
Thank you Pampanga for your worthy contributions to our vibrant local cuisine! And kudos to Mangan for bringing their worthy creations accesible to us here in Manila. Hoping I made you curious to try it on your own tagging along throngs of family and friends.
To know their branches all over the metro, you may visit their Facebook: Mangan Restaurant.