Filipino Food:Fiesta Before Siesta
Contraryto Filipinocustom, I ateat Maharlika bymyself. My husband’seating schedule and work scheduledoes not coincide with their 11am-3pmweekends only schedule inside RestoLeon, and I was just hungry. Seatedat the bar, I was perusing the menuand having such a hard time deciding
between the sisig and the stued
chicken wings. I said to the bartender,“I’m torn.” Extending his hand, heanswers “I’m Enzo.” With nice, warm
and friendly sta, Maharlika is truly a
blessing for solo diners.While waiting for my food, Imunched on cracker nuts. They arepeanuts encased with a crunchy coating
and some garlic avoring. I know they
visually remind you of whole chickpeas but they are far from it.True to the activity of weekend brunching, I had a glass of KalamansiMimosa.Kalamansi is thePhilippine Lemon.The drink isrefreshing andonly has a hintof it in the end.This drink roundsout the whole mealperfectly.The Pampangan-StyleSizzling Sisig with Egg andGarlic Rice was good. Totallywhat I expected it to be. The riceis garlicky good!Sisig has been part of the FilipinoCuisine way before snout to tail dininghas achieved its present status in theUS culinary scene. In it is pork belly,pig snout and ears. Some versions addliver, but truth is its all minced thatyou don’t even see it resembling anyof the mentioned pork parts. The eggthat goes on top of it is perfectly runny- when you mix it up (and you should!)the egg gets cooked and it just becomesheavenly.Sisig started out as “drinkingfood.” The drinking culture in thePhilippines is about drinking andeating “pulutan.” Pulutan – looselytranslated is “something to pick on.” Something like tapas. I amspeculating that this is broughtabout the Spain’s ColonialEra. (Thanks, Spain!) Sinceit is good, and we likeeating EVERYTHINGwith plain white rice,it just became ameal.This sisigwins my heartout of all theversions allover Manhattan,Queens and New Jersey becausethey provide thetables with this MaggiSeasoning. You have to tasteit to understand it, but it is betterthan soy sauce. I should also haveasked some Tabasco sauce for my sisig but I was just over the moon for this bottle of condiment.
Stued Chicken Wings! Aaaah. This
is their take on Chicken Adobo. Thisis very good. If you don’t know whatadobo is, Sam Sifton have waxedlyrical about it in the New York Times.I am so glad that they allowed meto order this as a side dish. See?
Maharlika truly is a gem for solo diners who want to
eat an entrée and a half.
(Funny enough, the maitre d’thought that there were two peopledining. LOL)
The dish is “chicken stued
with chicken.” In tagalog, wecall this process of cooking“relleno.” (We also do this with
whole chickens, whole milksh and
sometimes lechon)Dining in Maharlika isdining likeroyaltyminus the royal prices.I have only managedto elevate my bill bygetting extra entreeand the mimosa.The entree in itselfis a very goodsized meal. I took home what was
left of my Stued
Chicken Wings andSisig. Leftovers ofHappiness!
Text and Photos By Stella Dacuma Schour
Add some Tamarind SauceAdd Some Yougurt and Mint SauceAnd some of the red stuff with the onionsFinish it off with Tamarind Sauce! Mmm.
This dish is suited to the taste of the one who is going to eat itand has as many permutations as a lottery number combination.
Left: Knorr Liquid Seasoning.Bottom:Pampangan-StyleSisigGarlic Fried RiceStuffed Chicken WingsCracker Nuts