Filipino food: take 2

Seeing as I am living in the Philippines, I figured it was about time I do another post about Filipino food.  A trendy area of Manila is called the Fort, which consists of a bunch of nicer shops and restaurants all gathered together along a big grassy mall which is quite nice.  We would go there more often, except in traffic it takes approximately 1-1.5 hrs to get there from our hotel (and there is almost always traffic).  Yes, it literally takes the same amount of time to walk places that it does to drive, except you can’t walk on the highways so you just end up stuck in a car.

So, we took advantage of a Sunday night to go to the Fort for dinner and ended up choosing a “modern Filipino” restaurant called Sentro.  This was great because while I am not a big fan of the typical rice and fried meat centric cuisine, this restaurant had a lot of vegetarian options and provided a modern twist on some of the more traditional Filipino delicacies.  My team is fortunately getting used to my “I want us to share EVERYTHING” attitude (as well as “WAIT, don’t eat anything yet, I have to take a picture of it!”) so we were able to sample a variety of great dishes.

Appetizer of fresh lumpia – this is like the Filipino twist on Vietnamese fresh rolls, which are some of my favourite things ever.  These are great – very light and a nice change from some of the heavier standard fare.

Grilled pork skewers.  Even though I do like to call myself vegetarian most of the time, I can’t pretend that I am in the least since relocating here.  Plus meat on a stick is always fun.

A delicious rice noodles and veggies dish – very typical Asian-style fare

An interesting green mango salad with salted eggs on the side.  I have become a big fan of green mango since coming here.  This is like the Filipino version of Thai papaya salad, except not spicy at all (Filipinos are NOT into spicy food, as the Thai people on our team constantly remind us).  It has a nice tang though and I’ll eat papaya/green mango salad anytime!

Some nice green vegetable dishes – sauteed spinach on the left and mixed vegetables with grilled bangus (a Filipino fish) on the top.  Note that as a self-professed vegetable lover I have to nevertheless warn strongly against ever eating a vegetable called “bitter melon”.  It was in this dish and looked green and innocent enough, but one bite of it had us all struggling not to spit it out.  It looks a bit like okra but believe me does not taste good.  The other vegetables were great though.

All in all, it was a nice meal, though not exemplary.  But it’s always nice to have a dinner at a destination other than the hotel, as great as our hotel is, and when we have it on a Sunday, our team feels even more like a family than usual.

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