“The “Bawug” part of the jowl where layers of gelatinous fat melt and slather into the layers of meat once grilled.”
I was then ambling along the streets of Kowloon city, hunting for a famous Nasi-Satay when I prognosticated “Someday, Filipino street food will have its own taste of fame in the global dining table. Food evangelists from other countries will also visit and search for our street food like what I am doing here in Hong Kong.”.
A year and five months from that random prophecy, a list which recognizes the world’s best street food made me one of the proudest Filipino street food disciples. Another yardstick for calibre street food apart from the Michelin Guide, the World Street Food Congress included 5 Philippine Street food stalls in their list of 50 World Street Food Masters for 2017. One of these five, is in Davao.
Igniting more flame to every tourist’s gastronomic adventure in Davao city, Dood’s Ihaw-Ihaw (Now Dod’s), a humble carinderia/ barbeque stall near the rotunda (traffic circle) on the vertex of Roxas and Ponciano streets, fronting the City’s Postal Building, made it to the 46th spot as a World Street Food Master for their “Sinugbang Panga” (wood fire grilled Tuna Jowl).
The 12-year-old tandem of the marinade sauce and the basting oil according to Mrs. Dod’s, is the secret why their grilled tuna is peerless amongst the other versions you have tried. Apart from that, the couple’s choice of serving only the “Bigeye” tuna species also gives a distinct quality to their award winning dish.
“This species is really the one that is made for grilling. Especially the “Bawug” part of the jowl where layers of gelatinous fat melt and slather into the layers of meat once grilled.” Mrs. Dod’s explained. I agree. Every spoon of freshly-cooked steamed rice deserves to be slathered with those melts from the grilled tuna. Drizzle it with “sawsawan” (Yakitori sauce-like dip) before finally dunking it! Lami!
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Hop in to any jeepney that passes by Ponciano St. and ask one of the ever helpful Davao jeepney drivers to drop you at the Davao Light Building. Right across the street, the redolence of an andante-grilled fish meat would smoothly guide your way. Be there by 9am to get the “Bawug” cut. When you want some real Davao street food dining immersion, lunch and dinner until 10PM is such a touristy jostle. Wander along Roxas Street Market, it is just a block away, after.
Aling Lucing Sisig
Corner G. Valdez and Agipito del Rosario Streets, Angeles City, Luzon, Philippines
Monday to Sunday, 6:00am to 3:00am I +63 45 888 2317
“SISIG” chopped hog head salad with soy, lime and chilli
Second Floor, Petron Gas Station, EDSA Corner Arnaiz Avenue, Dasmariñas Village, Makati City, Manila, Philippines
Monday to Sunday, 9:30am to 9:00pm I +63 2664 1700, +63 2509 4122, +63 91 7853 2466,
Negros style, masala risotto “Lechon”
Zeny’s Pinangat (TAKE OUT ONLY)
PNR Rd, Gapo, Camalig, 4502 Albay, in Bicol, Philippines I +63 916 288 5491
“Pinangat” – simmered wrap of pork in dry taro leaves
*Also on the list are (14) hawkers from Singapore with the Michelin starred Hill Street Tai Hwa at the 1st rank for their Bak Chor Mee, (7) from Indonesia, (6) from Malaysia, (5) from Thailand, (4) from China, (3) from Vietnam (2) from USA, (2) from Mexico and (1) each from Taiwan and India.
The inclusion of five Masters from the Philippines for the list’s first edition is such an uplifting accolade to Pinoys, especially to a Filipino street food advocate like me. The Philippines has still a lot of award-worthy dishes which are expected to sizzle every world wide food award-giving body. I am excited.
In the meantime, when you visit Davao, trot like a hobo in this city which is not just known for its civil calmness but also now known as home of a World Master in grilled tuna jowls according to the World Street Food Congress Council.
Who made the list:
*Anthony Bourdain, world renowned television personality, author and avid street food advocate *KF Seetoh, Makansutra’s Founder/CEO *James Oseland, Author of one of 2007’s Time Asia and the New York Times best books, Cradle of Flavor *Johnny Chan, Top China TV food host and winemaker (http://wsfcongress.com/world-street-food-congress/)
You want to spend shorter time queueing to explore nearby attractions after an unforgettable chowing down of Michelin starred street meal? Hunt!
This year’s guide for Singapore isn’t actually the first which the North Star for restaurants appreciated an Asian Street-food for its prestigious guide. November 2015, Michelin enumerated 23 outlets for Hong Kong and 12 stalls for Macau for the first ever Street-food section of the guide in its 2016 edition.
However, these stalls don’t have stars. “We did include street foods for the first time but they don’t have stars. We include street food for the simple reason that Street food is very much a part of the Hong Kong culinary scene. Hong Kong has fantastic gastronomy everywhere but Hong Kong is a city that never stops; it never sleeps. People are out and about all the time and street food has always been a very big part of Hong Kong culture, so we thought it would make sense…” Michael Ellis, International Director for the Michelin Guide clarified to the CNBC’s Squawk Box.
What’s then actually monumental for these two Singapore based street food outlets is, this time they got the elusive STAR. Even before the Michelin inspectors rated these hawkers, their food has always been preyed by patiently queueing curve-eyed predators. Asians are such unconditional patrons. Reminiscing the struts I had in Hong Kong prepared myself that queues would always be part of the experience. What off guarded me though for Singapore’s starred hawkers is, I did not expect the length. The queue was lengthy, meandering and transcultural. The food? Here’s my take.
Liao Fan’s Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle
Two SGD for a Chicken rice is actually cheap in Singapore. Chicken rice meals like I had in mall food courts actually range 5-7SGD, without second thought I opted not to choose one between the noodle or the rice, I ingested it both!
A local couple preceded me stressed that “Aside from its taste (It wont be starred if it isn’t savory of course), Liao Fan’s portioning is actually one of the most generous inside (the complex)” which I agree. Seems like they are serving almost half part of a chicken in a meal. They bought about five plastic bags of varied meals and chopped of two whole soya sauce chicken. They could just actually eat somewhere else but like me, they also waited almost three hours — for a take out. I was even starving already when I was 5th from the one being served (bring with you some crackers and water. Not flavored drink, just water)
Cooked just right that it is still soft, juicy and easier to shread from the bones. Chicken skin is uniquely savory with the soya sauce still palatably evident as the main marinade, perfect in your spoon with the rice steamed with chicken broth. Noodle was also tendered just perfectly right to stimulate your chewing when it is already inside your mouth housepartying while the sauce flavor-jockying your tastebuds with intermittent sweet, salty and Hongkie spiciness.
Worth a take out or else you’ll queue again. Bring home a whole chicken. Drooling!
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“partaking the food in a shared table with the bustles of the sidewalk as the background music, sensing how sated they are evident from how contagious to me their appetite as I observe how they eat the food, which we all spent not just minutes but hours to be served. Those just boost my satiety to a higher, subjectively distinct level. Those appraise more the value of every Asian currency I handed to the hawkers as I received my portions.”
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle
The serving includes the plate with the noodles and a sauce and a separate bowl with soup. I was actually looking at the other tables how they eat it. Should I or not mix the soup with the noodle. I mixed it and it was better for my buds.
The food house is like a neighborhood (Barangay) noodle house where when you’re starving after playing with your neighbors back in your childhood, you could just sit and eat with familiar faces in the next tables. It is like a refuge noodle house when you came from a stressful workshift. Moments between chews felt like I was partaking a soup prepped by my mom when I skip from work or school because of sickness. You could feel the portions were served with thoughtfulness while you eat it. Whether you’ll consume those pieces in chunks or by bit, the whole serving is just steamy and spicy redeeming! Sharing actually the sensations I felt eating it rather than the food feature itself since being exceptionally delicious is generally a default when you got a Michelin star.
I could just chow down back here. I don’t care about another queue. I wish Tai Hwa is just stairs down from our flat (few steps from our house).
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Started queueing at 10:15am. Got my turn by 12:50 and had my first chunk of the Michelin starrred chicken by 1:02pm. Not all of them actually have known about the Michelin Star earned by Liao Fan. The group of Indonesian friends next to me told “We just fell in line thinking that this stall might be serving the best meal inside the complex since it has the longest queue. We wanted some local foods after strolling around the Street Market. Something that’s memorable to our appetite from this trip.”
I repeat, It pays to know short cuts! You are all welcome for these alt routes I have known the shortest versus the Mobile Map, thus far.
📍 Way to Liao Fan:
1. Chinatown Exit A. Just go straight through Pagoda Street, a street market but don’t be tempted yet to look around and buy stuffs. Do that after!
2. Turn Right when you reach the corner resto Chinatown Seafood house with a porch.
3. Straight until you’ll reach the left side of the Chinatown Complex – the cradle of Liao Fan 😂!
4. Facing the facade, proceed to your left. Don’t use the main entrance! You’ll be lost with the maze of food stalls. Just dont!
5. When you’ll arrive late, you’ll see this when you reach the right side of the complex (your left facing the complex). Yes they are queing for Laio Fan.
6. Take the stairs below this bridge and on the next floor you’ll might already see the tail of the queue.
7. Enjoy the queue. What could you possibly do while falling in line? I’ll blogpost about that. Stay tuned.
📍 Way to Hill Street Tai Hwa
1. Lavender Station. Exit A.
2. Proceed walking left. That is a wide parking lot in Kallang Walk (Road for pedestrian). Look for the pedestrian bridge traversing Rochor River on your right. Take that bridge.
2. From Lavender station, Just go straight through Victoria Street. When you’ll reach a bridge. You’ll see this hotel. On your left, you’ll see a bridge for pedestrians which connects from the parking lot of the Immigration office to a residential space. Victoria street would be your landmark when you want the Side trip to Arab Street and Haji Lane after your chow.Take the stairs down from the bridge, and pave your way across to the pedestrian bridge.
4. Get throught the compound to reach the sidewalks of North Bridge Road. Walk throught two more residential buildings then you’ll reach Crawford lane.
5. Start queueing. Tell the person next to you (or front of you) that you’ll be back. Ask the counter first because at times they have this token system to make the queueing more organize. Ask for it when they are implementing it on that day. When I had my visit, they were just few in line so it wasn’t applied.
I’ve never been the kind who is for shopping, theme parks and adventures. Since I started traversing Asia, I have always been a foodie for endemic food stalls. It has always been a fetish to me to immerse with the locals. The sensation of being like one by queueing next to them, eavesdropping their usual small talks about life and partaking the food in a shared table with the bustles of the sidewalk as the background music, sensing how sated they are evident from how contagious to me their appetite as I observe how they eat the food, which we all spent not just minutes but hours to be served. Those just boost my satiety to a higher, subjectively distinct level. Those appraise more the value of every Asian currency I handed to the hawkers as I received my portions. The moment I have consumed all what’s inside the bowl, though I can’t really use the chopsticks well, due to lack for a better word, is an orgasm. A wander orgasm, an addictive meal-driven dissociation which I’ll always be urged to travel for, uniquely in every destination.
Michelin has its criteria of course to classify these starred carts. Their taxonomy has been the gold standard for eateries, but those triggers above which you and every other eater could experience, just make the food even more delicious than how it palatably appeals. I know their inspectors couldn’t agree with me more. Hunt!
The moment I have consumed all what’s inside the bowl (though I can’t really use the chopsticks well), due to lack for a better word, is an orgasm for me. A Wander orgasm, an addictive meal-driven dissociation which I’ll always be urged to travel for, uniquely in every destination. HUNT!
AFTER LIAO FAN
☝🏼️ Souvenir Shopping through Chinatown Heritage Center. The oldest Hindu temple in SG could also be found at the mouth of the Pagoda Street.
AFTER TAI HWA
☝🏼️ Stroll through Victoria Street, Haji Lane and Arab Street.
When I was planning how to spend our 4th year together in Hong Kong, I thought of spending it like we are really in Hong Kong. City streets, locals and Chinese foods, not the mainstream of temples, shopping and theme parks. I was really aiming for something frugal yet involving, where stimuli are rare for our responses to deepen how much we really know each other.
November 2015, just when we started planning this trip, Michelin which I knew was just listing haute restaurants in big countries, released their brow raising, first ever street food outlet section on their list. Ive always been dreaming to dine with her in famous restos and thought should we be able to chow down in all the 23 listed street foods, that may perhaps equate to 5 Michelin Starred Restaurant. Yes that was I thought, plus the excitement the HK conurbation could surprise us.
Sharing our frugal itinerary and lovely snapshots below. Make this your #relationshipgoal, #wheninhongkong next time, use #HKmichelinSF
Being a tourist in a destination which most of the establishment signs are in Mandarin or Cantonese characters, hunting your subjects turns to be more exciting. When we had the rove around the recently Michelin cited 23 Hong Kong street food outlets, we had noticed the following helpful ocular traits to notice in order to validate your quest and chow down exactly in one of the street food outlets recognized by Michelin as deserving to be in their Guide for the FIRST EVER Street Food Section.
Note that when you vaguely understand the direction of your Google map and you are not able to see the Michelin seal sticker in the facade, these five could help you as confirmatory spots.
1: THE QUEUE
It goes with the recognition of these outlets that they are serving really good food. Thus, patrons do not care how long they will be waiting just to indulge in the quality of food to be served to them. Locals are enjoying the queue, day and night. We have never seen anyone irritated nor annoyed while waiting for their turn. It seems like everyone understands that they have to wait just to taste the food. When I asked a young professional next to me, he said that falling in line, no matter how long would that be is already part of the culture when you want to immerse yourself in Hong Kong street food scene. Most of these stalls open by 12 noon and close at 9pm.
2: THE FLOCK
Stores might have both the line and the flock or just either. For those who serve “take away” only or does not have enough space anymore for those who wanted to dine in, you would find an obvious flock of locals waiting for the call of their food being packed. “Take Away” is their term for take out. Just like seeing the locals patiently waiting in the queue, this scene would really make you rationalize that these stores really are worth listing in the Michelin since their food are really being patronized compared to other street food stalls on the same block or others who offer the same menu. That simply means they are serving distinctly delectable food.
As their signage is written with a non-English font, reaching these stores is not really that easy. What they post though on their walls would help you validate your quest. Aside from locals, HK celebrities have also invested their time to taste how sumptuous these recognized street foods are. Actually, these personalities have long appreciated these foods way before Michelin did their list this 2016. Printed articles from blog features are also being posted. In fact, we have confirmed that we have arrived at Soupreme, in Tai Ko Tsui when we stopped awhile and read some of the articles in their glass wall.
4: DINING TRAFFIC
For those stores which possess a part for dining, it is noticeable that the tables and chairs are always almost occupied. Locals just simply have to stand minutes after partaking their orders since others who do not choose to pack their food for take away, earnestly wait for a table to be free. If there is a third sign next to enjoying the QUEUE and patiently waiting in the FLOCK that I am really appreciative with the discipline and kindness of Hong Kongers, It would be this. They are selfless enough not to stay longer seated, seeing others who are waiting to eat. This scene may be true to all Hong Kong restaurants, but it is in these few Michelin listed stalls where you could really appreciate it more since a lot of locals really lord over it.
When we finished the collage of the facade photos of all the Michelin street food stalls, this was a common characteristic we have noticed, their business names are all in RED font. To be precise, 16 out of the 23 outlets have Red or shades of red colors in their signage. Especially those stores which have been really existing for significantly long years, their streamers are as simple as red letters in white background.
The palate memories from the foods served from these recognized street food outlets would definitely pull you to visit this gifted island state again. However, that particular behavior you have acquired of searching for a food house that thoroughly stretches your senses and that rewarding emotion of finally arriving and eat an internationally acclaimed meal? That made this wander indelible and such a unique, “checked-as-done” itinerary in our patented bucket list. You will be stuffed from head to the stomach, to the sole.