This was (for shame) my very first trip to Cebu, and I really wish I’ve come sooner. The Queen City of the South is the budget traveler’s paradise – sun, sand (for beach-people unlike me), cheap, really delicious food, heritage, and history. Did I mention the cheap, wonderful food? Okay.
So apparently virtually all ramen broths are made from pork. Yes, likely even the supposedly vegetable and seafood options. The shoyu broth? Uhuh, pork. Miso broth? Yep, still juice of boiled pig. I would be an ecstatic pescetarian if anyone can tell me I’m wrong about this. In the meantime, I will be getting my ramen high from Wabi-Sabi Noodle House.
I found out about this gem thanks to a simple, frustrated Google check for “vegetarian ramen Makati.” Tucked in a corner of Makati, a few minutes of traffic away from the Ayala-Buendia CBD, Wabi-Sabi Noodle House sits inside the art and food warehouse called the Collective. Just like its location, Wabi-Sabi is plain and unassuming, but the offerings pack a good punch.
The quest for health has led me back to one of the first dreams — juice detox. Desired because it sounded like a complete health reset button; unfulfilled because it was expensive and seemed just gosh darn difficult. As in most conflicts though, there lies a compromise somewhere in between, and I found it in Rawlicious Planet‘s green smoothies.
Since we’re being honest, the dream was relived really from a simple Google search of “juice detox Philippines,” leading me to a short list of organic juicers in the Metro of varying flavors and prices. I picked Rawlicious because they were relatively affordable, and they didn’t force you into the one-to-three-days detox program. They recommend daily meal replacement instead, that is 1 litter of their raw green smoothie in place of one meal. It was good deal, since my starter goal is to supplement my diet with fruits and vegetables that I lack from my meals.
Challenge a carnivore to look up non-meat dining options and she will revert to everybody’s Internet best friend: Google. I can only assume that said friend also looked up “vegetarian resto” and “Quezon City”. She couldn’t have come up with a place more straightforward than the Vegetarian Kitchen. Smart girl.
As the name so directly declares, it is a place of vegetables and mock meat. But more than that, it is a place to dispel the common, circulating myth that vegetarians only eat blah roots and grass. As a recently reinforced pescetarian, I can with certainty say that us non-meat eaters can eat the same tasty delights that you carnivores do, only sans the animal slaughter. But I digress 😀
Vegetarian Kitchen is situated in another cozy part of QC, where as a friend astutely observed, all the healthier options seem to be. A small but tidy and quaint place, the restaurant had its menu up in a large blackboard against the wall. All the better for you to see and explore.
I usually ignore the drinks menu because I am a warm-water-please kind of girl, but it was past lunch time on a lazy Saturday, so a soy coffee sounded like the perfect pick-me-upper. It did not disappoint, steaming in the mug and tasting mellow with just the right shot of caffeine. My friend, lover of all beverages with ginger, predictably ordered the orange ginger cooler. It was a refreshing splash of juice with the perfect hit of tang and spice.
Anything with cream cheese is bound to be heavenly (see the giant walls I must climb to graduate to veganism??), and the Kitchen’s spinach and cream cheese dumpling definitely raised the bar. Fried and therefore almost certainly not healthy, it was definitely delicious, with the partner sour dip completing the melt-in-your-mouth experience. We totally forgot about the rest of our orders while munching this. And that would have been a shame, because the Korean spare ribs was a good follow through.
This marked my first venture into mock meat, and it was a good first call. The Kitchen’s Korean Spareribs tasted very nearly like the real thing, tasty and tender, balanced by the cold malunggay salad and the sinful buttered rice it came with. I couldn’t stop my friend from stealing bites from my plate if I dared. Only problem with this is that it could have come with a bigger portion. Just saying.
Hazel got the crispy sesame fish sticks with seaweed salad and brown rice. Personally, I avoid fried fish sticks in any form if I can, and the reasons behind sadly manifested with this dish. The fish, although crispy as promised, as likewise dry inside, and thus not as tasty. The salad and the rice were good eats though. But if anything, this dish only urged my date to keep forking from my plate.
Spareribs, 2 points. Fish sticks, 0.
The Vegetarian Kitchen is located at 62B Mother Ignacia Avenue, Quezon City ( Near Crossroads 77 and in front of St. Mary’s College), Quezon City, Philippines, with contact numbers 3555622 , 09158300511. Check their Facebook page for the full menu, dining hours and other updates.
After a timely Christmas shopping trip to Human Nature‘s flagship store along Commonwealth Avenue, where else to service a rumbling stomach than at the Enchanted Farm Cafe upstairs?
Another social business enterprise, the cafe is “initiated by Gawad Kalinga Center for Social Innovation that bridges the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm, from Angat, Bulacan to the city market. It aims to raise social awareness by promoting home-grown business innovations that develop industry-competent local products while uplifting the lives of the poor.” Literally, going there allows you to eat for change, as the produce, meat and other ingredients used on the menu are fruits of labor of the GK Enchanted Farm. But be assured, a date in the cafe not only fills up the heart but a hungry stomach too.
A walk through the doors will reveal a small cozy space, lined to the walls with home grown goods for sale from the farm. Theo and Philo chocolates, Bayani Brew iced teas, Cafe de Sug coffee beens, Plush and Play vegetable plushies, cookies, goodies and healthy condiments in kitchen jars and bottles are sitting on the shelves to welcome you in. The refrigerator next to the counter is stocked with more things you can enjoy, like local organic greens, salted golden duck eggs and white cheese (3 slabs on a wooden plank. Yum). Pictures of the GK Enchanted Farm likewise show you where everything you see come from, and poses an invitation to visit the farm for a day trip.
Then there is the menu.
One of their options for a picky pescetarian like myself is the Golden Egg Salad for only P120, a mess of organic greens, salted duck eggs and tomatoes with a hefty drizzle of calamansi vinaigrette (which was to die for). It came with a surprise serving of Camote Fries served with mayo bagoong dip that does not taste as weird as it sounds. For P50 more, I got a Bayani Brew (P45 on its own) in its Calamansi, Pandan and Lemongrass variant and their dessert for the day, which was a chocolate chip cookie atop a small pillow of crunchy saba chips. Complete and balanced meal, I say.
My date Hazel ordered off their appetizer menu, firstly the Kesong Puti sticks for only P100. It was fried, wrapped in lumpia wrapper, served with a herb garlic mayo dip (yum) and a side salad drenched in the same awesome vinaigrette. She also asked for their FilBambu Bamboo Suman for P100 which was served with muscovado sugar, and strangely, though we were not complaining, a side salad as well. She tried the funkier purple version of Bayani Brew which was made from calamansi, lemongrass and kamote tops.
The dishes were served in little quaint wooden bowls in the nick of time. And although I was not yet properly hungry, I was not eating any less than my breakfast-less friend. Each dish was delicious, fresh, and you know it’s good for both body and soul.
If you happen along this far side of QC, make the Enchanted Farm Cafe a sure stop together with the Human Nature store below it. I myself cannot wait to go back and try more things from their menu. Also a trip to that Enchanted Farm is securely calendared for early 2014.
Enchanted Farm Cafe
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