Filipinos who crave for global cuisine now only need to visit one destination—the new wing of the Shangri-La Plaza Mall—as several world-class restaurants, delis and cafes have opened their doors to welcome discerning taste buds.
To showcase their new dining destinations, the Shangri-La management held a one-of-a-kind food trip. Invited, the Life&Times visited the newest and tastiest food hub at Mandaluyong City; and in just one day, it felt like going around the world with all the delicacies we’ve tasted.
Long before Hallyu (South Korean wave) hit the country, Filipinos have been enjoying Korean food. To continue old-timers love for the cuisine, as well as to introduce it to new Hallyu diners, Woo Galbi opened at the Shangri-La mall as well.
Crafting the fine-dining restaurant’s authentic Korean menu is its executive chef, Christopher Oronce. Oronce who trained for years at South Korea presents classics and favorites like bibimbap, kimbap, japchae, bulgogi, and of course, kimchi.
The restaurant also features iconic Korean wines that are designed to pair well with various dishes, such as yakju, cheonju goryangju, soju, makgeolli, and even fruit and flower wines.
Must try: Steaming hot bulgogi served on tabletop stove
Before heading off to some far away location, we began our food tour with our own native favorites. For a taste of home, head on to Zarzuela where heirloom Filipino recipes like humba, rellenong bangus, krispy pata, bagnet and binagoongan are served.
Putting a modern twist to the dishes while still preserving the authentic local flavors, Zarzuela aims to reach out to a young generation of diners.
According to co-owner Racquel Sian Estrella, Zarzuela also highlights Ilonggo cuisine as she and her partners hail from the province of Iloilo. For example, Sian is very proud of their original efuven noodles and excotic adobong pitaw, in which they source authentic ingredients from the Visayas.
Efuven is the province’s own version of pancit while pitaw, in English is snipe, a small ricebird considered a tasty, delicacy down south.
Must try: Adobong pitaw fried to perfection
Also at the new East Wing is Spätzle, a modern European market café.
Co-owner Karen Co Kehyeng shares that Spätzle aims to introduce to Filipinos the concept of European market cafés where everything is made fresh every day from the pasta to the pizza dough. With its casual and cozy dining set-up, Spätzle also gives a fun and lively dining experience. In fact, diners are encouraged to eat whatever they like from the menu at any point during the day.
The list of house-made specialties include European-inspired comfort food such as spätzle (fresh German pasta), roesti (Swiss potato pancakes), and blintz and galettes (thin flour or buckwheat pancakes). The café prides itself in its all-day selections, encouraging diners to eat.
Must try: Spätzle carbonara paired with fresh citrus juice
United States of America
From our Asian neighbors, the food trip headed West to the USA, where the first thing you eat is steak.
Steak lovers delight with the opening of The Strip Hollywood Steakhouse, a fine dining destination that specializes in premium steaks. The Strip also offers freshly-made quality non-steak options such as The salmon fillet, stuffed calamari and burgers.
The Strip also carries a number of tempting desserts, like the Triple Allegiance cake, triple layered mousse terrine of dark, white and milk chocolate.
Must try: Steak burger with 100-percent pure, beef patty
On a busy day, you might arrive at Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen specialty restaurant full of guests savoring their bowls of ramen. This is not only because of the recent ramen craze that hit the country. It just so happens that the restaurant also serves the tastiest ramen in Metro Manila today.
The popular ramen house coming all the way from Fukuoka, Japan is finally here to serve its original chikuhou noodles, gyoza, and chashu roast pork. And most of all, Ikkoryu ramen also takes pride in its bursting-with-flavors broth.
Must try: Best-selling ramen concoctions Ajitama Tonkotsu, Spicy Tobanjan Tonkotsu and Black Garlic Tonkatsu
A perfect and sweet ending to our food trail were desserts courtesy of Morelli’s Gelato that now has a café at the new wing of Shangri-La mall.
Founded by an Italian immigrant Giuseppe Morelli to the United Kingdom, Morelli’s has been serving its gelato tradition and goodness for over 100 years. The company, however, was highly popularized by café found inside Harrods in London.
Now that a café has also opened in the Philippines, Morelli’s will be serving not only the famous Italian ice cream, but also many more choices.
“With the café, we have an expanded menu that offers 24 sundaes, and 16 flavors of gelato, which includes daily and monthly specials. The café comfortably seats around 70 to 80 people and guests can talk over gelato, or over some of our other new offerings like Panini, Antipasti, pastries and a selection of signature Italian wines exclusively imported for Morelli’s Gelato Caffè and GRCI,” said Archie Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of Global Restaurant Concept Inc. (GRCI), the company that brought Morellis here.
Must try:The Manila Special, a signature sundae dish of soft vanilla, banana and coconut gelato served with caramel ‘dulce de leche’ sauce, and condensed milk, topped with Piemonte hazelnuts and coconut flakes. Only in the Philippines!
We then head on to a neighboring Southeast Asian country, Vietnam, via Zao restaurant. A bright, sleek and lively bistro, Zao is the best place to sample authentic local staples. Enjoy the distinct flavors of Vietnam with dishes like Sugarcane Shrimps, the signature Zao Pho, Saigon Fried Rice, and many more.
Must try: Zao barbecue Platter with grilled, meaty goodness of beef, pork and chicken