There’s an airconditioned ‘hawker’ in Makati, creatively called “101 Hawker,” near Chino Roces and one of my officemates treated the entire team to a feast, bringing me and Mike (my +1) back to my home for about two years some time ago, Singapore.
Hawkers are Singapore’s uppity versions of Pinoy carinderia. For SGD3 one can have a decent meal, and a popular/favorite dish is the chicken rice. In Hawker 101, Cathie ordered a plate of it, but the hainanese chicken was not as tasty as that in Singapore – it was good, yes – in fact, the best among the dishes that we ordered methinks, but not quite as good as the original.
We ordered Tsing Tao, one of Mike’s favorite beers since a Chinese boss introduced it to him as China’s best beer. Had the boss said “best beer in the world,” Mike would’ve corrected him by saying, hey, you’re talking about San Miguel. Anyway, Tsing Tao has this sweetness in it that can make you forget our territorial disputes.
Now, you’d wonder why there are Singaporean eateries/restaurants/hawkers in Manila. I know many Filipinos like me, Mike, and Cathie have stayed in Singapore and miss the Little Red Dot’s food from time to time. But I got curious and checked how many Singaporeans do travel to the Philippines (and perhaps trigger a demand for ban mian or mini wok). Surprisingly, in 2012 about 130,000 Singapore nationals came here out of the 5 million plus foreigners who travelled here in that period. Not bad (because Mike was expecting 500 during our guessing game), but not too many. That’s half our Chinese visitors, but one-tenth of the one-million-plus Koreans who came two years ago.
Cathie ordered way more than what we can eat so she had to request for take out (“take away,” they say in SG).
Have you had cultural adventures, too, lately? Notice how so many Asian restaurants are mushrooming in our malls. Is it because more and more foreigners are coming here, or is it because more and more Filipinos are experiencing other countries and missing them upon return?