No Filipino in Dubai doesn’t know about Little Manila. So this post is intended for my non-Filipino readers. Little Manila is a place in Al Muraqabat housing different kinds of Filipino food, from breakfast to dinner and even street food. They also have other popular franchise from Philippines that became a food fad in PH. I don’t come here often, but when I am lazy to cook this is a go-to place for me and my sisters.
Saying rice is Filipino’s staple food is an understatement. Rice is in our blood. We eat rice anytime of the day. We eat it for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. We eat it sweet, sour or savory or the all time favorite the plain white bland rice. You will see loooooots of dishes served with rice in Little Manila, here are a few.
One fine cold morning, we decided to walk from Muteena to Muraqabat to have a classic Filipino breakfast. We ordered tocilog, daing, sardinas and pandesal with omelet. Tosilog means Tocino, Sinangag at Itlog. Tocino is a sweet marinated meat. Sinangag is garlic rice and itlog is egg. Daing is marinated milk fish. This was served with tortang talong or eggplant omelet and garlic rice. Pandesal in Italian means salt bread, but our pandesal has a little bit sweetness to it. We can have this for breakfast as it is or dipped in kapeng barako or brewed coffee, or with spreads like peanut butter, coconut jam, ube jam, sardines, corned beef, luncheon meat, etc. Every thing in this menu are good esepecially the kapeng barako… easy on it for those who have migraine though.
Most of my friends are not Filipino, so when one asked to take him for a Filipino dinner I took him to Little Manila. He likes to try a lot of stuff, we ordered a meal good for 3 not 2. Lets start with the sides… Ensaladang Mangga-chopped green mangoes, tomatoes and white onions with shrimp paste as a dressing, Tortang Talong– eggplant omelet, Sinigang na Bangus sa Miso-milk fish with miso broth soup, achara- pickled shredded green papaya, carrots, onion in vinegar salt and sugar (lots of it), pancit canton- stir fry rice noodles in soy sauce with shredded carrots and cabbage. This are all normal food for me, and I would say its all average for me. My friend liked the sinigang and tortang talong. Tortang talong would be better if it has lesser oil. He didn’t like the shrimp paste on the ensaladang mangga. For the main dish we ordered Chicken Sisig and Gulay Kare-kare. Sisig is originally cooked using different parts of pork but this one is made of chicken breast with vinegar, soysauce, chili and lots of onions. It was ok but it didn’t made me say wow… even my friend. Gulay kare-kare is vegetable peanut sauce stew. Its sauce has no saltiness at all so it has to be eaten with bagoong or shrimp paste. Gulay kare-kare is not for me, I always prefer it with meat but my friend avoids eating meat so this is our only option… He said he should have made an exception for Kare-kare. The side dish will be on an average of AED 12.00, the main dish is on an average of AED 35.00.
Then we saw an odd shop in Little Manila, I asked the Ate selling the mochi, she said mochi creme is a franchise in Manila. We ordered mango and blue vanilla. The mochi are big but colors are odd for me. It seems like too much food color was used. We were told to wait for 5 minutes to thaw the mochi. Its only AED 7.00 and quite big for a normal mochi. The taste is good, I like the mango better than the blue vanilla.
To eat at Little Manila, average cost will be AED100.00 for 2 from starter to dessert. They have boodle fight too which is a group of people eating on a banana leaf with all the rice and viands at the center which I have not tried because you need a lot of space in your tummy for that.