Now that my roommate is a fully fledged member of the restaurant industry, her days off are few and far in between. I work during the day and she works in the evenings. If it weren’t for the random forks in the sink, I would never know she was home. We got lucky the other day when I came home from work to find that she was there! A day off!
When she had days off from school, we would often grab a bite together to talk about life. And since the end of our lease is approaching (*sniff*) we saw no better opportunity like the present to grab dinner together.
It had been forever and a day since we had had Filipino food and there was a place in Astoria that I was dying to try.
Manila! Manila!, in Astoria New York, is easy to get to and has a great menu with even better prices! We did our homework before arriving. They are closed on Tuesdays… Good thing it wasn’t a Tuesday. We arrived at 7pm and the place was empty. There are about 10 tables in the restaurant Total which seems like it can get a little cramped if it were busy. The server came right over to us and gave us menus.
We knew from the start that we were fans of Filipino food. My first taste of Filipino Food was in Daly City, California at Sinugba, where I was won over by their chickboy sisig… and then over the moon in Woodhaven, by my apartment when I tried NY Filipino food. I love how every menu is different. The one thing that I have missed sorely from Sinugba was garlic rice… and Manila! Manila! Served it. I knew from that point on, we were good to go.
We started with the most raved about dish on Yelp. Grilled isaw. It sounds much better in Filipino. But it’s a popular street food of grilled intestines. They were sliced (and thoroughly cleaned!), skewered, and charred on the grill. The charred meat had a fantastic texture in addition to a magnificent sweet sauce that we kept dipping into.
And here is where we went a little overboard…
BBQ Pork on a stick. Plump slabs of pork slathered in a BBQ sauce and charred. It was all the comfort of ribs without the stupid bones! And that on top of my rice topped with toasted garlic was glorious!
But we didn’t stop there.
Me and D can’t order Filipino without Lechon Kawali. Fried Pork Belly. The Filipino version of that crispy pig skin on pernil. And it came with a sweet pork sauce for dunking and slathering.
Who knew me and D had such a thing for sauces??
As if that weren’t enough, we had a complimentary white rice (sans garlic) and an order of FRIED CHICKEN! The Roomie and I crave fried chicken more than we would like to admit and RARELY indulge. So when I saw the fried chicken on the menu, I told her we HAD to get it. So we did. A huge platter of salty (in a beautiful way) fried chicken legs with a sweet banana ketchup. I am such a ketchup hater but I LOVE me some banana ketchup!
We stuffed our pretty little faces and barely made a peep as we tore apart those dishes. I think the staff were taking bets to see if the two pretty ladies could consume all the food before them. Minus a few pieces of lechon kawali, we destroyed those plates.
I really love my beloved Mama Meena’s in Woodhaven, but I have to say that Manila! Manila! stole their #1 spot. It was the closest I have come to replicating my first Filipino Food Love, Sinugba. I definitely intend to come back to Manila! Manila! The dishes are delicious and SO affordable. After drinks, apps and entrees, our order came out to $40. But we used a Groupon… so our total was only $13 after taxes.
Not Too Shabby!