Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shawarma Snack Center

Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Location: Salas St., Ermita, Manila

This is a default stop when we're in Manila and we're too lazy to think of a restaurant. The food is good, and that's really the bottom line criteria. Because all other aspects, except for the reasonable price, might not make the grade.

To get there, you have to bring my friend Tisha with you, because I can never figure out the one-way streets. There is chancy street parking, and there is a walled parking area close by, neither of them make you feel 100% secure. The street, even when it's summer is always awash with puddles; let's not even imagine what's in the water. Just lift your jeans a little to keep the hems dry.

They have 2 restaurants, the original one is shabby, not quite chic, carinderiaesque, which I prefer for the authentic feel. The newer version across the street is resplendent in fluorescent lighting, has clean white tiles as floors, offers hooka pipes, and has a TV that shows middle-eastern entertainment - gorgeous women with kilometer long eyelashes and undulating bodies.

But I really should talk about the food. I cannot claim that this is the best shawarma in town, but it's surely in the top 5. And it's value for your money too. The regular goes for 55 pesos, and the special for 75. Sometimes, though, I find the pita bread too thick.

In the carinderia line-up are kalderos of interesting, scrumptious dishes. My favorite, which goes out of stock often, is ox brain. I feel fearless and adventure eating it, but the taste is not exotic at all - a softer, more lemony bopis. They serve good chicken tikka, kebobs, hummus (75 pesos), moutabal (75 p), and taboule as well. There's all you can eat yogurt garlic for free. Plus delicious tea. There are some vegetarian options as well, but who cares? ;)

I will never get tired of this restaurant.