Words and Photos by Howi Bakunawa
Malingap Central, as its name suggests, is nestled right at the heart of Malingap St. just down the road from Maginhawa. Beyond its name, there isn’t a single thing predictable about the place. The food hub brings dares to bring fresh and exciting twists to old foodie favorites.
Malingap Central is the result of chef Ed Bugia, the owner of Pino and Pipino just across the street, and his passion for curating different flavors. Each of the stalls inside the place was handpicked because of how well their food goes together. Here are just a few of the dishes you can expect:
The first thing on our must-try list is their vegan isaw! Their Veggie Guys stall takes a quintessential Filipino street food favorite and gives it a vegan twist with their vegan isaw. Our mothers have all told us at one point to be careful when eating street food, but this special kind of isaw is made of a soy-based mock meat marinated in a mouthwateringly delicious barbecue sauce.
Next up from Veggie Guys is their tofu sisig. If there is a gateway dish for non-vegans into the wonderful world of plant-based food, then it’s definitely tofu sisig. Veggie Guys’ take on the dish is topped with green chilies and drizzled with an egg-free mayonnaise that goes amazingly with the crunch of the tofu.
The final dish from our taste-tour of Veggie Guys is their kare-kare. This is truly, positively, and undoubtedly the thickest kare-kare I’ve ever eaten. The sauce brims with the richness of peanut all the better for enjoying the pechay and fried tofu of the dish. And when it comes to kare-kare, who could forget the bagoong? Veggie Guys’ bagoong uses tofu and tausi and is cruelty-free.
For people more inclined to eat meat, another stall we tried at Malingap Central is B-Wings Plus. The buffalo-wing chain beloved by college students and working adults alike are hoping to expand their menu with burgers at this location. In the meantime, we were more than happy biting into the absolutely satisfying crunch of their Garlic Cheddar Wings!
Garlic Cheddar Wings
That’s not to say that Malingap Central doesn’t any burgers. That couldn’t be any further away from the truth, and the Western Bacon Melt they have at Burger Project is proof. It has all the fixings you could ever want from a burger and more: thick-cut, juicy tomatoes; grilled, savory mushrooms; crunchy, crispy bacon; and gooey mounds of cheese all come together to make this sandwich an immaculate experience.
Western Bacon Melt
If that doesn’t do your bacon-fix in just yet, then try the Bacon Pad Thai over at Siam Yum. The dish takes an old Thai favorite and gives a helping of bacon for good measure. It’s comfort food at its finest with bits of bacon, peanuts, tofu, and bean sprouts together over lip-smackingly good noodles. It’s sweet, spicy, tangy and savory all at once — definitely a treat!
Bacon Pad Thai
Once you’ve had your fill of the entrees, it’s time for dessert! Once again, Siam Yum has us covered with their Mango Sticky Rice. It’s a dish that definitely goes the extra gastronomic mile by laying out all the ingredients for your perusal. The tartness of the mango is complimented perfectly by the delectable richness of the sweetened coconut milk. Everything is then brought together by the sticky rice topped with bits of pinipig. The result is a dish that’s dynamic in both its flavors and its textures. An absolute delight for dessert!
Mango Sticky Rice
But wait — we still have more for dessert! We’ve definitely saved the best for last with this one: introducing Happy Pill and their absolutely inspired pairing of milk-tea ice cream! It’s a combination guaranteed to satisfy your sweet-tooth by taking two things already great enough on their own and making them better — something we never knew was possible until we had tried it.
Happy Pill has a wide selection of flavors. First up, we tried their Champorado Milk-Tea Ice Cream. Topped with clusters of chocolate and gooey fudge, it’s a dessert that’s guaranteed to leave you wanting more even after a full meal.
Champorado Milk-Tea Ice Cream
We also tried their Para Kay S flavor of ice cream. This dish is an innovation; an example of mankind’s ingenuity and sense of taste at its finest. You see, the “s” in Para Kay S stands for “sesame” — and the ice cream gets its signature black color from black sesame seeds that heighten the flavors of the milk-tea and the ice cream to such exorbitant heights that it becomes difficult to put into words. All I can say is that you must, you absolutely must, try this dessert.
Para Kay S Milk-Tea Ice Cream
The same thing is true with all of the dishes they have at all the different stalls at Malingap Central. The flavors are bold and the pairings are innovative. If you’re tired of the usual standard fare, then here’s a place that has the flavors you need to re-discover food.
Malingap Central Food Hall
40 Malingap St., Teachers Village, Quezon City
Open daily from 11AM-10PM