Credits Hugot #46 from Wattpad
There are so many hugot lines these days. And the siopao was not spared from the need to draw deep emotions. We also did not spare the siopao when my daughter and I were hungry and tired from roaming around during our visit to the City of Manila.
As always, the wanderer and nostalgic me wanted to go back and have a look at some of the things that I used to (and still do) love about Manila. Our not-so-recent trip there took us to ghost towns such as Escolta ('wrote a blog about the eerie Syvel's Department Store), the busy streets surrounding Quiapo, Divisoria (posted a video of this busy site), and when we got tired, yes, we had our lunch at Ma Mon Luk.
This is my affordable way of educating my daughter about old Philippine architecture, Pinoy food, and the nation's major religious culture.
My daughter and I ordered the regular mami (for her), special mami (for me), and two special asado siopao(s). That's my daughter there having a hard time downing the huge steamed food -
I took the liberty of educating her, once more, about this restaurant which is already a huge part of our culture, or at the very least in Manila. The restaurant's name says it all -
it's a Chinese resto. The Tsinoys are already a part of our nation. We have embraced them and they are as much a Pinoy as we all are who have fusions of Spanish, Portuguese, American or European blood.
Anyway, back to the siopao from Ma Mon Luk where the walls are lined up with magazine and newspaper clippings showcasing the emergence of this restaurant and its eventual success.
My daughter was so amazed with the ambiance. This isn't your five-star setting, of course, which makes it, for me, a lot more special because, here, I can be myself. We sat on wooden chairs and the tabletop was heavy, super durable marble. When my kid asked me to pull the table a bit so she can sit across me, huwaw (wow to the superlative degree), it was so heavy, I could hardly pull it.
It didn't take long for our orders to arrive and I swear, by the way, that the waiter who served us was the same waiter who I've seen there the last time my husband and I went there (and that's like eons ago). Manong waiter was also not so young anymore so I'd like to believe he'd been there for quite a while.
Anyway, we soon found out that the special mami had no added ingredient. It was just bigger. And so I ended up eating more than I should but it was worth it. As we Pinoys like to say, bukas na ako magdi-diyeta (I'd start dieting tomorrow). And so, since the ambiance was the type where everyone's busy so they don't care who you are or what you're there for, I literally gobbled up the soup, the mami, and the steamed bun. I was so famished.
I kept chatting while eating. I explained to my teenager that she will have a hard time finding chicken broth the way it's served with their mami. And that the siopao is an obstacle of sorts because it's huge. Plus its taste is truly special.
Our dilemma was this - if you eat the siopao, you'd have to end up having a mami leftover. If you favored the mami, then you'd end up leaving the siopao behind; oh what to do! I favored the siopao and my daughter ate more of the noodles and soup.
We then asked for the bill, left some tip for our Manong server, and then left with much bigger tummies. The resto we visited is the one in Quiapo, Manila. Ma Mon Luk has another branch in Banawe, Quezon Avenue.
If you want to learn about the history of Ma, you can have an amazing read here -
Here are our other Manila expeditions --
Memory Will Remain: The Untold Story of Julie Vega
The story of the Philippine Soap Opera Princess as told by her family, friends, colleagues, reporters, and fans.
How to Leave Debt & Stay Happily Married
Who would even dare think of this word when you are high up on the clouds during your honeymoon phase? Yet no matter how blissful your first few months or years are, money issues eventually have their way of taking a toll on the relationship, and if these remain unsolved, the situation could easily lead to separation.
Primarily given for FREE, this eBook is now available for download for the minimal price of just P150.00.
Save money, save your marriage. Learn how!
E.S. Villamor has made a career in writing for a decade now. Her online business - GIML (Gabriela Isabel & Miguel Lucas) Publishing started in 2014. She advocated for women's rights and was once enamored with imparting financial literacy through training and blogs but she is now focused on propagating all things Filipino. This site is also being groomed as a rich homeschooling resource.