November 1, 2009
Makansutra Asian Food Village
Manila Ocean Park, Manila
5 words: Nothing beats the real thing.
Even after reading mixed reviews on Makansutra, we still decided to give it a try. Frankly, all that hype was for nothing. The only thing good about the experience was the ambiance/design of the place and the pricing.
Having been to Singapore and Malaysia, we decided to try out their specialties:
Teh Tarik - is literally "pulled tea" and I first sampled it when I was in Malaysia. We went to the country's "Little India" to try it in one of those side-street stalls. It was really nice , the tea was strong enough and the combination with the condensed milk was heavenly! What I loved about teh tarik was the frothy texture of the end product which was a result of the pulling process. In Makansutra however, the tea was a bit weak. At least, the mixture was prepared as authentically as possible.
Chicken Rice - the best is a close call between Singapore's and Hong Kong's... Makansutra's, on the other hand, is just so-so. Nothing really special. The only part of the meal that stood out was the rice itself. It was really flavorful and fragrant. That's it!
Ba Kut Teh - didn't taste AT ALL like original Ba Kut Teh. Can you imagine the free soup they give away in mall food courts when you order a sizzling meal? Like that, but worse! I even thought during the meal that they used the same soup base for all their soups here in the "food village".
Chicken Satay - the satay was very tasty but the curry was a bit too runny. We all were unanimous that this was the best dish on our table that night.
Nasi Lemak - was just ok and really far from it's authenticity. The chicken wing was really skinny and the meal looked really unappetizing. Mixing tiny samples of all the ingredients into one spoonful was really good though. It made you experience all the contrasting flavors in the dish in one bite. Individually nothing special but surprisingly nice combined.
Roti Prata - was not at all flat. In fact, it was quite thick. Not really a plus to a dish like this since roti requires the pancakes to be flat and flaky. The curry sauce was also a too runny and lacked the strong curry flavor.
Char Kway Teow - was (pardon the term) a poorman's version of the dish. All the classic ingredients were there but the dish tasted really different from what I had in Malaysia. This one tasted a bit too structured. A bit too "by-the-book". It was stir-fried noodles! When you eat it, the flavors should be all bonded together in one whole mess. This was the magic of true Char Kway Teow. Makansutra's version tasted like sweet soy sauce and it seemed like each ingredient had a world of it's own.
We also sampled some of the Thai cuisine, which was a huge mistake:
Tom Yum Soup - soup base was like the Ba Kut Teh but with a sour and fishy twist. Ordering this was a big waste of money.
Pad Thai - there are better Pad Thais out there than this one. Don't bother with this...
Come to think of it, Makansutra was not a complete waste of time... It was not a complete loss... Being disappointed with their dishes made me realize that I have indeed tried the best during my visits to Singapore and Malaysia. Thus, It is pointless to try it anywhere else...