The rainy season is upon us, and nothing’s as comforting during a cold, drizzly day as a steaming bowl of soup—specifically, bulalo. And if you live in Metro Manila, you’ve probably been tempted to go all the way down south to Tagaytay just for a piping hot bowl of the sinful stuff—Taal Volcano view optional, cold mountain breeze non-negotiable. But if you’re really hankering for it and you’ve got no time for a road trip, here are seven places that can feed your fix:
1) Pat-Pat’s Kansi
8809 Sampaloc cor. Kamagong Sts., San Antonio, Makati City
Bulalo budget: P170 for the Kansi Bulalo, P145 for the Kansi Laman
Kansi is the Ilonggo version of bulalo, and though it’s a bit more sour than the Luzon version, it’s just as delicious. Pat-Pat’s has been a household name in Iloilo City for a long time, and their Makati branch serves the same good stuff at a slightly higher but still pocket-friendly price points. Order the Kansi Laman if you’re just after the meat, or go for the kansi bulalo if you want the complete bone marrow-y package.
2) Sarsa Kitchen + Bar
Has branches at BGC, Rockwell, Makati, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, and UP town Center
Bulalo budget: P395 for the Kansi Soup (good for two) or the Sizzling Kansi
Sarsa, manned by Chef JP Anglo, serves some of the best Ilonggo fare in town. Their version of kansi is a bit more expensive than the one in Pat-Pat’s, but it’s just as delicious (the ambiance is also nicer—perfect if you’ve got a date). You can go the traditional route with their Kansi Soup, or order the Sizzling Kansi with batwan gravy for an incredibly sinful twist on the classic.
3) Tapsi Ni Vivian
Branches located at the HDR Building, Gil Fernando Ave., Marikina City; 6 Lauan St., Project 3, Quezon City; and 993 Aurora Blvd., project 2, Quezon City
Bulalo budget: P380
Much has been said about Tapsi Ni Vivian’s budget-friendly silogs, but did you know that this spot also has excellent bulalo? Each order can feed around three people and comes with the works: tender beef chunks, leafy greens and corn, unlimited soup refills, and a huge marrow-filled bone you’d battle your friends for. They’re also open 24 hours, so you can drop by whenever you feel like having some!
4) Manam Comfort Filipino
Branches located at Greebelt 2, SM Mall of Asia, Ayala Fairview Terraces, and Bonifacio Global City
Bulalo budget: P265 (small), P490 (medium), P965 (large) for the Beef Belly Bulalo; P235 (small), P395 (medium), and P705 (large) for the Sizzling Bulalo Steak; P270 (small), P495 (medium), P820 (large) for the Sizzling Corned Beef Belly Kansi
Manam is a no-brainer option if you’re in the mood for excellent Pinoy food—the lines outside during lunch and dinner hours are a testament to that. They claim to serve the best sisig in the town and their Watermelon Sinigang is amazing, but they also have a mean bulalo on their menu. Get the Beef Belly Bulalo or the Sizzling Bulalo Steak if you want something a bit more classic, and try the Sizzling Corned Beef Sinigang if you’re feeling adventurous. Either way, your order will definitely hit the spot.
5) Bulaluhan sa España
España Blvd. cor. Josefina St., Sampaloc, Manila
Bulalo budget: P95 for the Regular Bulalo, P155 for the Special Bulalo
This hole in the wall in the heart of Manila offers excellent bulalo at some of the cheapest prices you’ll find in the Metro. The broth is packed with flavor, and the beef is fall-off-the-bone tender, the vegetables fresh. For the complete putok-batok experience, pair your order with their equally sinful chicharon bulaklak—there’s a chance you’ll probably regret it the next day, but trust us, it’s totally worth it.
6) Pamana Restaurant
G/F Greenbelt Mansion, 109 Perea Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City
Bulalo budget: P400 for the Minais-sang Nilagang Bulalo
This small place, just a stone’s throw away from the Ayala complex, serves some of the best Pinoy fare in town. Pretty much everything’s great, but their version of bulalo is a must-try, with shredded corned beef-style meat swimming in a tasty soup, with potato cubes and corn adding a dash of sweetness to the dish. The ambiance is also really nice—perfect for a date with your woman. Our tip: Try to go here during off-peak hours as it can get a bit crowded.
7) R&J Bulalohan
600 Maysilo Circle cor. Boni Ave., Plainview, Mandaluyong City
Bulalo budget: P279 for the Special Bulalo, P229 for the Regular Bulalo
If you come to R&J on a weekday evening, you better get ready to wait in line. You’ll be surprised by the number of people willing to go all the way to the underbelly of Mandaluyong for their bulalo fix. Their namesake specialty dish is pretty much legendary, with impossibly tender beef and a savory broth that will make your mouth water the moment your order lands on your table (we highly recommend ordering extra rice to mop up the soup). We also love that R&J is open 24 hours and offers free delivery within the Mandaluyong area for a minimum order of P300, so we can satisfy our cravings any time of the day.