If street food is indicative of a country's culture, then we Pinoys truly know how to make things our own. We love to take in the best parts of the world and the way we handle our food is no exception. Our grub has always incorporated flavors, techniques, and ingredients from other cuisines to create unique tastes that are all distinctly Pinoy. And what is distinctly Pinoy about most (if not all) of our local dishes? It’s that we’re constantly trying to experiment with the evolving tastes of Filipinos. Our cuisine is never stagnant and restaurants like Chef Arch's Lime 88 are living proof of this. Here are some of their dishes to get your stomach excited.
1) Balut in Red Wine Sauce
We have to admit, despite how awesome it tastes, balut is never going to win the award for most Instagram-worthy food of the year, that is, unless it gets a makeover like this one. Classy, flavorful, and bursting with fatty goodness, the balut is coated in traditional Japanese breading that you’d normally taste in korokke (potato and meat croquette) that contrasts the crispy outer layer with the soft egg inside. The red wine sauce balances out the fat in the dish by providing a hint of tanginess to make distinct flavor of the balut pop out. Quite the sophisticated putok-batok experience if we do say so ourselves.
2) Street Style Barbecue Platter
One of the most exciting parts of this dish is actually deciding which of the skewered treats you are going to try out first! The platter is filled with your normal inihaw regulars such as paa, tenga, isaw, betamax, and others animal parts that are grilled to a tender softness that allows the pieces of meat to effortlessly come off the stick. Honestly, the peanut sauce pairing in this dish was genius as it allows the tostadong part of the meat to have a smokey flavor without the bitter aftertaste, thanks to the mild sweetness of the sauce. It’s kind of like grilled kare-kare on a stick but so much better.
3) Quail Egg Tempura
Before you call out the dish for having kwek-kwek that isn’t orange as sacrilege, hear us out. This isn’t your ordinary kwek-kwek, in fact; we would go so far as to say that this isn’t kwek-kwek at all. Normally, kwek-kwek flour allows sauces to seap into them freely, albeit uncontrollably. The tempura batter on ther otherhand gradually lets sauces seap into it; allowing you to balance the two sauces (teriyaki sauce and the sinamak vinegar) to your liking. Promoting uncolorful kwek-kwek and double-dipping? We just love being bad.
4) Chicharon Bulaklak Pizza
Let us explain to you why the hell this combo works because we couldn’t believe it ourselves after we tried it. You see, when you’re eating chicharon bulaklak you aren’t really going for that perfect crispiness, rather you’re walking on a thin line between kunat and bite. A perfectly cooked chicharon bulaklak’s meat is tender enough to snap while you’re chewing it, providing you the utmost pleasure meat can give a person—the same pleasure is similar to what you experience when you pull cheese from a pizza. See where we’re going here? Each bite is sensational.
5) Chocnut Cocktail
Everybody loves Chocnut because it reminds us of a simpler time when we were kids. And what better way to reminisce about these times than to drink enough alcohol to forget where the hell we are? We kid of course, but this cocktail makes you want to chug five of these bad boys. Cream and sweet liqueur blend with each other to create a thick, frothy, and light drink. What’s suprising is that the kick doesn’t come from the liqueur, rather from the strong peanut taste of the pulverized Chocnut. This sweet buzz is definitely addicting.
Chef Arch's Lime 88 is located at 160 San Rafael St, Mandaluyong City.
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Photography Jonathan Baldonado