All Day Pinoy Merienda Classics at Aristocrat Restaurant
Last Saturday, I, along with fellow foodies, were invited by the Aristocrat Restaurant to try out their Pinoy merienda offerings.
Since we Filipinos are traditionally fiesta-loving and food-loving, the concept of the merienda was instilled into our culture. Merienda are any snacks eaten in between meals, and can range from light salads, noodles, soups to stomach-filling sandwiches.
The Aristocrat Restaurant specializes in making a variety of Pinoy dishes, and has long been the favorite source of Pinoy merienda around by most people in Metro Manila. The restaurant traces its history back to the 1900s, with the big family of 15 of the Reyeses. Alex Reyes, the breadwinner of the Reyes family, could barely support his 13 children. Asiang Reyes, a plain housewife, on the other hand, discovered that she could put her cooking skills into good use by putting up her own eatery.
Aristrocrat Original Pancit Canton
Although the Aristocrat Restaurant started out as a small, rolling store, Aling Asiang’s home-cooked pinoy delicacies made with love and care as if she were cooking for her own family, which would soon be called “food fit for royalty”, became so famous that the rolling store just had to be turned into an actual restaurant.
Today Aling Asiang’s signature home-cooked food remains a favorite, and I was lucky enough to get to try some of them out myself. Heres my Top 10 Pinoy Merienda Classics at Aristocrat Restaurant:
1. Pancit Luglog
The slight sweetness of the shrimp, the tang of the onion leaves, the crunchy chicharong baboy, and all the flavors of the mixed meat, veggies, and sliced hard-boiled egg, were all harmoniously placed with Aristocrat’s orange-colored sauce. When mixed with the thick white noodles underneath, you’ll get a Philippine counterpart of spaghetti—but this time, with the bursting flavors of all those mentioned above.
2. Sotanghon Guisado
There’s an old Filipino mindset that believes that eating long-stranded noodles, such as vermicelli, would prolong your life. Today many still believe that, and there’s no better way to prolong your life with vermicelli than to eat well-cooked ones! With a huge amount of carrots, green vegetables, meat, and shrimp as toppings, Aristocrat’s Sotanghon Guisado will make sure that every long noodle strand is worth savoring—for the rest of your equally long life.
3. Pospas de Gallina
Pospas de Gallina
During rainy days like these, it’s best to stay indoors…and have one or two of Aristocrat’s nice hot bowl of rice porridge with chicken.
4. Dinuguan and Puto
Dinuguan and Puto
Black and white are two very contrasting colors, but go well together. Such is the case for Dinuguan (pork blood stew) and Puto (white rice cakes). The saltiness of the Dinuguan is complemented by the sweetness of the rice cakes well, but the former also goes well with what we had next…
5. Cheese Rolls
If you’re not a fan of sweet rice cakes, then cheese rolls are something that would go well with Dinuguan as well. They’re not only sweet; there’s also a hint of saltiness inside the rolls somewhere, and the crunchy crust is something that would complete your definition of the perfect merienda.
6. Tokwa’t Baboy
Tokwa’t Baboy, which literally translates to ‘tofu and pork’, is one of the Filipino’s favorite pulutan, or snacks eaten with alcoholic drinks. Of course, it can be eaten anywhere, anytime, and with Aristocrat’s own dish of tokwa’t baboy, you might not even want to share it with your drinking buddies anymore!
7. Lumpiang Ubod Sariwa
Lumpiang Ubod Sariwa
If you prefer a vegetable-filled snack, then this light salad meal will, ironically, fill your tummy and your taste buds up with the lumpia-wrapped ubod (*coconut heart), and the rich, sweet, brown sauce.
*not sure of the translation
8. Flying Saucer Adobo
Flying Saucer Adobo
With the Philippine favorite sweet-and-sour meat dish of Adobo packed inside two flying-saucer-shaped buns, “pinoy merienda” is taken to a whole new, hand-held, mess-free, level. With this, you might even want to have more than one merienda before and after meals.
9. Arroz con Caldo
Arroz con Caldo
If you don’t fancy chicken all that much, then try Aristocrat’s bowl of rice porridge, enriched with the flavor of oxen entrails.
10. Sago’t Gulaman
And to tie all those flavors up, we had huge glass of sago’t gulaman—a cold drink made mixed with cubed gelatin and sweetened, round jelly.
Aristocrat’s menu is filled with many Pinoy delicacies, and, just like decades ago, are still made with Aling Asiang’s love and care. Of course, the pinoy merienda we tried out weren’t the last of their kinds, and there are even more dishes to try in the menu. If you’re looking for classic, pinoy dishes that are “fit for royalty” at affordable prizes, then make sure to drop by the Aristocrat’s Restaurant.
These Pinoy Merienda favorites are best enjoyed between 2-5pm at any Aristocrat Restaurant Branches. For Metro Manila Aristocrat Restaurant delivery service call hotline (02) 894-0000, for Subic Bay delivery call (047) 252-3910 and for San Pablo City, Laguna delivery call (049) 503-1987.