Pinoys love their noodles. There’s the usual Chinese-inspired pancit and its local variants. There’s the “Italian” spaghetti and its sweet PInoy counterpart. Of course, Pinoys of all ages love their bowl of piping hot noodle soup, the mami. Mami is a simple and filling dish of noodles served in broth, usually chicken or beef, with a generous sprinkling of spring onions. One can have it solo or served up with a dumpling or siopao. Other variants may include some slices of boiled egg and other meats. Some might serve it up with seafood. Mami is best enjoyed during rainy days or after an all-night drinking session. Personally, I can have this dish as a sub for my regular meal of rice and viand.
Noodle houses are common eating establishments in Metro Manila. There are the fast food type of places like Chow King, Hen Lin, Dimsum and Dumplings. Relatively newer places include Hap Chan, Luk Yuen, and David’s Tea House. There are also those little carinderias and evening street food carts that serve up the dish for those who want it after a long day. There are also the older Chinese places in Manila. One thing is certain; regardless of the scale of operations, people from different walks of life will have their own favorite place to eat noodles.
If you ask previous (older) generations of Metro Manila residents to name the noodle place they enjoyed the most during their younger years, they’ll probably mention and rave about the old Ma Mon Luk. I think the old Ma Mon Luk is still there in Quezon City and it still probably has its old fans. However, I’m sure that these old Ma Mon Luk holdovers might give their beloved restaurant a second thought once they give Charlie Wanton Special a try. I remember my dad taking me to a branch of this restaurant. I found their restaurant on Haig St. in Mandaluyong City a few years back. Since then I’ve made it a point to eat there whenever any of my appointments take me near the place.
What to order:
The Special Size Beef Wanton Mami. The noodles are cooked just right, not malabsak or mushy. The serving comes with an extra small bowl of soup. Bawal mabitin sa sabaw ang mahilig sa mami.
Siomai. The only size there is BIG.
Siopao. Go for the Special Bola Bola. It’s big enough to be shared by two people.
What else to order:
The pancit and other Cantonese-inspired dishes appear as good bets for a possible pig-out session.
Sweat out whatever meal you had before trying to order what I listed above. That set is guaranteed to fill up a normal-sized Pinoy gut. That’s unless that Pinoy happens to be an eating contest champion with a strong obsessive craving for food.
P 200 should be more than enough to satisfy one hungry individual. Again, that’s unless that hungry individual happens to be an eating contest champion with a strong obsessive craving for food.