It’s not unusual for Filipinos to eat at least six times a day: breakfast, merienda, lunch, merienda, dinner, and an optional midnight snack.
I consider merienda or snacks as important as the three main meals. I always love pancit palabok, siopao, siomai, ginataan, halo-halo, turon and other native fare.
Having a merienda craving one afternoon, I found myself at Mang Inasal on Makati Avenue.
I ordered the best seller and most items on the merienda menu.
Surprisingly, the Mang Inasal Paa with rice was no longer as sweet as before, but was more like the original Inasal of Bacolod.
The chicken skin was firm and tasted good. I could taste the slight sourness of the sinamak vinegar, the yellowish color from the achuete, enhanced by the soy, calamansi and sili dipping sauce.
Then came the lumpiang togue, freshly fried and crunchy. I hate lumpia with a soggy wrapper and this was not. With vinegar and minced garlic, it was also a winner.
The barbecue was good and so was the sago’t gulaman—the latter ice-cold and not too sweet.
The palabok was the best-tasting I’ve had so far.
And then came the Mang Inasal Pinoy Halo-Halo. I thought all halo-halo tasted the same. But this one was different.
First, it looked like an upside-down halo-halo: the crushed ice, creamy white milk and scoop of ube ice cream were underneath, while the colorful ingredients—ube, green gulaman, brown and yellow beans, red sago, yellowish langka and leche flan, sweet saba slices, white macapuno—were above.
On top of it all is barquillos.
I like to play a game when eating my halo-halo—no ingredient should spill out of the glass. I make a conscious effort to dig my spoon all the way to the bottom and slowly mix the ingredients. So did just that, till everything turned into a uniformed color.
The Mang Inasal Pinoy Halo-Halo is one of the best-tasting I’ve had—yummy, creamy, mildly sweet. The ingredients were freshly made.
It seemed like Mang Inasal makes its own ingredients in a cost-efficient way, resulting in a product that’s both superior in taste and affordable in price.