The ultimate Christmas menu | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Wagyu Paella by Meat Your Maker Manila

Given all the challenges 2020 has brought us, we deserve to celebrate making it through. And what better way to do so than with something we Filipinos get much gratification from—food!

Make your Noche Buena menu extra special by choosing from my roster of recommendations. Reserve your ordinary pasta for another day and enjoy a mac and cheese loaded with local scallops. Stud your paella with tender slices of Wagyu and fried morsels of fat. And enjoy crisp-skinned lechon with truffle and foie gras rice.

It’s still Christmas, after all!


Grazing box by Grazeful Table Manila

Mother-and-son tandem Michelle de la Merced and Kyle Vergara started this business out of their shared love for charcuteries and cheese boards. Apart from doing table setups, they also offer personal and party boxes filled with cold cuts, cheese, crackers, jams and a lot more. (tel. 0968-4359599, 0905-5623525)

Grazing Box by Grazeful Table

Caviar pie by Aileen Anastacio

A pie as elegant as this always makes for a great centerpiece. chef Aileen’s version has layers of caviar, chopped boiled egg, chives, chopped onions and whipped cream cheese. There are two sizes available, 3-inch and 6-inch, but who are we kidding when there’s really only one proper size for the holidays? (tel. 0917-8370959)

Caviar Pie by Aileen Anastacio

Bottled tapas by Deli by Chee

Chefs Chele Gonzalez and Carlos Villaflor extend their reach beyond the restaurant by starting an online deli shop, offering food and beverages that showcase local produce. Duck from Laguna is turned into ham pastrami. Clams from Sorsogon are preserved Spanish-style. There’s grilled mackerel, octopus and tuna loin, too, all of which have been given that Gallery by Chele touch. (


Taoso Lapu-Lapu by China Mommy

They only offer this dish when they can get their hands on good-quality black grouper, so keep your eyes peeled for their announcement as this steamed fish dish is so delicious, especially with the generous serving of their homemade crushed dried soybeans. (tel. 0917-5148540;

Taoso Lapu-Lapu by China Mommy

Truffle Scallop Mac and Cheese by Bun Appetit

“This came about because of a practical reason—cost!” says owner Lawrence Cua. In place of costly lobster in their mac and cheese, they replaced it with bay scallops from Bacolod, which are camouflaged in the sauce and pasta mix. The tender, bite-sized clams make for a most welcome substitute. (tel. 0998-5562410; @bun_appetit on Instagram)

Creamy Butter Crab by Ley’s Kitchen

This home-based brand has already produced many crab dishes—soy garlic chili, coco curry, black pepper. And this, their latest variant, proves to be just as memorable as the rest, but more special and satisfying as it comes with fried mantou. Use it to sandwich crab meat or sop up the creamy sauce off the plate. (tel. 0917-8486889)


Chicken Relleno Terrine by Gastro Grocer

It’s an original recipe chef Jam Melchor has showcased in both local and international platforms, including an Italian cookbook called “A tavola con i grandi cuochi.” Realizing that people finish eating the filling before the chicken it is stuffed in, he made a terrine using the contents of the traditional galantina, and served it with gravy and atchara. (tel. 0917-4122209; email [email protected])

Chicken Relleno Terrine by Gastro Grocer

Roast chicken stuffed with orzo by Matchpoint Catering

Their roast chicken has always been a bestseller, and so to give it a holiday twist, they stuffed it with orzo, mushrooms and oven-dried tomatoes. It comes with gravy and sautéed veggies. Released just last month, it has already become an instant favorite for many. (tel. 0917-5574200;

Chicken ‘relleno’ by Azúcar y Sal

What’s better than a whole roast chicken? One that’s seasoned with pimento picante; stuffed with ground pork, boiled egg, olives, ham, raisins and chorizo; and served with giblet gravy. Their chicken remains tender, not dry, which is ideal. (@azucarysal on Instagram)


Steak Rice by Cow Cow Steak

There is a handful of brands selling steak rice trays out there, but this has got to be the one with the most flavorful rice. It is good enough to be eaten on its own. The set also comes with sous vide egg, chimichurri and steak drippings, all of which shouldn’t be considered options, but musts to really enjoy this dish. (@cowcowsteak on Instagram)

Creamy Beef with Mushroom by La Alta

Nonchef restaurateur Alta Redor shows off her cooking chops by selling delicious home-cooked food under her brand La Alta. In the menu are baked chicken rigatoni, prawns thermidor and, my pick, creamy beef with mushrooms, which is like lengua but instead of ox tongue, fork-tender beef is used. (tel. 0917-8803338)

Wagyu Paella by Meat Your Maker Manila

The name of the dish is enough to make your mouth water. It’s basically strips of Wagyu striploin on a bed of paella. What will drive your craving to an all-time high is the Wagyu chicharron scattered throughout the rice. It adds crunch and fatty goodness to every bite. (@meatyourmakermnl on Instagram)

Wagyu Paella by Meat Your Maker Manila


Baby Back Ribs by Comida San Lorenzo

Roasted for three long hours and slathered with homemade BBQ sauce, the ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, yet retain a nice chew. It comes with sides like roasted baby potatoes, green beans and corn on the cob, which make it a complete meal in itself. (tel. 0917-8330842)

Baby Back Ribs by Comida San Lorenzo

Crunchylicious Porchetta by Ang Kusinero

Not all porchettas are created equal. This one is good—crisp skin, moist meat that’s perfumed with garlic and lemongrass, and it comes with a variety of sauces. It is not an alternative to lechon because it’s a dish that can stand on its own. (@mnlfoodco or @angkusineroph on Instagram)

Truffle Rice with Foie Gras Lechon by Pepita’s Lechon

When Martha Stewart visited Manila last year, Dedet de la Fuente made sure to serve the hostess with the mostest her most indulgent lechon to date, one that’s stuffed with beloved truffle rice mixed with seared cubes of foie gras. It’s an off-the-menu item she started offering this month. (tel. 0917-8660662)


‘Sapin-sapin’ gelato by Manila Creamery

In time for Christmas, Manila Creamery launched a line that showcases festive Filipino desserts. The Buko Pandan Cake Gelato is a coconut-based gelato with cake and coco strips. Leche Flan is a caramel custard gelato with a hint of dayap. And the Sapin-sapin Gelato, my favorite of the lot, is a mix of ube gelato, langka gelato and coconut suman gelato with coconut sugar crumble. (

Pastillas de Leche Ice Cream Cake by Sebastian’s

Ian Carandang introduced his line of ice cream cakes this month. Freshly baked cake is layered with newly churned ice cream in flavors kids and adults will like—Pastillas de Leche, Dark Chocolate Decadence and Birthday Cake. (sebastiansicecream. com)

The Crown by Homemade by Roshan

When asked how Roshan Samtani’s latest cake was developed, she said, “It’s all the C’s I could think of!” The multilayered pastry is composed of chocolate cake, coco ganache, cookie brittle, coffee cheesecake, caramel and coffee cream. It’s heavy, rich and definitely befitting the holidays. (homemadebyroshan. com) INQ