My dream ‘noche buena’ menu | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

China Mommy’s “maki mi”

In a year marked by a lot of new restaurant fare, a still growing number of home-based food brands, and chefs extending their line with ready-to-cook sets, we definitely ate well. Never have we been more spoiled for choice than now. Even if that’s the case, only a handful of items left quite an impression. We present some of the year’s most memorable dishes:


China Mommy’s “maki mi”

‘Maki mi’ by China Mommy

Mother-and-son tandem Linda and Oliver Co continues to release Filipino Chinese dishes from their own home, and their food’s quickly gaining a reputation for being sure to satisfy. Their maki mi, a thick soup laced with egg, noodles,and pork tenderloin meatballs, was always sold out whenever they offered it on certain days. (@chinamommy on Instagram)

Temari Balls by Polaris Fine Foods

Temari Balls by Polaris Fine Foods

From the maker of the beautiful mosaic and chirashi cakes comes a box of sushi balls that represent luck, loyalty and friendship. Unlike a box of chocolates, you’ll definitely know what you’re going to get when presented a case of these temari balls. Choosing can be a chore as each is crowned with savory indulgence—A5 wagyu, spot prawn, chutoro with caviar, foie gras and snow crab, among others. (@polarisfinefoods on Instagram)

Rice Paella Mixta by Azucar y Sal

Sometimes, you don’t need to do anything to a classic. Just cook it well and the reward will be gratifying. Such is the case for Azucar y Sal’s paella, where the finest ingredients are used—saffron, pimenton and bomba rice. Squid, clams, mussels, prawns, chicken, peas and chorizo Bilbao complete the delicious ensemble. (@azucarysalmnl on Instagram)

Crab roe rice from Ley’s Kitchen

Crab Roe Rice by Ley’s Kitchen

Angel Ley outdid herself with this dish. It’s the stuff gourmet dreams are made of. The rich roe from female crabs is used to season and color plain rice. To go with that are perfectly cooked crabs with a lot of meat. Be ready to feel guilty after enjoying this. (@leys_kitchen on Instagram)


Sweet and Sour Lapu-Lapu by Jen Cooks

Released just in time for the holidays is this traditional Chinese dish, which home cook Jenny Chan Tan does justice to. A whole freshly caught grouper is flash-fried to achieve that ideal flakiness. It is then smothered with her signature pour-over sweet-and-sour sauce studded with carrot strips and pineapple chunks. (@jencooksph on Instagram)

Ginataang Kuhol by Sally Sari Store

From selling fashion, Sally Ang and her siblings were forced to pivot during the pandemic and try their hand at selling food, starting with desserts and frozen items. The feedback was so encouraging that they added more to their menu, including Crab Rice, Lapu-Lapu Soup, and this, a personal perennial favorite, snails and water spinach stewed in coconut milk. (@sallysaristore on Instagram)


Ang Kusinero’s Beggar’s Chicken

Beggar’s Chicken by Ang Kusinero

The whole thing arrives as a massive clay egg. Break it, then peel the layers to reveal a whole tender yellow chicken with the aroma of fragrant tea. Slice through the bronzed beauty and you will discover a wealth of fillings—mushrooms, chestnuts, liver sausage, lotus seeds, dried scallops, shrimps and wolfberries. (@angkusineroph on Instagram)

Manila House’s paella-stuffed roast chicken

Signature Roast Chicken by Manila House

Chicken relleno may be a popular dish come holidays, but this dish can easily take its place on the “noche buena” table. Introduced just last month, the line of stuffed chickens has three varieties—Pinoy afritada rice, Spanish paella or Thai pineapple rice. Whichever your pick, it surely won’t disappoint. (@manila_house on Instagram)


Chinese Beef and Tendon Stew by Tippi Tambunting

Definitely one of the best things to come out of the pandemic is chefs sharing the dishes they typically enjoy at home. Tippi Tambunting falls under this category, and her frozen line is one I highly recommend. This dish will have you eating more than your fair share of rice, especially once you spoon in that collagen-rich tendon. (@tippitambutning on Instagram)

Cibo di Marghi’s lamb

Wawa’s Cubao Lamb Kaldereta by Cibo di M

Another chef who invited us to her family’s dining table is Margarita Fores, who also introduced an array of ready-to-reheat meals. Her Roman oxtail stew is made bolder with a splash of pinot grigio, while my favorite, the lamb kaldereta, doesn’t resemble the one I grew up eating. Hers is soupy, not covered in tomato sauce. And it has vodka! (@cibodimarghi on Instagram)


Roast Pork Belly by Pete’s Roast

When it comes to roasts, be it pork, chicken or duck, you can rely on this brand to appease your cravings. The meat itself is flavorful since it sits in a vat of spiced marinade overnight before it hits the hot oven. And even after the delivery, the golden skin remains crunchy, consequently making the whole slab something you definitely want to sink your teeth into. (@petesroast on Instagram)

Party Plate’s “cochinillo”

Cochinillo by Party Plate

It’s the roast pig that keeps on giving. Apart from having crispy skin and flavorful meat, their seasoned suckling pig can be enjoyed several ways. It can come with any or all of their signature sauces—mango cilantro, citrus honey garlic or their signature cochinillo sauce. Plus, they have two kinds of rice to complete the meal—chicken inasal rice, and shrimp and mushroom tartufo rice. (@partyplateph on Instagram)


Strawberry Supreme by Sebastian’s Ice Cream

Ian Carandang seems to have found a lot of inspiration and time during the pandemic as he released a roster of new flavors under his artisanal brand. Among them were a ginataan ice cream line, frozen cakes, and this, my favorite, as it delivers fresh strawberry flavor—rich strawberry ice cream folded with strawberry sorbet and fresh strawberries. (@sebastiansicecream on Instagram)

De Hazelnut Praline by Dylan’s Patisserie

Just opened recently, this pastry shop in Makati is gaining prestige for its refined products. Already proving to be their top sellers are the classic Strawberry Cheesecake and my pick, De Hazelnut Praline, a square cake that marries hazelnut mousse, biscuit sponge and crunchy hazelnut praline. ( on Instagram)

Follow the author at @fooddudeph on Instagram.


Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.