CHRISTMAS is fast approaching and you know what that means: it?s the season for shopping! For those of us who spend more on food than on clothes, one of the best shopping experiences is at the deli. So here?s a list of some of the delis in the metro:
Santi?s Delicatessen: Yakal St. (Makati), Forbes, Wilson St. (San Juan), Rockwell, Ortigas, Timog, Silang (Cavite)
Santi?s must be the most popular deli in the Philippines. Ask any chef, their old reliable is bound to be Santi?s, especially for the steaks. It?s also a great place to start for those who are only beginning to appreciate cheese or learn to cook. Since 1987, Santi?s has served gourmets and budding gourmets. While it is most known for its Certified Angus Beef and other prime meats, I really love their cheeses.
Terry?s Selection: Podium, Pasong Tamo Ext., Salcedo Village, Makati
Terry?s brings the best of Spain to Manila. From the best chorizos to hot choco using Valor chocolate. From the best canned Spanish delicacies to fresh truffles, sourced by owner Juan Carlos de Terry himself.
Aside from the deli, the restaurant is also superb. Don?t miss out on the chorizo served in a ceramic piggy and cap dinner with real Spanish hot chocolate.
Mickey?s Delicatessen: Jupiter St., Makati
Michael Beck, may he rest in peace, was such a jovial man. He used to entertain guests from table to table himself (the Jupiter branch is a deli/resto) and would share not only his recipes but his great sense of humor with customers. He has since passed away but Mickey?s Delicatessen lives on. The place is best known for its sandwiches and Nurnberger pork sausages. I also have good memories of its Austrian Kaiserschmarm?caramelized pancakes served with apple slices and ice cream?as well as of the rhum pot with marinated berries for dessert.
Wine Depot: Reposo, Yakal, Greenhills, Alabang
Purple Feet has become a popular hang-out for group dates because you can enjoy any dinner of your choice over a cheap bottle of wine. This is the first improve restaurant, i.e., there is no set menu and guests can dictate to the chef what they feel like having that night, making it a one-stop-shop that can accommodate the tastes of everyone on your guest list. Right before the dinner area, there is a mini-deli that offers a selection of cheeses (to go with the wine!), crackers, jams and some meats. Over the holidays, they have, in the past, offered pata negra or jamon iberico.
Blue Kitchen: Rockwell, Shangri-la Mall
This is one of the best Filipino delis around, with everything from north to south. From the more commonly bottled ?gourmet tuyo? and ?spicy dilis? to delicacies that are harder to find, such as crab fat (aligue) and piaya. They also offer great spreads like their mushroom truffle cream spread although my personal favorite is the spinach cream.
Milky Way: Pasay Rd., Rockwell
Flashback to days of Milky Way on Pasay Road, Makati: this old favorite is now more accessible, with branches at the Powerplant in Rockwell and at the Greenhills Shopping Center. The deli has a lot of bottled Filipino delicacies such as ube, burong mangga and bagoong and offers Filipino-flavored ice cream: macapuno, ube, cheese. But it?s are also loved for its cooked items: chicken relleno, beef tapa and chicken longganisa.
Little Store on the Hill: Abad Santos St., San Juan
One of the best finds in Little Baguio, this hole in the wall offers carinderia-style food and is popular for its lumpia. But the cook will also appreciate the rows of ingredients for Chinese cooking and the selection of kiamoy and champoy. Its shelves also offer childhood favorites like Haw Flakes and Choc Nut.
DEC?s Chinese Deli
Chinatown is peppered with lovely Chinese delis with hopia (Eng Bee Tin), Chinese herbs and dimsum (Wan Kee Bakery). But thank DEC, you won?t need to travel all the way to Chinatown to get the Chinese delicacies you need to make that one great pancit or siopao or stir-fried noodles. DEC actually opened in Chinatown in the 1950s as the Diao Eng Chay hopia factory on Salazar Street. Today DEC?s has branches on Wilson St. in San Juan, Timog Ave in Quezon City, and Market! Market! in Makati.
Country Vegefoods: Mencias St., San Juan
Having been pescatarian for ten years (1996 to 2006, i.e., until I was forced back into the joy of appreciating meat after being assigned to write about the wonderful world of wagyu) I know that it can sometimes be an ordeal looking for good ingredients for that great vegetarian dish. Today, pescatarians have it easier, what with the various canned tuna flavors?afritada, menudo, adobo, tuna sisig. (Yes, I was an unhealthy pescatarian with a diet of cheese pizza, aligue rice and loads of canned tuna!) But you can only have so much canned tuna. Vegefoods makes the veggie trip easier with their choices of other canned veggie goods like vegetarian burger, vegetarian franks or vegetarian sausages.
Green Wok Deli and Cafe: 2/F Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St., Diliman, QC
I honestly have not been to this deli but it comes highly recommended by vegetarian friends. They offer all the favorite Filipino dishes we love so that the vegetarian won?t miss out: veggie dinuguan, veggie sisig, veggie humba, veggie adobo. How cool is that? Truly hard core, its drinks are made with non-dairy creamers. It also offers a special coffee made from a blend of Agaricus mushroom, beans, pandan, gotu kola and vitamin C.
Hatchin Japanese Grocery: Sacred Heart St., San Antonio Village, Makati
Personally, if I want Japanese food I would just go to Little Tokyo or, when I have money, hit Tsukiji. It?s where the Jap expats go because it?s where good Japanese food can be found. But for those who insist on making their sushi at home, this Japanese grocery is highly recommended. It is most popular for the takoyaki (octopus balls).
Korean grocery story
Just walk down Burgos off Makati Ave. Sooo many Korean grocery stores. Bring a translator!
The Taj: Bagtikan St., Makati
Word has it that this Indian grocery store has almost everything you need to cook that authentic Indian meal. From prepared curries to all the spices you need to jai ho your dish. Incidentally, they also have ceramic miniatures of Hindu deities like Ganesh, the elephant god, as well as things for personal hygiene.
Then of course, there are other old reliables such as the Mandarin Deli (if you can afford it!), and Rustan?s Gourmet to Go, which has take out food using recipes of the fabulous Beth Romualdez. I plan to cheat on every potluck dinner I go to this season by buying Rustan?s lasagna and claiming it as my own, hehehe. Or maybe I?ll be honest and admit it?s from the deli?no sense lying, we?re celebrating Jesus? birthday, after all! ?