Manang's is a cozy little corner right next to the Covered Courts where most freshmen and sophomores have their PE classes. In the morning, you can already smell them grilling their signature liempo (pork belly), for which eager diners line up for during lunch time. The open air space is packed with hungry students who come to meet up with their friends, relax, unwind, and simply have some great home-cooked food.
|Manang's at Ateneo de Manila University|
Other than their classic liempo, they also serve a wide variety of dishes. The hardest part of eating at Manang's next to finding a seat (because it's always full at peak hours!) is choosing what to eat! On one hand, there's the liempo that you would want to eat again and again and never get tired of; but there are also many other choices such as fried porkchop, adobo, veggies, fish, and many other Filipino favorites. You can even get some salted egg or fresh fruit!
There's the breaded porkchop, which is crispy and juicy. A little ketchup or vinegar adds a sweet-sour twist to the saltiness of the pork.
They have lechon kawali (deep-fried pork) which they serve with a generous amount of special lechon sauce. The skin is very crispy but the meat is soft and tender. The sweet sauce is also provides a great balance to the saltiness of the meat. The only complaint I have is that it's such a small serving, but it's so delicious that it's worth every peso!
|The regular Manang's spread|
Of course, every Manang's meal starts with getting a tray on which to put the cup of rice that the friendly staff hand out to you with a smile even before you ask. Then, it's time to choose your main dish!
Their grilled liempo is a fantastic blend of sweet and salty, perfect with a generous dash of soy sauce and vinegar. The meat is incredibly flavorful, and grilled just right. The liempo is fairly lean although there's a thin layer of fat and skin at the side. It's not like liempo from other places where the fat occupies about 50% of the entire piece.
|Manang's grilled liempo (to which I've added lots of soy sauce and vinegar!)|
Other than the meat, they also have vegetable dishes, one of which is this fried vegetable lumpia (roll) filled with beansprouts and other veggies. It's golden and extremely crispy (I'm running out of adjectives here) and the typical Filipino style is to add some vinegar (but of course, not too much, or the lumpia will get soggy!)
As I write this, I realize how much I'm craving Manang's. It's not just the delicious food, the low prices or the great service; it's also the friends whose company you enjoy as you sit back and relax in the kitchen to your second home, Manang's.