Friday, February 07, 2014

Siomai Mami

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Okay, so my last post may have been a little rough on ramen. To even things out, here’s a post on my favorite noodle soup: the Filipino Chinese mami!

Mami was coined by the now-legendary Ma Mon Luk when he started calling his “gupit” noodle soup as “Ma’s Mi”, or Mr. Ma’s noodles, if this article from Coconuts Manila has its facts straight. Along with soipao, siomai, and kikiam, mami is now so ubiquitous that even local packaged instant noodles use the term for their brand names.

lucky me

Introducing Lucky Me’s Instant Native Chicken Mami. Taken from Punked Noodle.

I am a fan of Fil-Chi noodles. Namely, mami and lomi. The two places I go to for my Fil-Chi noodle fix are Dragon Noodle Center in Malate for mami, and Mann Hann Kafei for lomi.

The thing about Dragon—it looks like a Chinese triad front, but it’s a fairly legit Chinese tea house that’s been around for decades. That said, it has to be noted that it isn’t for everybody. I happen to like the hard consistency of their noodles, something I picked up from watching too many Cooking Master Boy episodes, and the soft beef brisket. Their wonton isn’t bad either.

The best thing about Dragon’s beef mami is that the broth is just amazing, especially when you add a lot of the customary Chinese chili oil. I’m crying into my soup whenever I’m there, but the hot chili soup is just the ticket for a cold night. They supposedly have the best congee in town, but you can’t quote me on that. I’ve never tried it.

The coolest part about Dragon itself is that it is almost always perpetually quiet. The location doesn’t make it conducive for traffic, so the “it” crowd won’t gather here. So it’s a perfect place for that Valentine’s date (I included this in the top five places to take your date in an article I recently wrote for Talk Talk Tilaok; that’s how highly I think of this little tea house from the past).

As for Mann Hann’s lomi—this one is a favorite because my girlfriend and I came upon the restaurant quite by accident. SM’s Mezza condominium was fairly new, and we were looking for somewhere to eat before we headed back to Manila (interesting to note: Mezza is at the border of Quezon City and Manila), and since there weren’t many restaurants open at the time (and SM Centerpoint was just too far for two lazy butts), we decided to give Mann Hann a try.

Several visits later, we were hooked, but it was half a year later when we discovered the one dish that would keep us coming back there for months on end: their glorious bowl of lomi. For a price that can’t be beat, Mann Hann Kafei’s lomi is big enough to fully satiate two people, and can adequately feed three people with no trouble at all.

mann hann lomi

Ohm nom nom. Taken from this Twitter user.

And the taste is just heavenly. If you like a lot of vegetables in your soup, then you won’t be disappointed. This isn’t one of those MSG-laden soups, so you can just imagine my surprise upon discovering the strength of the broth’s flavor. The memory alone is making my mouth water.

So while I may be more scathing of our dear country’s take on the Japanese noodle soup, I have absolutely nothing bad to say about mami. Mami is great on its own, with a variety of sahog, and even when mixed with rice. What’s not to love??

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