Overblown Food hype

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Halal Guys Logo

My wife and I are currently enamored with Frankie’s Buffalo Wings whenever we will eat lunch in Megamall. A couple of stores beside it is occupied by “The Halal Guys” which is another US-based franchise. The queue for The Halal Guys is insane and has been that way since it opened up a few weeks back.

This weekend we had an opportunity to try it given that I have seen some rave reviews from friends in facebook. By opportunity I meant we are not famished yet and the queue is not that long. I queued up for about 20 minutes and ordered the Gyro/Falafel combo for me and my wife. The fare costs around Php470 for the New York size, and it seems a bit normal: two scoops of yellow rice pilaf, a scoop of what seemed to be lettuce salad, a few tablespoons of fresh tomato salsa, a small serving of gyro/lamb meat and 3 falafel medallions. The meat and falafel was then squirted with a white sauce that they are also selling for Php25 per additional packet.

My wife and I made short work of the food, and the verdict is… MEH.

Don’t get me wrong. The food is good but I dont think the price and the wait is worth it. I may not be able to replicate the lamb part but if one is really looking for a similar taste then going to a tex-mex or mediterranean place would do unless you belong to the Moslem religion and really looking for Halal-prepared food. Again this looks like a food hype and will eventually die down when everybody has tried it once.

We are going back to Frankie’s on our next visit. There are a few more flavors that we are really excited to try. And the half-dozen required to satisfy us will cost half of the food we ate from the Halal Guys.


Starting the journey with airport food

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My wife and I embarks in our first out of town trip today for the last 3 years.  Our plane leaves at 730 so we were at the airport by 5am to avoid any checking hassle.  It was a good thing as the group of passengers ahead of our queue took a while as the counter crew, to their much chagrin, tried to explain to them the concept of “allowable hand luggage”.

We were done with the checking procedures by 545am. With stomachs grumbling,  we scouted the food stalls and the choices were a bit meager: a rice/noodle vendor, go nuts donuts,  Krispy Kreme donuts,  Mrs fields cookies,  chaikofi cafe,  and two kiosks of a sandwich vendor. The rice-chowing Asian in me made the choices clear: rice toppings for me.

The pickings were limited as most of the menu items are not available. I settled for chicken asado toppings with coke in can,  and my wife ordered the two pieces of siopao (asado and bola-bola)  with bottled water.  The bill was Php310. Pretty steep price so my expectations already rose up. 

The food came in quickly. The asado came with 3 quarter inch slices of chicken with asado sauce and spring onion bits. The siopao were the size of teacups. 

The food fare was,  for lack of a more positive adjective,  “geared towards the international palate”.  The chicken was butter soft.  Oh wait that was the plastic spoon and fork that came with the meal.  You have heard the joke about siopao being made from cat meat?  Well this is different as the siopao feels as hot as a cat’s nose. My wife’s first bite was a smorgasbord of flavor: she couldn’t identify the flavor.  She ended up not finishing the second siopao so it was up to me to get our money’s worth. I am grateful for the Chili oil in the table because I don’t know if I would have done without it.

What’s good with the food?  The coke in can was cold,  and the Chili oil has the right spiciness and bite.

What was bad?  Everything else.  Next time you are in the area,  choose the branded franchises as you would know what to expect. And don’t listen to the instincts of a hungry stomach.

The kiosk’s name is “Let’s Chow”  with the tag line “mapapa-chow ka”  (i think a weak play on the wow expression).  All I can say on that is “pu-chow naman o”  (my play on a local curse phrase).  If I paid thrice the amount of a similar fate from 7-11 then I expect the flavor to be as good.