Malingap: Teacher’s Village’s Lesser-known but Equally Awesome Food StripJanuary 11, 2015
If streets could talk, Malingap Street in Quezon City’s Teacher’s Village would probably do a Solange and start throwing a hissy fit for always being under Maginhawa Street’s shadow. Most of us know that Maginhawa is the Queen Bee of Quezon City’s gastronomic haunts, but Malingap, even with its offering of great restaurants and holes-in-the-wall, has always been lumped under the collective term “Maginhawa”. Maginhawa, Malingap. Same banana, right? Wrong.
Let’s take a step back and get the geography down once and for all. Strictly speaking, Maginhawa Street is a two-kilometer artery that spans several barangays, notably UP Village, Krus na Ligas, Teacher’s Village, and Sikatuna Village. It is a wide strip that runs from Masaya Street (near Philcoa tricycle station) all the way down to the intersection of V. Luna. Malingap, on the other hand, is a short strip that connects Maginhawa Street and Kalayaan Avenue, one of Quezon City’s main roads. The entire area is very accessible, with lots of parking, and several tricycle TODAs servicing the inner streets.
This area near the University of the Philippines-Diliman campus is widely known as a popular neighborhood for exciting, adventurous, and affordable eats. Maginhawa Street has gained attention in the past several years, and has recently celebrated its very own food festival (which many say was quite a disappointment). Meanwhile, Malingap has slowly been recognized as a growing community of stalls, food joints, and restaurants that can rival the more established ones along Maginhawa.
We bring you some of the new and old gems that you can find on Malingap Street:
1. Little India
Indian food is very hard to pull off in the metro, where port congestion issues hamper the steady supply of authentic ingredients and spices from the subcontinent. Raj Prasad, owner of Little India, accepted this challenge and put up his second restaurant (the first one being Ashoka, a well-known Indian restaurant in UP Los Baños). Little India serves Ayurvedic vegetarian fare that is healthy, hearty, filling and adventurous.
Ayurvedic vegetarianism shuns the use of alliums (onion, garlic, shallots, leeks and chives) because thousand-old texts suggest that plants of the alliaceous family are detrimental to humans. They produce offensive odors, and induce agitation and anxiety (same reason why garlic is said to be dangerous to our canine and feline friends).
Aside from traditional Indian vegetarian curries such as dal fry, aloo gobi, and chana masala, Little India offers starters such as samosas and pakoras. Their lassi and raita temper the chilis that they use generously in their dishes. They also have a killer gulab jamun to counter the heat of their fiery savories.
Address: 2F 24-F Malingap St., Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
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2. Ally’s All Day Breakfast
Breakfast isn’t just for the morning hours anymore. When you have a hankering for pancakes, waffles and your go-to silog favorites, you can head down to Ally’s All Day Breakfast and eat all the comforting and familiar breakfast offerings that you can muster. White picket fence, cheery interiors, al fresco patio seating and a friendly “Mama’s cooking” feel make the place a popular neighborhood diner among the residents of the village.
Their menu has usual breakfast diner classics such as pancakes, waffles and rice-and-egg meals, but what makes them fun is their customizable pancake and waffle menu. You can choose from a wide array of pancake bases, toppings, syrups and dairy options. The servings are huge, the service snappy. Their tapa, longganisa and daing na bangus are also very tasty. It can get a little packed during the breakfast hours, so expect a little waiting time.
Ally’s All Day Breakfast
3. Uncle Moe’s Shawarma Hub
Many would identify shawarma as their favorite comfort food. Who doesn’t like a generous serving of shredded beef, chicken or lamb from a well-spiced spit of meat that you can smell roasting slowly from a mile away, assembled into a wrap (or a rice bowl) with vegetables and a garlicky yoghurt sauce?
Uncle Moe’s does a mean shawarma. The hub’s tasty Arab, Levantine and Mediterranean selections have bolstered it into acclaim, allowing it to grow into quite a successful chain, with branches in Pasig, Tomas Morato, and recently, BF Homes in Parañaque.
You can opt for their smooth tapenade or moutabal for starters, and get busy with kebabs and shawarma for the mains. The shawarma is made just right, with the meat still juicy and tender, and not overly charred and done to death. Their creamy sauces are tasty and well balanced. A perennial favorite among diners is the kofta balls, a tasty temptation with a lavish tomato-based sauce and runny cheese best when scooped with pita, or slathered over buttered rice.
Uncle Moe’s Shawarma Hub
4. Pi Breakfast and Pies, Pino and Pipino
Pi, Pino and Pipino , together with BRGR Project and Brgy. Bagnet make up the group of restaurants that were borne from Chef Ed Bugia. His concepts have now taken root in several locations around Metro Manila, with branches in similarly happening areas such as Bel-Air in Makati and Scout Rallos Street in Quezon City.
Pi Breakfast and Pies’ adventurous approach to breakfast and dessert food is an indication of the amount of time and effort that were spent in the research and conceptualization of the dishes. The space is decked out in an elegant, minimalistic and modern industrial style.Their menu boasts of outrageous temptations such as their Cereal Milk (in Froot Loops and Corn Flakes), huevos rancheros (a grocery list of proteins and cheeses served on a skillet with crusty bread), and the omnipresent Eggs Benedict. Their banana cream pie and key lime pie shouldn’t be missed.
Filipino food often takes flak for “looking gross”, being “fifty shades of brown” or just being downright dull because of poor presentation and conceptualization. Pino proves that Filipino food could be in the big leagues, together with more widely known cuisines such as Vietnamese and Thai food. The restaurant puts a more modern and creative flourish on their extensive menu of Filipino classics, as shown by their best sellers, Kare-Kareng Bagnet, Red Wine Adobong Tadyang (short ribs) and Dinuguan 2.0. The place is always packed with patrons who can’t get enough of the stylishly plated and well-conceptualized entrees.
Finally, Pipino is Chef Ed’s answer to the demand for healthy and green cuisine. Recognizing how hard it is to be a vegetarian in a country where the de facto national dish is pork swimming in its own tasty grease, Pipino eases its diners of the worry of being hard-pressed for good places to eat. The charming restaurant serves vegetarian food for the health conscious and the ones who seek tasty meals without the guilt, with its plant-based main courses, burgers, pasta and desserts. This is a place where wholesome, fresh and locally sourced ingredients are celebrated.
Pi, Pino, and Pipino
Address: 39 Malingap St., Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
5. The Zone Compound (The Z)
The Zone Compound is hardly a secret anymore. In fact, many would say that it has overtaken most Maginhawa establishments in terms of popularity. It is easy to understand why.
The idea behind The Z is to provide a venue where young entrepreneurs can put their business acumen and their culinary ideations into good use. Eric Cadavillo yearned for a creative space where food startups can flourish, providing a refreshing respite from hackneyed chain restaurants. The compound also hosts the occasional poetry reading, impromptu live music gigs and all other things cultural and artsy. Hipsters and millenials love the anti-establishment and rebellious vibe of the place, with its small stalls and booths hawking a variety of cuisines, unpretentious and koboy seating and well-executed food concepts in student-friendly prices.
Among its list of tenants are Me Love You Long Time (yes, it references the famous line from Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket), serving iconic Vietnamese and Thai street food.
Bagneto is a fun and interesting take on the now ubiquitous Ilocandia favorite, bagnet and its permutations.
Samu Eats, offers an unpretentious yet kickass fusion Japanese menu promising to sate its diners’ hunger for ramen, sushi and katsu (their entrees all have interesting surprise ingredients).
Meshwe, a unanimous favorite, hawks Middle Eastern food so good that they are notorious for always running out of their specials even before they close for the day.
Other food stalls sharing the limelight in this food-court style compound are the Backyard Reservoir (pizza and pasta) , Stoner’s Soul Food To-Go (deep-fried everything!), Hijo D’ Pita (Mexican street food), Health Break (wholesome and healthy options), Eats Good Hong Kong Noodles, Cuckooh Puffs desserts, Burger Hub (for its huge fish bowl iced tea that’s good for sharing), Bochic (delicious pulled pork sandwich and beer candied bacon on rice), Lucky Dimsum and finally, Sweet Scoop (a wide selection of ice cream and milkshakes).
Malingap is easy to find: just look for the Bayantel, and take it from there. All these establishments are within walking distance from each other. Most of the places mentioned get super packed at night, so it might be good to come a little early (or a little late) to avoid the dinner rush.
These Malingap restaurants and stalls are a good excuse to travel all the way to Quezon City to quell your ever-present hunger pangs. Also, dining in the said eateries is a way of supporting mom-and-pop businesses that provide us with great alternatives to fast food, chain restaurants and international franchises. Try to swing by Malingap to show this lesser-known side street some lovin’.
Do you have your go-to places in Malingap? What food concepts do you want to see in Malingap in the future? Let us know in the comments section.
Address: 33-A Malingap St., Sikatuna Village, Quezon City