Watch This: Hummus Elijah Makes Authentic, Affordable Middle-Eastern CuisineJune 8, 2017
Some of Manila’s best bites aren’t found in fast casual restaurants. In our Ghetto Grub series, we explore the lesser-known cheap eats around the city that form the core of the restaurant industry and supply the public with affordable, delicious goods.
Consistently rated in the Top 5 of Tripadvisor’s best restaurants, one has to wonder what Hummus Elijah has that makes it so darn special. It sits comfortably in its spot, surrounded by well-known establishments, large buffets, and hotel restaurants, an enigma in the Top 10 because of its size and relative anonymity. What is it about this tiny place that makes it so loved by both locals and tourists?
The formula is simple: Hummus Elijah serves a short menu of classic Middle-Eastern fare that is all executed at such a high level for its price. There is little here that disappoints, and has all the charm of hole-in-the-wall. It’s relatively hidden, found on top of a massage parlor, with access only available via an uncomfortably-sized staircase. Menus display a smattering of mostly Levantine dishes, all of which are vegetarian.
A lot of the food here is served unapologetically, with flavors turned up to their brightest, making no shortcuts for other palates. The bottled hot sauce they serve alongside their fare is a great example: it has the type of heat that punches you in the face and assaults your tongue immediately, and stays there. Labneh is creamy and sour, baba ghanoush is so smoky, that there is no doubt that the eggplants were roasted until black and blistered. Falafels are fresh, springy bites rather than dark hockey pucks, and come well-spiced and well-rounded. The hummus is a velvety revelation, with a hit of olive oil and tahini unmixed to add more nuttiness and fruitiness. Have it with mushrooms or fava beans, and immerse your pita in it until fully drenched with the dip. Don’t miss the lovely kanafeh, which might be the only one of its kind in the city: the dessert is a sweet and savory mess, with melted white cheese covered by crispy noodles of pastry as thin as vermicelli, then soaked in syrup and topped with pistachios.
Watch the video for more on Hummus Elijah.