Ghetto Grub: The (Laing) Place with No NameFebruary 18, 2019
- Diana CamachoWords
From food carts, to hole-in-the wall joints, we try out meals that literally test your intestinal fortitude. There may be flies on the counter, and the dishes aren’t always clean, but that big, hot bowl of what’s presumably food just looks so good. Yes, these are the places your mom warned you about. But it’s okay, we won’t tell if you won’t. Welcome to Ghetto Grub. If the food is good enough, the ambiance of the establishment quickly becomes trivial. Many of us are all too willing to travel the off-beaten paths and go a considerable distance in search of good grub at some obscure hole-in-the-wall, but we often neglect the humble turo-turo merely a stone’s throw away from our own homes.
Today, I present to you guys a joint so ghetto, it doesn’t even have a name. Nevertheless, the food is so memorable that you keep coming back for more, even in your most unglamorous state (i.e. early morning in your boxers and old basketball jerseys) to have breakfast with the security guards and other blue collar folk who are on their way to their respective places of employment. For the purposes of Ghetto Grub, I am referring to this nameless turo-turo as Ate Marianne’s (who is the owner/cook), but no one really calls it that.
Ate Marianne’s eatery along Xavierville Avenue is among the many carinderias that line that street. But despite the heavy competition, this place never seems to want for business. Her specialty laing is the secret behind her continued good fortune. Laing is a coconut milk based vegetable dish made from taro leaves, shrimp paste, and chillies. The use of coconut milk or gata in cooking is characteristic of the Bicol region where Ate Marianne comes from. This specialty dish, although hardly photogenic because of its dark green hue, easily outshines the other more popular Filipino viands served in the place like kaldereta, kare-kare, and sinigang.
Although I am sure her other dishes are just as good, it just so happens that I’ve fallen in love with this particular Laing. I’ve never tried any of the other offerings since I happen to be a great believer in ulam monogamy. A single order will only set you back Php 25, which I often pair with a serving of Tokwa’t Baboy (Php 30) for the protein.
Word on the street is that she first started selling her laing on nothing but a single (unnamed) table by the side of the road along Xavierville. She only took takeout orders then, but her success has allowed her to expand to an actual eatery, which still remains nameless. If you want to find her, the stall is right in between another carinderia and Ernie’s Vegetable Store. You can’t miss it. It’s in front of Metrobank and always has the most customers.
Ate Marianne’s laing is so popular that she runs out by noon and has to whip up another batch just to keep up with demand. She caters to several homeowners in Xavierville as well as the staff and stars of Eat Bulaga. It’s no surprise she runs out of food so fast.
Is Ate Marianne’s nameless laing heaven a good fit for you and your friends? Let’s find out.
Ghetto Factor 8/10
The place is about three by five meters with walls of galvanized iron a.k.a. yero. The place is so small that a single electric fan is enough for the entire area.
Health Hazard 4/10
I think they’re clean enough although I am hardly a fussy eater. I would suggest you buy yourself mineral water if you are feeling finicky or delicate the day you visit..
For the average conyo kid, this place would seem like an immersion trip. It’s the kind of place that their driver would more likely eat at.