Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Zone's JT Manukan and Happy Cream Puff

I grew up in a small provincial town where crabs and lobsters are the freshest, the lechon (roasted suckling pig) is the tastiest, and the chicken inasal is purely succulent.

One of my fond childhood memories is when my Papa buys me “ barbeque pa-a” from Nikka’s Lechon Manok. This is charcoal-grilled chicken leg that is marinated in special spiced sauce. I love it so much that 20 years later, I am on the constant look-out for the taste-of-home chicken inasal in the big city.

Despite of the chicken inasal places sprouting all over Manila, it is rare to find the authentic taste that is served in Visayas and Mindanao. That is until, I gave in to trying JT Manukan along Malugay St. in Makati. For some years, I did not try it thinking that it is the usual inasal-wanna-be place.

Boy, I was wrong.

Their chicken inasal is really good and has that taste of home. For the uninitiated, chicken inasal is a popular dish from Bacolod and all over Visayas and Mindanao (where I am from). Chicken parts (breast, legs, wings) marinated, skewered in bamboo sticks and grilled on charcoal to imbibe the smoked flavor. It has a distinct reddish-yellowish color from the achuete or annatto oil.

This is the JT pa-a inasal. At PhP 90, it is affordable. I like the pa-a since it is the tastiest part.

Most people prefer the breast part being it a larger serving. This goes well with salted egg salad and a glass of cold tea.

The place is a simple eatery, mimicking that of a provincial inasal place.

What sets this apart is the interesting framed arts on the wall. A last-supper-inspired painting.

Some movie  posters.

After you’ve washed down your inasal, we normally head to the adjacent store, which sells cream puff.

Inside this box is one of the best desserts I can recommend to anyone: pastry with cream filling.

The  pastry has the crusty, fresh taste and is well complimented by the cream filling which has a very subtle flavor. Not overpowering at all. It also has that mild flavor of vanilla. Marry all these flavors and you get one of the best desserts to a cap a meal.

At PhP 20 a piece, you can go for plain

Chocolate powder-dusted or strawberry-covered

I prefer, the plain or sugar-glazed since the dessert itself has a very subtle taste and the caramel gives the dessert a kick.

So if you are craving for a good provincial meal, capped with the neighborhood pastry shop, it is best to head to The Zone in Malugay and order a chicken inasal and happy cream puff.

JT Manukan
The Zone
Malugay, Makati

Happy Cream Puff
The Zone
7224 Malugay Street
Bel-Air Makati

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