Saturday, August 4, 2012
No, I am not a Thomasian and neither is my good friend Cheng although we both once desired to become students of this prestigious university. But even though we never had the chance to study at "uste", we had the closest experience on what it's like being a UST student - by trying out the foods that they usually eat. The last time I had a food walk was when I invited my travel buddies Earl, Ivy and Ronnie to UP Diliman and that was over a year ago. I usually go for the cheaper ones so I tried doing a little research online and found out that there are cheap food finds near UST. Good thing Mommy Cheng was just a few blocks away from the campus so I instantly had a buddy who can tour me around the UST area. It took us around three weeks to finally push through with the food trip because of the bad weather conditions but despite the occasional rains, it was all worth the wait.
The first stop on our food walk is the Botsicake food stall which is located just outside the P. Noval gate of UST. At first I thought that they have like chairs and tables but I was surprised to know that they simply have a small stall just like the fishball or qwek-qwek vendors along the street. Botsicake sells Japanese cakes that are freshly made at a very affordable price. They have the cheese flavour which only costs Php6 per piece while the Oreo and the mallow flavours are priced at Php10. I find the Oreo Japanese cake to be the most delicious one as the Oreo cookie is cooked in between two botchi cakes making the cookie soft and sweet at the same time. I ate 1 cheese and 2 Oreo flavoured Japanese cakes and oh boy it was such a delight.
We passed by several interesting food stalls and restaurants along Dapitan St. but the one that caught our attention is the French Toast stall in front of 7-Eleven. Unfortunately we didn't get to try their french toasts but they sure are tempting especially that they only cost from Php20 to Php25.
The stall however that we weren't able to resist is Tea Zone which is also along Dapitan. They have a plethora of flavours to choose from and you can get two shakes at a price range of Php48 to Php65. We decided to order the Taro flavour and I must say that their shakes are very tasty for such a low price.
After reaching the end of Dapitan we went back to P. Noval St. to eat lunch at Mang Tootz which is already known to be an institution in the UST area. This popular carinderia has tables and chairs lined up along the sidewalks but now they are allowed to occupy half of the street since it is currently closed due to the on-going road constructions. The friendly staff would already put a glass filled with ice and a pitcher of water even before you're done ordering your food so service is really fast when you are going to eat at this place. What's interesting though is the way they serve the food that you are going to order from them. They don't use any trays and just stack up everything on the plate so better have good balancing skills when you're going to order a lot.
A meal at this carinderia only costs around Php50 complete with 1 cup of rice and soup. I ordered pork stroganoff while Cheng chose the pork chop stuffed with cheese. I was also able to try the ever famous Banana-rhum-a which happens to be their specialty dessert. It's similar to the traditional turon but what's special about their version is their sauce which is made of pineapple rhum and banana flavor. To make it even more special, they generously sprinkle it with cinnamon powder and sesame seeds. And the price? Just Php10 for 3 pieces of this heavenly dessert.
It continued to rain after we left Mang Tootz so we decided to look for a place that has chairs and tables where we can just sit and wait for the rain to stop. At first we thought of going to Mini Stop but since we were actually going on a food walk we decided to go to Coffee Indulgence instead which is located right in front of the P. Noval exit. Cheng ordered the Oreo shake while I ordered the vanilla strawberry. Most of their coffees and shakes are reasonably priced from Php35 to Php70. They also serve Italian food like pizza, pasta and calzone which are priced around the Php50 budget.
Cheng told me that if there's one thing that I shouldn't miss when going on a food trip in UST then it would be the BBQ alley. It's a long strip of barbecue stalls that opens from 4pm to 12am. Tables and chairs usually line up on the street around 6pm to so they could cater to the university students who are living around the area. But aside from their barbeques, there are also other options like pork ears, hotdogs, isaw, siomai, bologna and even tofu, all grilled to perfection.
Cheng brought me to one of the pioneer barbeque stalls which is right in front of the sari-sari store with a big Selecta ice cream chest outside. She highly recommends this place for their sauces and also because this is the only stall that offers fresh grilled tofu. I was able to try it and also their isaw which both costs Php5 per stick and it really tastes good especially with their signature sauce.
For our last stop, we visited a food cart along P. Campa St. that serves palabok and baked mac for just Php25. It may be cheap but it's definitely like not the ordinary ones that you can order at any food stall. I was able to try their palabok and I noticed that they generously put a lot of ingredients and a very delicious sauce on it. Unfortunately, the baked mac wasn't available so Cheng just ordered the same. She wasn't surprised though because according to her, this usually happens for a lot of people line up at this food cart just to order their specialties so most of the time their food are almost gone before merienda time is over.
And that concludes our 6 hours of food tripping around the UST area. There's still a lot of bang for the buck food stalls near the campus so if you'll ever be somewhere near the area, go ahead and try out some their specialties. You'll surely have a gastronomic experience like we did!