I’m totally cheating on this one. I’m supposed to mention just one food in these things, and instead I’m going to talk about every dish I had except for one of them. I’m omitting my mixed adobo dish not because it wasn’t good (because it was great), but because I’ve sort of gone over what mixed adobo is already. That, and the other dishes I had were really interesting and different than foods I’ve come across before.
I started with the Lumpia Shanghai, which were Filipino egg rolls. Well, instead of one or two large egg rolls, these puppies were tiny -- maybe the size of your pinky, but a bit shorter. There were 15 of them and they came with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. The Lumpia Shanghai rolls were simple, light, crispy, flaky, and flavorful. I had an order to myself but they’re easily share-able and they’re popular -- Lakhi mentioned that Isla Pilipina makes 3,000 of these a day!
My non-mixed adobo entree was called Daing na Bangus (sweet name), which is described on the menu as “sun dried boneless milkfish, marinated and deep fried”. This was an open faced, flat, dried fish with an array of onion slices on top and a cup of vinaigrette infused with peppers and onions. The outside was very crispy but meat of the fish came off very easily with my fork. The texture was ultimately somewhat similar to chicken. I’d recommend this dish to any seafood starters, as the taste was not fishy at all. The vinaigrette went nicely with the dish, and it completely neutralized the bitterness of onion slices that came on top.
My drink and dessert included a calamansi juice, which is like a light lemonade, and a dessert called a halo-halo, which means “mix-mix”. The easiest way for me to describe this dessert is it was like a kitchen sink milkshake. There’s a bunch of stuff in there that you wouldn’t always pair together -- jello, some sweet bean preserves, cherries, flan, purple yam ice cream, crushed ice, some cream (or you can do milk), and a cookie straw. I started eating the dessert by taking a spoonful with a couple of the ingredients, and my new Filipino friends laughed and scolded me. “Mix it!” they said. “You’re supposed to mix it all together first.” So I did as I was told -- I mixed all of that stuff together with my spoon and for some reason, it just works. Lots of textures, flavors, and temperatures in that dessert, but it tastes very good all together. Evidently you’ll find these all over some street corners in the Philippines with each vendor serving his or her homemade version.
So even though I had had mixed adobo before coming to Isla Pilipina, I was still able to try out and learn about lots of new dishes. Isla Pilipina is definitely a good place to discover some great new foods and ways to eat them.
Filed under: Menu Item Analysis