Mabuhay, 1/31 Phetchaburi Soi 19, Bangkok, Thailand
Nearest Train:BTS Ratchathewi
Opening Hours:daily 11am-11pm
Can we immediately admit that our knowledge of Filipino cuisine is limited to this homely venue? But we did do our homework, and our Filipino friends vouch for the place—a recommendation you’ll see confirmed when you visit. The tiny eatery has five tables, with some dried goods imported straight from the Philippines sold in the back, and spots run out fast, occasionally forcing the owners to munch on their food in front of the restaurant, with some friends and some San Miguel. In a city where Japanese, Chinese and even Vietnamese food are so ubiquitous, it’s refreshing to bump into an Asian cuisine that feels exotic, even to the Thai palate. While a shrimp soup like sinigang na hipon (B190/240) may remind you of tom yam, most dishes are a surprise. Adobong manok (more commonly known as chicken adobo, B150), for example, has a potent tart and peppery flavor, as the chicken is cooked in vinegar—too bad said chicken is a little on the dry side. Kare kare (B180) is even more intense, with ox-tail and tripe cooked in a thick peanut sauce and served alongside a pungent fermented shrimp paste. It’s a bit of an acquired taste, but we think you just may warm to it. Our favorite would be the kinilaw na tangigue (B230), though, a kind of ceviche with heaps of diced ginger and chili. The ginger and cucumber add a freshness that leaves many spicy seafood salads in the dust, and the raw fish has an amazing texture. You can order less intimidating fare, too, such as the popular crispy deep-fried pork knuckle (crispy pata, B380) or chicken (B150, though it, too, is overly dry). Apart from a yellow paint job and a few odd pieces of brick trompe l’oeil, this is very much a barebones shop house. So while your date might not be impressed, it’s a good place to kill a few beers with some friends (portions are very big). And don’t worry about knowing your kalderatang from your lechon; Mabuhay is family-run, making service very warm and helpful. No credit cards. No Corkage.