Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bridging History Gaps

Ma Mon Luk
408 Quezon Avenue, Quezon City
+63 (02)712-3560 / +63 (02)732-8756
07 October 2010

The main reason why brother and I went out that day was to check the Galeon Andalucia at the Manila South Harbor, but because the galleon will be open to visitors around 2pm and we left the house quite early, brother decided we do a side trip first - visiting the Sto. Domingo Church. Whenever we would pass by Quezon Avenue, us siblings were hoping we could eat at Ma Mon Luk, and this day brother decided we walk to the store from the church. Quite a long walk, but it was all good.

Ma Mon Luk

It was in 1918 when Ma Mon Luk went to the Philippines from China to earn his fortune. He started peddling Chicken Noodle Soup using a bamboo pole with two metal containers (one with egg noodles and cut up chicken strips, the other contained the broth which was heated by live coals) on each end, which he carried on his shoulders. Earning regular customers, he then opened a restaurant in Binondo that also sells siopao (steamed pork buns). By 1950s, his food was already known nationwide, and at one point there were about six branches of his restaurant, but as of 2006, there were only two branches left: Quiapo and Quezon Avenue, where brother and I dined.

Some interesting trivia:
  • His food was once known as "gupit," a Filipino word meaning "to cut with scissors," because he used scissors to cut the chicken meat used in his soup.
  • Filipinos call the "Chicken Noodle Soup" as Mami, and one theory about the term Mami was that "Ma" came from Ma Mon Luk's name, added with "Mi," meaning "recipe." Later, it was considered as Ma (meaning meat - i.e. gu-ma is beef, ti-ma is pork, and kwe-ma is chicken), and Mi (from "miki" or noodles). {Big thanks to Karl for explaining the last part of the sentence}

Ma Mon Luk

It was only around 11am when brother and I entered, but there were already quite a lot of diners. Entering the store it really gave us the "old" feeling - it certainly looked like the eateries we used to dine at in the province when we were younger. Despite the old look of the restaurant, my brother and I did appreciate that they didn't do drastic changes to make the restaurant look modern because the place itself was historic, being one of the first food places in Quezon City.


Staff at the restaurant were really friendly and nice. While waiting for our order, brother and I were thinking of photographing the stacks of bowls and bamboo steamer at one side of the restaurant where they prepare the main dishes of the store - the mami and siopao. We were quite hesitant at first, so we went to eat our meal and as we exited, I attempted to take a picture and they allowed me to... and one of the managers actually asked this man to show how the "gupit" was prepared.

As for the foods, there were several posters around the restaurant listing the best sellers of the house, and we thought it was the only foods they had. Choosing from the mami, siopao, siomai, pancit canton, and lumpiang shanghai, we went for:


The Original Mami. I went for the small bowl while brother went for the large bowl. It was a simple looking bowl of chicken noodle soup, but it was really rich and heavenly. The secret to any mami lies on how good the soup is, and this one really satisfied me. As for the noodles, it was a bit chewy, which was something I also look for in a mami. My brother disagrees with me.. he thought it was way too rich for his liking.

Siopao Asado

Siopao Asado (asado, chicken, salted egg). I also went to order this one because it's part of the original menu. The bun was soft, the filling was flavorful, and yes... I did love it a lot!

Even if the posters only listed the specialties of the house, brother and I soon found out that they had a much extensive menu. When you dine here, be sure to ask for the full menu, just to give yourself a variety of what they offer.

This side food trip of ours really satisfied long cravings, and even if it will take a long time before we can dine there again (as we rarely pass by Quezon Avenue), just having to taste the mami and siopao was already okay for me. I am thankful there's Ma Mon Luk that bridged the gap of history.

Ma Mon Luk is located along Quezon Avenue, near Banawe Avenue.

*** Jenn ***


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Jenn, the Foodie

I come from a family who loves cooking and eating. I never had any formal training in cooking and that I taught myself how to cook based on the handed down recipes, but I could say that I can cook good food. In 2008, I started documenting my food trips for my travel blog, and since I have quite enough to start a food blog, might as well put all those food trips in one location. Thus, a food blog is born - thanks to the new Friendster Blogs. However, due to several problems, I was left with no choice but to pack bags again and move here instead. Here's the permanent address, promise! Enough talk, let the food trippin' begin! {Know More About Me}