Friday, November 30, 2012

The chicken that didn't chicken out

I'm always awed by success stories. In the food business, there's a lot of these to hear. But there's a particular story which to me is as lovely as it is interesting - the story of a family cook fondly called "Manang" (an Ilocano term for an older sister), whose fried chicken she once cooked only for the family she served, is now also eaten and enjoyed by thousands of other people in the Philippines. Such is the story behind Manang's Chicken. This fast-growing fast food chain started out joining the weekend food market at Mercato Central in 2010. It proved to be such a hit that the owner decided to open their first restaurant in the Ortigas area. Today, two years later, Manang's Chicken has 10 branches around Metro Manila and more I believe, are about to open. Many foodies have sung the praises of Manang's twice-fried soy garlic chicken that I felt I shouldn't be left behind. 
And so, last week, I tagged along my youngest son to work and come merienda time, we headed to the new Wilcon City Center in Quezon City, where a Manang's Chicken branch had just opened. There, we had:
2 pcs. Chicken Cuts Meal (with drink), P149.

Fried Pancit Meal (with drink), P85.

Chips with Dip, P58.

Velvet Sundae Triple Fudge, P45.

Lemonade and Iced Tea that came with our meals.

The fried chicken was yummy and crispy; there's truth in the reviews that I've read. I have one thing to add, though. The marriage of soy and garlic was favorable but the sweetness, to us, was over-empowering that both my son and I were not able to finish one piece each. There's the sawa factor for us. For a minute there, I even wished I was having  Chickenjoy instead :). I guess sweet fried chicken is just not for us.   
As for the Fried Pancit, it was good! Crunchy noodles topped with crisp slices of carrots and cabbage plus black wood ear mushroom (tenga ng daga) and just the right amount of sauce to avoid drowning the pancit. If you want to try this, make sure to eat it immediately because the noodles loose their crispiness if bathed in sauce for a long time. This happened to most of my noodles - they turned limp because it took me so long to eat as I still had to take pictures (the downside of food blogging :))Fortunately, the strands on top were still crispy and these ones I thoroughly enjoyed. 
Meanwhile, the potato chips were delicious, especially when dipped in the cheese sauce. The slices were not thin (okay, somewhat thick) but were still crunchy. Hmmm..potatoes that are better than french fries, I should say.
However, the best thing came at the end of our meal - the dessert, you may have guessed. The Velvet Sundae Triple Fudge was a pleasant surprise. It's a two-in-one dessert - sundae on top, chocolate cake (or brownie?)  at the bottom. There are chocolate chips on top as well, adding interest and yum factor. My son couldn't agree more. He loved it too! For this dessert and to try other items on their menu, I'm likely going back to Manang's Chicken.