Saturday, March 17, 2007

Wallpaper Paste

I will not lay claim to being a gourmet or a connoisseur; I am but a mere pedestrian who wishes to get my money's worth when it comes to food. Like every other consumer out there, I want to get the most bang for the buck and I'm not just talking about volume.

We all have them, the places we love to eat and the establishments we abhor. When something is wrong, it is our moral duty, as consumers, to point out these infractions to our taste and, crossing our fingers, hope that the management takes action. However, upon returning and still finding the food and the place as worse as before, it is probably forgivable for a person to blog about it, right?

First off is a local fastfood chain of Oriental cuisine, which we'll just refer to as Cho-king. Now, in reality, I have not much complaints about their food; truth be told, I love their king's congee, pork tofu and nai-cha (milk tea). There is, however, one branch of this chain that does great injustice to the other branches. Its Philcoa branch is, to say the least, the dirtiest branch I have ever been to. The chairs are all smudgy, the floors are grimy and the table all greasy.

If you order any congee in this place, expect a rice mash that, if anything, tastes like wallpaper paste. Believe me, I know what wallpaper paste tastes like. With pork tofu, they cannot seem to find the right balance between pork and tofu. I often get served a heaping of tofu with very little pork. Other times, though, they get the right balance with pure pork fat and tofu. Worse, the sauces they used on that side dish seemed to be comprised of colored warm water. I cannot taste soy sauce or even vinegar there.

If, on the other hand, you avoid the horrors I mentioned and decided to buy Chao Fan, or mixed rice, expect your serving to be over-moist, sticky and soggy. In truth, it tastes like it has been freshly reheated. If you order braised beef toppings on your rice, expect a helluva lot more rice than beef. Oh, sorry, I meant, "Expect more rice than rubber." As a matter of fact, anything that is supposed to contain beef probably must have been substituted with rubber.

I know I sound bitter, crazy and clueless to what I'm ranting. I am bitter, yes, because I feel like I have been cheated. More than twice. Crazy, maybe, because I kept on hoping they'd at least heed my feedback and improve their food and services. Clueless? Most probably not. I know what I'm talking about because I've been to three other branches: Berkeley Square, SM North and SM Fairview. I'd especially like to commend their Berkeley Square branch.

That branch is noticeably cleaner than any of the other branches I've been to. The staff is really friendly, the food really is hot (at least, not re-heated) and when you order soda with ice, you don't get a heaping of ice with a little soda. Their beef is tender, not rubber; their congee is tasty, not bland, their pork tofu really has pork, not pork fat and their mixed rice dishes are moist enough but not too soggy.

Like I said, I'm not primarily a "taster" but a "feeder" but just because I like to eat does not mean I have no sense of taste. I'm not a professional critic who'd say, "The flavor of this ingredient is overwhelming the natural taste of the other," like those judges on Iron Chef. I am merely a consumer who, unlike those judges, needs to spend to eat.

Eat, devour and make merry
for this very day we'll all die.
Drink, imbibe and be happy
'til it's time to say good-bye.

1 comment:

mbacarra said...

hmm... good thing you noted that one out. although i think i've only eaten there once (the one in Philcoa) and that was like eons ago. i barely remember if i had the same problem back then as yours. the only thing i can remember is that the condiment for the noodle dish i ordered was really spicy lol

in relation to your post, let's not forget the eng'g lady who scooped the vermicelli noodles with her hands. yum! ^_^