Sherman's Food Adventures: The Filipino Noodle Joint

The Filipino Noodle Joint

Often, my Filipino friends tell me that they don't prefer going out to eat at Filipino restaurants because they can make the food better at home and of course, at a fraction of the cost.  I mean that can hold true for most types of cuisine but Filipino food is quite home-style and hence, I can see their point.  That might also partly explain the lack of good Filipino restaurants in town as well.  However, what if I told you there is this little hidden gem in the Chinatown food court in the main parking structure?  Also, what if the place is reasonably-priced and boasts massive portions?  Lastly, the food is prepared with love and is definitely more home-style than the mass-produced restaurant variety.  This place is called The Filipino Noodle Joint and I got the chance to sample a variety of dishes with Mijune.

To illustrate the portion size, look at the Ilocos Pancit with egg noodles & veggies topped with longganisa, bagnet and fried egg.  This thing was packed with chewy noodles that were nice seasoned and completely covered by meat!  We found meaty and lightly sweet sausage on top as well as crunchy and aromatic pork belly.  This made for a really filling and heavy dish.  However, the lemon wedges lightened things up.  This could easily feed 2 people if not more.

Continuing on that trend, the Filipino Spaghetti was one of the best I've ever had.  Normally and rightfully, the sauce is usually quite sweet due to the use of banana ketchup and brown sugar, however, this one was really balanced.  Unlike other ketchupy versions, this one was more of an actual sauce with lots of natural sweetness from the onions complimented by the additional deep sweetness of the ketchup and sugar (yet, there was equal parts of savouriness and meatiness).  Plenty of minced meat as well as the classic sliced wieners to make this very hearty.  Moreover, the spaghetti itself was perfectly al dente.  Even though it was missing the cheese, this was still really good.

To complete the trifecta of classic noodle dishes, we had the Pancit Palabok with the usual shrimpy and fishy taste (topped with smoked fish flakes, shrimp and chicharon).  However, the flavours were more pronounced in this one and for me at least, that was perfect.  It could've used a bit more salt, but in the end, there was enough brininess and meatiness to make this tasty.  With the thicker noodles, this was more of a malabon. Again, the portion size was massive and it can easily be 2 meals for one person.  

One thing that was a little of everything was their Baon Box, specifically the Famous Breakfast Box with garlic rice, fried egg, lumpia, beef tapa, longganisa, tocino and eggplant omelette.  Again, this was plenty of food, specifically with the meat.  The beef tapa was tender  as well as being well-seasoned. The tocino was sweet and caramelized exhibiting a nice smokiness.  I particularly loved the eggplant omelette was it was delicate and carefully prepared.  Nice silky texture.  This was essentially a tocilog, tapsilog and longsilog all in one box.

For our soupy item, we tried the Illocos Miki with Bagnet Toppings.  So that the noodles didn't get soggy, the soup was served on the side.  I know I sound like a broken record, but this was another huge portion (this was a large) of slippery white noodles, bagnet, chicharon and egg .  I thought the chicken broth was full of flavour and depth.  Lots of natural sweetness and umaminess.  Noodles were al dente, but got soft quickly, so I would use the soup conservatively or if you eat this at home, separate into small portions rather than eating out of the big bowl.

All of the dishes so far were really good, but the Sisig was our favourite.  Usually, this is made with pig's head, but to keep things less heavy (relatively speaking), they used pork belly here instead.  Hence, the combination of meat and chicharon on top was rich with crispy bits, but not overly greasy.  It was super flavourful and of course, went well with the rice.  Loved the balance of sweet, salty and tang as well as a real kick of spice.   If you have never tried this dish, I suggest you try it. 

Onto the sweets, we were served the Turon with saba banana and jackfruit.  Think sweet version of a Lumpia.  By virtue of using a saba banana, it was more sweet and starchier.  The jackfruit provided extra sweetness and aromatics.  This was encased with a wheat spring roll wrapper which was fried until crispy.  This was not that greasy and had a nice contrast of textures between the filling an the exterior.

In addition to their noodles and other Filipino items on the menu, there was the Buko Pandan.  This dessert drink is a combination of coconut milk and pandan which really offers up tropical flavours.  Be warned, this is a pretty sweet concoction, but the trick is to let the ice melt first and the result is a milky, aromatic and refreshing beverage.  Great for warm days of Summer.

Of course, we couldn't get out of their without having the Halo-Halo.  Now the word essentially means mixed and you are supposed to combine all of the ingredients (crushed ice, evaporated milk, coconut milk, ube jam, sweetened beans, sago, coconut jelly and ube ice cream). together.  As you can see, that would be quite the challenge in the cup we were presented with.  However, after a demonstration, it was proved it can be done without making a complete mess!  This was predictably sweet and full of textures/flavours.  Also an excellent dessert for the hot weather.   So as you can probably tell, I really enjoyed the food and thought it was an excellent value.  Such a hidden gem.  I'll definitely be back!

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Home-style cooking done right
- Large portions
- Wonderful people

The Bad:- Not the most obvious location, but worth trying to find!- Desserts on the sweeter side, but some people like their sweets, well sweet


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