To be a vegetarian is difficult in the Philippines. You really have to comb through many malls to find a restaurant that sells vegetarian dishes. Usually, vegetarian dishes are pricey so people on a budget have to settle for fast food, and one order of French Fries does not really count as a vegetarian dish because it is not healthful. Grilled chicken or fish is better than French Fries. As one friend puts it, “Mahal pala ang maging vegetarian? (It is expensive to be a vegetarian). It is more difficult if you are busy because our typical Filipino turo-turo does not often sell many vegetarian dishes. You have to settle for the closest vegetarian dish that your favorite turo-turo has to offer, simply remove the pork and beef. Lately, I cannot really call myself a true blue vegetarian but just a semi-vegetarian and becoming less vegetarian and more semi.
In one unscheduled trip, I stumbled upon Jatujak in SM City (The Block). I ordered fresh vegetarian spring rolls (P120) and vegetable and tofu curry (P170). I was delightfully surprised. The spring roll was bigger than what I was used to and one order consists of six pieces served on a lettuce leaf on a simple elevated dish. The spring rolls were served first and I ate three pieces for starter. I even experimented on the sauce by dipping the rolls in spicy Thai sauce. After a few minutes, the vegetable and tofu curry was served, piping hot on a medium size bowl. The dish is actually good for two.
I subtly peruse the curry dish to look for some secret ingredients. The dish consist of string beans, sliced eggplant, sliced red bell pepper, green long chili, baby corn, mushroom, basil, laurel leaves and slices of tofu. You can actually replicate this dish at home but the magic of the dish for me was the curry. And I can never accurately decipher the secret ingredients in it unless I sleep with the chef, and frankly speaking, the food that I had was sex enough for me because I had to smoke after I ate. It is a cliché but it still works.
Initially, I thought I would not be able to finish the curry after almost being satiated by the three pieces of spring rolls but I was not able to stop myself from eating the whole thing. Isn’t that always the same in the sack? Anyway, the dish was scrumptious. I did not order rice so that helps. Yes, no rice! White rice is a killer! The two vegetarian dishes can stand on their own and you will still be full without feeling guilty that you overate. My waistline is indeed grateful.
I did not take any picture because I would look like one of the many food bloggers. At the same time, if I look like a typical powerless customer and not a food critic, then I will not get any special attention so I would get the dish that any ordinary customer will have. Thanks to Instagram, it is now common for people to take pictures of their food in restaurants before they eat it, thus, shielding many food bloggers from recognition.
I promise to take pictures of the spring roll and the vegetable and tofu curry the next time I visit. As for the rest of the dishes on the menu, I cannot really vouch for them yet but if the curry was very good, most likely, the other non-vegetarian dishes may be good but you just have to find out that for yourself.
The meal was pricey for one person but I do not do this often and I thought I reward myself for working hard. (For more food reviews and essays, click this)
REVIEW VALIDITY: This post is valid only from July 14, 2013 to January 14, 2014.
Our food reviews are only good for 6 months because the quality of food and services change over time. Some improve and some deteriorate.
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