I’m in the middle of a one day juice fast of six juices from The Syndicate Juice Co. and after several hours of just drinking my meals, all I can think about is food, delicious food. Since I can’t eat anything, the second best thing is to write about my favorite Filipino restaurant in Manila – Sarsa.
Sarsa, named after the Filipino word for sauce, is a mainstay in the Filipino table. Most meals are accompanied by an assortment of sauces: calamansi soy, chili vinegar, fish sauce, liver sauce, bagoong (a local fermented fish or shrimp paste) – the combinations are endless and Sarsa Kitchen is a contemporary take on classic Filipino food with some specialties from the south as the chef JP Anglo is from Negros.
The menu is a melange of classic Filipino dishes and several Negrense specialties. All are well-executed – the grilled dishes are seared with the meat slightly blackened and crisp on the outside and tender on the inside – from inihaw na liempo (pork belly) to inasal (Southern-style grill) chicken parts (including intestines, tails, gizzard and liver). Bulalo, a Filipino version of pot au feu with beef, bone marrow and vegetables is done traditionally with soup and another as Kansi, served on a sizzling plate with gravy. Vegetable dishes were also very good with the gising gising coconut milk prawn and beans to the roasted squash topped with crispy dilis (tiny fish). We also enjoyed the pancit molo, a dumpling and noodle soup similar to wanton mee and Batchoy, a southern soup filled with misua, thin noodles and pork liver. My mouth is watering from the memory of that meal – I can almost taste the starter of crispy dilis in the chili pineapple glaze. I better stop writing or I’ll give up this juice fast right now.