Cab driver Ceferino Chinchuntic usually eats at home for lunch because he is picky when it comes to food — he prefers vegetables or fish and is very particular with the taste of the dish.
When he brought us to Menes Eatery in Sta Cruz, Manila, the first thing he did was check if there were vegetable dishes available.
Menes Eatery is a tiny carinderia that serves home-cooked fare. According to the owners, it was started by their grandparents and has been passed on to different members of their family. Students and residents along the area usually dine there but they have also managed to get old customers, even those who are visiting from abroad, to come back from time to time.
The 55-year-old cabbie ordered a plate of chop suey, two cups of rice, soda and a small piece of fried milkfish. He loved the vegetables and instantly praised it for its freshness and crisp texture. However, Manong Ceferino did not enjoy the fish that much because it was fatty.
Aside from the dishes we got, Menes Eatery also serves pork, beef and chicken meals.
WHAT WE GOT: Chop suey, fried milkfish, two cups of rice and soda for a grand total of P77.
WHAT WE THINK: The meal was freshly cooked and served still hot even though it was not re-heated. The fried fish was nothing special but the vegetable dish deserves double thumbs up. The sauce neither too salty nor too sweet. The vegetables used were still crisp and not entirely covered in cooking oil.
WORDS OF WISDOM FROM CABBIE: "Masarap mag-enjoy sa buhay, pero kailangan laging mag-ingat. Minsan masarap sumubok ng bawal, pero masama kapag sobra."
Menes Eatery, 1670 E. Remigio St, Sta Cruz, Manila; +63 2 2391191. Mon-Sat 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Read more Carinderia Crawl stories at the Coconuts Manila website:
KC Tapsilogan at Lugawan on P. Noval St, Sampaloc, Manila
Spaceship carinderia on 21 Kamias Rd in Quezon City
K Meraj's Food House along Open Canal Road in Mandaluyong