Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Burritos in the Philippines

I am from San Francisco where I can safely state that EVERYONE eats burritos. Burritos are the food to eat when stepping out of the office for lunch, a dinner, or a snack after a long night of drinking. You start eating them as a kid and never stop. When I was last in San Francisco, I probably ate about 10 burritos during my month long stay.

For some reason, burritos are not very popular here so whenever I see them anywhere, I always try them. Actually I should not say they are not popular because everyone I talk to really likes mexican food, but rather it is really hard to find a decent mexican restaurant and even harder to find a buritto. Chili's and Taco Bell are about as Mexican as it gets (possibly the most blasphemous statement I have ever made). First stop was Salcedo market which had a little burrito booth set up. For P179 ( ~$3.75) I bought a burrito with pork, rice, sour cream...and that's about it. Honsetly there may have been other items in it...but nothing that added any flavor. While it was small, the biggest problem was it was flavorless. Literally tasted like unseasoned meat and rice. Not what I was looking for.

Luckily we came across Ristras in San Juan. Fricking awesome!! Again I had a pork burrito and it was just what I wanted. The manager was there to walk people through the ordering process and answer any questions about toppings. While not as good as a San Francisco burrito (nothing can match a deluxe steak from La Cumbre) it was really, really, really good. Cost was P290 (a little over $6.00) and was packed with stuff!! The flavors were there and it was big--too big for me to finish on my own. So now I am estatic that I can get a fantastic burrito here. It also makes me really happy that the restaurant is located in San Juan and not in a mall. I feel like tons of the places I love are in Makati where I never really go, or inside a mall which makes me heistant to go. Honestly, I would never park and walk through a mall to get a burrito. Here, I can just pull up, get my take out, and leave. I think it may be safe to say that Ristras may become my new favorite place to be.

23 comments:

Isabelle said...

You write "for some reason burritos are not very popular here...".
I'm a bit surprised that you expect to find burritos in the Philippines!!
Not finding good burritos in Mexico would be very surprising, but in the Philippines...

I'm happy for you that you did manage to find some that you like, though, and in a way they can remind you of your life in SF!

kikas_head said...

You're right..my comment does not make much sense (I apologize--I am getting over the flu).

I am surprised by the lack of Mexican food namely because I am in the capital region. Manila is a very cosmopolitan area and just about any type of cuisine can be found. In addition, most people here have a sophisticated palate and the desire for international cuisine is high (albeit along with the prices for said food). There are a few gaping holes and one of them was burritos. But yes, I definitely notice it more because in my hometown it is a staple. Definitely comfort food!

Andrew's Daddies said...

I got a fantastic idea: Shreaded pork adobo wraps. You can put fill with garlic rice and wrap in a corn or flour tortilla.

:D

jonnifer said...

Burritos are the biggest thing I miss here too. And biscuits. (The southern kind, not cookies.) Of course you can't find a decent burrito in NY either. We'll always have to go back to SF for that!

Christine said...

Honestly, I don't think you can get a good burrito in LA even!
There are not a lot of small, simple take out places close to where I live and work. Los Angeles is run over with fast food joints. And the taco seems to be a more common take out item....

Anonymous said...

have you tried Mexicali or Cafe Mediterranean? They have good burritos!

howie said...

Where exactly is Ristras in San Juan?

randell said...

Hello, there! I just subscribed to your blog. I can't help but chuckle with your posts. =D

MikeJ said...

Hello. :)

How does Ristras burrito compare to the ones back in SF?

Doug said...

LOL! "Mexicali has good burritos"?. Being a native Californian I HAVE had good mexican food & Mexicali is not good, it's worse than bad! Thanks for the Ristras tip I'll check it out ASAP. And I too am surprised at the lack of decent Mexican food in the Philippines. For the most part we have all the right ingredients here... but still nothing even comes close to an bad LA taco stand

Nate and Melissa said...

Yes yes where exactly is Ristras? Need to know, have been lacking in true and real burritos for 3 years now! ;)

catabatic said...

The S.F. burrito is actually called the Mission-style burrito. Their tortilla (corn, flour, or wheat) are usually steamed. They put a lot of fancy ingredients in their burritos, eg: shredded lettuceand sour cream. The Chicago burrito meanwhile use corn tortilla with refried beans, some carne asada, and some Chihuahua cheese. All rolled and grilled or cooked in a hot plate. Now the Los Angeles burrito uses either Corn or Flour tortilla with seasoned, grilled, chopped carne asada, plus fresh and chopped onions, tomatoes, and cilantro, with a choice of Chile Rojo or Chile Verde sauce inside. The L.A. burrito is the closest thing to a real Mexican burrito and by far the most savory. Now the San Diego burrito which add French Fries and Cheese in their burrito is the most ridiculous thing I've heard of. I call this this the "triple By-pass" burrito.

catabatic said...

The S.F. burrito is actually called the Mission-style burrito. Their tortilla (corn, flour, or wheat) are usually steamed. They put a lot of fancy ingredients in their burritos, eg: shredded lettuceand sour cream. The Chicago burrito meanwhile use corn tortilla with refried beans, some carne asada, and some Chihuahua cheese. All rolled and grilled or cooked in a hot plate. Now the Los Angeles burrito uses either Corn or Flour tortilla with seasoned, grilled, chopped carne asada, plus fresh and chopped onions, tomatoes, and cilantro, with a choice of Chile Rojo or Chile Verde sauce inside. The L.A. burrito is the closest thing to a real Mexican burrito and by far the most savory. Now the San Diego burrito which add French Fries and Cheese in their burrito is the most ridiculous thing I've heard of. I call this this the "triple By-pass" burrito.

Mynthe said...

Ristras is on J. Abad Santos corner Lopez Jaena, in San Juan. You can read more about it here:

http://www.ourawesomeplanet.com/awesome/2009/05/ristras-mexican-burrito-heaven.html

Anonymous said...

if you want to try authentic mexican food,try zapata's in pampanga.its a bit far but worth the 1-2 hour (depending on the traffic) trip.:)

Anonymous said...

Dude. Try Jalapenos near SM MegaMall / MetroWalk area. Not as big as Ristras, but the taste of their veggie burrito is the best.

http://www.prlog.org/10411278-jalapeno-cantina-mexicana-gives-filipinos-the-ultimate-mexican-dining-experience.html

jaeden said...

For those who were asking about where Ristras is, it's on the corner of J. Abad Santos and Lopez Jaena. If you're on Wilson Street near GH, just turn right at Alex III and it's on the right. Apparently they are going to open one in the Fort for people in Makati.

David T. Macknet said...

Imagine: an enchilada at a "Mexican" restaurant in Glasgow contained goat cheese and spinach. We gave up trying, at that point.

Mary Rose said...

You've changed my life with this blog! I'm a US Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines and all of us always say how much we miss really good Mexican food. If any of us take vacation time to go home, Mexican food is on the to-do list. So, discovering Ristras was like winning the lottery for us. IT WAS DELICIOUS. Totally like Chipotle from back home.

We were like giddy children walking into a candy store for the first time in two years. Legit Mexican food was the one thing you could never find in the Philippines. And now, I know that's not true! Thanks so much!!!!!!

kikas_head said...

@Mary Rose--If you are in QC, try Hermanos Taco Shop. It is awesome!!!! They have taquitos! With sour cream! Really a good place. It is on Granada, so if you are coming from Greenhills, go down Ortigas Ave (away from EDSA) which will turn into Granada St. It is on the left side (randomly in a gas station). So good!

V said...

I actually live 2 blocks away from Ristras. My daughter and I discovered it one night when we got hungry at around 11pm. We realized that we usually go out farther to hang out or get food, so, for a change, we decided to walk around the neighborhood. We discovered the new restaurants, esp Ristras and NY pizza. The pizza place across. I recommend both. I've lived in this area for so long and saw the development of this neighborhood but this was the first time we really took an interest. If I recall, I think I was too lazy to drive that night. It turned out to be a great evening just hanging out with my daughter and discovering these restaurants.

Anonymous said...

You guys have to try this booth in Starmall Alabang, I think they have the cheapest decent burrito here in Manila. I think the name of the stall is Mug & Pops, i can't quite remember

Anonymous said...

Having lived in both SF and Santa Cruz for many years, one should never believe SF has the only great burritos in California.