There are certain things that can evoke strong feelings of homesickness for Filipino expatriates like me. For some it may be witnessing the Manila sunset at Manila Bay. For others it could be the traditional Filipino foods. Maybe for some it is the “fragrant” smell of the kanal and estero (kanya-kanyang trip lang yan).
Last week, I ate some traditional Fililipino food and saw Manila sunset. Manila Sunset Grille, that is!
Manila Sunset Grille is a Filipino restaurant chain with branches mostly in California. I wish they would expand here to the Midwest. Maybe in Iowa?
I flew to California and spent a week there to assist my aunt who underwent cataract surgery. She did not really needed much assistance, except that she was unable to drive for a few days. Driving her around was not a big deal, except that her car is a stick shift sports sedan and I have not driven a stick shift for more than 20 years. But I managed.
It did not stop me either when she suggested that we go and eat at the Manila Sunset Grille even though it was quite a drive through heavy traffic and busy freeways. Stick shift and all, I was determined to go.
Below is what I ordered:
I know, lumpiang sariwa, bibingka and halo-halo may not necessarily go together, but that’s what I have not tasted for a while.
And while I was savoring these food, Jose Mari Chan’s songs were playing over head which adds more to the nostalgic feel. One particular song that stroke a chord was “Christmas in Our Hearts.”
Perhaps it was more than the traditional home food and the Manila sunset that I was really missing. And it’s definitely not the kanal and estero.
(*photos taken with an iPhone)