Makansutra Disappointment…

I was super excited to try Makansutra Asian Food Village at the 2nd Floor of Manila Ocean Park. Ever since our family’s Singapore food trip (see: Singapore Makan Food Trip – My Top 10 Favorites! and Singapore Makan Food that did not make the cut), I was craving for authentic Makan cuisine here in Manila.

I had very high expectations because the food stall is owned and managed by KF Seetoh, the author and founder of the Singapore food bible – Makansutra. I must admit OAP was inspired by it.

I was disappointed. First, I failed to meet KF Seetoh (by a few days) and the Singapore Chefs when they opened Makansutra. Second, the food tasted like another Pinoy version of Makan dishes because of the all-Pinoy chef crew. None of the 38 pinoy crew “had ever been to nor eaten anything from Singapore and Malaysia.”

Having said that, the Makansutra Asian Food Village is worth a try because 7 out of my Top 10 Makan Favorites are available and the hawker-style food court concept is something unique in Manila.

The Pinoy Chefs in Makansutra were trained by Five Singapore Street Food Masters (source: Tips from the Masters in opening our food court in Manila):

1. Mohd Hussin (or Sam)  from Alhambra Padang Satay at Gluttons Bay by the Esplanade;

2. Mohamed Nasiruddeen Hudek (or Deen) from Flavours Prata (210 South Bridge Road);

3. Francis Yeo (Ah Heng) from Tian Jin Hai Seafood (01-09 Zion Road Riverside Food Centre);

4. Alex See of Geylang Lor 29 Fried Hokkien Mee (396 East Coast Road); and

5. Cheng King Tong, Hokkien- and Mandarin-speaking full-time trainer.

I’m still hoping to meet KF Seetoh and any of the Singapore Street-food Masters one of these days when they visit Manila.

Let me give you a tour of the Makansutra Asian Food Village…

Satay (P135 – Chicken, P120 – Pork, P160 – Beef). Indonesian Style Sweet & Spicy meat skewers with a rich peanut sauce

Makansutra Asian Food Village is designed in an open-kitchen island setup with 14 stations serving Filipino, Singaporean, Malaysian, Thai, Indian and a few Western dishes. It is similar to a food court or Kopitiam style where you can order from any of the self-service cashiers. It is like going to a hawker place located in the middle of a restaurant setting. 

BBQ Chicken Wings (P125) Chicken wings chargrilled for juice and fragrance

Satay and the chicken wings are the most popular dishes that are already available here in Manila. We decided not to order them anymore because you can usually get them at other Asian restaurants.

Filipino Favorites including Pork Sinigang (P80), Beef Bulalo (P80), Pork Adobo (P80), Chicken Adobo (P80), Chop Suey (P70), and Grilled Tilapia (P125)

Of course, our Filipino food favorites are available and served turo-turo style.

Most of the Makan soups are available, including Singapore Laksa, Lor Mee, Bak Chor Mee, and Hae Mee Soup.

Prawn Mee Soup (P130) 

Instead of the Singapore Laksa, we ordered this prawn soup for the kids — but it was still too spicy for their taste buds.

Oyster Omelet with Rice (P125)

My wife Rache was craving for this oyster omelet but she found it too oily. The oysters were cooked separately from the omelet — this is not how we remember this particular dish as cooked by the hawkers of Singapore.


Thai dishes are also available…

Khao Gai Jao (P100) – Thai crispy egg rice with spicy minced pork
Khao Kai Moo (P100) – Thai stewed pork trotter in a sweet spicy sauce with rice
Khao Pad Krapao Gai (P115) – Thai spicy basil chicken rice
Tom Yam Soup (P110) – Spicy sour & refreshing with meat vegetables and rice

The most popular station, of course, is the Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice!

Singapore Chicken Rice (Regular – P140) – Fragrant jasmine rice cooked in chicken stock with poached chicken, pickles, piquant chili — Singapore’s National dish

It was good but not something to rave about. The rice lacked the flavor and aroma that we love in our chicken rice.

Bak Kuh Teh (P95) – Prime Pork Ribs  “Tea” infused, with Pepper and Garlic

The taste is a bit subtle. It is almost the same way we cooked it at home using a Bak Kuh Teh mix.


If you are a fan of Roti Prata, check out the Malaysian/ Indonesian cuisine stall.

Nasi Lemak (P125) – Soft coconut rice with fried chicken wing, seafood sambal, potato cutlet egg & cucumbers
Gado Gado (P90) – chopped & blanced fresh garden greens with egg & rice cakes smothered in an indonesian sweet spicy peanut sauce
Mee Rebus (P90) – Singapore style boiled yellow noodles flooded with a rich, thick seafood sauce with egg, bean sprouts & tofu
Roti Prata (P90) – South Indian flipped & pan fried bread with a smooth curry – 2 pieces per order.
Nasi Goring with Satay Fried Egg (P125) – sambal fried rice with 2 sticks skewers, fried egg & archar (sweet spicy pickles)
Soto Ayam (P90) – Indonesian style, light spicy chicken broth with yellow noodles shredded chicken bean sprouts & potato cutlet
Pinoy Chef cooking the Singapore Fried Noodles

Cha Kway Teow (P120) – Kway teow & hokkien mee wok fried in sweet & savoury soy sauce topped with seafood & bean sprouts
Cha Hae Mae (P120) – been hoon & hokkien mee wok fried & braised in rich prawn stock topped with prawns, squid, pork, bean sprouts, & chives

We are going back to try the Chili or Pepper Crabs! (Let me know if anybody tried it already…)

Chili Crabs (P1,800) –  Singapore’s National Favorite – done in a thick spicy tomato & eggy sauce
Pepper Crabs (P1,800) – Robustly enlivened with black & white pepper, oyster sauce & Chinese wine 
Grilled Sambal Bangus (P390) or Tilapia (P275) – Banana leaf-grilled with an addictive onion sambal & calamansi
Sambal Clams (P300) or Squid (P275) – Flash-pan fried with a smooth sambal
Punggol Mee Goreng – P150

“You see what you like, order, pay and go eat in an environment with an eclectic mix of kopitiam tables, chairs and old Spanish style street café furniture with Indonesian tok panjang seatings.”  

Dimsum, of course!
Siomai (4pcs – P75), Hakaw (4pcs – P95), Taosi Spareribs (P75), Chicken Feet (P60), Tai Pao (1pc- P100), Asado Pao (1pc – P40), – Bola bola Pao (1pc – P40), Chicken Pao (1pc – P40), Lin Yong Bao (1pc-P40), Tausa Bao (1pc- P40), Beancurd skin (P60), and Cheon Fun (P70)

Kung Pao Chicken (P100)
Seafood Muifan (P125) – fluffy rice smothered with seafood & eggy sauce
Seafood Horfun (P140) – fried kway teow with seafood & sauce
Prawn Paste Chicken (P200) – golden fried chicken pieces marinated in Chinese paste & wine (3pcs)
Ginger & Onion Fish Slices (P130)
Sweet & Sour Pork (P130)

If you are looking for a safe order for your foreigner friend or for your kids, order the western dishes…

Spaghetti Vongole (P110) – done in white wine reduction sauce with juicy clams
Seafood Marinara (P130) – refreshing tomato sauce spaghetti with fresh seafood
Fish & Chips (P175) – done golden brown & crispy
Grilled Chicken (P175) – boneless chicken thigh with mushroom sauce
Spaghetti Aglio Olio (P130) – pan tossed in olive oil, garlic & fresh seafood
Grilled Beef Striploin (P300) – sirloin, grilled for smokiness with caramelized onions
Spaghetti Carbonara (P120) – creamy pasta with streaky beacon

The food is definitely oily, using authentic Singaporean ingredients and cooked the Pinoy way.

Here is a tip: You can pay via Credit Card at the drinks and desserts cashier. We ordered around P600 and we got 4 complimentary tickets (worth P150 each) to watch the Little Mermaid show. 🙂 BTW, we just went to Manila Ocean Park to eat in Makansutra without entering the Oceanarium itself.


The Drinks and Beverage lineup is almost complete –> Beverage, Drinks | Juice & Desserts

Michael Jackson (P60) Soy Milk with Black Gulaman and Longan Drink (P45).

Aidan liked the longan better because it has the same flavor as taho.

Kopi/ Teh (P45) with Roti Kaya Toast (P80 – 2 pieces)

Kopi and Roti Kaya to end your Makansutra meal!

Ice Kacang (P85).  The Makan Halo Halo version that we shared family-style.

Cheng Tng (P75). If you are adventurous, try this healthy and sweet dessert made of longans, barley, gingko nuts, white fungus, pandan leaf and red dates. (I had to finish this myself…)

Makansutra Asian Food Village
2nd Floor, Manila Ocean Park, Luneta, 
Behind the Quirino Grandstand, Manila, Philippines 
Opening Hours 11am – 9pm daily

Live an Awesome Life,  

Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2009. 

prof. blog:
mobile: +63917-LOVEOAP (5683627) 

50 thoughts on “Makansutra Disappointment…

  1. the chili crab and pepper crab looks pricey! pang ilang tao yun?
    also, what’s the little mermaid show? is that at the oceanarium? ibig sabihin, to see the mermaids, you have to pay the P400 entrance fee tapos P150 additional for the show?

  2. The best oyster omelet I’ve tasted here in Manila is the one sold at the Legaspi Market on Sundays. The stall is near the place that sells Nachos. Try it and I tell you, you won’t be disappointed.

  3. I was in the soft opening/press launch of this, and I think we met KF Seetoh. Haha, i’m trying to remember so hard right now. haha!
    they had this omelette with fish, it was good!
    that made it memorable for me.
    I loved the barley lemonade in the drinks department.

  4. i want iced chendol!!! They don’t have it? dowan kachang!
    and here i was looking forward to it. i miss duck rice and popiah too! i wanna move back!

  5. Anton,
    The Oyster cakes (Owa-Chien) can easily be found in any restaurant in Binondo. Btw, there is no such thing as ‘Makan’ cuisine, Makan in Malay simply means to eat and Makan Sutra translates to Eating Sutra.

  6. two of the blogs i follow posted disappointments with these food place.
    ms. cecile van straten posted almost the same comment on her blog a couple of days ago.
    so i guess it’s not worth to try. thanks.

  7. The oyster cake at the Legaspi market is ok, but it doesn’t beat the Thai or Sing oyster omelette’s I’ve had in Bangkok or Singapore. There used to be this little dive in Binondo that made great oyster omelettes, plump and juicy, plus they’d never feed you oysters if they knew it was a bad season.
    You’d think they’d bring at least the head waiters and chefs to Singapore if they plan to set up a hawker style center.

  8. do they have yong tao fu and mee pok? those are my fave singapore dishes besides laksa.. yummm.. can’t wait to go to singapore for food trip this september!

  9. Nice Anton. Do I have to pay the entrance fee to the Manila Ocean Park before I can get to the Makasuntra Asian Food Village?

  10. No you don't need to enter the Oceanarium which has a P400 fee. Makansutra is part of the Manila Ocean Park complex and is located in the mall.


  11. my friend who works for Manila Ocean Park invited us there during the blessing of the place (we also got to taste everything for free =) ). Although based from my mom’s feedback, it was a long shot from the one which is in singapore. i did like the clam sambal, though. and also the kalamansi drink.
    let me know of your suggestions anton, and i will pass them to my friend. they need improvements. =)

  12. Thanks for the very good article. It would sure be great if the food stalls in the Manila area would be graded for
    cleanliness like the food stalls in the hawker centers in Singapore are and it would be very great if we could rest assured these ratings were honest.

  13. Hi Anton, like you i was also disappointed by the food served at makansutra. Although price is cheap but the portions are small and theres something wrong with the taste, it just wasnt authentic. The only food I like there is the hainanese chicken, its good but not really great (ive tasted better white cut chicken around the metro, wan chai in binondo comes to mind). On the plus side, I do like the concept of the place, its new and unique. hopefully they could improve their offerings as well as service and sana they open sa mga malls to make it more accessible. SM mall of asia would be a great place to put up one or even somewhere in makati or the fort. Anyways, theres a newly opened singaporean resto in chinatown. Its authentic in the sense that the owner/ chef is singaporean. So whenever he speaks english he always ends it with the syllable “lah”. For example “Chicken is very good lah” “Kaya toast is also good lah” hehehe. Place is a little shabby siguro walang budget. Its located along t pinpin near escolta right beside popeye’s chicken. Price is also cheap. for a quarter hainanese chickn with singaporean fried rice, soup and veggies for only 69pesos

  14. Hi kayenne. I believe popiah is like vegetable lumpia with fresh wrapper. You can find there in a lot of places in chinatown in Manila. We also make them from scratch at home together with my relatives, its a tedious process kaya bonding moment na ren namin. heheh Duck rice marami din sa chinatown just eat to your heart content.

  15. I still have high hopes for this restaurant.
    I don’t expect much from it. But this is KF Seetoh we’re talking about. the Wikipedia of Singapore Hawker Cuisine. And bad quality, he does not accept.
    I see alot of positives based on your blog alone.
    1.) There’s a HUGE VARIETY. We get malay, indian, and chinese cuisine. there’s singapore hawker culture in a nut shell right there. Kulang nalang is bawal ipagsama ang Cutlery ng Muslim and Non Muslims, and it’s SINGAPORE!!!
    2.) Seetoh seems to have invested a lot of money here.
    3.) it’s not too often that we get to fly to singapore. Well, time mostly. And this can satisfy my odd cravings of NASI LEMAK and Mee Rebus, and Char Kway Teow . 🙂
    pero nga, sana he brought some Yong tao Fu.. Maybe in the future. 🙂
    btw Old Manila Walks/ Adobo Shirt Boy, you screwed up your Bourdain Chance, and was wonderfully edited out of Bobby Chin’s Show. So you better just shut the heck up about your owa Chien!
    But you are right that Makan just means “To Eat.” but also a slang for “awesome” ie, “That’s Makan, Lah!” “Our Makan Planet”. Maybe that is the source of this site’s name? But i disgress.
    In closing, thanks for this write up, and Ivan Man Dy the Adobo Shirt Boy is hated by a lot of people for screwing up No Reservations. Well thanks for being part of the worst NR episode ever.
    PS the Oyster Omelette is cooked that way in Singapore as well. the one where it’s part of a pancake style is hokkien/ taiwanese version.

  16. Any popiah?
    I ate this for almost a week in Sg with the Longan juice and di ako nagsawa hehe!!!
    Plus the paratha!
    Si Jin-jie naman puro mutton that time haha!!!

  17. just consider what you’re saying. the hawker center concept demands that there is a head chef for each cuisine + the sauces (yes they do). So, if they did bring the head waiters and chefs to Manila, then the prices would go all the way up. Also, they do have an F&B operations engineer here + an SG chef.

  18. hmmm is going there worth it? im not really sure upon reading the comments. hehe.. but my grilfriend is into singapore food. she’s been there once and i plan to surprise her by taking her there.. would you suggest the place? 🙂 thanks!
    anton! great post by the way, i got what i needed to know. :)you are helping a lot of people. keep it coming!

  19. hello there!
    i’ve been longing for singaporean cuisine since i went back from SG in 2006. Good thing that we have it in here. I have not tried this place yet but im planning to. I just hope it would pass my SG tastebuds. hehe
    nice review! im soooo thirsty for the lemon barley!

  20. Having lived in Brunei and Singapore for seven years, I was really looking forward in trying out Makansutra. I ordered the kueh teow noodles and barbequed chicken wings and it was nowhere near the one sold in hawker stalls 🙁 The kueh teow noodles had too much soya sauce and was too sweet and oily; the barbequed chicken wings also tasted so ordinary 🙁 Has anyone tried Banana Leaf if its any good?Thanks, Anton. I’m an avid follower of your blog for great eats 🙂 Looking forward to our dinner buffet in Circles, Shangri La this friday 🙂

  21. Prawn mee is one of my favorite Malaysian/Singaporean dishes. The one pictured here does not look close to the prawn mee I know. Looks more like a sinigang prawn mee.
    Anway, the best oyster omelet I tried in Singapore is not in hawker center. It’s in a “proper” restaurant inside a mall. It was done in a very simple way right on our table. The waiter brought a hot plate, placed the raw oyster meat on the hot plate, added one egg and mixed everything together. That’s it.

  22. i have the same comments. we visited the place around September, i really like its ambiance – just like Food Republic, Singapore. So i was really expecting the same taste in their food – but it seems it doesn’t offer the same taste (how i’ve tried those dishes in singapore). am not sure if I ordered the wrong ones. i wasn’t really happy only the barley drink was the same.
    but i will try to go back again.. i just cant believe too that its owned by a singaporean. maybe i had very high expectations. unless they want the singaporean concept but adjusted to filipino taste?
    oh and i couldnt believe that they charged me P5.00 for each take-out containers!

  23. Hello!
    Myf amily and I went there yesterday and we tried their chicken rice, ice kacang and black carrot cake which I believe you forgot to mention. I’m not happy with their chicken rice, it’s bland and not good, doesn’t have that “addicting” factor chicken rice has which I love so much… I make a better chicken rice than that….
    The black carrot cake is not that good but can pass. Good enough to satisfy the craving. I also make my own carrot cake and they were nice enough to share some tips where to buy ingredients once I ran out! Oh the “cake” was cut too small unlike how it’s served in Singapore….

  24. Thanks for naming the different kinds of food offered. They were not unforgettable so when I was writing my food review, I can’t name any except for the Michael Jackson drink and Phad Thai. lol. Thanx a lot, it’s now done and I can submit it to my teacher.

  25. Went there last Sunday with the kids, ordered the chicken rice, Cha Kway Teow, Laksa and the fish and chips for the kids. I wanted to order the oyster omelet but after reading the reviews here, I decided to skip on it sans getting disappointed. Well, the chicken rice was around a 6/10, the rice was a bit tough, maybe it needed to cook a bit more, but the chicken was tender and the sauce 80% authentic. It was ok to a point that I had seconds. The laksa was another 6/10, the soup a bit watered down and lacked the fresh taste and scent of the coconut milk, but again not bad. The fish and chips was actually the best dish! The fish was cooked to perfection and the fries, my kids loved it! The major disappointment was the cha kway teow, which was what my wife was looking forward to having. This I have to give a 3/10. It was a combination of noodles with a very sweet, something like bbq/oyster sauce combination. Not even close to what is sold in Singapore! I just brought it home to eat as a snack. So there you go, around 50% authenticity I must say. Not bad, but not like what was expected.

  26. We had dinner at Makansutra recently and unlike the hawker places in Singapore the place was not self-service, fast food style. Orders were taken by the waiters and there was a very loooong wait for the food to arrive. The staff (or at least our order-taker) was not familiar with the menu items. We also noticed a lot of mix-ups with the orders at the other tables. We noticed that plates were being sent to the wrong tables not just once or twice. There seemed to be no system inside the kitchen and among the wait staff. The comfort room was also very dirty. I hope they can improve on their food and service since the concept is very promising.

  27. Was there today, sunday, around 2pm, hungry, tired from walking and looking for it.
    Impressive layout and design. Nice to see the cooks cooking.. food fresh, pictures of the pics were AMAZINGLY APPETIZING. The place was filled but not for a section. Was with my 2 kids and thier lolo and lola plus wife too.
    Excited to try the food ( cos were going to singapore in a couple of days ), this was research.
    Got a table for 7, had to call a lady for a menu, her name i remember started with a K, that was all i got from her, waited for another 10 minutes. Seems the only a few could take orders.
    Asked another person to assist, but again… No reaction, they dont even smile there, again waited. had to leave after 20 minutes. I was so disappointed, even looked for the lady who i got the menu from that I had to leave. No effort at all to ask us to stay. I think She was happier that we left, other servers there did not care.
    Maybe the place was exclusive to singaporeans as well.. hmmm, hope not.
    At least the pictures looked good!
    Wont go back tho! had lunch at the resto on the 1st floor, the tried and tested better tasting than their pics GERRY’s Grill…

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