This was literally the best Ultimate Taste Test ever!
Thank you to our Lord for making the event memorable and successful. Thank you to all the purveyors, foodies, blogger friends, industry partners and sponsors for making the UTT 10th Anniversary Edition a historic success.
And the Winners of The Ultimate Taste Test 10th Anniversary Edition are…
Live an Awesome Life,
Founder, Our Awesome Planet
A DECADE OF FLAVORS: Ultimate Taste Test XVII 10th Year Anniversary
Text by Roxi, Photos by Carmi
Sweet, sour, salty or simply oozing with umami—the Ultimate Taste Test has been serving it for ten years. And in a 10-hour feast held last August 31, Our Awesome Planet did it again!
Dubbed as the longest-running tasting event in the country, OAP’s Ultimate Taste Test XVII may have just bagged the biggest taste event title as well as it filled up the SM Aura SMX Convention Center with 40 food entrepreneurs and ~1,000 food enthusiasts.
With so much more hunger to raise the bar, this year’s banquet included 20+ beverage purveyors from Agos Pilipinas. Agos is a community of beverage enthusiasts providing avenues for the showcase of spirit cocktail, craft beer, artisanal coffee and specialty juices.
For a first-timer attending a tasting event, this notable addition has undeniably elevated my experience! I found myself wandering the hall without a care about time as I indulged in an enthusing cycle of sampling mouth-watering food and trying out delectable drinks.
Probably one of the things I appreciated most about this gathering was that it gave equal power to food lovers—seasoned and newbies alike, to quantify their food encounters. Through an online voting system, we were equipped with voices to express our verdict. We spoke and we were heard.
Thank you to all our sponsors!
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Here are the top 25 hits (rated 3.4 and above) in this year’s Ultimate Taste Test:
1. Mad Mark’s Creamery and Good Eats
Overall Rating: 3.92
Must-Try: Apple Orchard Kombucha, Peach Blossom Kombucha
Mad Mark’s Creamery and Good Eats isn’t exactly a rookie in the industry. I mean, their Strawberry Cheesecake, Javan Hot Chocolate Ice Cream & Cookie Malt and Superlative Espresso Ice Cream certainly ring a bell. But this year, they took a bold step toward the Kind Kulture—the craft Kombucha culture!
Kombucha is a probiotic drink produced by using fermented black or green tea. I must disclose that I have always refused to try it. But seeing theirs served fresh from the tap made me break my rule. And boy did I not regret it! Their Peach Blossom Kombucha was crisp and thirst-quenching. Their Apple Orchard Kombucha, however, was the one for me. With its sweet and the smooth aftertaste, I absolutely see this refreshing drink being a part of my everyday routine!
About Mad Mark’s
WE ARE AN ICE CREAM PARLOR, that specializes in homemade ice cream and American style food, inspired by our time in San Francisco.
We started honing our craft out of our obsession for insanely Great Ice Cream.
Our friends and family from the Bay Area used to watch us scrape vanilla beans, bake cookies and roast nuts from our own kitchen that you now taste in our ice cream. We started with a small hand-cranked machine and patiently waited for it to churn, batch after batch, to create the perfect recipe.
In 2011, we decided to share our love for Great Ice Cream to everyone and opened our first store in Kapitolyo. By sourcing the best ingredients all over the world and preparing everything from scratch, we try to create the most awesome and purest flavors you can try!
Homemade Ice Cream. Homemade Integrity.
Mad Mark’s Glorietta 3: +632 576-4463
Mad Mark’s BGC Central Square: +632 946-389
Mad Mark’s UP Town Center:+632 946-3350
Mad Mark’s Pioneer: +63 927 334-8134
Mad Mark’s BGC Stopover: +632 759-4437
Mad Mark’s Robinsons Galleria: +632 254-5049
2. Joni and Susan Agroshop Inc.
Overall Rating: 3.92
Must-Try: Mushroom Dinakdakan, Jonibee Honey Glazed Chicken
Joni and Susan Agroshop Inc. firmly believe that planting is the best way to ensure the quality of food. This enterprise started out as an urban farming facility in San Pablo, Laguna, but gaining popularity and sufficient funds only inspired them to think of more ways to forward their advocacy. Soon after, they established an eatery within their facility called the Greenhouse Restaurant. This way, visitors can experience a refreshing farm-to-table dining experience where 80-100% of the ingredients are directly harvested from their farm.
Dinakdakan is an Ilokano staple commonly known for using grilled pork parts. But Joni and Susan Agroshop decided to add a healthy and delicious twist to this dish—they used oyster mushroom instead. Paired with their secret Dinakdakan dressing, this dish found its way to our hearts through our bellies, emerging victorious in this year’s Ultimate Taste Test.
About Joni and Susan Agroshop Inc.
Joni and Susan Agroshop Inc. is the main company, already operating for 8 years.
Joni and Susan Agroshop was born out of the need and desire to succeed. But it blossomed into inspiration and passion.
In 2011, we started visiting various provinces mainly in the north, talking to farmers, farm owners, businessmen and other agriculture-related institutions and agencies. Our end goal was clear: to sell the soil conditioner we were marketing. Our effort elicited various responses but mainly suspicion. Our urban looks and sales pitch did not convey any knowledge or expertise in farming and agriculture. We did not gain people’s trust and were mocked at times. Instead of feeling disheartened, we took the challenge. We decided that we will not just give a sales pitch. We would be practitioners.
Motivated by a desire to prove something, we started organic container gardening. The lack of land did not deter us from pursuing our goal of becoming “experienced farmer”. We grabbed every container, filled them with soil, planted every possible vegetable and hanged them in every nook and cranny in our house. We were hungry to learn all about farming so we talked to people, asked questions, researched and tried. It was not easy at first, but we worked hard and persevered. It didn’t take long for us to discover an important benefit of farming to one’s health and nutrition. Our health is paramount and the only way to ensure the quality of food we eat is to plant it ourselves. That motivated us further.
We leverage technology and posted photos of our garden and produce on Facebook. Soon, people who saw the photos took an interest in what we are doing. They came and visited us. Many purchased vegetables and we started to make some income. That fueled our entrepreneurial spirit and decided to convert our hobby into a business. We rented a lot in the middle of subdivision in San Pablo City, Laguna and turn it into an urban farm complete with bahay -kubo as our office and store. We stocked up seeds and other farming products for people to purchase. Finally, we launched the “Pick and Pay “scheme where people can come and pick the produce of their choice and then pay for it. This gave them a pleasant experience and got them asking about urban farming. Gradually, a few started requesting us to replicate what we do in their vacant lots. Those requests commenced our land conversion business and plantation programs. We want everyone to know that farming is important because it provides a livelihood to the community and it contributes to the country’s poverty reduction.
Just Recently we have been accredited by the DOT-Calabarzon as one of the Official Agri-tourism Site in San Pablo City Laguna.
Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms
Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms just started its construction on August year 2018 and officially opened its doors on September 2019. This is a 6-hectare property but only 2 hectares is being developed into an Agri-tourism farm. The main attraction of the farm is the Sunflower Mazes, currently, there are 5 mazes that provide blooms all year round. Following this attraction is the Mushroom Village where we grow our oyster mushrooms, The Bahay Kubo, The Vegetable Garden, The Greenhouse Restaurant which is literally a greenhouse full of edible plants where you can sit and dine, Bee Hives, Cattles and the corn plantation.
Other Activities include ATV Rides, Pick and Pay, Seminars and Training and Cattle Feeding.
The Greenhouse Restaurant
The company has always been promoting container gardening and converting idle backyards into a sustainable vegetable garden for our clients and this became our inspiration in putting up The Greenhouse Restaurant.
We offer farm to table dining experience, where 80-100% of the ingredients came from our gardens to maintain the freshness of the dish.
JONI AND SUSAN AGROSHOP AND INTEGRATED FARMS
THE GREENHOUSE RESTAURANT
Telephone: +63 917 165 8053 (Globe), +63 933 452 3751 (Sun)
Facebook: Joni and Susan Agroshop, Inc.
3. Bao Asian Treasures
Overall Rating: 3.81
Must-Try: Black Truffle & Mushroom Siomai, Shrimp & Mushroom Siomai
Bao Asian Treasures aims to provide premium siomai that is both body and budget-friendly. Bao takes pride in their no artificial extenders, no preservatives, no MSG and no chicken powder dim sum. To top it off, they use lean pork and fresh wild shrimps to guarantee more filling bites. Trying out this chunky piece of meat for the first time will make you understand why Bao is a certified Asian Treasure.
About Bao Asian Treasures
I looked into the available siomai in grocery stores and most are with an orange coloring dot on top and the ingredients list usually includes MSG and chicken powder. But I don’t want to give my kids any of those and I believe that there are a lot of people who, if given a choice, will opt to buy a healthy siomai for their family than settle for anything less because really, health is wealth. I know that by using just the good and honest ingredients, I can make a siomai that I can be proud of, one that I can confidently serve my family and share to my friends. Thus, Bao Asian Treasures is born!
We at Bao Asian Treasures aim to make healthy versions of Asian delicacies be readily available at the comfort of everyone’s home. We guarantee that this is as good as what you will make for yourself and your family—no chemicals, no extenders, no fillers or whatsoever just to bring down the cost.
This is really for all the busy people who want a really good and healthy product but just don’t have the time or don’t know how to make one for themselves.
We hope that our products will become a staple item in every household freezers then eventually make it into kids’ lunch boxes, dining tables, gatherings & gift giving.
Our first product is Shrimp & Mushroom Siomai. This is made of wild-caught shrimp (not farmed/cultured), shiitake mushroom and fresh lean pork. No extenders like TVP or MDM. No MSG nor chicken powder. No orange coloring dot. No preservatives. Just real honest to goodness siomai.
Our second product is made specially for those allergic to shrimp—Mushroom Siomai. The same healthy siomai goodness but without the wild-caught shrimp.
Our third product is Black Truffle and Mushroom Siomai. This is simillar to the Mushroom Siomai but made really fragrant and luxurious with Italian Black Summer Truffle in it. (This product is our entry to the Ultimate Taste Test)
After some time, some really health conscious customers requested us to use organic pork in our healthy siomai. Thus, we made the same 3 variants using organic pork for them.
Bao Insulated bags are also available. These keep our product frozen for at least 8 hours. These are usually bought for gift giving and for long travel.
We sell online, thru some bazaars and school events. We have a couple of retail partners in Metro Manila that are usually specialty grocery shops like The Blue Kitchen (Power Plant Mall, Shangri-la Plaza and Uptown Mall), Jash Mart (N. Roxas), Wei Wang (Wilson), Titallennials (Malacañang), Sunshine Fruit Bar (Banawe), Marvs Boqueria (Arranque, Binondo), Shell Select (SLEX, NLEX, Doña Soledad) and The Green Company (San Juan and Pasig).
4. Chef Mira’s
Overall Rating: 3.77
Must-Try: Nori Cream Cheese, Bacon Caramel Cream Cheese
Chef Mira has been making spreads since 1999, but a decade in the food business has not made her complacent. This is clearly evident in the new flavors she recently came up with. Being a fan of anything cream cheese, my eyes lit up upon seeing her table. Just as the line of stands was about to end, I saw two small jars staring at me. The jars were labeled “Nori Cream Cheese” and “Bacon Caramel Cream Cheese.” I almost instantly picked up a biscuit glazed with a fair amount of spread on top.
The Bacon Caramel Cream cheese met my expectations; it was sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy. Finding real bacon bits in my mouth was just delightful. The Nori Cream Cheese, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise. The nori seaweed’s strong yet distinctive flavor complemented the cream cheese’s familiarity. Thanks to Chef Mira’s indulging me; it took me rounds of going back before officially declaring I was in cream cheese heaven!
About Chef Mira’s
The Woman behind Miradips
Mira Angeles always knew what she wanted. And early on, she knew that making sumptuous meals was one of them.
So at the age of 8, Mira began cooking under the guidance of her mother and Nora Daza’s helpful recipes and tips on Cooking it up with Nora Daza.
What started as a hobby became a starving passion to be satisfied only by creating new recipes and cooking for get-togethers. Seeing the eyes of family and friends light up at the taste of flavorful home-cooked meals also never failed to become a thrilling experience. The happiness that her dishes brought to the dinner table definitely fulfilled her ever yearning desire to cook.
Mira furthered her learning and earned certificates for Fundamentals of Culinary Arts and Fundamentals of Pastry at ISCAHM. Soon after, she trained under the best chefs in the Philippines and gained a wealth of experience.
Ms. Micky Fenix’s contribution to Mira’s career as a chef was pivotal. She introduced Mira to the world of food and endless possibilities in the kitchen. This journey of discovery added a new meaning to preparing meals as well as entertaining family and friends with delicious food creations.
A Dips Story
Mira’s first dip was created during her past time. Mixing some herbs and butter in a kitchen experiment, she discovered an herb butter recipe to call her own. Not long after, these dips found their way to the doctor’s lounge of St. Lukes where her sister was earning her residency. Co-doctors and employees of the hospital had a first taste of Mira’s handmade herb butter and gained a steady following since then.
Experimenting on cream cheeses came soon after and became a savory appetizer to the main entrée of having a holiday treat that were great for gifts. The Christmas season has always been an exciting time for Mira to create and sell her one of a kind dips. This left her kitchen always bustled with wonderful aroma and delectable ideas from December until February of the following year.
Mira officially started creating unique dips in the year 2000.
It might seem like a natural choice to mix Mira’s name with her creations. But every name tells a different story. And this one is about taking flight and celebrating one’s success.
At first, Mira was second-guessing a friend’s suggestion to use her name for the dips. It seemed like too big a risk to turn one’s name into a brand, she thought.
Finding significant meaning into her name really drained Mira’s hesitations away. After learning that Mira means wonderful in Latin and awesome in another language, using her name seemed like a good idea after all. This good idea became perfect when she discovered that a red giant star is also her namesake. This star is said to be the brightest cosmic element that is not visible to the naked eye.
So in 2012, Miradips became the official name of her wonderful kitchen creations after being known as Gourmet Dips and Dressings by Mira Angeles for quite some time.
After a series of other ventures such as opening a restaurant named Spell Kitchen in 2016 and closing it in February 2018. Mira finally decided to use her own name—Chef Mira’s and started to enjoy a steady clientele at bazaars in SM Aura, Robinsons Magnolia and some Shell Select Stores.
Chef Mira’s has 3 flavors: Sundried tomato cream cheese, Cheese Pimiento, Pesto Cream Cheese. Two new flavors will be added and soon to be tested at the Ultimate Taste Test in SM Aura. Mira first had the dips tried out in the first UTT in 2009.
Overall Rating: 3.77
Must-Try: Classic Break Cookie, Dark Night Cookie
Chip is a relatively new cookie maker yet it perfectly captures a cookie in its traditional sense—it smells like home, its baked with love and it makes you feel giddy on the inside. Their cookies are soft, chewy, and chunky, just the way we want them! Available in classic break cookie and dark night cookie variants, Chip is undoubtedly on its way to becoming a cookie monster in the food sphere!
I have been baking my years-old recipe since i was in high school. Secretly, I love to make things in the kitchen. Growing up, I loved soft batch cookies which pushed me to design my own recipe—soft batch cookies according to my own taste.
Fast forward to today, finally, I made it into a brand and started selling them. So that it’s not just me who can enjoy them, but other people as well. Now my love for baking things isn’t a secret anymore, and that’s okay. As long as those who get to try my cookies get a happy tummy, then I’m good. 🙂
We make good cookies and stuff
Mobile: +63 917 1188 749
6. Artisanal Food Inc.
Overall Rating: 3.71
Must-Try: Mango-wood Smoked Bacon, Spanish Chorizo
Do we want our bacon all-natural and without artificial preservatives? If yes, then Artisanal Food Inc. could be your go-to place for breakfast food. Serving quality bacon and sausages, their line of products is a perfect match for a steaming cup of rice or a freshly baked pandesal. If you’re feeling frisky, their Spanish Chorizo can also be paired with a proper glass of wine.
Artisanal Food’s Mango-wood smoked bacon instantly became a hit because of the subtle hint of mango infused with their bacon’s original seasoning. If eating were a crime, then I’m pleading guilty for consistently coming back to their stand for seconds, thirds and, maybe, even fourths!
About Artisanal Food Inc.
Our story starts with the love of breakfast food, especially when it comes to bacon and sausages. Unfortunately, these kinds of food aren’t best to be consumed on a daily basis so we wanted to create our own bacon and sausages to ensure that the process and ingredients are not harmful. As our process of making bacon and sausages improved, we started thinking that it would be great to share this with our community.
At Artisanal Food Inc., our products go through a loving and careful process—from meat selection to handling, curing and packing. We only use high-quality meat, natural preservatives such as curing and smoking and finishing the process by packing it in a vacuum-sealed bag. Our aim is to provide natural, handmade and quality food to every Filipino household.
Artisanal Food Inc.
Handmade and All Natural. Delivered right at your doorstep.
Telephone: +63917 677 0116
Overall Rating: 3.70
Must-Try: Lick Island Mango, Lick Iced Tea
Lick is a relatively young yet capable competitor in the local flavored tea industry. Their quirky variants—Raspberry, Huckleberry, Southern Sweet Peach, Giant Apple Tea, Sicilian Lemon and Sakura Blossom only attest to the creativity of the people behind it. Despite being playful, Lick does not fail to address what’s important. This is why each bottle is naturally sweetened with Stevia Plant Extract.
While Lick has introduced their brand with glass-bottled iced teas, their Lick Island Mango undeniably stood out for me. Lick Island Mango is a sweet attempt to fit all of our islands’ fresh and ripe mangoes in one ready-to-drink bottle!
About Lick Iced Tea
Lick is a brand of locally made, glass bottled teas (& juices) that uses a combination of natural sweeteners such as sugar, honey and stevia.
Our Lick Iced Teas (Raspberry, Giant Apple Tea, Sicilian Lemon, Southern Sweet Peach, Huckleberry) are a masterful blend of green & black tea extracts with sugar & stevia combination as sweeteners.
Our Sakura variant is a green-tea based drink that gives a lighter and equally refreshing beverage. We use honey, sugar and stevia combination as sweeteners for this.
Our Island Mango variant is a 100% Philippine Island Mango juice drink. The only ingredients we use are water, mango and sugar.
Lick came about when we noticed an opportunity in the market for premium, quality beverages that cater to the A & B market. Since a lot of our competitors are fighting for the lower market classes, we saw that there are only a handful of players in our segment, and, using glass as one of our major selling points since we are also a partner of WWF for their #AyokongPlastik campaign, we wanted to spearhead using glass bottles (that we recycle!) on our drinks. Apart from it being inert to a lot of chemical reactions if we used plastics, we also believe that all beverages taste infinitely better if drank from a glass packaging/container (even water!) it tastes bolder, crisper and has a fuller flavor.
We’re a small player with big dreams, our mission is to provide Filipinos premium quality beverages using only the finest and natural ingredients that are as good as it tastes as to what they have to pay and hopefully achieve our grand vision to be the top-of-mind choice for Filipinos when it comes to premium and quality beverages.
South Carolina Beverages Inc. (Lick Iced Tea)
100% Green and Black Tea. Naturally Sweetened with Stevia. 100% Local
Mobile: +63 917 678-3191 / +63 917 634-8013/ +63 998 282-4702/
Telephone: +632 252-4602
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Facebook: Lick Iced Tea
8. General’s Lechon
Overall Rating: 3.69
Must-Try: General’s Lechon Sofrito, General’s Lechon Butter
While General’s Lechon is home to freshly cooked Negros style whole roasted pork, they have decided to make space for a bottled gourmet line. This year’s Ultimate Taste Test served as the testing ground for their new products—General’s Lechon Sofrito and General’s Lechon Butter.
With just a twist of the cap, you’re a spoonful away from having lechon over any carb of your choosing. As for the guys behind General’s Lechon, fried molo wrappers and biscuits are only some of the viable options. Each bite, each nibble, is a symphony of flavors. Truly, sinning has never been this tasty and convenient!
About General’s Lechon
What started out as a trip out of town has given rise to Manila’s tastiest lechon. Back in 2006, founder Bryan Ong brought his wife Lynn to his hometown in San Carlos, Negros Occidental to try their lechon and she loved it. From that moment, the Ongs wanted to bring their experience to Manila and, thus, General’s Lechon was born.
With an intensive collection of herbs, spices and hand-picked pork selection, our homemade special has satisfied the hearts and bellies of the public since 2007, receiving rave reviews from chefs and bloggers alike. Starting with the original flavor, garlic, chilli garlic, and curry flavors have been added for those want a little more flair from their lechon. From what used to be a small home business, it is now one of the most loved lechon brands in the metro, recently ranked again as the Top Lechon in Manila of Spot.ph for 2015.
Hoisted on long bamboos and carefully cooked on charcoals from sustainable woods, the skin turns to a brassy golden reddish brown-skinned. At the same time, the stuffing permeates to the meat and the heat slowly burns the fat there is to the native pigs. One bite from our gives a burst of flavor, from its crispy skin down to the juicy meat, consistent time and time again. With more spices than the typical kind, critics have praised General’s Lechon, calling it a “merry mix of Balinese and Davaoeno flavors”.
9. Que Rica
Overall Rating: 3.68
Must-Try: Laing Longganisa
Being a regional food brand, Que Rica prides itself for forwarding Bicolano delicacies. Maricar Buenaflor, a Le Cordon Bleu Paris-educated owner, is the woman behind the deli’s famous Laing Longganisa.
This hybrid combines longganisa as we know it with the creamy-spicy Bicolano favorite, laing. Known for being a side dish, Chef Maricar decided to induce laing into a known viand—longganisa in this case—so it can stand alone. I personally think an innovation such as this is only one of the many reasons why Ultimate Taste Test keeps thriving even after ten years of introducing and reintroducing food to the market.
About Que Rica
Ever since moving to Manila, Chef Rica Buenaflor has been asked by friends to cook traditional Bicolano dishes such as the humble laing. After giving in to their requests several times, she decided to come up with a product that can be easily cooked but still incorporated the taste of Bicol. Hence, the laing longganisa was born.
With the success of the laing longganisa, Chef Rica developed other Bicolano products that are easy to prepare and reflective of the unique tastes of Bicol. She also went further by ensuring all the ingredients she used are sourced from Bicolano farmers as she wanted to ensure fair trade for her fellow Bicolanos.
10. Mama V Delicious
Overall Rating: 3.68
Must-Try: Bacon Carbonara, Beef Lengua Asado
Mama V Restaurant has been around for a long time that it has been a Manila staple already. Mama V Delicious, on the other hand, is a fairly young business venture aiming to deliver good food to people’s homes. Their Filipino style carbonara is served with heaping amounts of cheese and bacon while their Beef Lengua Asado’s meaty goodness is an impeccable match to its creaminess. Not lacking in women’s touch as it is led by a mother-daughter duo, this enterprise is surely bound to be received into hundreds and thousands of family homes.
About Mama V Delicious
One night in the first half of 2018, the founder (Tina Vitas) and her mom (Mama V), her brother (Tony) & her cousin (Paulo) were hanging out at Mama V Restaurant. Paulo was sharing how he managed to finish half a box of Bacon Carbonara in one sitting, equivalent to half a kilo of pasta. The Bacon Carbonara was just something we gave as gifts to friends and served at parties, but had never sold before to anyone.
A lightbulb went off inside Tina’s head and she thought: “ Hmmn, why not bring the party tray/family-style Mama V food to people’s homes, gatherings, parties and special occasions?”
Being in a one-location restaurant in a school district (St. Scho, College of St. Benilde & De La Salle University) limits your audience, especially with the traffic in Manila. Mama V Delicious: Delicious Meals To-Go was born that evening.
Tina Vitas is the creative director of the brand Mama V Delicious, the brand, while her Mother, who has been cooking for at least 60 years now, is the genius behind the food.
MAMA V DELICIOUS
Tina Vitas at mobile, Viber or WhatsApp +63 917 811-7580
Migz Trinidad at mobile, Viber or WhatsApp +63 905 283-4980
11. Affordable Gourmet
Overall Rating: 3.65
Must-Try: Baked Salmon with 3-Cheese
Operating by the mantra “scrumptious food, anytime and anywhere,” Affordable Gourmet remains faithful to its dogma as it distributed bite-sized baked salmon covered in three different types of cheese. With its oven-baked glory, who says a gastronomic experience always has to come at a price?
About Affordable Gourmet
I was an IT consultant for 15 years and I have no culinary background. I just love to cook and share my food with friends and colleagues who later started ordering food. Expats from our office would order from me and I was even asked to cater for our company town hall so I thought of starting an online food business in March 2018. I used to work for just 3 days a week and when my project ended last March 22, 2019, I left the corporate world and opened a restaurant last May 5, 2019.
I provide well prepared, quality and budget-friendly dishes. As one blogger who featured our restaurant said, the name AFFORDABLE GOURMET sounded like an oxymoron since gourmet normally means expensive but my customers would agree that it lives up to its name. The founder of Alabang Bulletin even mentioned that the name of the restaurant brings joy to
people’s hearts just like the words “walang pasok” and “sweldo na.”
I have a limited menu but I do not focus on a particular cuisine. Per our customers, our Baked Salmon in 3-Cheese is better than what they normally eat at a famous restaurant and Vanjo of Panlasang Pinoy even posted about it on IG and told his followers 3M+ that it was fantastic.
Scrumptious food within your reach… anytime, anywhere.
Hours: Thursday – Tuesday 11pm – 2pm | 5pm to 9pm
Telephone: +63(917) 623-1136
Facebook: Affordable Gourmet
12. Kaien Buffalo Sauce
Overall Rating: 3.64
Must-Try: Buffalo Wings, Chips & Dip
Kaien Buffalo Sauce did not hold back as they served 1000 pieces of Buffalo wings marinated in their celebrated Buffalo Sauce. With no intention of stopping, they also threw in some nacho chips with their classic dip. The spicy and tangy nature of their buffalo sauce sat very well with a cold bottle of beer!
About Kaien Buffalo Sauce
The beginnings of Kaien is not a walk in a park. It took six long years of determination, recipe study and changes. From what started off with two ladies, Hazell Ann M. Leyritana and Paula Kristin B. Copon, and their random nights of constant mad cravings for the best buffalo wings and hunting down pubs and restaurants searching for the best one that did not cost an arm and a leg, Kaien Buffalo Wing Sauce surely had gone a long way.
Thanks to that one night when they reached their craving pinnacle and an unfortunate thing happened—they were left stuck at home. Luckily, they had chicken wings, their favorite hot sauce, and butter and right there and then, the universe conspired to make Kaien happen.
After revising their own recipes with a handful of different hot sauces and comparing different buffalo sauces that just didn’t make the cut, finally, Hazell has concocted the ONE.
And as expected, it did not disappoint.
Homemade Buffalo Sauce
• ₱270 for 250ml good for 1-1.5 kilos of chicken wings (sizes may vary)
• ₱360 for 350ml good for 2-2.5 kilos of chicken wings (sizes may vary)
• ₱500 for 500ml good for 3-4.5 kilos of chicken wings (sizes may vary)
Nachos & Dip
Flavors: Chili Lime, Sour Cream, Natural Cheese (₱150 each)
Veggie chips & Dip
Flavors: Moringa, Carrot, Squash (₱150 each)
13. Bulalay Laing
Overall Rating: 3.64
Must-Try: Bulalay Laing Sushi, Bulalay’s Tulingan Sushi
Resting on a bed of steamy white rice were taro leaves and pork slices cooked in spicy coconut milk. I am part Bicolana and Bulalay’s offering did not disappoint! Indeed, the makers of Bulalay Laing weren’t lying when they said that they had the best laing in town.
About Bulalay Laing
Bulalay is the “lambing” name of our father “Bullet”. It was him who started the concept of selling “Bulalay Laing” 5 years ago.
14. Sorbelato and Soyblessed
Overall Rating: 3.63
Must-Try: Sorbelato Ice Cream, Sorbelato Soymilk
Sorbelato is a mash-up of Sorbetes and Gelato. The quirkiness of Pinoy sorbetes and the smoothness of Italian Gelato make for the ultimate palette cleanser! A charming addition to their line up is their Soyblessed taho which is made from the highest-grade soybeans and the finest ingredients. Because of this, its rich flavor comes naturally without the need for preservatives.
About Sorbelato & Soyblessed
It was in the middle of the summer of 2012 when the inspiration of what is now Soy Blessed and Sorbelato was conceived. Erick and Gayle Antes, together with their children came from the United States to hold their first-ever “backpack mission” in Tanauan, Batangas, giving away backpacks with school supplies to over 200 school-aged children. It was during this event that a realization was born: If you want to help change the course of the children’s lives, give their parents a job.
Three months after the “backpack mission,” the construction of the taho factory was underway. The goal was to create opportunities for employment to anyone and everyone willing to sell taho in the streets of Metro Manila. From less than 20 taho vendors, our family grew to more than 50 vendors in just under a year. In 2014, the Antes family decided to sell everything they owned, quit their jobs in the US and moved to the Philippines to concentrate on their calling: “Business As Mission.” (Business As Mission is a movement among Christian business professionals using their God-given skills in entrepreneurship & good management to address some of the world’s most pressing spiritual, social, environmental and economic issues by bringing creative and long-term, sustainable solutions to challenges the community face like extreme poverty & social injustice.)
It was in the year 2016, a collaboration was made among a group of entrepreneurs whose aim was to create an impact to the community through employment. SoyBlessed was formally launched through Yellowbrick Food Services, Inc. From their humble beginnings of selling the traditional taho in the streets of Metro Manila, they now have other products such as different flavors of soy milk and our their very own sorbetes ice cream. In 2017, Sorbelato was born. Aside from creating employment opportunities, part of the vision was to showcase the best of the Philippines through our street food. It is why the team made sure to improve the quality of our traditional Filipino Sorbetes but making sure to keep the flavors we all grew up with. Sorbelato Ice Cream is a combination of the flavors of traditional Filipino sorbetes ice cream with the smooth creamy taste of gelato. Sorbelato Ice cream is made with the freshest and premium ingredients, with zero preservatives.
To date, Sorbelato Ice Cream and Soyblessed Taho are focused primarily in the events and catering business in response to the need of the students in our community for employment but limited to weekends and after school schedule. We also partner and collaborate with different retail stores to distribute our products.
Gayle Antes +63 917 790-5590
Lalaine Bac-Lean +63 906 484-5785
15. Nurture Wellness Village Inc.
Overall Rating: 3.63
Must-Try: Mushroom Sisig
Nurture Wellness Village is a Department of Tourism accredited resort that offers a holistic approach to wellness. Zooming in on the food facet, Nurture Wellness Village utilizes shitake mushrooms, tofu and onions without losing the savory goodness of the classic Pinoy sisig. It is noteworthy that this is the only sisig that’s actually good for digestion, skin, eyes and bone. They say it even has anti-cancer properties! How’s that for sisig?
About Nurture Wellness Village
Although better known as a wellness destination, both Nurture Wellness Village and Nurture Farmacy have repositioned themselves as cultural and wellness destinations to target a wider local and international market.
Wellness and spa continue to be the core of our business, but offering a strong Filipino cultural dimension widen our market to families, balikbayans and groups at the same time is a strong reflection of our corporate value of pride in being Filipino. We are embarking on a sales and marketing campaign to target the international market with a range of longer-stay wellness packages and wellness retreats.
We also believe that there is a strong need and market for healthy food and snacks. Thus, we are developing a wider range of retail items to sell, including powdered juice drinks made from our farm-grown kale and fruit combinations, frozen lunch and snack items made from our farm-grown mushrooms. We have encouraged our employees to organize a cooperative to plant kale and passion fruit which we would buy from them for our powdered juice products.
Sisig. A classic Filipino dish. Entire restaurants are judged on the quality of their sisig, whether it’s crispy enough and it tastes good. However, we all know that it’s not exactly good for you. So at Nurture Farmacy, we’ve developed our own take on sisig and use mushroom instead. The sweet savoriness of a classic sisig, with less guilt.
Juicing doesn’t have to be a hassle! Our philosophy with juices is that it has to be something you look forward to, which is why our juices taste just like that—juices! Have something sweet and delicious, while also nourishing the body.
Snacking and eating chips can be the biggest killers of a good diet. It’s easy, accessible, and no one can resist the feeling of a good crunch. Unfortunately, most chips have no nutritional benefits and are so easy to eat that a small snack turns into hundreds of empty calories. The Nurture Farmacy vegetable chips, however, changes that. Made from the extract of real vegetables, these chips are fortified with loads of micronutrients that make your snacking wholesome.
What was once a typo is now a real thing. Nurture Farmacy’s take on the Vigan longganisa makes a typically unhealthy but ubiquitous Filipino breakfast item into a wholesome and hearty way to start the day. Instead of using pork, Nurture Farmacy has taken to simulating the meat using plant-based ingredients so the longganisa is not only delicious but packed full of nutrients as well.
This is THE Filipino classic. No reunion, gathering, or drinking session is complete without bagnet. It is among the first things a Filipino will look for on the sharing table. However, this is also extremely unhealthy. As such, Nurture Farmacy has developed a twist to bagnet: Tofu. Using tofu and gluten as a base, we recreated the texture and crunch of a good bagnet so you can have as much as you like without the guilt (or heartburn).
Nurture Wellness Village
Contact Person: Jhoan Dural Fuego
Mobile: +63 977 850-6526
16. Garlicious by Craveza
Overall Rating: 3.63
Must Try: Garlicious Garlic Dip
Filipinos are hooked on garlic that there is hardly any Filipino dish without it; we even use it on our rice! And so it’s only fitting that a delectable dip is borne out of our great love for garlic. The moment I tried to dip a chunk of fried chicken into it, I knew I had to have it. Its taste was strong but not overpowering. In fact, it only brought out the flavor of the chicken even more. I’d be bold enough to say that this dip should be a primary condiment in every Filipino household.
17. Waffable / Rustic Mornings by Isabelo
Overall Rating: 3.62
Must-Try: Original, Churro, and Brownie Waffles with different toppings
From the same genius behind Rustic Mornings comes a treat kids and adults alike will enjoy! Portia Dee Baluyut started Waffables in the interest of taking waffles to the next level while serving them in the fastest and freshest way possible.
Waffables are essentially waffles on sticks that are made-to-order. This means you can have your waffle on the go without it losing its freshness. Waffables’ Classic, Churro, Candy Cane, Choco Loco and Brownie Brittle come at a reasonable price depending on your topping and syrup preference.
After years of perfecting her famous waffle recipe in 2012 which made Rustic Mornings By Isabelo one of the top garden dining destinations in Manila, Portia Dee Baluyut finally opens Waffable, having to open her first stall in Marikina.
Waffable is a not-your-usual waffles on sticks where anything goes! Just the smell of freshly made waffles immediately draws everyone’s attention, and the fact that you can choose their own toppings and syrups just adds to the entire Waffable experience. “When majority of our guests at Rustic Mornings are waiting in line during weekends, they would order Waffable (their cart located near the entrance) before they even get a table,” according to Portia.
The word ‘waffable’ actually means ‘to be extremely awesome’, and each Waffable is made-to-order, starting with the delicious waffle recipe for which Rustic Mornings is still most famous for. “We want our customers to take waffles to the next level, and serve them the fastest and freshest way possible,” Portia adds. At the moment, you can choose from the Classic (Plain), Churro, Candy Cane, Choco Loco and Brownie Brittle; the latter, a decadent chocolate brownie batter that’s converted to a personal-sized Waffable.
Not only is Waffable unique, but they are also very affordable. Waffable’s current menu ranges from Php50 to Php70, depending on preferred toppings and syrups. And because it’s literally your own personal sized waffle on a stick, you can practically eat them even when you’re on-the-go, which makes it a very portable fix to satisfy your waffle cravings!
We can also accommodate any event, from kids’ birthdays, weddings, meetings and conferences, concerts and the latest school events! For catering, pop ups and other events, our portable Waffable carts are available at affordable packages. For more queries, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact
Waffable @ Rustic Mornings By Isabelo Marikina
#11 Isabelo Mendoza Street, San Roque, Marikina City from
Open during Saturdays and Sundays 8:00am to 4:00 pm.
Mobile: +63 956 249-1630
18. Anastasius Homemade Flavors
Overall Rating: 3.58
Must-Try: Alfajores Biscoff
Anastasius Homemade Flavors is made with passion by a very loving mom. Her soft and delicate Alfajores, the kind that melts in your mouth, covered in Biscoff’s luscious caramel flavor will absolutely take you on a luxurious snacking experience.
About Anastasius Homemade Flavors
Passion in baking plus a twist of love and inspiration. Our delicious cakes and pastries are always made fresh, every creation perfect for your taste buds.
19. Quezo City
Overall Rating: 3.58
Must-Try: Cheese Pimiento, Garlic Spread
This city may be cheesy but Quezo City is mean when it comes right down to business. Ideal for snacking in the afternoon or just about anytime you crave for cheese, Quezo City’s Cheese Pimiento and Garlic Spread will be your newest spread indulgence once you give it a shot.
20. Consuelo’s Artisan Cakes & Pastries
Overall Rating: 3.55
Must-Try: Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies, Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies, Milo Dinosaur Cookies, Ube Pastillas Cake
Consuelo’s Artisan Cakes and Pastries is a defending champ in the desserts category. Having won in last year’s Ultimate Taste Test, Icon, the baker behind Consuelo’s, came back with more tricks up her sleeve. Redirecting people’s attention towards her cookies this year, Icon was able to put her Salted Chocolate Chip, Triple Chocolate Chip and Milo Dinosaur cookies at the forefront and we certainly bit into them!
About Consuelo’s Artisan Cakes and Pastries
Consuelo’s started in summer 2014 as way for a mom of 3 to adapt into her full time housewife role after resigning from an 8-year long academe work as a Baking & Pastry Arts Instructor. Starting with selling cupcakes and cookies, it then evolved into specialty cakes and bespoke cakes. Presently, Consuelo’s specializes on Premium Tin Cakes and Cookies with selected Specialty Cakes such as Pastillas and Ube cakes.
PREMIUM SELECTION COOKIES
Consuelo’s Premium Selection Cookies are handcrafted from carefully selected ingredients. Each box has 3 exciting variants for every cookie lover to share or indulge alone.
• Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies – classic, perfectly nutty and has a balanced mix of dark and milk chocolate callets with a salty hint in every bite.
• Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies – when one chocolate is not enough, have 3 in every bite. Dark, milk and white callets for that triple chocolate goodness.
• Milo Dinosaur Cookies – every cookie monster will definitely turn into a more fierceful cookie lover. Packed with milo nuggets, dark and milk chocolate callets, this piece of cookie will make you roar for more.
Consuelo’s Artisan Cakes and Pastries
11 Mayflower St Phase 5 Greenland Subdivision Cainta Rizal
Store Hours: Mon-Sat 8-5PM
by: RRMCI Food Hub
Telephone: +63 905 512-1161
Delivery or Pick-Up: via Lalamove
21. Brad and Pit’s Ribshack
Overall Rating: 3.46
Must-Try: Original Rib Mountain
Brad and Pit’s Ribshack is a go-to place for Marikina’s meat lovers. Having launched another branch in Pasig, Brad and Pit’s deemed it necessary to showcase their original rib mountain. To be frank, I wasn’t expecting fall-of-the-bone ribs, as I’m aware they couldn’t be made fresh in the event hall. The lady behind the stand asked me to wait for a couple of minutes and served me with a warm batch of ribs. I could not have been more wrong. The meat was tender and the flavor absorbed to the bone. Needless to say, it was a wonderful surprise.
About Brad & Pit’s Ribshack
Brad and Pit’s Ribshack currently has 3 branches in operation. Our first one is in 116 Lilac St., Marikina City, which is in operation since April 18, 2015, and another branch in 35 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City, which opened last May 21, 2016. Our latest branch started operations in the Food Choices section of Ayala Malls Feliz along Marcos Highway, Pasig City last Dec 21, 2017.
We first opened with the intention of serving delicious food at affordable prices. Our chosen specialty, Ribs, is something that is usually thought of as expensive. However, we have found a way to offer it to a wide array of customers for a very low price. It’s so affordable that we have customers ranging from office workers to security guards!
We have been featured in Spot.ph, Booky, Zomato, in several online blogs and on TV (Good News on GMA News TV, POP Talk on GMA News TV and Happy Wife Happy Life on TV5).
BRAD AND PIT’S RIBSHACK
116 Lilac st., Concepcion Dos, Marikina City
Telephone: +632 503-1656
Mobile: +63 917 885-0550
35 East Capitol Dr., Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Telephone: +632 738-8198
AYALA MALLS FELIZ
4th Floor Food Choices, Ayala Malls Feliz, Marcos Hwy, Pasig City
Mobile: +63 945 438-0878
22. The Cake Cartel
Overall Rating: 3.46
Must-Try: Maryjane Bites, Pablo Esco’bars’, Bonnie and Clyde
Their products’ names may have given them away but the Cake Cartel aims to give their clients a “legally addicting” high with their baked goods. True to their creed, the Maryjane Bites (Fudgy Brownies) and Pablo Escbobars (Chocolate Revel Bars) were highly intoxicating. Bonnie and Clyde, however, took the cake for me! The sweetness of the Tres Leches and saltiness of the Rock Salt and Cheese was a certified lethal combination.
About The Cake Cartel
The Cake Cartel is a start-up business founded by 3 sisters who share a love for all things desserts and pastries.
Launched last November 2018, The Cake Cartel offers 100% homemade and preservative-free desserts and pastries and aims to give our Clients that #LegallyAddicting high with our baked-to-order goods.
You will surely get hooked and #LegallyHigh with our product line which includes the ff:
• Maryjane Bites (Fudgy Brownies)
• Pablo Esco’bars’ (Chocolate Revel Bars)
• Chonkey Monkey (Choco-Banana Cupcakes)
• Gorilla OG (Double Chocolate Banana Cupcakes)
• Bonnie & Clyde (Sweet & Salty Cake Experience)
• Overdosed (Chocolate Cake with Liquor)
• Sober (Chocolate Cake wo Liquor)
You can also catch us on weekend bazaars with schedules posted on our social media accounts.
And in case you’re curious, all our product ingredients are 100% safe and drug-free.
23. Betty’s Best
Overall Rating: 3.42
Must-Try: Sisig Sotanghon
Betty’s Best specializes in pork barbecue, palabok and mini bibingka galapong. Their sisig sotanghon though, is on a league of its own. I can’t remember how many times I went back to demolish a plateful of this selection. Aside from the flavors meshing together, the crispy texture of sisig combined with the chewy nature of sotanghon, for me, was just spot on.
About Betty’s Best
After creating successful Filipino restaurants such as Dencio’s and Dennis the Grillboy, Dennis Nakpil wanted to venture into the delivery of his delicious food to make it available to anyone, anytime, anywhere! After a couple years of experimentation with the products, Betty’s Best is finally set to become more professionalized and fully operational. With revitalized marketing and operations, Betty’s Best aims to give the market the perfect combination of food that you can serve for any occasion!
The Sisig Sotanghon special was the brain child of his wife, Doris. She decided to experiment with the noodles she often served at home by topping it with Dennis’ crispy pork sisig. The result was brilliant and has become something their family, friends and loyal customers LOVE!
Home of the BEST Sisig Sotanghon!
Business Hours: 9am to 5pm
🛵 WE DELIVER to Pasig/Ortigas/Mandaluyong
Telephone: +632 570-2000
Mobile: +63 915 526-7370
24. Amadeo Nurture Farmacy
Overall Rating: 3.40
Must-Try: Vegan Bagnet, Vegan Longganisa Dip
Being an arm of the Nurture Wellness Village, Amadeo Nurture Farmacy espouses the same principles upheld by the Nurture Village. Their bagnet and longganisa dip sourced from their herb garden and locavore farm, are ideal for vegans out there looking to satisfy their souls and tummies simultaneously.
25. Knights Chicharooms
Overall Rating: 3.40
Must-Try: Spicy Chicharooms, Salted Egg Chicharooms
Providing an alternative to our usual snacks and chips, Knights Chicharooms has offerings in different flavors—spicy chicharooms and my personal favorite, salted egg chicharooms. This puts chowing at different times of the day at maximum enjoyment with minimum guilt.
About Knight Chicharooms
We started in 2015: we started to make fruiting bags (of mushrooms) to help a friend generate income. It started as a small mushroom hobby with very few fruiting bags. After a while, the farm increased the volume same as the harvest of fresh oyster mushrooms. However, a problem arose when there was too much supply and less consumption of fresh mushrooms, thus leading us to experiment to make it crispy and then CHICHAROOMS was born. In 2016, people have been ordering for pasalubong and they shared us photos where it went or where it has been. Our product has been the favorite pasalubong ever since. Unfortunately, people have been copying the product and using our BRAND NAME (IPO Registered/Certified) thinking that it was a common name. We serve only the best and the fresh ingredients, as if serving to your children—there is love and care in each item we deliver. I hope we would be known to be THE BEST CRISPY MUSHROOMS ever made.
Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Ultimate Taste Test! Indeed, this year is all about celebrations. On UTT’s 10th year, we not only applaud those bold enough to begin their food ventures but, more so, those who have been brave enough to leave a mark in the ever-changing food industry.
The Choice 2019 recognizes the most popular restaurants, hotels and culinary personalities in the Philippines. It was both astonishing and humbling to see these giants receive the awards they rightfully deserve.
Our Awesome Planet’s Ultimate Taste Test has been an unparalleled hub for aspiring food entrepreneurs and, with the continuous commitment of foodies, both by passion and by profession, OAP can only pledge to keep providing a space for all of us to convene, eat and declare our shared love for food.
May your hearts and tummies remain full!
Till the next Ultimate Taste Test!