The Grid Food Market’s
Top Picks of the Season

Babu’s Laksa Shrimp Rolls

THE Grid Food Market was one of the best places to dine in during the holidays. Located at the Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati, it provided not just a cozy, fun and relaxed environment for families and friends to enjoy a good meal together but also a wide range of dishes that never fail to tickle your palate. Cravings satisfied.

Each of the 21 food stalls and two kiosks pushed forward two to three dishes (or drinks!) among their best-sellers to encourage diners to try them. I got to try 13 delicious bites from ten stalls, and these top picks are:

China Mommy’s Maki Mi

China Mommy’s Chinese Lumpia

China Mommy’s Maki Mi (Php280), a classic Chinese thick soup dish with tender pork bites, which you can have with or without noodles; and fresh Chinese Lumpia (Php200), which is my absolute favorite. I love Chinese lumpia, and China Mommy’s take on it is one of the best. China Mommy also served Curry Crabs (Php1,200) with an aromatic curry sauce.

Hey Papi’s Pollo al Horno

Hey Papi’s Pollo al Horno (Php345) or Cuban Baked Chicken. The chicken leg quarter, which is cooked to tender perfection, is served with rice, fried bananas and fried egg, ala Cubana style. Hey Papi also offered Vaca Frita (Php450) or crispy Cuban pan-fried beef. I had my chicken with a side of Crispy Cassava Fries (Php85).

Bad Bird’s Umami Fried Chicken Skin

Bad Bird’s Mac N’ Cheese

Bad Bird’s Umami Fried Chicken Skin (Php320) paired with gooey Mac N’ Cheese (Php250). You can go for Bad Bird’s signature Umami Fried Chicken Box of 10 (Php1,400), but the pure chicken skin version is just as satisfying. Once you pop, you cannot stop because the chicken skin bites are not just crunchy; they are also very flavorful. And the Mac N’ Cheese? Nice and comforting!

Babu’s Laksa Shrimp Rolls (Php345), which has whole shrimps made spicy and rich and wrapped into rolls. Babu likewise put the spotlight on its Oyster Cake (Php345). Both are Southeast Asian classics with a twist.

Gochugang’s Torched Truffle Beef Bulgogi Bowl

Gochugang’s Torched Truffle Beef Bulgogi Bowl (Php380). It is a “truffled” upgrade on the classic Beef Bulgogi. The tender strips of beef are served on top of rice, and it is filling but not overwhelmingly so. The bigger feasts are Gochu Fried Chicken Trio (Php890) with Korean fried chicken tossed in three sauces and the Gochugang Meat Platter (Php1,200) with a variety of your KBBQ favorites in one plate.

Beefier’s Beefiest Burger

Beefier’s Beefiest (Php499) burger caters to beef lovers with its ribeye-blend patty and emmental cheese. So with Hanger Steak (Php869), which is cooked to a juicy medium and served with Caesar Salad and Potato Dill Chips.

OK Bob’s Pork Longganisa Kebab

OK Bob’s Pork Longganisa Kebab (Php400) is one of two Filipino versions of the traditional Middle Eastern dish, the other one being Pork Sisig Kebab (Php550). There are two other variants—Spicy Mala Chicken Kebab (Php550), which is hot and spicy and the most Middle Eastern of the kebabs featured as holiday dishes, and Cheese Burger Kebab (Php550).

Flowerboy’s Signature Beef Curry

Over at Stall 3, Flowerboy gave diners wonderful first dibs at Thai classics—its Signature Beef Curry (Php490) and Khao Soi (Php460) with a nutty savory sauce and served with crispy noodles.

White Flower Tea House’s Chocolate Wantons

White Flower Tea House’s Chocolate Wantons (Php150). It is a dessert kind of wanton item, with the wanton filled with gooey chocolate and fried to a golden crisp. The Chinoy classic savories picked for the season were Crab Fried Rice (Php480) and Tender Beef Hofan Noodles (Php380).

Workshop’s Cheddar Bibingka

Workshop’s Cheddar Bibingka (Php260). It is one of five variants of bibingka Workshop made available for the holidays. The other four—Salted Egg Bibingka (Php195), Kesong Puti Bibingka (Php280), Manchego Bibingka (Php295), and Ube Queso Bibingka (Php330) with real ube halaya on top—turned out to be equally popular among diners.

Everything I tried did not disappoint. But my best bets were China Mommy’s Chinese Lumpia and Maki Mi, Hey Papi’s Pollo al Horno, and Babu’s Laksa Shrimp Rolls. There are so much more to try at The Grid, but besides taking time to dine in, you can also order for delivery via

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Masa Madre’s Holiday Breads:
Available Until This January

Festive breads from Masa Madre Bakehouse, from top: Tablea Puff, Pain aux Pistache, and Fruitcake Bi-color

IF you’ve heard a lot of good things about Masa Madre Bakehouse’s holiday bread collection but did not get a chance to try any of it last December (2022), do not worry. You can still catch a taste of the much talked about holiday bread collection this January (2023).
The collection is actually composed of six different types of bread:

Bibingka Croissant

Bibingka Croissant – croissant filled with smoke-burnt coconut, spread with salted egg buttercream, and topped with Cheddar cheese that has been charred for texture and flavor.

Puto Bumbong Croissant

Puto Bumbong Croissant – croissant filled with Pirurutong custard, salted butter, and fresh dried coconut on top.

Hamon et Queso Croissant

Hamon et Queso Croissant – croissant filled with truffle buttercream, layered with Cheddar cheese, and topped with candied hamon and parsley.

Tablea Puff

Tablea Puff – laminated dough filled with cream cheese tablea and zest of tablea on top.

Pain aux Pistache

Pain aux Pistache – round, flat laminated dough filled with pistachio custard and topped with chopped pistachio.

Fruitcake Bi-color

Fruitcake Bi-color – small, squash-shaped laminated dough filled with a generous piece of fruitcake whose glazed fruits have been soaked for three months.

“These holiday breads were inspired by the usual rice cakes and ham that we always have during Christmas in the Philippines,” explains Chef Kris Edison Tan, the master baker and brains behind Masa Madre Bakehouse.

To order, send a message to Masa Madre Bakehouse’s FB and IG accounts.

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What’s Christmas
Without Ju.D Lao’s Fruitcakes?

Ju.D Lao’s Coffee Prune Fruitcake

THE Christmas season isn’t complete without a taste of Ju.D Lao’s famous fruitcakes.

For me, Christmastime is truly here when a box (or two!) of Ju.D Lao’s fruitcakes arrives in the house and I get first dibs at them. They come in a hefty loaf, in four flavors: Classic Fruitcake (the original recipe, studded with glazed cherries, orange peel, dates, raisins and walnuts, and aged to perfection with the finest brandy); Coffee Prune Cake (a dark fruitcake, made only with prunes, walnuts and Kahlua liquor); Ju.D Blue (a rich, dark fruitcake, made with Blue Mountain Coffee, fruit glacé and walnuts, and aged with Kahlua coffee liquor); and Golden Fruitcake (a light honey fruitcake made with juicy golden apricots, red cranberries, walnuts, and a hint of candied ginger).

The fruitcakes come in festive gift boxes

Ju.D Lao’s Classic Fruitcake

I have tasted all of them, and it is difficult to pick a favorite because each variant has its own distinctive taste and qualities to love. The thing about Ju.D Lao’s fruitcakes is that they have been developed to suit the Filipino palate. So they are perfectly enjoyed by everyone who buys or receives them and do not suffer the same fate as imported and imported-tasting fruitcakes (which are mostly recycled and passed on to others).

It was in 1975 when Ju.D, then a hobby baker, got inspired by the brandied flavor of European fruitcakes and thus decided to create a Filipino version. She put together a rich blend of fresh butter, glazed cherries, walnuts, raisins, orange peel, dates, honey and brandy, and, voila!, her Classic Fruitcake was born. That first batch of fruitcakes was sent to family and friends as gifts, word spread, and soon people were clamoring for them. Thus began the 47-year-old Christmas tradition of giving and receiving Ju.D Lao fruitcakes during the Christmas season.

Chewy Chewkies

Ginger Cookies

Under her name, Ju.D also offers Chewy Chewkies (chewy fruitcake cookies, made with fruit glacé, raisins, walnuts and just a touch of brandy, and individually wrapped and packaged in long boxes of 12s) and Ginger Cookies (buttery ginger cookies, made with honey, young ginger, golden apricots and juicy red cranberries).

For inquiries and orders, contact +632 8633-1188 and +632 8633-0808.

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The French Baker Offers
Delightful Christmas Traditions

The French Baker’s Brioche Bordelaise

LOOKING for unique and exciting Christmas treats to complete the Noche Buena spread or to gift family and friends with?

Gingerbread House

The French Baker offers the foolproof annual Christmas traditions that its customers have come to love and expect every December—pandemic or no pandemic. These include such eye-candy as the Gingerbread House (Php980), which is a cookie and biscuit house decorated with sugar candies rendered in the symbols of Christmas, like candy canes, snowman faces, mini gingerbread boys and jellos, with a Santa figure keeping in watch by the door.

Classic Fruitcake

There are also Gingerbread Cookies (Php85) and the substantial 454-gram Classic Fruitcake (Php595), which has been formulated for the Pinoy taste, plus the ring-shaped Bundt bread Brioche Bordelaise (Php580), itself a festive sight to behold with its drip icing decked with colorful glazed fruits, cherries, raisins and nuts.

Pure Danish Butter Cookies in a glass jar

The French Baker is also quite proud of its Pure Danish Butter Cookies in a glass jar (Php985). The jar contains a hefty one kilogram worth of delicious butter cookies made with 100% pure butter.

All these Christmas items are available at The French Baker stores nationwide. Orders for delivery may be made via the online store,

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A Dazzling Christmas Tree Lighting
for Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

‘Starry Nights’ Christmas tree at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

AMONG local hotels, a Christmas tree lighting ceremony always kicks off the festive yuletide season. This is also true with Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, whose dazzling Christmas tree lighting at the hotel’s 24th floor Sky lobby conformed to the season’s overall Starry Nights theme.

General manager Colin Healy led the ceremonial rites, and joining him were special guests Pasig City Vice Mayor Robert ‘Dodot’ Jaworski Jr. and Department of Tourism (DOT)’s regional director for the National Capital Region (NCR) Sharlene Batin.

“We are delighted to celebrate the season with colleagues and loved ones after two years of virtual meet-ups brought about by the pandemic. This year’s theme, Starry Nights, symbolizes how we at Marco Polo want to bring back the true magic and warmth of Christmastime with the powerful and shining light of hope—even during dark times,” says Healy.

Taking part in the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, from left: DOT regional director for NCR Sharlene Batin, Marco Polo OrtigasManila general manager Colin Healy, Pasig City Vice Mayor Robert Jaworski Jr., and Samuel Po and Karl Po of Xin Tian Ti Development Corp.

The Christmas tree lighting ceremony also served as the launch of the renewed partnership between the hotel and Bikes for the Philippines and will be participating in their Bike Swap program for the hotel’s employees. The Bike Swap program ensures safer and faster travel for the hotel’s employees by making them swap their unsafe bicycles for more road-worthy ones.

Resident Manager Joy Barleta concluded the event with a few words, “Hope is a powerful thing. It inspires us to do the impossible and helps us carry on during difficult times. Hope comes to all of us in many different forms, whether it be encouraging words, inspired thoughts, a shining star during the darkest of nights, or even in the form of a bicycle. Our hotel is one of the buildings that displays bright lights and colors every evening in Ortigas, and we are proud to be a beacon of light this Christmastime.”


(Marco Polo Ortigas Manila is located at Meralco Ave. corner Sapphire Rd., Ortigas Center, Pasig City; with telephone number +632 7720-7777.)


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