by Ryanne Co
Cheap eats are a treat but if you think that’s rare in Manila, think again. This city is filled with sulit restaurants just waiting to be discovered! Here are some of my favourite finds that serve great food in big bowls that won’t break the bank.
I discovered Little Quiapo by accident, driving blindly through Diliman, Quezon City one sunny day and finding myself somehow lost in the mid-1940’s. The best thing about Little Quiapo is its authenticity: lolos and lolas enjoying nostalgia alongside plates of pansit palabok. Their stark wooden interiors are complemented by the glow of soft, warm lights. Awards — for their service, for their longevity, for their overall quality — are displayed in corners decorated by wooden knick-knacks. There’s a lot of character in the restaurant; it’s not just the food, but also the stories these recipes have.
Little Quiapo remains to be a family business, and it’s also the perfect place to bring your own family! Their servings are huge, a “small platter” can easily feed 2-3 people and cost between P150-P200. Try their Filipino favourites like palabok, sinigang, and adobo. But most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy their halo-halo for dessert.
ADDRESS: 90 Malakas St, Diliman, Quezon City, 1100 Metro Manila
Going into Cosmic can be a little intimidating; you have to climb up a steep, narrow staircase next to a nondescript 7-11 in Poblacion, Makati. Not sketchy at all. But trust me, Cosmic is a gem. They serve delicious vegan and vegetarian food for an amazing price (sometimes for two digits, and it’s rare that anything costs over 200 pesos!). They also have the best vegan sisig I’ve had in Manila that goes great with their pansit habhab, and fried king oyster mushrooms. Perfect for pulutan or just pre-game.
ADDRESS: 2/F 5057 P. Burgos, Cor General Luna, Makati, 1210 Metro Manila
Lan Zhou La Mien
I always say: “if you want good Chinese food, ask my dad”. And if you do, his answer will be: “Lan Zhou La Mien.” A busy restaurant located in Lucky Chinatown in Binondo, Lan Zhou La Mien is the businessman’s answer to a quick but filling lunchtime break. Specializing in (what else?) la mien (Chinese hand-pulled noodles) and dumplings, this restaurant serves one bowl of noodles that’s good for two. You have to come early though as the restaurant’s always filled by lunchtime, not just by Chinese patrons, but by everyone who wants a taste of what they have to offer. Try it yourself with a menu that ranges from P200-P280, with food that’s perfect for sharing!
ADDRESS: Ground Floor, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Binondo, Manila
If you’re looking for a healthy but affordable meal that’s perfect for your day shift in Makati, try Greenery Kitchen! They offer delicious vegan meals for lunch for just 100 pesos. With a new menu every week, you can choose anything from vegan relleno to vegan shawarma rice to vegan tonkatsu. Maximize their service by having them deliver it to your office — it’s free as long as you’re in Makati! Talk about sulit!
ADDRESS: 2078 E Pascua, Street, Makati, 1204 Metro Manila
Want a Michelin-starred meal without the Michelin-starred price tag? Head to Hawker Chan to try some of their classic Singaporean dishes for less than P200. There’s soy sauce chicken, char stew noodles, roast pork, and braised beef, alongside dumplings and drinks. It’s a great way to experience Singaporean culture and cuisine without busting the bank. Named as the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred meal, Hawker Chan has branches in the North and the South, so you can get your meal fix anywhere, anytime!
ADDRESS: Multiple locations available in Glorietta 3, SM Mall of Asia, SM City North Edsa, SM City Fairview, SM City San Lorenzo, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, and Bonifacio Global City
Don’t forget: the next time it’s your turn to treat the squad or treat yourself, try doing it by being sulit! We guarantee you’ll be saving a lot of money without sacrificing a cent.