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Food streets

By Jullie Y. Daza

SOMETHING to chew on: Quezon City has a second food street now, after the first one in Banawe.

It’s more than one street, actually, a network of streets branching out from the spinal column that’s Tomas Morato, streets named after Boy Scouts who perished in a plane crash more than 50 years ago. The houses there were designed for the professional class – lawyers, teachers, engineers, musicians, writers, artists, hairstylists, doctors – until from out of the kitchen one fine day, everyone saw the trend: family-size homes converted into restaurants and, in a few cases, lodges and BnB’s, too. And why not, the area was known for its low-rise houses with gardens and backyards (with their “dirty kitchens”), multi-car garages, flowering trees and hedges.

Thank goodness, the restaurants have retained the comfy, homey “residential look” of QC. One of the newest discovered by my QC-bred eating partners is Tribu Babaylan on Scout Dr. Lazcano, where Chef Laudico shares the spotlight with the decor, a halo-halo of tribal-ethnic influences, and the menu, happily the same halo-halo of tribal-ethnic influences such as Kapampangan, Bacolod-Cebu-Iloilo, Mestizo Manila, Exotic Mindanao.

A few weeks older than Tribu is Elements Hall on Scout Rallos at one end of this street of eats and treats. Robert Yap spent 15 years in China chasing after the next big entrepreneurial dream until his grandmother got tired of telling him to come home already, and when he did, he challenged her to tear down the old family residence so he could build a new structure. “Easier to build than to rebuild,” he assured her. He hasn’t told her that he intends to add two floors to the two-story building that houses 11 bite-size restos plus a bake shop and a sari-sari store, all under one roof.

Robert’s idea of serving variety on a platter: homemade burger, chicken wings to soar with half a dozen sauces, kimchi rice, dirty rice, grilled lechon belly, Peruvian octopus “to die for,” dimsum, waffle with hot chocolate from Davao, Eurobake ensaymada with ham, peanuts and chips and inipit, etc.

Satisfied? “Food is what people want, what they need, at least three times a day.”