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Being a country majorly influenced by Spain and America in centuries past, the Philippines stuck out like a sore thumb among the rest of its Southeast Asian peers when it comes to certain cuisines- one such food is the Nasi Goreng which you can commonly find in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei and Sri Lanka, but not in the Pearl of the Orient Seas.
You can’t find any Goreng-style food just anywhere in Manila, and if you do find one, we’re not even sure if it can pass as authentic. But worry not! The Foodie Geek has found this Asian gem of a cuisine in Marikina in the form of Goreng Goreng, and I’m here to give you a quick tour!
Located just in front of C&B Mall (refer to map above) along Liwasang Kalayaan street in Marikina, you won’t miss it! Another landmark nearby is the St. Scholastica’s Academy. The place is a bit cramped, but pretty adequate, giving it quite a homey feel. The al fresco area outside can seat a group or two of four, two to three groups of four on the first floor, and four to five groups of four on the second floor.
Goreng means ‘fried’ and can be used in a variety of ways. Nasi Goreng means fried rice in Indonesian, while Mee Goreng is fried noodles in Malay- both of which are served by Goreng Goreng! Their dishes, as seen on their menu, can be categorized by Nasi Goreng Meals, Hainanese Meals, A la Carte, Rice, Mee (Noodles), Snack / Dessert, and then Drinks. On our multiple visits there, we were able to try the following:
NASI GORENG / HAINANESE MEALS
Ikan Goreng Kuah Kacang (fish fillet w/ peanut sauce) – P140
Sate Ayam (chicken fillet w/ peanut sauce) – P150, Ayam Goreng (fried chicken) – P150
Daging Cacau Goreng (beef slices in dark savory sauce) – P140, Regular Hainanese Chicken – P99
The owner mentioned they use fresh local ingredients, but prepare them in a way that would still make the dish authentic in terms of both taste and look- quite the feat! All their Nasi Goreng Meals include their signature fried rice, sunny side up egg, the main dish and then a side of pipino and/or onion.
My top two favorites would have to be the Sate Ayam and Daging Cacau Goreng. I love peanut sauce, and theirs does have some game in it! The soft and tender beef harmonizes nicely with their signature fried rice. The stir-fried Daging Cacau is also a winner in my book as they were right when they advertised it as savory. This dish also seems to have the most serving between the five above.
Mee Goreng Mamak (Solo) – P99, Nyonya Laksa (Solo) – P120
And here comes my favorite: the Mee Goreng Mamak! I never eat here in Goreng Goreng without ordering at least a single bowl of this. The dish is just filled with scrumptious spices and veggies that’ll take your tongue for a tasty and exciting ride. It’s just really full of flavor. What’s cool is that you get to choose between four levels of spiciness: mild, regular, spicy and extra spicy! ‘Spicy’ would be their take on the Filipino standard of spicy, while ‘extra spicy’ would be the Malaysian standard. I’d go for extra spicy for the authentic experience!
Their Nyonya Laksa also packs quite a punch in both flavors and spiciness. Rice noodles, coconut milk soup base and shredded aromatic herbs? Check! Like in most of their dishes, you can choose how spicy you want your Laksa to be. When getting the spiciest, take caution when sipping the soup!
SNACKS, DESSERTS, DRINKS
Kaya Toast – P120, Teh Tarik Ais – P90, Red Iced Tea – P40
Also known as roti bakar, the Kaya Toast is a popular Malaysian breakfast staple and afternoon tea snack. The bread spread has coconut milk for a base and is typically paired with soft-boiled eggs. Teh Tarik, on the other hand, means ‘pulled tea’- also a beloved drink in Malaysia where its process of making is even considered an art form. Not really sure how they should taste like, but I found the Kaya toast quite scrumptious and the iced Teh Tarik to be soothing and refreshing- not your ordinary milk tea, that’s for sure.
Now I’m no expert when it comes Malaysian or Indonesian food, but what I do know is the dining experience here is unique, and the food, delicious! With the loads of herbs and spices they use and the various ways they cook their dishes, amateurs like me would already consider them the real deal. I’ve brought here friends and family alike, and all gave positive reviews. So yes, Goreng Goreng is very much recommended!