Since my recent change of work has landed me on 2nd & Howard, I've been searching for good lunch haunts. I believe I finally came across one worth writing about today.
Desperate for the inexpensive(but good) Asian food on this side of Market, I took up a coworker's suggestion and checked out the Internation food court on 53 3rd, btw Mission and Market for lunch. First look at the food court was disappointing to say the least. Mostly greasy and insipid looking food on steam tables. Then I spotted a busy line of old ladies near something called Mango Bay. A quick peek showed me that it was Filipino food, and the place was sparkling clean. Trusting my chowhound instincts, I got in line.
The lady serving suggested I tried the chicken adobo, which I agreeded to, but then asked her to suggest something else to go with it. She then pointed to a dish of greens. Since everyone else seemed to be getting that, I decided to give it a try. To top it off, I also ordered a side of a clear beef soup and a plantain dessert. As the owner, Barry, was ringing up my order, he explained the green stuff was taro leafs cooked in curry milk called "Laing", a typical day to day food in the Fillipines. and the beef soup was called beef Nilaga.
The food was good... more than good. The chicken adobo was tender without being dry, the sauce had the right balance between sour and salty. The laing reminded me a little of palak panner, creamy from the coconut milk. But it had dried shrimp in it, which gave it some extra saltiness, and there was just the slightest hint of heat to round out the taste. The clear beef soup was homey with potatoe and meat chunks, piping hot, perfect for a gloomy day like today. The only thing that I had some problem with was my plantain dessert. It was wrapped in skin of some kind (lumpia wrapper?), deep fried and then covered with burnt caramel. The burnt caramel was good, but the wrapper was soggy, and plantain dense. I think this just one of those dishes that shouldn't be enjoyed as it comes from the fryer.
price: $5.88 for the 3 item combo wiht rice, + $.88 for the plantain.
According to Barry, they also serve Daily Filipino Silog breakfast. The lunch Menu rotates on a daily basis.
the menu didn't have hours, but I did read something about there being saturday breakfast, so I assume it's also open then.