A quick favorite has remixed this classic dish
Filipinos and food go hand-in-hand the way coconut shavings belong on bibingka or the way bagoong is perfect with kare-kare—and while we’re at it, let’s just point out that a combination of toyo, sili and calamansi is the A+ sawsawan for anything inasal—you get the idea. Basically, we love our food almost as much as we love our ninangs and ninongs on Christmas day.
Some dishes are best served cold; some we prefer warm. There's food that pairs well with pandesal, but most of the time we collectively reach for some good old white rice. We all have our favorites and we all have our personal takes on classic dishes. And if there’s one basic we all love to spin to our own remix, it’s goto.
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You can literally find goto anywhere, from a jollyjeep to a kiosk in the MRT/LRT station to a humble restaurant quietly situated in the middle of Manila, which has been making headlines in friends’ conversations of drunken nights. Yes, yes, ladies and gents, we’re talking about Goto Monster.
Here’s the deal: Goto Monster offers variations of the classic goto dish. You can choose to have the lugaw plain or with beef tripe, pork bagnet, chicharon bulaklak, shitake mushrooms or chicken adobo. You can (and should) also take something from their sides menu, of which I suggest getting the Tokwa + Bagnet. The restaurant also offers a bunch of regular rice (+bagnet, +sisig, +bangus, +etc.) dishes if you don’t feel like having soup.
The base broth isn’t the most flavorful, but this otherwise-setback gives you the opportunity to make the dish taste the way you want it. Right at your table, you’ll have easy access to Goto Monster’s patis, suka, bagoong, toyo and chili oil. They’ll also serve calamansi for the necessary acidity that’ll kick umay to the curb.
When you’ve slurped up every grain of rice that used to be in your bowl, you can do yourself a service and get a homemade ice cream pop. Every pop is made in-house and perfectly proportioned so you can finish it off yourself. No joke here guys, I’d go back just for their leche flan-flavored one and wouldn’t share it.
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The experience itself hits close to home because Goto Monster is not air-conditioned and it’s pay-to-order. But because you can choose from a variety of options, actually sit down at a table and enjoy sides, shakes and desserts, you feel more at home than on the street. It’s a favorite that’s been leveled up the Pinoy way, through and through.
You can find Goto Monster on Pablo Ocampo Sr. Ext, La Paz, Makati (where they’re open 24/7) or at Salo Food Park, 562 Julio Nakpil St., Malate (where they’re strategically open from 5PM to 5AM). Drunk or sober, it’s a good choice.
Art Alexandra Lara.