10 Food Trends That Happened in Manila This 2015

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In 2015, AlDub broke Twitter and gave the world #RelationshipGoals. It was also the year when man buns became a thing and almost every other guy sported the look. We can’t forget how Alma Moreno successfully made us LOL and cringe at the same time, and how the Miss Universe coronation fail gave us all a mini heart attack. Of course, Star Wars: Episode VII was the sweet cherry to all that good stuff.

From showbiz, to hairstyle, to social media trends, we can say 2015 was one eventful year. But we can’t say goodbye to it yet without first taking a look at the food trends that made it big in Manila. Happy reminiscing!

1. Matcha-Infused Desserts

Gone are the days when green tea was just something we drank to be healthy. In 2015, everyone started crushing these leaves and incorporating matcha into almost every dessert, from cookies, to cakes, to ice cream, to pastries. We’re surprised we still haven’t seen matcha-infused suman!

Green Cheese Matcha Lava Cake

Matcha Lava Cake from Jin Cara S.’s looloo review for Green Cheese

Le Petit Souffle’s menu was definitely in on the trend with items like Matcha Parfait, Matcha Souffle Pancakes, and Matcha Soft-Serve Custard. St. Marc’s Cafe also contributed to the matcha madness with their Matcha Daifuku Chococro, and so did Cafe Shibuya with their Matcha Strawberry Toast.

Also read: 10 Matcha Desserts in Manila That You Should Try

2. Food Parks

Finding a parking spot will be the ultimate test of your patience. And lining up for your food could mean standing for a good thirty minutes or more. But despite these inconveniences, we were really into the concept of food trucks with permanent parking spaces last year. The thrill of choosing from a wide variety of cheap grub and getting pumped up by the lively crowd made these food parks hip hangout alternatives to restaurants inside malls.

Z Compound got the trend started, introducing us to now popular stalls like Bagneto, Burger Hub, Hijo de Pita, and Me Love You Long Time. Then came StrEat: Maginhawa Food Park and Boxpark to make sure we’ve got more choices come our Friday night pig out sessions!

3. Japanese Cheesecakes

The usual questions that come to mind when you take your first bite of Japanese cheesecake are: 1) How do they make it so fluffy?! 2) Is this how it feels like to eat a cloud? 3) Can I have a whole box of these to myself?

Photo from Jialing H.'s looloo review for Dean and DeLuca

Photo from Jialing H.’s looloo review for Dean and DeLuca

Our whole lives, cheesecakes have always been dense and rich, which is definitely not a bad thing. But last year, places like Green Cheese, Uncle Tetsu, Kumori, and Dean and DeLuca introduced us to this dessert’s lighter side.

Because the Japanese cheesecake isn’t as indulgent as its western counterpart, the umay factor doesn’t kick in as fast, which means we get to eat a lot more of it!

4. Upscale Food Courts

If you’ve got a big barkada, then it probably takes you and your friends forever to decide on a place to eat. But that’s exactly what food courts are for. And luckily for us, they’ve never looked better!

Hole in the Wall, Century City Mall

Photo from Hole in the Wall’s Facebook Page

Hole In The Wall’s posh ambiance made us feel like we’re anywhere but in a food court. But what we loved more than its swanky interiors are its food stalls. Bad Bird, The Beef, and Scout’s Honor were just some of our favorites last year.

The SM Mega Food Hall also gave us plenty of food options we wouldn’t normally find in a food court like Frankie’s New York Buffalo Wings, Nav Modern Thai Cuisine, and most recently, The Halal Guys!

5. Cat Cafes

Last year, drinking coffee was a lot more fun for the animal lovers of the Metro because they got to sip from their cups of Joe while surrounded by a bunch of friendly and adorable felines! Cat cafes have been popping up all over the world and Manila didn’t have a shortage of its own openings.

Miao Cat Cafe

Photo from Zia M.’s looloo review for Miao Cat Cafe

At Cat Cafe Manila, puspins (pusang Pinoy) take center stage. And if you find that you’ve gotten attached, you can take one home because they’re all up for adoption! Bengal Brew is also a new cat cafe and is the first one in the world to house the exotic Bengal breed! Check out the whole list of cat cafes in Manila here.

6. Ice Desserts

We’ve seen the weather get extremely bipolar last year. But whether it was hot and stuffy or cold and rainy, our cravings for ice desserts never waned. This time, the local halo-halo took a backseat to international cold treats like the Korean bingsu, the Italian ice, and the Japanese kakigori.

Cafe Seolhwa Bingsu Manila

Photo from Nicole V.’s looloo review for Cafe Seolhwa Bingsu

While Cafe Seolhwa got us hooked on their Pat Bingsu, Injeolmi Bingsu, Mango Cheese Bingsu, and Brownie Bing Su, Rita’s Italian Ice had us going crazy trying to find the best ice and custard combination. Ikigai Kakigori Cafe then introduced us to another form of icy dessert, giving us kakigori in flavors like coffee, chocolate, mango, matcha, and kuromitsu.

7. Latin American Cuisine

2015 was the year our taste buds went beyond the usual tacos, quesadillas, and burritos of Mexico to embrace the cuisines of its other neighboring countries. Latin American chicken street joint Señor Pollo was one of the after-office crowd’s favorite tambayan spots, well-loved for its juicy roasted chicken and sides like patatas bravas, latin coleslaw, and spicy rice.

Nikkei

Photo from Yina M.’s looloo review for Nikkei

The Peruvian cuisine also made it big in Manila with places like Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian), Don Andres, and Mantaro the Original Peruvian Restaurant serving up hearty and flavorful dishes like Lomo Saltado (stir-fried beef strips), Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian chicken), and Arroz Con Mariscos (Peruvian paella).

8. Craft Beers

Last year, we upped our drinking game and got a lot pickier with our beer choices. We traded in our bottles of San Mig Light and Red Horse for local craft beer, enjoying the latter for their richer flavors and higher alcoholic content. The Katipunan Signal No. 1 Stout, Pedro Endless Summer Wheat Ale, and Joe’s Brew were just some of the favorites.

We got our buzz on in places like The Brewery At The Palace, Perfect Pint, Single Origin, and Smoky Bastard where there were options aplenty when we needed quality alcohol on walwal Friday nights.

9. Korean-Style Soft Serve Ice Cream

Soft-serve ice cream is the go-to dessert for when we want something affordable and simple. All it takes is a quick visit to the convenience store and you’ve got yourself a cone. But when two foreign brands came to Manila last year and introduced us to Korean-style soft-serve ice cream, we forgot all about the cheap stuff!

Milkcow Manila

Photo from Nicole V.’s looloo review for Milkcow

Milkcow definitely wasn’t easy on our wallets but it was hard to complain given that it’s milky, creamy, completely organic, and sourced straight from South Korea. Milkcow monopolized the market for a while until Taiwanese competitor Honey Creme came into the picture, also serving up Korean soft-serve ice cream!

10. Crepe Cakes

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without a hybrid dessert! Last year, crepes were fused together with cakes to produce the ubiquitous crepe cake…and the rule of thumb is, the more layers it has, the better! How do we go back to eating just one crepe at a time after this indulgent trend?!

Paper Moon Cafe

Photo from Isha S.’s
looloo review for Paper Moon Cafe

Paper Moon Cafe from Tokyo started it all when they opened their first branch in Manila last year. Other dessert places and cafes, like Kitchen Diaries Cafe, Mrs. Graham’s Cafe, Nomnomnom Happy Food, La Creperie, and even Starbucks, then followed suit with their own version of the multi-layered treat.

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About Author

Denise Jose

Denise is a recovering food addict. She distracts herself with photography and keeps off the pounds by doing pilates. She is still struggling, however, and has occasional relapses. Her food comas are mostly induced by oily burgers and chocolate desserts.