Anyway, Mang Kiko’s is a kind of Filipino snack-hut on the corner where Somerset Road slices into Grange Road, diagonally opposite Orchard Cineleisure and facing that park where they play handball in the blazing midday sun and do periodic demonstrations of Brazilian capoeira. Behind the bus-stop. Adjacent to that weird red double-decker bus. Near the newly-opened Cold Storage, a sort of salient in the ebb and flow of traffic. You know where I mean, anyway…
The classic items that I always go for are:
Grilled chicken (Filipinos would know it as lechon manok) – tasty, basted, caramelized and pepper-seasoned barbecue brown skin (not necessarily very crispy, but no matter); and thick, lean, generous hunks of chicken meat – mostly thick pieces of white breast meat (you will not go hungry after a visit to Mang Kiko’s). Seriously solid grub, makes you feel the blood flowing in your veins and keeps body and soul united.
After being grilled and just slightly charred black at the edges (enormously important, this), a process which turns the sickly pink marinade colour into a dark sunburn red, these are perfection: I can only echo other people elsewhere online who have mentioned the sensation of eating these as the scorched sweetness of the marinade and meat send a power-surge through one’s taste-buds. It is like sucking a piece of toffee – except that it is a meaty pork kebab. You physically need more of this when you have eaten one cube: your body will compel you to reach out for more. Maybe the marinade is laced with some highly addictive substance: who knows? Whatever the truth, this baboy is the bomb, baby… Oh and you always get a free slice of burnt fat at the bottom of the kebab: sounds horrid, but it works – moist but yields to the tooth, crunchy enough to chew through, full of oily flavour, like a piece of crispy bacon-rind.
Finally, sliced pork belly (liempo) – I saw another review online of Mang Kiko's liempo where the young lady scribing the piece said she had carefully removed all the fat from her pork pieces… this tickled me, as the fat is pretty much the whole point of this dish. I don’t normally even enjoy eating fatty meat but liempo is a classic case where the meat flavour is in the fat and is absolutely part of the enjoyment to be derived from the dish.
Of course, you can get the cooking of fatty meat wrong and produce something revolting, but Mang Kiko’s always balance thick lean meat and crispy skin with the fat to produce something that gets my juices going. So meaty, it makes you feel like you’re growing extra muscle mass, what with all that protein going down your gullet. Now that's the kind of body-building I like to get involved in...
If you agree or disagree with what I said, why not leave a comment? It would be great to hear from you!
https://plus.google.com/110684439062786524278/about?gl=sg&hl=en - Google+ page for the branch at Lau Pat Sat (I can't find one for the National Youth Park branch).