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Tara Na Sa Sarsa! Head Over To This Negrenese Bistro Where Hot And Cold Filipino Favorites Hit The Spot

Sarsa Kitchen + Bar's chef and co-owner JP Anglo invites you to indulge in six of the restaurant's freshest offerings: three brand new takes on the hearty, lip-smacking batchoy, and another three versions of everyone's heat-fighting dessert, halo-halo!

 

 

"We're constantly evolving. We like to stick to our roots, meaning, when we're creating something playful, 80 percent [of flavors] will still be familiar, and the other 20 percent will be adding a new technique, or a new flavor profile. Majority should still be Filipino," explains Chef JP of the newest taste bud pleasers at Sarsa, a restaurant well-loved for its unique approach to Filipino fare.

As an industry veteran, Chef JP is especially intent on developing Sara's role in elevating Philippine regional cuisine. In particular, the Ilonggo chef-slash-surfer is out to export flavors from his time spent in Bacolod to Manila, where many city-dwellers equate the region's specialties with the familiar inasal, kansi, binakol, and yes, batchoy.

 

 

Yet, even with these universal favorites, Chef JP promises that Ilonggo food leaves much more to be discovered, and that Sarsa can be the ultimate gateway to experiencing all that the cuisine can offer—including both familiar and new delights.

This time around, Chef JP tempts with internationally-influenced variants of the richly flavored batchoy, as well as new versions of halo-halo that'll take you back to the best days of summer. Check them out below!

 

The batchoy:

 

Batchoy Ramen

 

 

As a noodle soup often made with rich beef or pork broth and accented with a hint of shrimp paste, batchoy was the perfect candidate to meld with Japanese ramen, a recent Filipino obsession. According to Chef JP, to make the fusion, he borrowed the ramen technique of broth making while adding a poached egg with delicious runny yolk, tender char siu pork, and grilled undertones in addition to adobo flakes and generous slices of pork liver. Ramen chefs can learn a thing or two from this bowl!

 

 

Seafood-Gata Batchoy

 

 

What's more satisfying than finding the perfect point where two popular Filipino flavors converge in one bowl? While seeming like an unlikely combination, Chef JP successfully used thick coconut milk to bring out the otherwise minor seafood flavors of classic batchoy. Served with a plump slice of lapu-lapu fishcake, slivers of fresh squid, and juicy sweet shrimp, this noodle soup is a seafood lover's dream come true.

 

 

Spicy Batchoy

 

 

Calling all peppery palates! This special bowl that's hot in more than one way was made for you. It's the quintessential bowl of batchoy made better with Sarsa's signature chili paste; we'd tell you more about it, but its recipe is kind of a secret! If that's not enough for you, turn up the heat by slicing the whole green chili that comes with every order and let its potency work its magic. We especially love slurping on this spicy broth while alternating between bites of fatty pork slices and enjoying the crunch of pork cracklings sprinkled all over.

 

 

The halo-halo:

 

Sarsa Halo-Halo

 

 

Just as its name suggests, this variant is in keeping with Sarsa's signature taste: classic, familiar, and comforting, but with strokes of Negrenese flavors. This bowl of fluffy shaved ice flavored with milk is all about the thick clump of ube halaya, ube ice cream, saba cooked in molasses, and best of all, the "naked piyaya" that gives it a fun crispiness. It's fuss-free and uncomplicated, which means you can never, ever go wrong by ordering this.

 

 

Mango Vanilla con Hielo

 

 

Sweet, milky yumminess? Check. Thick, candied slices of mango? Check. Soft cubes of mango jelly? Check. There's really not much more to do with this sweet treat except have a spoonful of it! While still made up of the best things about this iced dessert, this version was concocted to appeal to those looking for a fruitier ending to their meals. Instead of having typical halo-halo ingredients like sago, pinipig, nata de coco, everything is replaced by different mango-infused goodies. No sharing, please.

 

 

Buko Pandan con Hielo

 

 

This dessert is essentially summer in a bowl; the scent of fragrant pandan is immediately followed by the tropical taste of tender, young coconut, and ends with a slowly melting dollop of vanilla ice cream. It's gooey and oozy and chewy in all the right ways, so each serving will never be a bore. Its flavors come together so well that we guarantee you won't be able to resist finishing even the very last drop of melted ice mixed in with sweet milk!

Now that we've gotten your mouth watering at the thought of these new dishes, why don't you just give into the craving and visit the Sarsa branch nearest you? All three batchoy bowls and halo-halo variants are now available, so, enjoy!

 

 

Shot on location at Sarsa Kitchen + Bar, The Forum, Federacion, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Photos by  Chris Clemente 

Special thanks to Tracie Anglo Dizon