Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Shawarma Snack Center: Hindi lang pang Shawarma, pang ulam pa!

I recall when, a few years back, shawarma stalls sprouted like mushrooms all over the city. The common wrap was fine for a budget pampalipas gutom but was more reminiscent of cafeteria food - tasted terrible and were not filling at all.

Shawarma Snack Center redeems that tainted image. As the name not so subtly implies, it is renowned for its superb shawarma that on several occasions, I literally had daydreams about it and nightmares about not being able to satisfy that craving. ssc_frontI think the two basic ingredients are responsible for this. In SSC, the pita could be a dish on its own. Also, unlike cafeteria shawarmas, the filling is not replete with day-old coleslaw-like veggies leaving the beef nowhere to be found. When you bite into SSC’s Shawarma you immediately taste the tenderness of the huge portions of beef. A regular shawarma costs 45 pesos and a special one (I think what makes it special is its gargantuan size) costs 60 bucks.

chicken_tikkaBut don't limit yourself to just the shawarma. Everything else we've tried in this place was really good. They usually have six cooked dishes sitting in heated serving plates, carinderia style. Form the ala carte menu, the favorites are tabouleh (bulghur and parsley), a stuffed zucchini dish with some rice and herbs, and kebab with rice or bread (P160). A pretty reliable indicator of the quality of the food is the unfailing presence of middle-eastern men whenever we visit the place.

taboulehThere’s a wide variety left on the menu still unexplored (including the hookah/shisa) which we never get to try since we usually get stuffed with the shawarma first. Don’t get me wrong, there is no regret here, let me just reiterate how eating their shawarma is a must. My advice is just to visit the place as often as possible, and try out new dishes all the time but I’ll bet you will never tire of their shawarma. As they confidently claim, "You can't eat just one!"

SSC is along Salas Street, in Manila. To get there from Roxas Blvd, make a right at Pedro Gil, turn left at Mabini and once you see a Happy Tours and Travel landmark, make a left on Salas and voila, SSC. It's open until the wee hours of the morning. SSC also has little shawarma stalls around the city but somehow, it just tastes better in the main restaurant. Expect to shell out P100 to P200 per person. Street parking only.

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