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Meet Captain Manok (Litson Manok, Liempo, Bagnet, Crispy Pata) in Mandaluyong City

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Recently, I’ve met Captain Manok.

Sounds like a super hero’s name, right? But let’s admit, some Filipinos have fondness for names like this.

When the people behind this new food establishment that specializes in Lechon Manok (Roasted Chicken) shot me an email to try their food, despite trying to lessen invite loads these days, I could not muster the courage to say no. I always have a thing for start up food businesses because nothing beats the excitement of seeing great potentials. Much more, nothing beats the happiness of seeing these food businesses do well in their field.  Yes, I do not just write for blog hits, I intend to help people,  that’s for sure.


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So one day I visited Captain Manok’s first branch along San Francisco St. in Mandaluyong City. The place is a tad easy to locate. If you are familiar with Citihomes Mandaluyong, they are on the opposite side of the same street, left side if you are heading towards Makati.  With a big yellow signage bearing the name Captain Manok, it is not easy to miss.


Captain Manok is a collaboration project among partners Suraj Daswani and Vijay Saldanha. I have met with Suraj, who I like to call chef because he was, at some 5 star hotel which name escapes me. I also met chef Suraj’s beautiful wife, Babita. The afternoon of my visit was peppered with good food and interesting conversation with these two incredible people about Captain Manok and the philosophy they live by in terms of dealing with this new business.


Captain Manok Mandaluyong City Menu
I could go on and on telling you about the conversation that transpired among us, about how the soft-spoken Babita embodies a supportive wife to the man of his life, and about how chef Suraj radiates with passion as he speaks about their business. But I could easily save that part should I write an article about Inspiring People in Food Businesses. This time however, I would like to focus on the food that they serve at Captain Manok.


Lechon Manok and Liempo Roasting at Captain Manok
I have to admit that at first, I was under the impression that Captain Manok is yet another roasted chicken stand that wants to compete with the more established brands. It could be true in terms of technicality, but once you go beyond the usual comparison at face value, Captain Manok is more than just that. The promise? There is something for everyone!


Litson Manok and Liempo at Captain Manok
Striking a balance between paying homage to the Filipino people they cater to, and the passion for introducing flavors to their Guests, Captain Manok serves rice dishes. No, you are not in for usual Filipino dishes at Captain Manok, instead, the choices somewhat falls on fusion. They have variety of rice topping options and the one I got to try was their Braised Asian Chicken (Php79).

Coated with light breading, the chicken chunks, I noticed, were moist and have the right amount of flavor to it. The sauce indeed was very Asian in taste which I enjoyed.  All of their rice dishes comes with stir fried potatoes which is equally flavorful considering it’s just a side dish.


Braised Asian Chicken Rice Meal at Captain Manok
Roasted chicken stand that serves sandwich as part of their specialties is not something that you would usually come across. But as mentioned, Captain Manok is more than just that. Included in their menu is variety of sandwiches that they have tagged as their Exotic International line on the menu. Their Chicken Frankie Wrap sounds interesting but I decided to go for their Saigon Sandwich Pork (Php69)

Considering the price, this sandwich is really a bang for your buck, due to its hugeness. The filling boasts of slightly crisp pork chunks cooked in such a way that the meaty flavor illuminates. Slices of vegetables such as radish, cucumber, and carrots made this dish all the more filling. A special sauce is doused in a serving that gives it a distinct taste that falls between a bahn mi sandwich and something one may enjoy at the comfort of one’s loving home.


Saigon Sandwich Pork at Captain Manok
Captain Manok’s Liempo (Php159) is a thick slab of pork, roasted into a succulent submission after it marinades in a special sauce concoction. It is not the usual liempo cooked in the presence of assortment of herbs which at times can be assaulting for it kills the distinct flavor of the meat. Devoid of added flair, Captain Manok’s Liempo prided itself for being simple but downright flavorful. Tender to the bite, I must say that I could easily pick this out of a lineup of its other counterparts, in a heartbeat.


Pork Liempo at Captain Manok
Now we go to the chicken.

The size, the smell, and the appearance although impressive, were not the very things that blew me away. It was the flavor.

Captain Manok’s Litson Manok (Php210) flavor is not something that you would expect that can be bought in an unassuming establishment in some street corner. It tasted of herbs and spices that make the flavor of the chicken shine rather than mask it. The chicken itself was undoubtedly fresh with flavor that permeates in every shred of the meat.


Roasted Chicken at Captain Manok
Instead of it reminding me of the usual roasted chicken I get every time I lack the time to cook at home,  it reminded me of a really good roasted chicken, obscenely priced at some hotel I have visited. And I admit that at first bite, I was really pleasantly surprised that it tasted that good.


Whole Roast Chicken at Captain Manok
Another thing that made this roasted chicken special is the sauce that comes with it. The chicken can be enjoyable on its own alright, but with the sauce, it was magical. I did try my best to talk chef Suraj into giving me hints as to how they came up with such a good sauce, but I gotta respect the sacredness of a secret recipe, right? They did let slip two of their main ingredients included Love and Happiness.  So, I am cool, that whenever I get the craving for really good chicken with equally good sauce, there’s Captain Manok I could turn to.


Special Sauce and Litcon Manok at Captain Manok
Chef Suraj and Babita were open to suggestions as to how they can improve their products futher. But as much as I want to contribute something, I found the flavor of their dishes, especially the chicken, perfect for my liking. And I am not even exaggerating because I have a thing for being blatantly candor when it comes to giving my opinion about food. But that afternoon, it felt like I did meet my soulmate in the form of roasted chicken! Crazy I know, but it’s true.


At Captain Manok, There Is Something For Everyone!
Needless to say, I have high hopes for Captain Manok. I long for the day when they finally branch out just like the big brands in the field because with the kind of respect they have for food, they deserve all the attention this food-loving nation can give them. It is a good thing that they are open to franchising, that way, the possibility of this business to be introduced further and to pan out faster will be built on solid ground.


Captain Manok in Manok in Mandaluyong City

Captain Manok
152 San Francisco St. Brgy, Plainview, Mandaluyong City
Contact No.: 935-8926
Email Add.:  whitegras@gmail.com
Facebook: /captainmanok





2 comments on "Meet Captain Manok (Litson Manok, Liempo, Bagnet, Crispy Pata) in Mandaluyong City"
  1. I'm from Mandaluyong, I know this place! I'll visit them and try their chicken. The liempo looks good din!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Paula, that's great! Do let us know about your experience, we'd love to hear about it here at YedyLicious. Thanks for the comment!

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