Am I a liempo (grilled pork belly) fan? Absolutely. Am I an inihaw (barbecue) fan? For sure. Am I a gulay (vegetable) fan? Hmmm, not really.
I can’t be particularly sure if it’s a certain conditioning I was subjected to as a child, maybe because I was forced to finish a plate of it, that I grew up hating it. Or not. I mean when you’re fed with ampalaya (bitter melon) and such and there are alternate options available, from Piattos (chips) to bacon, I think any child wouldn’t think twice about choosing the latter over the former. Or maybe that’s just me.
But then good friends introduced me to this secret spot in Maginhawa, called SHAO KAO GRILLERY. Blessed are the families whose homes are just walking distance from this place, I’d love to eat here as often as I could. To say the least, SHAO KAO will make you forget you’re eating gulay. Of course the liempo was mighty fine, too.
As you can see in the above photo, the plate of gulay is at the forefront, because, I am not even kidding, while I am a hundred percent meat lover, I’d say the grilled vegetables really made the meal a superb one, and the type that did not make me feel completely guilty afterwards. Simply because I ate gulay!!!
If you’d like to know more about the vegetables I’m bragging about on the above photo, don’t worry, I won’t keep it a secret. From top down, left to right, these are kamote (sweet potatoes), broccoli, mushrooms, Chinese tofu, cabbage, pechay (Chinese white cabbage), eggplant and sitaw (yardlong beans).
What made it so good? It could’ve been the eleven secret spices, of which the staff would not reveal to me despite my persistent nagging (LOL just kidding, I know in my heart I can never recreate such goodness at home and did not even attempt to find out what the ~secret~ ingredients were) It could’ve been the al fresco dining and overcast weather during that time. Or it could’ve been the warm hospitality of the servers that day. Or maybe it’s all the good elements together that made the dining experience a memorable one.
All photos by Jem Bautista, who also isn’t such a gulay fan but became one because of this place. Special thank you to Kenneth for the recommendation and Cristina and Chase who are the founders of SHAO KAO GRILLERY!
Website is best viewed on a portrait orientation on your device.