MADECA (100 to 250 PHP/ 2.25 to 5.25 USD)
MADECA is a shortened “Manila de Acapulco” which pays homage to the Philippines’ historical Galleon Trade with the Mexicanos.
Upon first bite of the Spinach & Mushroom Quesadilla (125 PHP for 4 wedges), I noticed a stronger mushroom taste blending with the creamy mild Cheddar.
Next was a pair of Chicken Soft Tacos (165 PHP) that had a unique overall taste. It took me one taco to try to put my finger on what made it stand out. It couldn’t just be the tender, well-marinated and grilled chunks of chicken (with a few bony parts) combined with small shreds of cabbage, minced onion, sour cream, and salsa which would have resulted in an otherwise average chicken taco.
My curiosity prompted me to inquire with a food attendant. She shared that they spread bean paste on the thin pita bread and prepare the meat with a secret special sauce. I respected their non-full disclosure as protection from easy replication and preservation of their originality.
I also liked that the soft flour taco was grilled to have a semi-crispy exterior. Despite my sensitivity to chili, the tacos had an appropriate level of hotness that made my nose run but I relished it nonetheless. (Rating: 8.5/10)
For the finale, their original Sisig Burrito (best with egg at 225 PHP+) was one of a kind even with its predominant saltiness. Apart from the crunchy and chewy Pork Sisig (considered exotic by non-locals as it’s made up of chopped pig’s head and liver) were small grains of cumin-flavoured yellow rice, minced onion, tiny shreds of tomatoes, cilantro, and the egg I added. It was hardly spicy.
The grilled flour tortilla was garnished with cheddar cheese to make it even more enticing to the palate. Although my recent medical test result showed that I was above the normal cholesterol range, I succumbed to this burrito’s goodness. It was no surprise why this was their best seller! (Rating: 9/10)
Given my initial rave reviews, I revisited MADECA and brought my boyfriend along so we could both try their other signature dishes.
We started with the Chicken Quesadilla (135 PHP for 4 wedges). The taste of the poultry marinade intrigued me again. There was a hint of ginger to it. We kept guessing what the secret sauce or ingredients were.
The Salpicao Mexikanin (translated as Mexi-rice, 275 PHP) is the open burrito version which had small beef sirloin cubes with mushroom and minced garlic, yellow cumin rice, and a scoop of chili con carne with beans served on a round plate. The beef chunks weren’t easy to chew. I rarely find restaurants in the metro that serve very tender Salpicao. Anyhow, although the marinade was good, I couldn’t enjoy it much. My boyfriend thought it was alright though the meat was indeed a bit hard.
I noticed that some of the Mexikanin versions (such as the Beef Salpicao’s) were more expensive than the burrito ones. With content volume being equal, doesn’t flour tortilla cost more than grains though?
Last of all, we went for the Soft Taco form of a Spanish-influenced Filipino delicacy called Lechon Kawali, which is deep-fried pork belly (185 PHP for a pair).
It’s best to have this as Mexikanin. I may be a bit biased as I’m not keen on having a lot of very fatty and fried stuffings in my tortilla. We ended up picking out the contents and separated the meats from the fats. (Rating: 6/10)
Restaurant & Service
MADECA is a small unenclosed casual dining place with some cheery Mexican-colored ornaments. Customers order and pay at the counter then wait to be served.
Apart from their items being decent value for money, I would like to give MADECA credit for originality and uniqueness with their menu set. They concocted good Filipino-oriented Mexican dishes.
I also appreciated the simple presentation where each food item was placed in a small basket with colored paper wrappers. They had a standard yet attractive look. The tortilla dishes also came with flour nacho sidings that had a cracker-like taste and two dips for sour cream and salsa.
MADECA deserves future repeat visits. I would also want to try their Dalandan Mojito then.
Overall Rating: 8/10 ❤