I always believed that good food need not be expensive. For me, it’s always a matter of finding the right food place that suits your taste. Sure, hotels and High Street will always house the best culinary talents, but these gourmet celebrities have always had their humble beginnings, such as in the canteen, panciteria, carinderia or turo-turo. To weed out these possible gourmet geniuses, I’ve always made sure to feature restaurants that the average employee can dine at, being one myself. My personal rule, good food should be available to anyone with a P500 peso bill (US$ 11.75). Though I have managed to dine at more opulent restaurants, my favorite restaurants have always been those that do not require an SSS loan to enjoy. So far, I believe I have adhered to this rule. I am hopeful that the price of food will not go up too high that my Ninoy will still be enough for a dinner and a movie. Wishful thinking, some might say.
So I continue to scour the streets of the Metro and was finally rewarded with a nice surprise during one of my Cubao outings. Jonas’ claims to have started the pares (braised beef stew served with plain rice) craze that has become the mainstay of every Pinoy worker’s lunch hour. Inside Ali Mall (yes, it was named after Muhammad Ali when he came to the Philippines sometime in the 1960s to fight Joe Frazer in what has been eternally known as the “Thrilla in Manila”), Jonas is situated alongside strong competitors such as Ted’s Batchoy and Kentucky Fried Chicken. At P88.00 (US$2.07) per meal, you get a tasty dish of your choice, a large bowl of fried or plain rice and a cup of soup. Water served is purified and, best of all, still free. Pares continues to be their bestseller.
There was a lot of sweet and sour fish in the plate and this could actually be shared by two people.
The lechon paksiw is actually lechon kawali then sauteed in a little vinegar and lechon sauce. Truly yummy and very soft to the bite.
The bestseller and star of the show remains to be the Pares. Started in 1979, Jonas claims to be the fastfood restaurant with a conscience and, indeed, it still seems that way now. According to them, the owner Lolly Tiu coined the term “pares” which means to pair two items together. It was Tiu’s belief that the pairing of beef and fried garlic was the most filling combination there is. And right she was.
Try to drop by this place when you’re in the Cubao neighborhood. Surely, you will enjoy dining there!