Sangkap takes your taste-buds on a culinary adventure across the Philippines with four main ingredients: tomato, mango, chili and coconut (buko).
Filipinos are known to be hospitable, family-oriented and connoisseurs of food in their own right. And no matter which part of the Philippines you go to, you will find them celebrating with tons of food, or just bonding together as a family over Sunday lunch. And what a delightful feast it is! Each city and province boast of a diverse menu using ingredients abundant in their fields, recipes passed down from their elders, and techniques that they have honed over time.
My latest discovery is Sangkap, a restaurant that serves comfort food favorites– the taste of home with a modern twist. Sangkap is the sister of Sobre Mesa, a restaurant that showcases nostalgic favorites. And while Sobre Mesa caters to Titos and Titas, Sangkap is more of a family dining restaurant that you can take your Lolo and Lola to.
The name Sangkap is derived from the Filipino word that means “ingredients”. Banking on this name, the restaurant underwent a facelift where they changed the logo…
… painted a new mural overlooking their restaurant…
… and upgraded their menu to include new dishes!
All these changes have one common pattern, which lies in the four ingredients: mango, tomato, chili and coconut. According to co-owner Harvard Uy de Baron, they chose to give life and character to these four main sangkaps by making them the main stars and giving them personalities (plus quirky names) to appeal to kids. There’s Mina Mangga, a sweet and hardworking girl; Luis Kamatis, the good boy who’s always the top of his class; Cely, the posh and kikay friend, and Koko da Buko, a funny class clown type.
Together with the cultural heritage that Sangkap seeks to emphasize through their dishes, the co-owners and Chef Reymar Reyes want to inject a modern twist that keeps them up to date. Chef Reyes adds: “The dishes that Pinoys grew up loving provide a satiating filling in their stomachs and a satisfying feeling in their hearts– where the familiarity resonates the warm experience from partaking home-cooked meals that are usually eaten together with your loved ones. This is what we serve our customers at Sangkap.”
Sangkap’s menu include these bestsellers, and trust me, you don’t need to go far to enjoy the diverse flavors that the country has to offer.
Kilawin in Gata (PHP310)
This Filipino-style ceviche gets its inspiration from a province in Luzon. It features fish that is cured in a mix of citrus juices, chili, and onions to give it a myriad of flavors– sour, salty and spicy. It starts out with a mild heat, which can either be intensified when you bite into the slices of chili, or can be neutralized with the creamy gata they add in. Enjoy with some crunchy chips, or even on its own, and while it’s recommended for sharing, I think I can take on this appetizer by myself!
Okoy Salad in Mango Dressing (PHP240)
Crunchy bites of deep-fried shrimp form the okoy, flanked by a bed of greens. This healthy mix of veggies includes crisp lettuce, onion shreds, cucumber slices and some tomatoes– all tied together with the sweet mango dressing. The result is a fruity and refreshing salad with a tinge of sour flavors, which taste even better when paired with salty, crunchy bites.
Sangkap Fried Rice (PHP280)
Rice is a must-have in every meal, and in family lunches, it’s very common to see a plate piled high with this stuff. The fried rice of Sangkap is a welcoming change to the usual plain rice, as it comes loaded with flakes of smoky tinapa and a touch of mango for some sweetness. Fluffy and warm, this is a great accompaniment to viands or ulam.
Cebu Lechon Sinigang (PHP370 for regular, PHP550 for family)
Sangkap’s bestselling Cebu Lechon Sinigang marries two Filipino concepts– the famous meaty pork of the Visayas region, and the well-loved sour tamarind soup. But unlike the classic soup that is light and thin, this dish comes with a rich and creamy sauce made of mango, mixed with gata and chili. The star of this dish, the lechon, starts off with a crunchy skin that yields flaky, tender bites of meat, and when you combine it with the sauce, I tell you, it’s a bomb of sweet, spicy and savory flavors.
Beef Menchado (PHP340 for regular, PHP595 for family)
Rich and flavorful, the Beef Menchado is a stew made with a mix of beef brisket, potatoes, garbanzos and squash in a tomato-based sauce. This old-time classic is a definite must-have if you love strong, meaty flavors. Plus, it’s something nostalgic for lolo and lola to enjoy.
Seafood Menudo (PHP595)
For pescetarians, or those looking for tons of seafood in their dish, this unique take on menudo is a sure crowd pleaser. It comes with springy bites of squid, shellfish like clams and mussels (tahong), veggies like peas and carrots, all combined in the quintessential tomato-based sauce. The resulting flavors are rich with the briny and fresh flavors of the Philippine sea.
Chicken Inasal sa Gata (PHP350 for regular, PHP680 for family)
Ever since the rise of a certain fast food inasal chain, the Bacolod Chicken Inasal has now taken center stage in local cuisine. Sangkap takes these grilled bites of chicken and upgrades it further by cooking it in a creamy gata sauce reminiscent of curry. Despite the rich sauce, the strong lemongrass and annatto flavors from the chicken stand out, and make the overall dish more fragrant and flavorful.
Vegetables are essential for a balanced meal. And if you’re looking for something to jolt your taste-buds, Sangkap’s gising-gising is perfect for you, as it comes with strong spicy flavors. That’s because these beans comes loaded with bits of sliced chili all over. But if you’re looking for a momentary reprieve from the heat, the tomatoes and crunchy pieces of tokwa will help you out.
Salted Egg Fried Chicken (PHP350 for regular, PHP680 for family)
A touch milder than the gising-gising, the Salted Egg Fried Chicken is a nod to the Singaporean hawker dish. Each bite of crispy fried chicken comes with a generous coating of powdery, salted egg. Atop this bed of meat is a mix of deep-fried leafy greens, chili, and shreds of sour Indian mango to temper the strong flavors from the batter.
Tri-color Spring Rolls with Vanilla Ice Cream (PHP220)
I have fond memories of buying turon in the market near my school, and while I do love the deep-fried banana and jackfruit (langka) combination, Sangkap adds a creative twist to theirs by adding in some brightly colored ube. The result is a delightful stickiness and a mix of earthy and sweet flavors encased in a crispy wrapper– finished off with a cool and refreshing vanilla ice cream.
Sangkap Salo-Halo (PHP245)
Halo-halo is an icy summer favorite usually good for one person, but Sangkap comes in a gigantic punch bowl– good for three or more people, hence the name salo-halo. This milky dessert comes loaded with sweet bites of macapuno balls, brightly-colored nata de coco, langka, strips of gelatin, a dollop of ube, beans, slices of banana and a piece of leche flan. And my favorite topping of all? Cheese! Tons of that salty stuff grated on top of the whole thing. (Pro Tip: the Sangkap Salo-halo is good for 4 people)
Overall, the restaurant mimics the feeling of home– from the mix of wooden and rattan interiors reminiscent of a traditional Filipino house to the welcoming smiles of the staff– but the gastronomic delights that they serve are on a level above everyone else. The complex flavors, and the technique used to create these home-style meals can only be enjoyed in one place: Sangkap.
Watch out for Sangkap’s exclusive promos! Every Wednesday, they have the Pinoy Streetfood Festival, where you get a complimentary street food platter. On Thursdays, you can enjoy a 15% discount on the featured Sangkap dish of the week. And on the weekend, your lolos and lolas have reason to smile– they get to eat for free on Saturdays!
Sangkap can be found in two locations: Ayala Vertis Mall for the Quezon City folk, and in Feliz Mall for those in Pasig. For more inquiries and details on their menu, you can visit their website, Facebook and Instagram.