Reviving 'The Lost Art of Merienda': Enjoy These Merienda Classics At The Aristocrat Restaurant!

The Aristocrat Restaurant (or Aristocrat in short), the Philippines' Most Popular Restaurant may be around for almost eight decades but it's nice to know that their legacy still stands through the test of time. Whether you choose to enjoy their popular classics like their Chicken or Pork Barbecue with Java Rice combinations, their spectacular Kare-Kare, Pork Sisig or even their cakes (such as the famous Torta de los Reyes which I consider one of the best cakes in Manila), surely there is something for every Filipino family in this restaurant.

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Even if The Aristocrat Restaurant has already made a whole lot of changes within the establishment and their food, some things are better left unchanged while we continue to cherish our history and culture through the dishes we eat: one example is the how having 'merienda' or simply afternoon snacks has become an essential part of us Filipinos every single day.

So what exactly is 'merienda'?
'Merienda' is what we all know as light meals that we often eat in between lunch/brunch time (which is usually consumed around 11 to 12nn) and dinner time (which is normally at around 6 to 7pm). In the Philippines and when we started adapting this culture from our Spanish conquerors, merienda time is around 2 to 5pm, and regarded as tea time in Europe.

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In the Philippines, we may be a bit uncontrollable with the portions, but basically it's all about the satisfaction that you get from the different flavors of each dish...and Aristocrat never failed to include some of the best merienda classics in their menu that makes you want to go there every afternoon just to enjoy these sweet and savory treats.

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Pancit Luglog
You can enjoy their noodle dishes such as the Pancit Luglog (vermicelli with vegatables) with some bread, or a warm bowl of Sotanghon Guisado (vermicelli soup with meat and vegatables) which warms you up on a cold rainy afternoon.

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Sotanghon Guisado
If you are not much into eating heart of palm (or ubod in Tagalog), then The Aristocrat Restaurant's version of Lumpiang Ubod might change your mind. It has a combination of pork and shrimps which adds that saltiness that makes you crave for more. I topped this with their lusciously sweet brown sauce complete fresh garlic and ground peanuts, ate a spoonful and breathed heavily. It's that good!

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Lumpiang Ubod
In the Philippines, Fried Tofu or Tokwa is like the yang to any savory rice porridge such as the Pospos de Gallina (made with chicken) or Arroz con Caldo (with ox tail and entrails). Tofu cubes are fried and mixed in with a tasty soy and vinegar mixture with onions. Have it on its own or with pork bits, which is more commonly known as Tokwa't Baboy.

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Tokwa't Baboy and Tokwa't Tokwa
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Pospos de Gallina
Meanwhile, the Dinuguan at The Aristocrat, or pork in blood stewed in spices and vinegar is one of the best you can find in the Philippines. Not everyone might like eating pig's blood but personally I don't mind (considering that I have a good appetite for food with unusual ingredients), especially if you pair it with the classic puto or petite sized sweet steamed buns made of sticky rice.

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Dinuguan with Puto
Then again, it is just a few weeks ago that we got a tip that Dinuguan is also best served with..what? Yes! Cheese rolls! It's interesting and deliciously addicting. You have to try it!

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Dinuguan with Cheese Rolls
Kids, if you haven't experienced eating toasted 'flying saucers' during your childhood days, then just by visiting The Aristocrat Restaurant you can make it happen. I fondly remember eating these Adobo Filled Flying Saucers during afternoons which was usually made by either my lola or my mama, and eventually I started to learn how to use that old school stove top flying saucer maker myself (you can google it to know how it looks like hahaha!). Surely one can never go wrong with that classic adobo filling!

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Flying Saucer Adobo
Oh and by the way, there's nothing more rewarding than enjoying all of The Aristocrat Restaurant's Merienda Classics with great people, for instance, this crazy happy bunch of bloggers! Just don't forget to eat something sweet right after!

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Torta de los Reyes
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Speaking of something sweet, I will forever cherish anyone who can give me their classic Torta de los Reyes, which I consider one of my most favorite cakes ever, maybe because I am a fan of cakes with a distinct crunch (which is achieved through the use of baked meringue and nuts).

Interestingly, Torta de los Reyes should be sliced using a knife dipped in hot water since the cake is frozen. Slice through it and you will see a checkered pattern of white and dark chocolate buttercream in between thick and crunchy wafers. Every spoonful melts in my mouth and is perfect with my cup of freshly brewed coffee! It's so wonderful!

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Brewed Coffee
The Aristocrat Restaurant has restaurant and bakeshop branches all over Manila and Luzon, and its flagship branch (which is open 24/7-meaning you can have all your classic favorites, including their merienda all day and all night) is located in Malate, Manila. Check out The Aristocrat Restaurant's Official Facebook Page today to know which one is near your area.

What's your favorite merienda classic at The Aristocrat Restaurant? Share your comments below!

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*This post was written by the writer's own thoughts about The Aristocrat Restaurant.

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