Saturday, April 30, 2016

Shawarma Snack Center: Ermita's best-kept secret?

Where were you and what were you doing on Good Friday? Me? Food tripping! In between church activities and service, that is. I know those who are Catholic abstain from meat or too much food during Lent, but we born-again Christians have a different practice and particularly at our church, we do have an annual fast 
for three days after New Year's Day. 
Last Good Friday, activities and service in our church lasted from 9 a.m. till 8 p.m. and in between, we had an over two-hour break so I decided to make a little trip into one of those small streets in Ermita, Manila near our church, where one 
can find authentic Middle Eastern food. 
This post, by the way, is Part 2 of my Middle Eastern cuisine journey sharing. In my previous post, I shared about Mister Kabab, where I started that "journey", and also Hassan Kabab and Steaks, and Kebab Turki Baba Rafi. Now, as I've mentioned, I'm sharing about Shawarma Snack Center, which is a gem tucked away in Ermita, 
for those who love Middle Eastern food.

SSC at #484 R. Salas St., Ermita, Manila
We reached SSC by crossing Adriatico St. from Robinson's Place Manila and walking on that alley, R. Salas, toward Roxas Blvd. We crossed Mabini St., too, and then M. H. del Pilar, and then there was SSC in just a few more steps. It's huge, you can't miss it. Also, there's two of them, one in front of another. The one on the right (if you're going towards Roxas Blvd. from Adriatico), is like a carinderia and is not air-conditioned while the one opposite it is much bigger and is air-conditioned. We chose the latter.

Main entrance
We went through this door and seated ourselves. I was a little surprised that the room was almost full and that most of the customers were Middle Eastern-looking foreigners. However, most of them were smoking using a strange-looking apparatus that I later learned to be hookah (they were smoking shisha or flavored tobacco), and I felt uncomfortable. Good thing a server offered to bring us upstairs, saying he knew by the look in our faces that we didn't smoke. Tee-hee. 
But then, it was full upstairs with not a single table vacant so we had no choice but to go outside, in the open-air smoking area, which was huge! Thankfully, we were the only ones there so nobody was smoking. We were handed the menu and 
after some time, we had our orders:

Falafel Sandwich, P85.
I just love how a plate of Middle Eastern food bursts with bright colors from those slices of fresh vegetables and herbs. Very healthy too! I ordered this because I loved falafel the first time I tasted it at Mister Kabab. Falafel, just in case you don't know, is deep-fried mashed chickpeas or garbanzos, and eaten in between folded pita bread. I don't eat falafel as a sandwich, however. I eat the veggie balls and pita separetely. I just bite into those browned patties and tear the pita into small bits and dip them into hummus before munching on it. Well, at Mister Kabab, the dip that accompanied the falafel was hummus. But here at SSC, I forgot to ask, 
though I ate my food the same way.
Pita bread
Turkish coffee, P85.
It was my first time to try this coffee and I was excited, only to be taken aback by the distinct aroma. Also, it was very thick and very strong! I was only able to have a few sips. Turkish coffee, by the way is made and served using a small pot usually of copper material called an "ibrik" or "cezve" that is shown in the picture above.
Beef Shawarma with rice, P195. 
This was my daughter's order, some of which I got to eat. The serving, as you can see, is big! The slices of grilled beef are tender and tasty, much more when mixed with the white garlicky sauce.  Again, lots of veggies which I love!

      Upstairs smoking area
This is where we were seated. That's my daughter reading the menu.

The "other" SSC across the street.
It was a great foodie experience dining at Shawarma Snack Center, which, to me, is Ermita's "best-kept secret". Here, the food and company you have will make you feel like being instantly transported to the Middle East!  
Happy eating!
*  Next in my Middle Eastern cuisine series, Beiruti Bite!

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