Gramercy Park: Grill 21

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Grill 21 is a small joint near 1st ave. But it’s worth the walk for some delicious Filipino food. Chicken adobo is probably the most popular and well-known Filipino dish and as I was told while in the Philippines, their national dish. If you’re into tender meat simmered in vinegar, garlic, and soy sauce, ordering this is a must. For lovers of other types of meat, there’s also pork adobo and tons of beef dishes.

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The grilled pork belly was so good, while eating it, I thought about getting another order. The pork belly fat/meat ratio was perfect and it was slightly sweet. The next time I’m here I really need to ask about the sauce they use to marinate this, so I could marinate everything in it.

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It’s such a shame that only Filipino restaurants have garlic rice–it’s so good! I’m basically a rice barrel (my childhood nickname) and the portion here made me pretty happy.

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UBE ICE CREAM. You can request either mango or ube to go on top of your halo halo. For those who haven’t had halo halo, it’s a Filipino dessert of shaved ice, condensed milk, and lots of different toppings like ice cream and fruits. (There are very similar desserts all over Asia, from patbingsu in Korea to Taiwanese baobing). Now as much as I love mango, ube is much harder to come by and I really love the vibrant color. This purple yam is super popular in the Philippines and you can find it in lots of desserts and pastries. It’s similar to taro, but the two are actually very different *gasp!* Taro is a root vegetable and the insides are light purple (not the rich purple you’ll find if you cut open one of these).

Anyways, the delicious ube sits on top of tons of condensed milk and ice, so there’s nothing more you can ask for (except maybe more ice cream).

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