#FoodTrip: Burgers, ramen, seafood galore at Alabang Town Center

Kai Magsanoc
This community mall down South is a true food lovers’ hub



LOST AND FOUND. Lose yourself in this community mall with the warmth of the people – and the food! All photos by Kai Magsanoc

MANILA, Philippines – I have only been to Alabang Town Center (ATC) twice: once to cover a recyclables fair, another to wind down with the ad agency whom I worked with as a stylist — since their office was (and still is) in Ayala, Alabang — at the San Mig Pub.

I did not know what to expect for this #FoodTrip, which turned out to be a good thing — the day was full of pleasant surprises, from the food to the nicest people I had ever met in any food coverage.

SIZE MATTERS: Burgers, sausages, porkchops and fries


SIZE MATTERS. Take out joint that can seat 8 to 10 people


Don’t let the size of this burger joint fool you. While Size Matters may sit in a humble corner of Alabang Town Center near the cinemas, in my one hour there, I saw more people come and order take out more than my fingers could count. I also loved the fact that it was a go-to place for solo diners, which I often am. Size Matters is one of those places where one could be comfortable, relax, focus on the food and enjoy quiet time. 

Store supervisor Fatima Pintado told me that Size Matters has 5 different branches, the flagship of which is in Shaw Boulevard. The franchises have different owners, and the one in Alabang Town Center is owned by Gabby Herbosa.

They opened in ATC last July 27, and sales have been doing well on a daily basis, especially on weekends. They already have regular patrons whom the staff are already familiar with. When big groups come to eat, they simply put the tables together.

Fatima described their food as “take out, and for the family that loves sausages and burgers, or country-style food.”

CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE. Take your pick from these condiments and sauces made available.


THE WORKS BURGER. Size Matters' best-seller and biggest burger at 1/3 pounds. You can choose your bread, too: English muffin, oat bran, the classic bun or ciabatta.


SAUSAGE LINKS. The Hungarian sausage sandwich is Size Matters' signature dish, and comes in 6 inches or 12 inches. A must-try for first-timers.


SOUTHWESTERN BBQ RUBBED PORKCHOPS. They call it 'rubbed' because the chops are rubbed with Size Matters' own secret recipe butter before they are grilled. The dish was developed by Chef Anselmo Schotwell for patrons who were asking for rice dishes. 


CHILI CHEESE FRIES. The perfect accompaniment to any Size Matters dish, also perfect for sharing.


Size Matters also offers all-day breakfast selections. My verdict: it is a no-nonsense place for anyone who just wants to enjoy their food. Burger lovers should check it out. The warmth of the staff is a great bonus. No one leaves the place unsmiling. Trust me!

Business hours: Monday to Friday, 11 am to 9 pm. Saturday to Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm


KENJI TEI: Simple, memorable everyday ramen


KENJI TEI. Pioneer of the ramen revolution. That amazing ceiling looks like ramen, too!

I was not a ramen person before I visited Kenji Tei, and I was skeptical it would convert me. To be honest, super nice owner Kenneth Kho worried me, because he texted at around 9:30 am, before my coverage began, to ask me to have my lunch there. I wasn’t sure if I could stay long.

Boy, was I wrong!

Kenji Tei was not hard to find. Their new location near the ATC cinemas screamed “Welcome!” to everyone who passed by. The interiors are simple and not cramped, which is important to people like me who love to keep our personal space. The best thing: they have electrical outlets at seats lining the wall, which means one can stay and work while resting from the delicious ramen lunch.

Owner Kenneth said he opened the ramen place because he grew up with Japanese food, his dad having worked in Japan when Kenneth was a kid. His brother and investor, Richard, also used to work in Japan.

The first Kenji Tei branch opened in BF in 2009, long before the ramen explosion of 2012. Today, they have two branches: one in Greenbelt 5 and another in ATC.

“There’s really many, many kinds of Ramen,” Kenneth said. “At Kenji Tei we serve Old Japan ramen — light, everyday ramen.”


FOR GROUPS BIG AND SMALL. There's space for everyone in Kenji Tei.


SPICY NEGI RAMEN. Spicy miso- based broth topped with negi slices and chasu. Kenji-Tei's best seller I want to go back to.


GOMOKU RAMEN. Mixed seafood, vegetable and pork ramen. Love the broth on this one.


“CRISPY CHICKEN TERIYAKI. Grilled crispy chicken glazed in teriyaki sauce. The kids’ favorite.” 


EBI MANGO MAYONNAISE. Hot prawns with Kenji Tei's special mango mayonnaise. This is their version of the classic hot prawn salad. I took one whole prawn in one bite. That's how good it was!


YAKI GYOZA. What is a Japanese meal without gyoza on the side?

Kenji Tei brings together Japanese and Filipino cultures in their dishes. Their Gomoku Ramen, in fact, reminded me of the soup of the Filipino classic, Nilagang Baka. 

My verdict: I started loving ramen the moment I tried Kenji Tei. Realized I go for simple rather than savory ramen. Can’t wait to bring my family here! 

Business hours: 

Facebook: Kenji Tei Ramen House 

Contact number: 745-3098 (Greenbelt branch)

Email: kenjitei@gmail.com

BOILING SEAFOOD: Crustacean with a twist


BOILING SEAFOOD. Those orange cloths are aprons, not table cloths. You're allowed to make a mess here.

A seafood lover’s life is not complete without a visit to Boiling Seafood, located in a new strip of restaurants in ATC. Owner Paul Genito (his partners are Arnold del Rosario, Tonypet Albano and Kiko Laurel) welcomed me to their first and only branch so far.

“We copied the concept of The Boiling Crab in the US,” said Paul honestly. “We couldn’t afford the franchise. The US serves crawfish; we don’t have that here. We have crabs, shrimp, clams and mussels.”

I discovered many things unique about Boiling Seafood. One is that they have 5 kinds of sauces: sweet chili garlic, Cajun, coconut curry, crab fat (aligue) and butter garlic. They can me mixed together, but first-timers should try them solo. Their best-seller? Sweet chili garlic.

Paul said that while their seafood offerings sell better, they also cater to those who cannot eat seafood because of allergy. Their non-seafood best-sellers include the buffalo wings, baby back ribs and beef salpicao.

“You eat with your hands. You can take the plates out,” Paul said, smiling. “Eating our food is an adventure.”


“TAME, MILD, WILD. What’s your pick? I choose Wild.”]   


“SWEET CHILI SHRIMP. Shrimp cooked in butter, olive oil, garlic and chili sauce imported from Vietnam. The spice is not overpowering at all.”]


“MUST-TRY DIP. Squeeze the lemon into that mix of salt and pepper. Dip the seafood, eat, close your eyes.”]


“CLAMS IN COCONUT CURRY. Clams in yellow curry with bell peppers and coconut cream. I’m a picky curry eater but this one is on my list.”]   


“CRAB IN GARLIC OVERLOAD. This is the star of the show! Texture and taste are off the charts.”]


“STRAWBERRY SHAKE. A soothing accompaniment to all the savory and spicy dishes.”]


Did you notice from the photos that the dishes were served in clear plastic? According to Paul, that is food-grade cellophane plastic, which is how dishes are also served at The Boiling Crab. “We don’t cook it there. We only serve it there,” he said.

Paul said he was allergic to seafood for 42 years, and got healed little by little through all the food tasting he had to do before opening the restaurant.

Boiling Seafood will open their second branch in Greenhills in January 2014, and their 3rd one in Libis by March. I really look forward to that. For now, I take my family to ATC.

Business hours: Monday to Friday, 11 am to 12 mn. Saturday to Sunday, 10 am to 2 am the following day.

Facebook: The Boiling Seafood 

Contact number: 511-8232

Email: tbs.atc@gmail.com

– Rappler.com


Read our other #FoodTrip stories:


Kai Magsanoc

Kai Magsanoc is the former editor of Rappler’s Life and Style section. She is back to freelancing, covering lifestyle events for Rappler, and styling campaigns for her retail clients. Kai is a hands-on mom and a happy wifey. She loves travel, theater and meditation. Follow her live event updates on Twitter at @KaiMagsanoc. Watch out for her blog, Coffee with Kai, coming this December.


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