Sugar is the most visible link between Indonesia and the Philippines. Go to Hari-Hari, Super Indo or Giant supermarkets in Indonesia and you’ll be facing tons of sweet stuff, all with chocolate. Go to SM North Edsa in the Philippines and all the sweet stuff – with or without chocolate – are waving you from every corner of the gigantic mall that started out as a little store called Shoe Mart transforming to a mega mall with a shorter name of SM several decades later.
Getting your sugar fix is easy in Indonesia and the Philippines except that there’s just a little more variety that my huge sweet tooth persona always searches for. J Co, the Indonesian doughnut brand, and its soft, saccharine-sweet doughnuts balanced with soft frozen yoghurt have eclipsed my old-time favourite Dunkin Donut that topped my previous sugar-fix list.
Brownie Express moved to the top of the list and, obviously, I paid homage to this brownie kiosk first, perusing carefully the display window filled with rectangular trays of my top favourites Kris Kross, Double Fudge, Espresso and a new flavour Pebble Beach. Brownies – check.
Goldilocks is the Queen of Pastries, gracing the pantries and refrigerators of the entire archipelago. I’m in no hurry to eat through the Goldilocks items so I settled for a whole egg pie, which is something that is so difficult to find outside of the Philippines. There are pies out there, but the smooth, creamy egg pie is a rarity outside the walls of Goldilocks. Mamon (chiffon cake) and the fudgy chocolate roll can wait for a couple of days. Egg pie – check.
Dairy Queen was this huge ice cream place in Cubao outside of the old Fiesta Carnival building that I frequented with my father when I was in elementary. Across it was the old Coney Island ice creamery, which was always second choice to Dairy Queen then until Dairy Queen closed shop (I don’t think Coney Island is still in operation). It’s back now and I rekindled my connection with it with a cup of caramel sundae from a kiosk outside Wheelock Place at Orchard Road followed by Oreo Blizzard several days later. In Manila, I trooped to the revitalised Annex of SM Edsa heading straight to Dairy Queen for my sugar fix. This time I opted for a small Banana Split Blizzard. Dairy Queen – check.
There are still a few places on my list to drop by – Pancake House (the thick, three-layer choco-marble pancakes are simply divine), Red Ribbon (ube cake and coffee crumble plus the taisan are unparalleled) and ChowKing (they serve excellent halo-halo for a Filipino-Chinese fast food place) – but, for now, I’ve got my shots for my sugar fix.