Living in a predominantly Catholic country like the Philippines means that a lot of your daily life is influenced by religion. The Christmas season in this country famously lasts several months, big events like the Translacion can derail an entire workday or two, and every Friday of Lent means no meat or chicken anywhere.
According to this article in Crosswalk, Lent for Roman Catholics is a period of fasting in preparation for the sacrifice of Easter, when Jesus Christ finally gave up his life for humankind. The forty days correspond to the forty days Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by the devil. To symbolize his sacrifice, people tend to give up specific things during the Lenten period. There’s also a rule about fasting every Friday, which means less than three meals and no meat.
Exercising your faith is a human right, but it can be pretty tough to keep thinking of meals without meat for a whole forty days. Here’s a short list of restaurants that have what you can eat, and where to find them.
Pipino Vegetarian Food
Vegetables are a staple, whether during Lent or during daily life, but it can be hard to think of creative ways to prepare them. Luckily, there’s always Pipino Vegetarian Food in Teacher’s Village, Quezon City. One of the most well-known vegetarian restaurants in the country, Pipino has tons of different dishes that are all equally delicious and equally guilt-free. Try their Pinakbet Risotto (Php 195) for a twist on a Filipino favorite, or their Black Bean Burger (Php 275) for a hearty meal.
Pipino Vegetarian Food can be found at 39 Malingap Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City. Contact 0915 230 7649 or their Facebook for more information.
The season of Lent is a season of sacrifice and reflection, whether about your own actions or your actions on the environment and society. For those who want to minimize their carbon footprint, Green Pastures offers a sustainable food alternative to other restaurants. All of the ingredients are organic and sourced from local farms, maximizing social good while minimizing the impact on the environment. While not all of their dishes are Lent-friendly, their Vegetarian Burger That Doesn’t Suck! (Php 490) is one of the best in the country. Their menu changes according to what vegetables they can source, so make sure to call ahead.
Green Pastures can be found at Level 4, East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City. Contact 0922 633 4687 or their Facebook for more information.
Fish & Co.
Lent or not, life still goes on, and it can be hard to find restaurants that can cater to big family events while still keeping in line with the spirit of fasting. Family restaurant Fish & Co. is an excellent choice if you’re planning a reunion or birthday that falls on a Friday. Their Best Fish & Chips in Town (Php 425/Php 275 for a solo plate) is a tried-and-tested favorite, while their Soft Shell Crab Salad (Php 495/Php 295 for a solo) is nothing to sneeze at, either. Fish & Co. also has branches in different malls across the metro, making it a solid choice wherever you’re coming from.
Fish & Co. can be found at the Ground Floor, Entertainment Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay City. Contact (02) 576 9170 or their Facebook for more information.
This Cebu favorite is another good option for when you want a special dinner on a Lenten Friday. Seafood bags have become more and more popular over the past few years, and getting messy once in a while never hurt anyone. Their Seafood Barkada Bag (Php 655 for 5-6 pax) is the biggest seller, but there are tons of different ways to mix and match their menu items. Try their Salted Egg Calamari (Php 230) for a new spin on the fried rings. They also have grilled fresh seafood priced per 100g, so make sure to ask the server what’s in for the day.
Choobi Choobi can be found at 102 Panay Avenue, South Triangle, Tomas Morato, Quezon City. Contact 0995 228 9726 or their Facebook for more information.
A hard day’s work might mean that there isn’t enough time to plan a meat-free dinner on a Lenten Friday. Luckily for workers in the Makati business district, Berde Bowls offers a quick, healthy, and guilt-free option at the end of a long workweek. The restaurant was conceptualized to address the lack of healthy food options for office workers, and also uses local and sustainably-sourced ingredients. Their Mushroom Monggo Kare-kare (Php 290) is a delicious meat-alternative that is chock-full of protein. They also have a Fish Kinilaw (Php 340) made with fresh fish that you can pair with any type of rice and vegetables.
Berde Bowls can be found at Ayala Triangle Gardens, Salcedo Village, Makati City. Contact (02) 728 5046 or their Facebook for more information.
For more on where to eat around the Metro, check out the Food category on Daydreaming in Paradise!
If there’s one thing Jonah De Jesus loves, it’s food. He practically grew up in the kitchen, following his mom around as she put together delicious dishes (although he was sometimes more of a hindrance than a help). Although he eventually ended up taking a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, that love for all things gastronomical followed him well into his adulthood.
When he’s not watching reruns of Parts Unknown or trying to imitate Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen, Jonah spends most of his time scouring Manila for all the newest and best places to eat.