We were floored by all the positive feedback (THANKS, GUYS!) regarding our first review, so we were pretty excited to get started on the next one.
“Mang Tootz” sounds like one of those affable sando-wearing, gin-shooting, sisig-loving characters from Pugad Baboy. It may sound like a sketchy place to head over to for lunch, but trust us, it’s anything but.
The place is pretty straightforward, with a couple of tables up front and some inside. It’s a turo-turo, with students lining up at the counter where if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be served by the legendary Mang Tootz himself. He and his crew run a tight ship. You can hear them shouting out orders over the din of the hungry students, passing trikes, and car horns. Instead of being off-putting, it lends a certain crazy testosterone-laden energy to the place.
Anyway, enough chatter. On to the food!
The exterior. We highly recommended getting seats outside. :p
“Pakiusap! Pakisabi na lang po ang order at wag ako payukuin. Masakit na po kasi ang tuhod ko kakayuko. - Mang Tootz.”
The man himself.
Students lining up at the counter.
Their wall of fame. There’s a picture with P-Noy up there somewhere. (Not in this photo, though.)
The complimentary soup that comes with every order. Boo. Not good. It tastes like thick water with egg and meat bits. Most of our bowls were left untouched. You can probably scoop some onto your rice if you like the latter moist. But taking it alone will probably make your face crumple into something that resembles this emoticon:
Sisig, P40 ala carte, P50 with rice - This was just all right. On the upside, it wasn’t drowning in oil like how most other sisig joints make their sisig. There was a good “fat to laman” ratio. But it lacks the oomph that comes with good greasy artery-cloggers such as Almer’s or Wok’s sisig. It’s not something you’ll look for on the days you want to eat yourself into fatty food oblivion, but it’s not bad.
Chicken tenders, P40 ala carte, P50 with rice - One of their best-sellers, and with good reason. This tastes like a budget version of Chili’s chicken crispers. The serving is pretty formidable too. Mang Tootz understands the intricacies of a student’s nutritional needs.
Tacos, P40 ala carte, P50 with rice - “Ano yan?” we asked Ron as he ceremoniously placed his plate onto the table. “Tacos,” he replied. Our facial expressions reflected the curiosity burning in our minds. TACOS?!? Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t tacos crispy tortilla shells stuffed with beefy Mexican goodness? Upon taking the first bite, you will understand why Mang Tootz deemed this dish worthy of the title “TACOS”. It tastes just like taco filling should. Spicy, meaty, and brimming with Mexican deliciousness. Felipe Calderón would approve.
Pork mushroom, P40 ala carte, P50 with rice - Yum. The pork bits were meaty, delicious and substantial. Unlike other places, Mang Tootz does not scrimp on their meat and cheat you by putting in a lot of fatty bits. They give you exactly what you paid for. Porcine wonder cooked in gata. Yummy.
Everything was pretty good, but the real star of the show was the chicken kebab.
Chicken kebab, P60 ala carte, P70 with rice - We had actually finished ordering our individual meals when we heard Mang Tootz bark out “NASAAN NA YUNG MGA KEBAB?!” at which point, our trusty Dave stood up to investigate. What kebabs? We hadn’t seen any kebabs at the counter! It turns out that they were being freshly grilled at the other side of the street. Let me describe their chicken kebab. The meat is fresh and juicy and grilled to perfection. Serving is good enough for one starving person or two moderately hungry students who are willing to share.
To summarize, Mang Tootz is a winner. You might have to contend with the swarm of students during lunch time, the sweltering Noval heat, the noise, and the occasional fly dropping by to say hello, but trust us, this place is worth it. You get a lot for the little that you pay for, and what you get is good stuff. :)
P.S. We are currently on Christmas break (our last ever before clerkship), so you won’t be getting any reviews until next year (which, by the way, is in a couple of weeks!). Have a merry Christmas and an amazing New Year from the THITW crew. :D
Mang Tootz Food House (Which is also spelled as FOODHAUS on the staff’s t-shirts.)
P40-P70 per meal
1135 P. Noval Street, Sampaloc, Manila