99% Food, 1% Skin

Isla Manila

I had to experience “Flip-sum” for myself — so a trip to Northgate was a must.

Inside a small strip mall was Isla Manila Bar and Grill.

WP_20140730_12_35_33_ProFor $20, it was all-you-can-eat Filipino food served in small steamer size dim sum serving and a great variety of food.

Soup was included and served on the side, along with fried dishes such as lupia and fried chicken.

Dessert was also part of the all-you-can-eat.

The sunny afternoon we were there, we had 11 dishes to choose from; and of course, we got one of each to try everything!


First off, we were treated with piping hot green papaya and chicken soup called Tinola.


I loved it!  Very gingery, rich chicken soup.

It reminded me of Chinese winter melon soup as the cooked green papaya also had that similar texture – slightly mushy but still have soft fibers.

Then, we had lupia that was from the kitchen.

Crispy outside and extremely garlicky soft pork as the filling – very addictive.

A must-have in Filipino food was Adobo.

Both chicken and pork version were available.

The combination of soy sauce, sugar and garlic were the hallmark flavors of adobo.

The pork adobo was more tender than the chicken one, and the sauce was just delicious.

Pork Adobo was my Dad’s favorite dish, and perfect with lots of rice!

There was a coconut chicken with shrimp paste.

I never had coconut and shrimp paste flavor combination — it worked really well!

The coconut flavor added a roundness and creaminess to the strong shrimp paste.

The dish was spicy and fantastically savory.

Another shrimp paste dish was with vegetables – eggplant, green beans and kombucha squash.

This time, shrimp paste flavor was partnered was ginger, and the extra zingy flavor lifted the dried shrimp flavor pricelessly.

There was a Filipino BBQ pork which was very soft and sweet, with very light BBQ flavor that I generally associated with Chinese BBQ pork.

The most interesting dish was the pork cooked in pig’s blood.

It had an unusally deep flavor but I did not associate it with blood right away probably because of all the other flavors mulling together in the dish.

It was very peppery, and the dish carried this deep black color.

Unique and tasty.

One of my favorite was the beef stew with tomatoes; the beef was melt-in-your-mouth soft and very garlicky sweet — another treat over rice or with bread!

We had pancit, pan-fried noodle, and this version was with rice noodle.

I was really looking forward to it but turned out to be not the greatest; it was a little bland.

The grilled milk fish was excellent – simple preparation accentuated the natural sweetness of the fish.

The flesh was very soft; the only obstacle in eating milk fish was it had many many tiny bones and required lots of effort.

There was a beef tendon dish cooked with eggplant in peanut sauce.

The tendon texture was cooked delightfully – super soft that just gave in the mouth.

However, the flavors were a little bland in the middle of the tendon.

My girlfriend and I had one of each plate, and was more than full when we finished.

Lastly, the meal ended with a delicious flan.


One little square definitely went a long way — it was creamy, milky, caramelly and eggy, and the texture was on the stiffer side.

Flip-sum was definitely a fun experience, I will certainly go there again!

Isla Manila Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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