Carinderia Crawl E16: Bicol express, kebab and ‘turon’ at Mang Tootz

Mang Tootz is a famous eatery around the University of Santo Tomas. It is known for its friendly staff, delicious food and its best-selling banana rhum-a, deep-fried slices of banana wrapped in spring roll paper and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

The carinderia started in 1991 as a tapsilogan and was formerly located in a small corner along Barlin Street. Back during its initial run, it was called Tootzilog. The eatery eventually moved to Padre Noval Street because the owners thought that it would be wiser to transfer location since they will be situated near the university.

The name of the carinderia also changed. From Tootzilog, it became Mang Tootz. The reason for this switch was customers never really called it “Tootzilog.” Instead, people just referred to the small eatery as “Mang Tootz,” the nickname of owner Edwin Vergara.

Vergara was a seaman working as a chef. After retiring, he decided to put up a carinderia. It eventually grew and gained popularity among students and people near the area.

On this episode of Carinderia Crawl, 24-year-old balikbayan Ronalyn Umali went back to Mang Tootz after four years of not visiting the place. She is currently based in New Zealand working in a bank. She orders Bicol express, chicken kebab and banana rhum-a. The balikbayan says that she wants to eat Bicol express because they don’t have it there in New Zealand. Usually, the Filipino dishes that they cook abroad are the staple adobo, sinigang and tinola. According to her, Mang Tootz’ Bicol express is creamy and it is not difficult to eat because the spiciness is just right.

She also tries the chicken kebab. She says that when she was still a student, this dish wasn’t offered by Mang Tootz. She enjoys the kebab because it touches her Filipino palate and the eatery did not entirely stick to the dish’ Mediterranean flavor.

But the highlight of Ronalyn’s return to Mang Tootz is the banana rhum-a. The food takes her to a trip down memory lane. She recalls that when she was in college, her friends used to go to this eatery during breaks to eat this famous desert.

WHAT RONALYN ATE: Bicol express, chicken kebab, banana ruhm-a and one cup of rice for PHP150.

WHAT SHE THINKS:  She likes that the eatery’s Bicol express is not that spicy but she enjoys the chicken kebab better because it is sweet and the meat is tender. She also commends the teriyaki and garlic sauce saying that the two flavors blend well together. She loves her banana rhum-a – the combination of jackfruit, banana, cinnamon and sugar is perfect.

WORDS OF WISDOM: “Sabi ko dati, two years lang ako titira sa New Zealand kasi sobrang lungkot ko na wala na ako sa Pilipinas. I told my friends na mag-iipon lang ako tapos babalik din ako dito. Pero, kapag napunta ka sa isang unfamiliar environment, you’ll eventually learn to adjust and thankfully, I’m enjoying my stay there with my family and new friends.”

Mang Tootz Food House, 1135 P Noval St, Sampaloc, Manila; +63 2 735 68 55. Mon-Sat 8 am-9pm.
– Episode 1: KC Tapsilogan at Lugawan on P. Noval Street, Manila
– Episode 2: Menes Eatery on E. Remigio Street, Manila
– Episode 3: Juan Spoon Eatery on Edison Street, Makati
– Episode 4: 15th Avenue Carinderia in Cubao, Quezon City
– Episode 5: Carinderia crawl: Sizzling beef and mushrooms at McDOKS Sizzling
– Episode 6: Tocino and tortang talong at Honey’s Canteen on West Avenue 
– Episode 7: Dinengdeng and lapu-lapu at Carol’s Eatery on Retiro Avenue, QC 
– Episode 8- Pork sisig at Ilar’s Tapsilog in Manila  
– Episode 9: Red Gate Eatery in Caloocan
– Episode 10:  Bangsilog at Erlin’s Tapsilog in Manila
– Episode 11: Pork BBQ and liempo at B-B-Q Zone in Teacher’s Village
– Episode 12: Pancit batil patung in Kamuning, Quezon City
– Episode 13: Beef and chicken pita at Hijo d’Pita in Teacher’s Village
– Episode 14: Special bulalo at Bulaluhan sa España in Manila
– Episode 15: Kanto Freestyle Breakfast in Bo Kapitolyo, Pasig
– Episode 16: Mang Tootz in Sampaloc, Manila
– Episode 17: Juana’s Budbod and Coffee in Sampaloc, Manila
– Episode 18: Manang’s Food House at Ateneo de Manila
– Episode 19: Sizzling pork sisig at Aysee
– Episode 20: Bagnet-themed dishes at Bagneto

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