Buddha Bites, the Chinese-Filipino fusion JSEC stall, does not advertise itself as such, but nonetheless embodies the identity. The stall specializes in bitesize squid, pork, and chicken marinated with Chinese flavours, and then deep-fried for a crisp exterior that is familiar to the Filipino eater.
While the fried batter clinging around the squid offers little excitement, the punch of flavor can be found in the squid itself. The squid is succulent and made bitter-sweet by the addition of the stall’s Nori powder, which, like all their other spices (chili garlic and salt vinegar) are professionally made for Buddha Bites’ own unique menu. The crunch of the kropek mixed along the squid is the perfect neutral tasting alternative to the squid, serving almost as a palette cleanser.
While the backbone of Buddha Bites’ food is clearly their ready-to-go food, the Chicken Combo urges one to have a sit-down meal. The meal includes larger portions of fried chicken, kropek, and the constant Filipino staple of rice. Like the squid bites, the soft batter around the chicken is not the source for praise, but the meat itself. The chicken is marinated in traditional Chinese ingredients bought fresh every other week, dulcifying the meat in a taste that truly is uniquely Oriental in flavor. Flavored further by the stall’s specially made spices, the meal comes harmoniously together.
Despite the undeniable strokes of Filipino tastes in the food, Buddha Bites does not stray far from its Chinese cuisine roots. The offerings are true to their identity in every bite. This disciplined consistency is what draws the lines to the stall.
Value for money
The best seller is Buddha’s Squid Bites that costs Php 90, which is made to provide convenience for the on-the-go Atenean. Every other to-go meal is priced similarly while the combo meals are priced at Php 115. Buddha Bites offers a good shot at authentic Oriental flavors at a manageable price tag.
Buddha Bites caters to the very demographic of busy Ateneans. The stall offers fast food, but with a richness that is telling of the thought and care put into the menu. Considering the hectic schedule of the everyday Atenean, Buddha Bites is sure to become a staple.
Photo by Zach Garcia.