Every year, there is a stall in JSEC that faithfully provides the meal that has quickly become a university staple: fried chicken, rice, and gravy. Though the variations differ from generation to generation—usually in the sides that come with the dish—the overall idea of the dish is the same. This year, Soulful Plate has taken up the challenge of continuing the tradition.
The Buttermilk Chicken Combo is prized as the stall’s speciality and best seller. The golden brown chicken is flavoured with sour cream powder that adds a pleasant tang to the taste of the meat. The chicken is tender and packed with a taste that is reminiscent of beloved fast-food chicken chains. The pool of gravy offered as a sauce is rather one-note in flavour, but the fries paired as a side to the dish almost allow you to overlook that. Cut widely and served with a satisfying lack of oil, the fries also have a surprising burst of sweetness in every crunch.
The Southern Style Porkchop is a recent addition to the Soulful Plate menu. The meat is served slim and deep-fried, with a crunchy skin that offers a tinge of sweetness. Further intensifying the taste is the aioli sauce put to the side for dips. The coleslaw put to pair with the dish is doused with mayonnaise that leaves the carrots and cabbages in the mix tasting of little else.
Clearly apparent in their menu is Soulful Plate’s desire to provide familiar, reliable food. There is nothing expressly revolutionary about their dishes and yet this by itself is a marvel. Soulful Plate serves an array of dishes that are recognised and devoured dearly by the regular Atenean.
Value for money
One look at the menu and it’s obvious that Soulful Plate is not one of the cheaper stalls in JSEC. The Buttermilk Chicken Combo is PHP 120 and the Southern Porkchop Combo is PHP 130. But both meals settle heavily in one’s stomach; filling and satisfying. When dining at Soulful Plate, one pays to be fed, and fed properly.
Though certainly not the most innovative of stalls in this year’s JSEC lineup, Soulful Plate nonetheless provides classic recipes familiar and dear to the Atenean. Their menu provides campus favorites sure to attract customers all year round.
Photo by Zach Garcia.