When I was about five or six years old, a trip to the supermarket usually meant a frosty Icee slushie on the way out of the store on the way home. A bit later on, when the original South Supermarket in Magallanes put in a fancy-pants bakery, supermarket trips were never complete without ham and cheese turnovers in puff pastry or fat, buttery croissants just out of the oven.
Today’s grocery shoppers, however, are rather spoiled for choice when it comes to post-shopping nosh. There are dumpling-and-rice stalls at the exit, shawarma and takoyaki kiosks, specialty bakeries that offer Taiwanese or HK-style savory breads topped with pork floss or stuffed with sticky-sweet char siu, taho (tau fu far – silken tofu served in a warm syrup with pearl tapioca) outlets stand alongside cheap cheesesteak stands. You have the bits-and-pieces stalls with their bowls of salty garlic peanuts, kornik (deep-fried corn kernels), crunchy peas, and sweet-salty anchovies; you’ve the rotisserie that offers take-away roast chicken, pork loin, and that sinful pork belly with the tender meat and crunchy yet melt-in-your-mouth good crackling. The rotisserie will also offer such sundries as fusion maki which maximizes the burnt ends of meat from the grills, a spanking-good yaki-udon, and even rice meals.
And now, there are even tea stands.
That’s right. If you’re a fan of, say, Quickly or Serenitea, there’s a reasonable facsimile flogging tea-based sippers over at SM Supermarkets called Tea Delite.
You can get a straight-up iced green tea with a hint of citrus to it on a hot day, or you can add any of the usual litany of fruit-syrup (made with real fruit; quite a surprise, really…) add-ons and possibly skip green tea altogether and go for black tea cut with chilled milk for a classic boba nai cha (milk tea with tapioca pearls) – possibly with a touch of chocolate, vanilla, or caramel syrup if you so fancy.
My favorite grab at Tea Delite is, however, the Yottea. Yotteas are chilled green tea drinks with a shot of fruit syrup and a generous splash of liquid yogurt. The end result is refreshingly tart, delicately sweet, creamy, even soothing especially at the end of a busy day.
Tea Delite actually posts a list of what fruit goes with what your health needs and I guess I’m just lucky that my two favorite fruits are just what my body needs: peach for improved digestion or strawberry to fight stress. The peach has a lovely, almost floral fragrance to it and tastes like liquefied mango pudding for some odd yet delightful reason. The strawberry is like commercial strawberry yogurt with a heady fragrance that will throw you back to the Meiji Strawberry Yan-Yan snacks from your childhood: tart and just sweet enough to keep you sipping.
Tea Delite’s Yotteas are quite reasonably priced, as well: P 55.00 for a large as shown above and P 65.00 for an extra-large one. Additional tapioca or nata de coco cubes or flavor pearls are P 7.00 per tablespoon.
To go with your Yottea, how about a pancit siopao? The snack stalls over at SM began selling these quirky buns a couple months ago for P 30.00 each and they’re fairly popular.
Yes, each and every bun looks like one of those typical fried mantou served with a small dish of condensed milk over at North Park. In fact, it’s pretty much made with the same dough. But that’s as far as the similarities go, because…
…it’s filled with sauteed rice noodles, some pork and veg, and a slice of – good grief! – banana. I have no idea why that slice of banana is in there, but it makes a fairly filling snack. 😉