Fil-Mex Street Food: Madeca (Podium, Ortigas)

Every so often (not very), I browse through Deal Grocer and check out what’s on sale. I’m not a compulsive voucher buyer, but once in a while, something seems interesting enough to try, and I’ve been rewarded with some nice discoveries. Madeca at Podium piqued my interest: It’s not one of the hot new restaurants that everyone raves about and lines up for, but I’ve seen one or two glowing endorsements from my friends on social media. Being from the South, I hadn’t been to Podium in years, and I figured it was about time for another visit.

Madeca serves FilMex cuisine, our counterpart to the US’s TexMex. It’s on the top floor, part of the strip of three-walled restaurants that is probably what  passes for a food court at Podium. The space can sit 20ish people, and space is optimized but comfortably so–the backs of chairs aren’t bumping into each other, and there is enough room to walk between tables. You order and pay at a counter, and the food is delivered to your table.

The menu is straightforward: a variety of meats that can be had in soft tacos, in burritos, or with rice, plus a small selection of starters/small bites and drinks (beer, margaritas, and mojitos are on the menu).

Here’s what the dude and I got: chicken chicharon to start, sisig Mexikanin for him, and salpicao tacos for me.


Chicken chicharon, Php175 [~USD4]
If you like fried chicken skin, you will like the chicken chicaron. (If you don’t, you have no business ordering it anyway.) Perfectly crisp, not oily, not too salty. I’m sure it’s unhealthy, but it didn’t taste or feel unhealthy. The accompanying salsa gives it the needed acidity to compliment it and balance it out.

PictureSisig Mexikanin, Php225 [~USD5]

The sisig Mexikanin comes with chips, sour cream, salsa, and chili. The sisig itself was nice and crunchy, although it lacked the spice and acidity I look for. The chili was pretty good, and the chips (which I think are fried tortilla) were crisp and flavorful–they somewhat remind me of those fried wanton wrappers that you put in your congee at Chinese restaurants, which I’m quite fond of. The sour cream was smooth and tart without being too heavy or overwhelming.

PictureSalpicao soft tacos, Php195 [~USD4]

The salpicao soft tacos are also served with chips, sour cream, and salsa. The salpicao had a hint of sweetness, which I couldn’t get past–I don’t think salpicao should be sweet at all. It was tasty though, and the tacos were filled with a generous amount of beef and mushrooms, making them hefty compared to your usual street taco and very filling.

Overall, the food was pretty good and tasty, and I can understand the love it gets. The starters, sides, and condiments are bomb. The salsa was the absolute shining star of the meal for me, and I could (and did) eat it by itself. The flavors of the mains, though, are not quite spot on for me. For a restaurant that’s not fully enclosed and where you order fast-food style, you might expect prices to be a little lower. But once your food is served (and their service is fast and friendly), you’ll find that you get reasonable (though not outstanding) value for money.

VERDICT: Sure, I’d eat there again if I were in the area, and happily. But it’s not something I’d go out of my way for.

*Some photos by Roger.

Madeca (open Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm; Fri-Sun 10am-10pm)
5th Floor, Podium Mall, ADB Av., Ortigas Center


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