Sunday, May 24, 2015

The search for the best shrimp-in-a-bag in Manila

Paulo Subido and Esay Querubin in Boiling Crab
Our first time in The Boiling Crab 

After our month long honeymoon in the USA, my husband and I can't help but dream about Boiling Crab shrimps. We ate there twice, and even tried two other restaurants with the same concept called Star Crab and Stinkin' Crawfish. I loved every experience. The flavor in each restaurant is just a bit different from each other, but all very tasteful. They all have a version of the Whole Shabang, which is a mix of all flavors (butter, garlic, lemon, pepper and Cajun). I liked Star Crab's mix the best. 

Boiling Crab Los Angeles
The Boiling Crab in Los Angeles
The day after finishing the LA Marathon, I just had to get The Boiling Crab shrimps again. 
The Boiling Crab

heard of Bag O' Shrimps even before we left for the USA, so I immediately scheduled a lunch date with my husband there. We went to the one in Megamall. 

Bag O' Shrimps in Megamall

The restaurant has a harbor theme and friendly staff, and is clean and new. No wild comments about those really. More than anything, we are excited about the food. 

I am surprised that prices are the same with USA rates: $10 to $14 (P445 to P623 + tax) in the USA; P565 in Philippines. I'm not sure if it's now cheaper abroad or the Philippine restaurants are now ridiculously expensive. At first, I thought it wouldn't be fair to compare the flavor with those we tasted in the States. But maybe since the prices are the same, I should. 

The Bag O' Momma of Bag O' Shrimps
The Whole Shabang of Bag O' Shrimps is called Bag O' Momma. If the one in the States is a ten, Bag O' Shrimps's is a 6. The shrimps are not as succulent and fresh-looking, plus the sizes are inconsistent. Some has heads, while the others may have lost their heads while being cooked. Not great to look at but still it's the taste I want to focus on. 

The sauce lacks umph, unfortunately. It should be a mix of butter, garlic, lemon, pepper and Cajun flavors of perfect proportions that will work so well for the palate. Although the taste is there, it is very faint. Maybe because the sauce is too little. Which is again a big difference since the sauce in the USA usually reaches an inch or more when holding the bag vertically, one hand bundling it in the middle. And because of these reasons, Bag O' Shrimps is "okay lang, pwede na." I then continued my search for the best shrimp-in-a-bag in Manila. 

Being a borderline millennial, I went straight to the Internet to research on our next shrimp-in-a-bag date. There are Claw Daddy in Alabang and SM MOA; Shrimp Bucket at the Fort; and another Bag O' Shrimps in McKinley. I work at the Fort, so I planned to try Shrimp Bucket next even though they don't have a version of the Whole Shabang sauce. I am also open to give Bag O' Shrimps another chance seeing that there are good reviews of their McKinley branch online. Yes, I am easily affected by that. 

So one Sunday, unplanned, I was with my friends and found my way to Bag O' Shrimps, McKinley. I  was pleasantly surprised with how the sauce tasted that I ended up going there the following day to share the good news with my husband. And again five days after to satisfy my craving. 

Bag O' Shrimps in McKinley

Bag O' Shrimps in McKinley-- this was on a Sunday and we had to wait for a table. 

Inside Bag O' Shrimps in McKinley

Bag O' Shrimps in McKinley has a better tasting sauce than the one in Megamall! Not 100% the same as USA's shrimp-in-a-bags, but close enough. The Bag O' Momma flavor is really there--zesty, spicy, tasteful and has the same satisfaction from the mix of different flavors. Although the shrimp is still not as good looking, it's okay. The flavor we are looking for is there anyway. We also discovered a new favorite sauce which is the Lemon Pepper. We discovered this when we ordered clams and got the best seller sauce for it. Later we realized that getting clams is not a wise move. Orders are by the weight and the shells are heavy. Plus, the meat of Philippine clams is small. 

Both the Bag O' Momma and Lemon Pepper flavors are now our staple orders. We get two pounds of shrimps, each with the different sauces; and one order of corn. These sauces are great to put on rice, too. As for the rating, it is now an 8.5 to 9 for Bag O' Shrimps. Because ten is just for The Boiling Crab. 

Bag O' Shrimps Bag O' Momma and Lemon Pepper--
perfect combination