Monday, June 28, 2010

Manila Good-Ha!!!: My First Filipino Breakfast

Manila Good-Ha!!! signage
Filipino Nostalgia

It's funny how you don't realize just how delicious some things are in life until you really think back on them and reminisce. It is only through that hazy nostalgia that the then-unappreciated grace is fully admired...and missed.

Not too long ago, I had the for granted pleasure of being introduced to my first Filipino breakfast. And since first bite, it was instant affection.

warm topsilog
Topsilog: My Filipino Breakfast I Took For Granted

The dish was topsilog, a simple and satisfying meal revolving around the salty, vinegar-cured, spiced thin beef strips known as Tapa. The typical breakfast is served with soft-fried eggs along with a healthy amount of unseasoned garlic-fried rice. It was a breakfast unlike any other I've had before, exceeding all my self-set weird breakfast standards. The jerky-like strips were highly flavorful and the fried eggs were warm and consoling. The rice was bland but I did not care. I knew it was meant to be like that and bite after bite--I slowly learned to appreciate its acquired toasty simplicity without falling to my soy/fish sauce dousing habits. I liked it, a lot.

caramelized fish

It was the little things that this little quirky Filipino breakfast eatery had that really drew me in. Things like catering to my seafood slanted cravings by also having Dasilog, almost the exact same thing but with blackened fish instead of beef. They even had some nice tofu and greens sometimes in addition to 5-6 different renditions of pork something.

I still chuckle when I think of the name of the place, "Good-Ha!!!". Its ambiance was comforting with its colorful walls and patrons of only humble Filipino elders.

colorful ambiance

I haven't experienced any breakfast like this one since then and so far, don't know if I'll find any other like it...

Manila Good-Ha!!!
231 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(213) 387-2492

Around $5 for complete Topsilog breakfast


weezermonkey said...

2010 seems like the year of Filipino food!

H. C. said...

wish you added the three exclamation points in your blog title, it made quite a difference when I saw it on the restaurant sign.

But sounds like a nice way to start off the day

glutster said...

Weezer: The Filipino conquest of L.A!

HC: alright, alright. just for you I will! I was writing this in a really crappy mood but you're right!

Nomsnotbombs said...

I'm glad you learned to like the plain white rice! We islanders like it that way :)

glutster said...

Noms: Yeah, It took me 21 years but I just now am starting to eat white rice without my soy-sauce-dousing Mexican tendencies!

ha ha :)

have you been to Manilla Good-Ha!!!?

Anonymous said...

White rice... it's a love n hate thing for a lot of us. don't know how many times I've driven by this on the way back from Ktown, never thought to stop by for brekkie.

Nomsnotbombs said...

I haven't visited this place yet, although I drive past it all the time. I actually haven't eaten much Filiino food in restaurants since moving to LA--still trying to find the good stuff.

Now that you're a plain white rice convert, I have to take you out for Hawaiian food some time!

glutster said...

Noms: That would be lovely! Please help erase my old "Hawaiian" Pineapple katsu-chicken+1 scoop of Mac. Salad and Rice ways that I grew up with!

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Glutster,

Wow, I've heard Filipino Breakfast is epic, but this looks insane. :) Thanks for the post.

glutster said...

Exile Kiss: don't even know.

glutster said...

Exile Kiss: don't even know.

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

i have to give this place a try and see how it compares to breakfast on the Manila Machine ;) maybe you can take me sometime!

glutster said...

letmeeatcake: Manila Machine has breakfast? Since When?!!!

and this Thursday looks lovely for an 8 oz lunch...don't you think so? :)

Das Ubergeek said...

Oh man, you've discovered my secret breakfast shame. I walk in and order it and the ladies behind the counter giggle. But I don't care. Yes, it's a grease fest. Yes, it enough calories for two adults for one whole day (sum quod eris, BTW). But I have to have it.

Try tosilog, which is tocino—not bacon as you might think pork subjected to the same process as the tapa—or longsilog. ("silog" comes from SInangag, fried rice, and itLOG, eggs, BTW) Make sure you get the coconut vinegar and cut up tomatoes to go with it, and sometime when you're starving ask if they have champorado, which is not atole but chocolate rice pudding. You eat it with salty fish called tuyo.

glutster said...


I'm down for some tuyo and filipino champorado! always down for filipino versions of stuff I grew up with ha ha. thanks for the tips :)

Ed said...

Usually the rice is least that's how my mom makes it. And that's how they do it at the Good-Ha in Glendale.

Try tinapsilog next time...smoked fish. Hooooo boy.