Forever hearing about this legendary tapsi place in Bambang, Manila, I finally asked L to accompany me and check it out. I had been passing through this road all through my college years en route to UST but never did I notice Lola Ely’s eatery.
The carinderia had been sitting at the corner of Bambang and Felix Huertas street for more than 20 years. Originally an ancestral house, the lower floors had been converted as a 24-hour breakfast place in the 1980’s.
We came in at around 8:30am and a few people were already having their tapsi fix. We followed suit and ordered their tapsilog (fried beef jerky, fried rice and fried egg; fried everything).
The place looked like your typical house-turned-into-a-carinderia affair. Checkered vinyl floorings, custom-made wooden Formica tables and wrought iron garden chairs. It was open on two sides, negating the need for air-conditioning. A few old-school ceiling fans and the fanfare of jeepneys passing by completed the ambience.
Our food arrived after five minutes. For Php40.00, serving size was more than okay.
Their tapa was tender and tasty but really did not stand out from all the other ones I’ve tried. I dig their fried rice though as most of the ones I’ve tried before, I can’t even taste the flavor of being fried; it went really well with the fried tapa and egg.
We tried to order a few more dishes; maling and fried lumpiang togue but both were unavailable, so we settled for their lumpiang shanghai. It came hot off the kitchen, but tasted pretty average.
All in all, I was a bit disappointed with Lola Ely’s Tapsilogan as with all the hype I’ve heard, I expected their tapa to be really legendary. But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my meal, for the price it was quite satisfying.
The longevity of this place, it seems, stems from their reliability to serve the breakfast staple of every Manileños at very affordable prices without compromising serving size and taste everyday for 20 years. If I live within the neighborhood, I’d surely be here daily at the break of dawn having my tapsilog and a cup of hot coffee while being accompanied by the sounds of the speeding jeepneys. This is the quintessential kanto breakfast (corner street) experience in Manila.