08 February 2008

Unexpected Find at NLEX

I apologize for not having pictures for this post, not even a menu to back up my claim, only what I can recall of my recent experience.

On my way to Subic Bay from Manila two evenings ago, a friend and I decided to go past both Shell and Petron to see what lay ahead of us by way of dinner at the new Total station along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). I must say that I still can't get over how much better it is to ply the north expressway after its rehabilitation. Imagine, we quickly we made it from the Balintawak toll plaza to Total in around 30 minutes. With the old system, it would have taken us the unpredictable route, ranging from an hour to 2 hours, depending on traffic levels.

As we pulled into the Total station, I must admit that the choices were not as varied as that of Petron's or Shell's. There was no Teriyaki Boy or Starbucks. What greeted us, at this late hour of 10PM, was a bunch of empty outlets including Tropical Hut, a dine-in Andok's, another place I forget and.... a Japanese/Korean resto whose name I forgot. We settled for the Japanese/Korean resto in place of a bowl of instant cup noodles at the mini-store.

Upon stepping into the resto, we couldn't help but notice the cheap prices. Cheap prices = crappy food, we thought. My friend ordered a chicken teriyaki bento box, while I ordered a bowl of hot soba noodles and vegetable tempura. They didn't have Kimchi, for some reason.

Were we going to head to the mini-store for a bowl of instant noodles?

Fortunately, we were proved wrong. The food was surprisingly decent for their prices. It was my impression that they do not scrimp out on the quality of their ingredients. The miso soup tasted like it was made of good quality miso, the soba broth wasn't just made from soy sauce and my friend says the chicken teriyaki was "quite good".

The next time you head over up north, stop by the Total station, it is definitely not as crowded as the first two petrol stations, and where you can find a decent Jap/Korean resto to try. Although, I can't vouch for the rest of the items on their menu, I guess it is worth a try for the price. Besides, the Total station provides for a relatively relaxing pit stop.

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