Mangan is a Pampangan restaurant, related to Cabalen. In Ilocos, Pampanga and Pangasinan, “mangan” means “eat.” For Cantonese like us, “mangan” or 眼盲 means “blind.” That’s why when I first learned of this restaurant years back, I wondered why the owner branded the restaurant with such a negative connotation.

Current branches of Mangan are in Robinsons Place, Manila; Robinsons Galleria; SM Mall of Asia, Pasay; and SM North EDSA.

Review of Mangan (SM North EDSA)

Ambiance: ★★★★☆

Though Mangan offers traditional home-cooked meals, it projects such a modern ambiance. When we stepped inside, we were rapt with the white plates displayed on the opposite walls as design, while the longer wall imitated a shelf filled with mock violet books.

Elegant chandeliers provided the bright blaze of light valued by diners. The entire rectangular area of the restaurant can have room for about 70 people (yes, we counted the chairs).

Service: ★★☆☆☆

Except for giving us free fritters, the rest of Mangan’s customer service was devastating.

Mangan partnered with BDO credit card for BDO credit card users to avail of Mangan’s promo: buy the bistig bangus belly and get another dish worth PHp 220 or lower for free. You can also buy a dish with a higher price tag but you need to pay for the excess amount (more than pHp 220) later.

Mom inquired about the deal, and the waitress at the entrance corrected us with her own version. She said we needed to dine in and purchase at least PHp 1000 worth of food from them before we can have the free dish worth of PHp 220 or lower. My mother insisted on what she knew (according to what’s written on the voucher) and asked the girl to confirm the thing with her superior. After a few minutes, the waitress returned and admitted that her belief was according the old promotion they had and not this ongoing one we were referring to.

Second encounter was the wrong order the waiter served, which I could probably blame on the name of the restaurant. Mangan, right? Does this actually mean the waiter was not able to clearly see what he wrote on the paper where he listed our orders? Instead of placing the lengua caldereta on our table, he mistakenly gave us lengua with button mushrooms (sauteed slices soft boiled ox tongue with lavish creamy mushroom sauce and hefty mushroom).

I thought they just had a different kind of caldereta (brown, not orange) and even turned to Mom to argue my point. 😛 However, when Mom tried it, she immediately knew it really wasn’t what she wanted to have. So the apologetic staff couldn’t do anything but change it to the right one.

Third fault was another wrong order served by another waiter. He gave us the glass of regular halo-halo instead of our actual order, the special kind. Whoa! What’s happening here? They were all careless. Not to mention customers were not that many for us to tolerate their sloppiness.

After giving us the right desserts, my sister asked for two extra spoons for my mom and me (since we would share the halo-halo). The waiter gave us only one and walked away! ‘哇佬耶!

So this branch should not only stick with the name “Mangan” or blind but should also affix “Jilung” or 耳聾 which means deaf. 哎喲! 🙄

Food: ★★★★☆

Filipinos of any province or region are typically known to be good cooks. And Kapampangans are no exception. Their cooking prowess made them win the reputation for being creative at the forefront of culinary wizardry. That’s why when we learned that Mangan is Kapampangan, we really set our expectations up high.

Mangan did not fail to meet that level of expectation. As much as it offers a variety of meaty dishes, it also has plenty of selections for vegetarians and seafood-lovers. So we ordered: jasmine rice (PHp 31), tofu sisig (PHp 100), bistig bangus belly (PHp 220), lengua caldereta (PHp 220) and special halo-halo (PHp 128).

Absolutely free of meat, the tofu sisig was well served without burnt portions stuck on the hot plate. We just pinched one calamansi for it to taste better and mixed it with rice.

The second course was lengua caldereta, made of soft-boiled ox tongue, garlic, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, potatoes, red and green bell peppers. I can’t believe I ate a piece of lengua! 😯 (Huhu, eww…) Texture was soft and not spongy as I imagined. The potatoes in the caldereta were too solid and hard to chew on. There was not enough time to boil them, perhaps.

The pictures below show the wronged lengua order…

Next we had the fish fare. Because there’s a stable supply of milk fish in Pampangga rivers, locals have tons of resources to experiment cooking with inventiveness and versatility. Mangan reflected on this and included several variants of fish on their menu. Aside from the item we had, there are the likes of sinigang na bangus sa bayabas, kinilaw na bangus, bangus a la pobre and bangus salpicao.

Anyway, the bistig bangus belly was just one among the many results of their intrinsic talent. The central part had the belly fat which was sinful and delicious. The accompanying sauce was flavorful, both salty and sweet.

Finally, we punctuated our meal with dessert. The special halo-halo contained a mix of all the following: a dollop of ube ice cream, leche flan, macapuno, banana and mongo beans with smoothly shaved ice. Every spoonful made us experience one to two seconds of brain freeze. Its sweetness was acceptable though we can add more syrup if we wanted to.

Price for Value: ★★★★☆

All dishes were almost drool-worthy and they had affordable prices to match. Once tasted, twice satisfied!

Menu:

About 

Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

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34 Responses

  1. Francis Balgos

    Drool worthy! agree much!
    I can’t really understand the Cantonese referrence.
    But the experience with the staff is universal..
    Treatments like this would always throw me off,
    giving me the vibes not to dine in this resto ever again.
    It doesnt matter how good the food maybe,
    they aren’t the only place to go.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I guess any other normal person would be turned off with their service. If you try to berate them for their mistakes and call the manager to scold them, you might even get a free dish or some voucher for compensation!

      Reply
  2. Mai Flores

    I’m actually impressed with your fair review. It was note-worthy considering what you had to deal with in terms of Mangan’s bad service. At least, the food didn’t fail you — if it did, then that would’ve been a major disaster. Good thing I haven’t tried dining at Mangan North Edsa yet. I would’ve gotten more frustrated if I were you.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah, their service was truly a disappointment. But food had reigned that day. Anyway, I just hope that they can improve with order management next time. 😀

      Reply
  3. Pepper Tan

    I haven’t eaten in Mangan. Thanks for the honest review. The food looks delicious, though. I think I may need an extra helping of rice to go with those 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hi Pepper! If you can, bring your own rice with you from home or from other cheaper eateries. Price of rice here is much expensive compared to usual ones. Hehe 🙂

      Reply
  4. Franc Ramon

    You’ve got several bad experience here at Mangan and good thing you were objective in doing your review but Pampanga food is really great.

    Reply
  5. Adobotech

    I’ve also experience this in one of the resto, but since the food was really great we’ve turn the long waiting for the food to be served and other misplaced order to joke and make fun with it.

    Reply
  6. Joshua

    I keep passing by that particular restaurant in SM but never ate there haha but after looking at yur pics I might give it a shot next time 😀

    Reply
  7. jsncruz

    Classic example of how a restaurant with good food and good price point can often fail from poor customer service 🙂 I had the same last night, and it was painful because it was my favorite restaurant which gave me that fail.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Actually, it’s amazing almost every province in the Philippines offers a different specialty whether in taste, texture or the food presentation. Each one has its own rich history and presentation that is carried over from the oldest generation to the current. Mangan can be a mirror of how the old ancestors in Pampangga present and cook their food.

      Reply
  8. sherwin

    i dont remember trying this resto before, but after seeing pictures you posted i think i will give it a try since kapangpangans are well known for good foods..;)

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hi Sherwin! Yup, you must 😀 especially if you’re looking for a restaurant that is packed with delicious no-side-dish-needed food and twists on the classic local cuisine.

      Reply
  9. papaleng

    The dishes seems fine but yung rice. 31 pesos, wala bang rice -all-you-can, malakas kasi ako sa rice. Natawa si misis doon sa Menu list ‘Mapaling Sabo’. kapangpangan kasi siya.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha if only Mangan would offer rice-all-you-can promotion, I think more customers will be raging into the restaurant to eat luscious Kampampangan food. But I guess for my little stomach, one bowl of rice will quell hunger for a bit; and three would stuff me silly. 😛

      Reply
  10. marri

    Sometimes, we cannot avoid unpleasant dining experiences even in high-class restaurants, I supposed so. Thanks for this review. At least, you’ve pointed out good points as well that makes me curious though I never have tried Mangan.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I think Mangan is for the middle class. The management should have put their employees to customer service training because let’s face it–restaurant dining is not just about the food, at least from the customer’s perspective. When we eat out, right, we always seek an experience that leaves us feeling good. We are also likely to spend more money (not just on food) but on the overall experience.

      Reply
  11. ralph

    I thought mangan is an ilocano term which means “to eat”… I wonder what it means in kapampangan. The looks yummy though.

    Reply

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