The Big Little Store. Whenever I am looking for something that has to do with computers, it’s always “Gilmore” that comes into mind first. It was just a quick LRT ride away from home- to my convenience. One day, I went there to have my old laptop checked-up and fixed. It was the laptop that became my bestfriend when I was studying in China. All of my files and pictures during my stay there were all stored in that laptop. And so it was to my great horror that, one day, the old laptop just suddenly failed to work.
I never hesitated to take that one quick LRT ride to Gilmore Station to know what’s going on with my “China buddy”. While waiting for it to be fixed, I saw and got suddenly intrigued with the small entrance on the ground floor of what seemed to be a small grocery store. When I went inside, I felt something very familiar that occurred to me just recently.
I felt that I was in China again.
A Little Experience of the Big China. I know how much I missed the Land of the Sleeping Giant. It was enough for me to squeeze it in my very busy schedule to visit Gilmore and have the old laptop checked-up. Those files and pictures meant so much. There were many unforgettable experiences and lasting friendships created in China. I’ll do anything just to get the photos back.
But I was also glad to see the store. It was like a temporary relief from the growing frustration and longing for the things that I missed about my China experience. I stayed there, by the way, for almost half a year to study Mandarin Chinese. I went to Fudan University in Shanghai. It was almost a year ago since I went back to Manila but until today I still miss taking the short strolls in the evenings while taking a sip of our favorite warm milk tea, the 9:00pm dinner eating the super delicious street-cooked Chinese-style fried rice, the cheap versions of internationally bestselling books sold by hawkers and so and so forth.
I went around inside the Big Little Store and heaved a deep sigh. “Alas! China again. Just a train away.”
Familiar Chinese Brands. I was very glad that I was able to bring with me “Vinci” a.k.a. the DSLR Camera of my friend, Gian. And practically in the next few minutes, I found myself gleefully hopping from one gondola to another looking at the familiar brands which I knew I saw somewhere during my entire stay in Shanghai.
All-Time Favorite Chinese Dim Sum. Oh yeah! All-Time Favorite Chinese Dim Sum filled the store! There were kikiams, siomais, chicken feet, barbecues, empanadas, tofu and etc. all sold in different servings and sizes. There was a section for some Vegetarian goodies too. I suddenly remembered Tiff and her self-declared specialty called Chicken ala King using only vegetables and veggie meats, of course. It was very tasty. I forgot that I wasn’t really fond of eating vegetables.
The Power of Choice. Literally, a stroll inside the Big Little Store can be a good exercise of one’s power of choice. There was just too many items to choose from!
The Chunkiest Siopao. And so I chose my favorite Chinese Dim Sum of all time. Siopao. Asado for that matter. Nothing was chunkier than this one I’ve tasted in the Big Little Store. What’s good about this siopao is that aside from having a very chunky filling, it’s also moist on the inside so there’s no much need for the sauce anymore (though I won’t be able to eat siopao without the sauce). I also like the softness of the white bread. The only downside that I think this siopao has was that it can be very addictive. So, if you’re a siopao-lover like me, take this one easy.
The Meaty Ma Chang. Ma Chang is like the Filipino suman- only that the latter is a dessert while the former is almost a full-course meal. Ma Chang is made from sticky rice with some mushroom and pork or chicken chunks. A lot of people say it goes well with catsup. I never tried though.
What’s good about this Ma Chang at the Big Little Store is that it can fill your whole hungry stomach in just one sitting. It’s indeed a full course meal. You can even eat it on the go. The only downside about it is that, personally, I don’t like Ma Chang’s that much. Maybe I wasn’t just really used to eating sticky rice as a full meal. I was raised eating sticky rice being dipped in some sweet sauce during All Soul’s Day. We call it the “Sumang Yakap” in Batangas as it is composed of a pair of suman held together and being dipped in some sweet sauce made of Muscovado sugar and coconut milk. I love that suman that much- that while eating Ma Chang it was the one running on my mind.
The Bestseller. When I asked which is the store’s bestseller, the waiter told me it’s the Beef Noodle Soup. And so I got one. The beef was firm, the broth was tasty and the noodle was delicious. Everything was perfect except that I think, like for Ma Chang, I wasn’t a big fan of noodles really. But I honestly believe that noodle-lovers will appreciate this Big Little Store’s bestseller despite my opinion.
Another Bestseller. Lumpiang Sariwa is another besteller. In fact, so much was written about this dish from the Big Little Store. People who likes Lumpiang Sariwa to the max should try this one.
Rolling and the Dip. I watched how the Lumpiang Sariwa’s were made. It was a whole gamut of spices, vegetables, meats and other ingredients rolled in the white wrapper. To eat it, it is to be dipped on its special sauce like that of the Asado Siopao. And I think that the sauce was one of the reasons why the Big Little Store’s Lumpiang Sariwa is famous.
The Big Little Store is located at G/F Gilmore I.T. Center, 1st St. cor. Gilmore Ave., New Manila, Quezon City. You may also reach them at 723-6881.