A good friend, who came from a weeklong trip in Taiwan, told me eating around there wasn’t such a problem. “They had this huge slab of chicken cutlet, sold almost anywhere, which was enough to last you two meals—with rice,” he shared.
I know that was the Pinoy in him talking, because apparently, wherever we may be, we want our fried chicken with rice.
This massive chicken cutlet from Taiwan, which has recently arrived in the Philippines, is enough for two, or one hungry fellow, as it comes in two-inch thick, bigger-than-your-hand size.
Taiwan’s most popular fried chicken cutlet chain Monga opens its first store in the Philippines at SM Megamall. It currently has over 70 outlets in Taiwan, and has since expanded to Canada, the US, the UK, Malaysia, and Singapore.
“Monga” was named after Taipei’s oldest district, now known as Wanhua District.
Co-founder Nono Chen, a famous comedian and, in his words, a “super idol” in Taiwan, led the opening of the first Monga store here in the country. Joining Nono at the opening were officials from the Vikings Group, which brought the brand to Manila in hopes of expanding their business venture.
“We decided to try out something we think the public will love—milk tea and fried chicken,” said Charles Lee of the Vikings Group.
Famous for their chain of buffet restaurants, Lee said he envisioned the brand to become another hit with Filipinos.
“When we tried this in Taiwan, we thought it was great because you have such a big chicken with rice for only P199 (without rice is priced at P189),” Lee told a small group of media during the Monga Megamall opening.
He continued, “We feel that it is so sulit (good value for money)—a sulit concept for the Filipino market.”
After a year of R&D and training, during which the Taiwan team thought them how to make Monga’s signature two-inch fried chicken cutlet, which is made of chicken breast marinated for 24 hours in honey, and dipped in batter instead of dry flour, the group finally opened the Philippine store on Nov. 6.
Lee revealed the Taiwan team was very particular about the 24-hour marinating process, advising them to never skimp on it “because otherwise we wouldn’t get the same juicy and non-greasy taste.”
Monga comes in three signature variants: The King (salt and pepper seasoning), Hot Chick (homemade chili powder), and Taiker (Japanese sauce and seaweed powder). It’s also available in Chee-Z Signature that comes with cheese and tomato sauce or special chili. All variants come in huge slab, and can be eaten with hands—just like how they do it in Taiwan.
Non-cutlet variants are Monga Nuggets and Monga Crispy Chicken, both seasoned with salt and pepper. Customers have the option to choose a “with rice” variant for all main dishes.
Side dishes include the Taiwanese style Popcorn Chicken, Signature Fries, Seaweed Fries, Fries with Plum Powder, Monga Chicken Wings, Fried Broccoli, Fried King Oyster Mushroom, and Fried Chicken Skin.
Aside from fried chicken, Monga also serves another Taiwanese favorite—milk tea. Choices include Black Dragon, which is made of oolong, milk, and brown sugar bubble; and Green Dragon, made of matcha, milk, and brown sugar bubble.
But Lee recommends to pair the chicken dishes with Monga’s refreshing green teas—Grapefruit Green Tea and Orange Green Tea.
“As a meal, I would get The King or Taiker with rice and I would pair it with Grapefruit or Orange Green Tea,” Lee said, because green tea helps cleanse the palate, compared with eating something fried and pairing it with a sweet beverage which can be “too heavy.”
But should diners prefer to pair their fried chicken with milk tea, then, by all means!
Unlike other Monga stores abroad, only its Philippine branch serves chicken with rice. “They don’t serve rice in Taiwan, it’s only for the Philippine market,” revealed Lee. Monga PH also offers gravy to “enhance the taste.”
The Vikings Group gets Filipinos—we do love our fried chicken with rice.
Monga is located on the ground level of Mega A in SM Megamall. It will soon open its second branch at SM North Edsa.Photos from Monga Philippines Facebook
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