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MANILA, Philippines – Buying homemade goodies for your mom from a mommy-owned food business is hitting two birds with one stone – you get to make two equally deserving mothers happy!

For Mother’s Day (or any other day, for that matter), we’ve put the spotlight on a few local, mommy-owned food businesses, each one built from a mother’s dedication to serve and her love (and talent) for anything and everything yummy. Check out some of their best-selling items, as well as their stories!

Must Be Mom’s

Kampampangan matriarch Mila Gonzalez never settled for anything short of “homemade goodness” for her family – all of her household’s Filipino dishes, cakes, pies, fruit shakes, dessert, and even chicharon were made by hand every day at home.

Eventually, Mila set up Mom’s Manyaman (which means “delicious” in Kampampangan) in 2000, delivering desserts and meals to schools, offices, and hospitals nearby. 2002 saw both Manyaman’s first store in Greenhills and the burst of success of their specialty: Mom’s ensaymadas.

In 2005, Mila was joined by her two daughters, who renamed the business Must Be Mom’s – and the rest was history. As of May 2020, Must Be Mom’s has 12 kiosks in malls across Metro Manila, and 3 in NAIA Terminal 3.

Must Be Mom’s stores may be closed for now due to the ECQ, but that hasn’t stopped sweet-crazed Filipinos from ordering their homemade goods. Assoon as their kitchens reopened for home delivery, the demand for her quality ensaymadas and addictive cheese rolls soared.

Must Be Mom’s famous Cheddar Ensaymadas – freshly-baked, pillow-soft bread topped with creamy butter, sugar, and grated cheddar cheese – is a delicate mix of slightly sweet and a little savory, and P50 per piece, P280 for 6, and P550 for 12.

The Queso De Bola Ensaymada, though, was the kicker – a sweet-savory treat reminiscient of the Noche Buena staple, best paired with a cup of hot cocoa. The shavings of queso de bola on top add a welcome salty punch to the buttery, fluffy pastry.

But don’t miss out on her Cheese Rolls – a soft-to-the-bite, fluffy pastry coated in butter, sugar, and filled with salty cheddar cheese! You won’t be able to have just one of these addictive rolls with your coffee, I swear. It costs P47 a piece, P260 for 6, and P520 for 12.

Must Be Mom’s ensaymaditas are the bite-sized, baby versions of her ensaymadas, available too in cheddar (P170 for 20 pieces, P650 for 80) and dulce de leche (P210 for 20, P800 for 80), which includes a drizzle of homemade dulce de leche syrup over cheese for a salty-sweet soft bite.

There are also travel-friendly crunchy snacks like the Toasted Ensaymadas (P160) – similar to a sweet biscotti – and the crisp, light, milky Lenguas de Gato, available for P300 and P320 for the ube flavor (which is less sweet than its classic counterpart).

Savory goodies more up your foodie alley? Must Be Mom’s still doesn’t disappoint, especially with her homemade and very indulgent Aligue (crab fat), sold for P265. Rich, flavorful crab fat mixed with hot rice or pasta, finished off with a squeeze of calamansi, is a guilty pleasure I’ll never say no to.

There’s also the smoky and Spicy Tinapa (P295) – smoked fish bottled with cheese, chili, sundried tomatoes, and garlic – best with rice, pasta, or bread, and the Gourmet Tuyo (P295) featuring not-too-salty, thick tuyo fillets in oil – perfect with garlic rice and eggs in the morning.

There’s way more on Must Be Mom’s menu – just check out their Facebook page, or place your orders via their Whatsapp or Viber number at 0920-92800511. Orders can be picked up from their main kitchen at 36 Mariposa Street, Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, Quezon City from Mondays to Saturdays, 9 am to 5 pm.

Leng’s Kitchenette

Leng’s Kitchenette specializes in ready-to-eat, freshly-cooked food trays – a home business founded by a mother obsessed with food and nutrition, but who was also overworked juggling different work-from-home side jobs to provide for her children.

She tried online jobs, virtual teaching, marketing – but nothing felt as “fulfilling” as cooking meals for her family in between jobs. Cue in Leng’s good friend, who told her to start selling her homemade dishes online. With initial reservations, Leng took the plunge – and the orders came in “like wildfire,” she said, and so did her passion for service and food.

Leng offers an extensive variety of dishes – from pasta, pansit, pork, vegetables, salads, beef, seafood, chicken, and dessert – each one served in a tray good for 12-15 guests.

Some of her best-sellers include the tasty Sisig (P1,300), a textural mix of soft, fatty bits with crunchy, meaty chunks of pork, mixed with green sili and calamansi slices, which we didn’t actually have to use, because it was already so flavorful on its own (don’t forget your extra rice)!

Her Cheesy Beef Caldereta (P1,400) is also a family hit – her take on the Filipino household staple has tender chunks of beef, potatoes, and carrots cooked in her signature “cheesy” tomato sauce. The grated cheese incorporated in her caldereta sauce makes for a thicker, creamier sauce with more umami flavor.

Lastly, a seafood viand friendly to both pescetarians and meat-lovers: Leng’s Baked Salmon with Creamy Garlic Cheese (P1,700) – a no-brainer to order, really – the whole slab of super moist and tender salmon is topped with a heap of creamy, garlicky sauce; making it a restaurant-level addition to your home feast.

Somehow, the cheesy, savory topping managed to seep down to the actual salmon meat, too – every bite is fresh and flavorful, and the fish itself can stand on its own. The tray also comes with mixed buttered veggies.

Fun fact: Leng is also Kampampangan, which might explain the rich flavors of her cooking.

Leng’s Kitchenette is located in Pasig City. Just text 0961-120-4518 or 0927-373-9881 for your orders.

Mom’s by Margarita

What started off as just a “by-request gig” of baking goods for parties became Mommy Marge’s full-time job: being the sole cook and owner of Mom’s by Margarita, a home business selling baked goods, cookies, and homemade spreads.

As a full-time housewife, Marge’s ultimate love language to her 3 sons is her cooking – hence, the extra TLC she puts into her creations, not just for her family, but for her customers. “I always add a motherly touch to everything I do,” she said, which explains the name “Mom’s.”

Marge’s expertise lies in her Dark Chocolate Cookies, which costs P390 for 12 pieces. They’re the thin, chewy kind, which gets extra chocolatey and gooey when popped in the microwave for a few seconds – plus, the melted chunks of dark choco are A+. You can get them with white chocolate, too!

She also has a selection of ring cakes – the Chocolate Cheesecake (P1,100), which features an outer covering of cheesecake surrounding a dense, rich, chocolate cake. She also has an Oreo variant (P1,200), and a simple Queso De Bola Cheesecake (P1,200).

Marge also brings to the table a savory, cheesy spread best slathered on crackers or toast – her Queso De Bola Pimiento spread, available for P420 a jar. It’s topped with grated cheese, and is chunky all throughout – you get bits of cheese in every salty-tangy bite.

For orders, you can text 0956-711-1887 or DM their Instagram page.

Takam

A food business born right in the middle of the ECQ is Takam, a joint venture founded by a mother of two boys and her son’s girlfriend, who is also a chef.

The idea formed just over a family dinner – what could they possibly do to cope with the uncertainty of the ECQ, now that their main businesses were at a pause? Resell premium meats? They thought harder.

“The only constant thing we realized we enjoy doing is preparing meals for lunch and dinner,” they said, which urged them to finally sell their lutong bahay food ala restaurant level style to the public.

Takam emerged as an online delivery service, delivering ready-to-eat meals and sweets in boxes, prepared with sweet messages by request. Although Takam still has a limited menu, their Angus Beefy Lasagna (P620, P1,800) seems to be the instagrammable crowd favorite – real angus beef layered in between lots of cheese, tomato sauce, and lasagna noodles.

Their best-selling Chocolate Chip Cookies are also a favorite, available in midget (P12 pcs: P330) and hand-sized, giga sizes (6 pcs: P420). They’re thin, crisp on the outside, but chewy on the inside, made with premium chocolate you can instantly taste, with a slight, burnt caramel taste.

Takam also recently introduced their newest (and maybe craziest) invention yet: the 6-piece S’morkies, each one featuring two of their chocolate chip cookies sandwiching fluffy, torched marshmallows and choco fudge sauce inside (sugar rush, anyone?)

For orders, you can message Takam’s Instagram page or text 0915-009-4839.

China Mommy

For Chinese-Filipino heritage cuisine, China Mommy is your girl – and she continues to cook up her well-loved seafood and vegetarian dishes for her raving customers, years after she began cooking them for her family and the Buddhist temple nearby.

China Mommy started by preparing home-cooked meals for the students and monks at the Buddhist temple in San Juan nearby. On Sundays, she’d cook the same feast for her 5 kids and their families – usually an array of traditional dishes, crabs, and a vegetarian dish. The meals grew popular within the family, and its hype spread to friends, friends of friends, until suddenly, a demand for it spiked online.

China Mommy’s food tray home service was born – specializing in fresh crabs cooked in trade-secret Asian sauces, Chinese lumpia, fortune bags, and more. Her Special Curry Crabs (P6,900) are finger-licking good – cut into ready-to-eat pieces filled with tender crab meat, doused in a slightly spicy, creamy curry sauce.

There’s also Special Chinese Lumpia (P2,800) that’s delivered do-it-yourself style, with lumpia wrappers and fresh toppings and sauces included. Her Fortune Bags (P1,600) are also a treat for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike – the tofu skin is packed with either minced pork and seafood, or just mushrooms and veggies.

Just a heads-up: China Mommy is located in Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City, which is on total lockdown until Thursday, May 14. They’re reopening on the 15th though (late Mother’s Day celebration, perhaps?) – so feel free to place your early orders via China Mommy’s Instagram page, website, or SMS at 0917-514-8540.

Twenty-Four Bakeshop

Momager Janet keeps Twenty-Four Bakeshop running alongside her daughter AJ, who started the baking biz as its head baker. Janet, though, takes care of the back-end – from accounting, purchasing, auditing, troubleshooting, to even the driver for deliveries – but most importantly, has been AJ’s number one cheerleader since day one.

With the duo working together, Twenty-Four Bakeshop grew from a home business to an actual store, located at One Bonifacio High Street Mall, BGC, and Estancial Mall, Capitol Commons. But as the ECQ took place, Twenty-Four shifted back to their original home strat of delivering freshly-baked, chunky, gooey chocolate chip cookies to customer’s homes.

Twenty-Four Bakeshop offers 3 kinds of cookies: the Belgian Dark Chocolate, the Campfire S’mores (belgian dark chocolate with marshmallow), and the Triple Chocolate (dutch cocoa, belgian dark and milk chocolate), which all cost P580 for 6 pieces,

They also offer ready-to-bake chocolate chip dough (P840) – delivered with easy, bake-at-home instructions. One vacuum-sealed 1.8kg bag can serve up to 13-14 pieces of regular-sized cookies popped in the oven – why not make it into a fun, bonding activity with Mom at home?

For questions or placing of orders, you can visit Twenty-Four Bakeshop’s website or Instagram page.

Macarose

Macarose was first known as Rosemarie’s along Vito Cruz, Manila – a bakeshop founded in 1995 with its crinkles, fudge brownies, and chocolate cake as the centerpieces. It was doing good, until the owner, Tata, had to put the business to sleep due to a job relocation with her family.

It was in 2010 when Tata returned to Manila, and when Rosemarie became Macarose soon after – a name change attributed to her bazaar-famous macarons. In 2013, their first store in SM Megamall was put up, and then their Katipunan commisary beside Ateneo followed, which became a cafe and kitchen in one.

Aside from her macarons (which you can customize to your liking), Macarose is also known for her Belgian Chocolate Chip Cookies, her fudgey Brownies, and Super Moist Chocolate Cake. For less indulgent choices, her Red Velvet cake is an A+ choice (you can’t go wrong with a good cream cheese frosting), as well as the Strawberry Cream Cake, perfect for fans of the light, airy, but creamy strawberry shortcake.

To place your orders, you can get in touch via Viber at 0917-800-5349 or on Instagram. – Rappler.com

Mommy-owned local food businesses you should be supporting
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