Shao Kao Grillery Maginhawa

I have always passed by this place when I was in university. I saw it on its first day of opening and I wondered why it positioned itself out of the main Maginhawa road, in between a  hidden shortcut that’s out of sight of many food adventurers.

Although I would the place packed with customers at night, I was never interested in visiting. Something about their signboard, a simple Hawaiian wooden plate that tells their name and in bold print: “grilled vegetables” did not sit well with me.

I hated vegetables with passion. I thought the fact that I didn’t eat vegetables made me such an

I thought the fact that I didn’t eat vegetables made me such an interesting person. I never understand how people can eat such..plants. I knew it was healthy, I have read about it (I liked reading about nutrition), but I also questioned: what’s the point of living if you have to eat those unsightly plants every day? The idea sounded horrific.

I was young (okay I’ll admit I was old enough, I was a big baby), and I wanted all the oily and crispy and tasty meat. And then, one day I woke up and I cared more about the world. It wasn’t a sudden thing. I just started seeing more and more problems in the world and I thought to myself: perhaps there is a kinder way to live. 

Being conscious of the decisions I make changed me as a person. I used to be someone who just went with the flow, did whatever is comfortable, ate chicken three times a day. I was not only destroying the world, I was destroying my body too. It wasn’t until I became aware of the damage in the world that I realized, perhaps, I can try and do something about it. And basically, that’s how this blog started.

I know, I got out of topic again.

Let’s go back to Shao Kao.

About Shao Kao Grillery

Shao Kao interior

From their Facebook:

n. Chinese Street BBQ
adj. Tasty bits of heaven on a stick

The place is low-key and quiet. It is a simply designed al fresco restaurant so it’s always cool (or hot, depending on the weather) out here. It’s almost always empty before nighttime.

I prefer having lunch here because it’s bustling at night and it gives off a barkada place vibe– I find it awkward to eat alone in barkada places. I prefer to savor my meals, stay in the place for a long time, and talk or just chill out.

According to their advert, they offer authentic Chinese style street barbecue, although I have no way of knowing if this is true. They flame-grill a variety of vegetables and meat heavily coated with CHinese spices.

Food Offerings

This unassuming place offers plant-based options for vegans and grilled meat options for people aren’t quite ready to take the leap.

The place is self-service and the water and condiments are displayed just near the counter. They have a very nice staff who doesn’t look like she’s bothered when you’re taking too long choosing your veggies. This was my first ever veggie meal and there were many vegetable options available. I was scared.

I decided to get some broccoli because I know they are super healthy. I got some eggplant because my housemates say they like it and I wanted to understand why. And then because they only have white rice, I got some baby potatoes instead.

At this time, my friend also arrived and we got on to talking about each other’s lives that I wasn’t able to take note how long it took for our food to reach our table.

When our orders arrived, it looked like this.

grilled vegetables
grilled vegetables

They smelled incredible- well-seasoned and very herby. I like herby scents, it makes me feel like a healthy person.

I was a little bit scared to try things out but I ordered them so here goes:

The broccoli was surprisingly tasty. It’s crunchy and juicy and I think I can actually eat it every day. I used some chili sauce and calamansi to flavor the dish but it is well-flavored on its own. I just like the chili sauce, it reminds me of a siomai place I used to frequent.

The baby potatoes are of course very good. They are actually to heavy for me so I had to bring them home with me. I didn’t want to because they use plastic for take out, but it feels like such a waste so I decided to bring it home.

The eggplant was..interesting. It was mushy and wiggly and I didn’t know how to feel. A part of me, perhaps the old me, is crying in disgust. But a more logical part of me thought it’s an interesting consistency, not bad. It’s just…interesting. It’s not how I thought eggplants would be like, I guess.

I had to pack the other half of the eggplant too because I wanted to try and eat it with rice. I think it would be better eaten that way.

grilled vegetables, rice, and tofu
grilled vegetables, rice, and tofu

Shao Kao is located in 7 Masinsinan St. cor. Maginhawa St., Teacher’s Villag, Quezon City, Philippines


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