Goto or congee or rice porridge has long been a part of Filipino meals served usually during breakfast. It never fails to satisfy the adventurous taste buds of everyone. What does goto have that it is a much-loved breakfast? Why do many consider it as a comfort food on rainy days? And what makes this a food that chooses no time?
At Ayala Malls Marikina, one food stall that offers goto is Goto Topps. Just by its name, it’s easy to know what it serves. One thing that caught my attention and introduced me to one of the foods in their menu is their serving size. I later found out that it’s just their special size and they offer a regular size, but still it’s great to know that. The story behind this is I was walking around the food court, thinking of a food to eat, then I saw a man eating from a huge paper bowl which I haven’t seen from anyone until then. I wondered for a second what could it be and from where it was bought until I saw the marking that it’s from Goto Topps. I told myself that I’m going to try this and have it reviewed, and then comes now.
I am not a fan of goto because it’s just another rice recipe but I think a variety of goto from Goto Topps is worth reviewing. I chose Goto Topps Bola-bola Special to work on. Bola-bola is made from ground pork with seasonings rolled into a ball and steamed. I picked this kind because I think bola-bola special is more appetizing than goto special and I later found out that its difference from the latter is the addition of bola-bola instead of the “tuwalya” or tripe.
As a piece of advice, when you are going to order from Goto Topps, don’t come during the opening of the mall. The rice porridge will still be cooked. It will take more than an hour for it to be cooked. Also, avoid ordering the size which you can’t consume everything. Remember, not all has the privilege to eat a decent meal.
Once I’ve ordered the bola-bola special, the cook cut the bola-bolas into two big pieces, pound the chicharon into bits, sliced the egg into half, poured the rice porridge into the paper bowl, then placed all the ingredients into the bowl of goto, including the chopped spring onions and bits of toasted garlic. The presentation is done basically, without any special touch. The overall look is appetizing though and will make you excited with the hefty serving of ingredients.
When I took my first bite, the most distinguishing taste and feeling that caught my attention is the saltiness of the bola-bola, the umami flavor or the savory taste of the chicharon and the scorching heat of the rice porridge. It’s true that the bola-bola and the chicharon add their own salty flavor to the goto though they are both coming from pork and the rice porridge has also its own saltiness which comes basic as a table salt, all these making the salty taste of the goto come in various degree and kind.
The other thing noticeable in the bola-bola is its firm consistency but tender enough to give in to every bite. On the other hand, the chicharon’s texture also plays a role in making the goto exciting. The chicharon has a little chewiness brought about by being soaked into the mixture. It would have been crunchy if it was not immersed, but it has to be that way; moreover, the texture is still different from the other ingredients so that still adds an element of variety to the goto.
It is not goto when it is not hot. The burning sensation that you feel every time you take a bite of this goto makes eating it satisfactory. The heat of the goto when it touches your palate is like exposing your skin under the summer sunshine at noon. Eat slowly so you’ll not burn your tongue.
After mixing everything, the flavor of the garlic incorporates with the mixture. Meanwhile, the taste of the rice porridge alone which has a little stock is just right, making it fit when not added with condiments. At first, you’ll hold back adding toyomansi or the combination of calamansi (Philippine lime) and soy sauce to the mixture as the addition of soy sauce will make the goto saltier, but it is proven to be false because the toyomansi added citrusy sting to the goto, having a new taste which is exciting. You would want to try putting some again in your next bite. After finishing up all the chewables wherein the toppings last up to the end because they come in a considerable amount, you would also consume the stock left because it’s tasty.
The serving size of the bola-bola special at 69 pesos is definitely enough to make you full. The bola-bolas are compact enough that eating every piece of the half cut will give you a feeling that you’ve eaten a heavy food. The “special” word in this goto variant’s name does not only mean that it is larger in serving size, but it also means that there are some ingredients added namely the egg and chicharon.
Goto is much-loved breakfast by everyone because it is a heavy meal. They say that the heaviest meal of the day is during breakfast and goto qualifies to be one. Aside from this, goto alerts your sleeping system when you wake up in the morning. We all want something that shakes us up each time we rise for us to accomplish what we need over the day; goto does the job. Another reason why we love goto during breakfast is that it is a complete pack meal. It has a variety of ingredients in one dish. This makes goto easy to consume.
When it is raining, goto warms you up from the cold weather. It feels cozy to eat or drink something hot when the room is cold. The feeling of loneliness suddenly shies away from you. Also, it is good to eat a liquidy food especially a hot one on a rainy day. This regulates your body temperature; hence, it makes your body adapt to the cold weather. Lastly, the spices of goto heats you up and energizes you, enabling you to work on some little tasks. These are some reasons why goto is a comfort food on a rainy day.
The simplicity of goto when its ingredients are easily found in the market makes it a food that can be available any time of the day. Also, the presence of rice which is our staple food makes it look appetizing as a meal in the morning, at lunch or in the evening. Moreover, the taste is common in a usual meal, making it an all-natural-flavor food.
To sum it all up, Goto Topps Bola-bola Special is a recommendable food especially for breakfast and rainy days. Compared to the other goto stall that I once bought goto from, I find Goto Topps better when it comes to the overall taste. I will surely buy from Goto Topps again.