MANILA -- Pandesal lovers, rejoice.
Drive-through service is no longer exclusive to fastfood restaurants. A local bakery in Quezon City is making it easy for you to bring home your favorite Filipino bread.
Anyone who frequents the suburbs of Tomas Morato area surely has seen Panaderia All Day Hot Pandesal. The humble bakery along Scout Tobias is as simple as it gets. It offers, as its name suggests, hot pandesal 24/7. And patrons have been loving this for years now. In fact, I saw how a rival branded bakeshop eventually folded presumably due to stiff competition.
In terms of taste, it's not really that far from the usual. I give it points though for consistently serving hot bread that succesfully tickles the Filipino tongue. Its pandesal is soft, mildly sweet and has enough "sal" crumbs to make for an interesting texture.
As I pass this shop on my daily commute, I've observed how a big number of people would always crowd by the front. They are coming and going via a car, motorbike or just plain walking. Each would line up for their daily bag of pandesal. Foot traffic peaks in the morning as the bread is a known breakfast staple but I've seen ample volume throughout the day.
Now it seems the volume has caught the attention of neighborhood officials. In my visit this week to get my own pandesal stock, I was surprised to see a big "Drive Thru" sign on display. Bags of freshly warmed pandesal are lined up in predetermined number: P12.50 for 5 pieces, P25 for 10 pieces and P50 for 20 pieces.
One staff explained to me, they needed to serve clients faster so as not to cause traffic.
Just the same, clients still crowd the bakeshop, though they get served much faster now. In a way it's a sight to see: Filipinos from all walks of life on a common ground outside the shop, queueing for their daily bread and sharing a unifying love for pandesal.