I’m not sure if they can rival the popular fast food chains and cake stores but this franchise has been building its stores everywhere. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a big fan of their line of products ( they have all kinds of spreads, sardinas, monay…) they have been very quality conscious of what comes out of their doors, those pugon baked pan de sal’s are great! – and yes, the other reason, their ‘old Manila’ concept. I love it.
So far I got a mixed feedback from friends about how the bread taste, some say it taste like wood but generally enjoys the stores creations, the quality of the bread I’d say far exceeds the local panaderias pan de sal, of course you’ll pay a little extra for it. I’m not a critique of breads and pastries I’m basing this on the criteria of ‘is it worth what I’d be paying for’. Going back to the concept I was thinking where it all began and so far I haven’t found an article about its origins, there are publicity prints (like this one) but nothing on who are the people behind this and what inspired them. I wonder how it all started.
Their cashing in on the appeal of the ‘old Manila’ and I see nothing wrong with it. in fact it brings the feel of what the ‘old Manila’ feels like, people especially those without historical inclination might become interested seeing what their seeing in this stores, who knows – many people would say that its not what an old 18th century Filipino bakery looks like, of course nothing can even come close with the beauty of the old, but let me say that its better as I see it than having nothing that represent how business was then, I guess I just grew tired of the generic stores that we see around in malls. I can only begin to imagine how an old barber shop, bookstore and pharmacy look like in our contemporary time.
I could recall that my Lola-lolahan (not my real Grandma) once told me that Pan de Sal’s in the old time was delivered at dawn where she grew up, her favorite palaman would be itlog na maalat (I don’t know why, I find this combo a little odd) and she’ll always have hot chocolate with it while her parents would prefer coffee. She said Pan de Sal is not supposed to be sweet and overly soft but crusty and a lil’ salty but not too salty that it overwhelms your taste – Sal in pan de sal after all means salt (Sea salt).
Whoever is the mind behind this is probably a person who, like me and some people I know find beauty and zen going back to old times. Personally I believe nobody can duplicate how beautiful they once made bread here in our country somehow the old ways always seems to be better – back when everything was organic and natural compared to our chemical laden creations of today. In so many ways the old has always had the advantage, appeal and quality wise, we have gained so much knowledge in technology that it already eroded our sense of how our ancestors used to make this foods. They use to make all things with pride – this I know. I say, In with old… a less of the new!