I've recently re-discovered this decent food house (carinderia) in Mabolo called Atek's. They're supposedly known for their ngohiong. And I seem to remember eating here years ago for exactly that. That eating experience did not make an impression at all. And that probably explains why it took me years to find my way back to this place.
There are a number of pressing reasons why I'm here now. One is because it's 2:30 in the afternoon and I've not had lunch. To say I'm starving is a supreme understatement. Two is I'm in the area. And three, this seems like it'll be a really quick meal since it's cafeteria style. And it doesn't hurt that it's really cheap, clean, cool and quiet too.
The ngohiong was as uneventful as I remembered it. It was a bit too dry and lacking in crunchiness. And the sauce had a unnerving bitter aftertaste. The fact that my entire meal plus drinks cost around P70 made me decide that making a fuss for the bad meal wasn't worth the effort.
I'm not a very big fan of ngohiong but I'm happy to eat the good versions of it any day. Cheaverz is an okay option. The sauce is much better tasting (with no bitter aftertaste). And the entire wrap is just more satisfying.
My favorite, however, is Chinese Ngohiong near USC Main. I don't know why my brother and I went there to eat years ago since we were post-grads at the time. And we lived on the other side of Cebu too. Anyway, the place was dingy and crowded. It's not dirty but not clean either. The constant influx of people makes the hygiene status vague. You eat with your hands too. So if you're fussy, come prepared. The place is a student's haven and continues to be so. Again, be mentally prepared if you're over 25.
There is, however, a very good reason why this place continues to pack the crowds. I don't know what they put in their ngohiong but the way they make it makes the wrap really memorable. Its crunch and the filling is just right. And the sauce is perfect. With two or three wraps, you'll be full and ready to face the world again.
You might end up not going back for more (like me!) but after eating at Chinese Ngohiong, this will now and always be your benchmark for what a good ngohiong should taste like.