I am particularly fond of Chinese cuisine. I don’t know why, maybe it had something to do with my Chinese blood. I recently made a short list of my recommended Chinese restaurants/eateries along with their specialty foods or must-try foods for you to know what to order when you come and visit them. Most of these restaurants may have been familiar with you as they’ve been in the food industry for such a long time. But I recently visited them and found out a few changes and improvements in both their meals as well as in their services. Check these out.
Ma Mon Luk
|Ma Mon Luk's Original Mami|
|Ma Mon Luk's Siopao Special|
These siopao are best consumed with Ma Mon Luk’s house specialty original chicken Mami, available in large [Php150] and small [Php140] bowls. Although these original mami from Ma Mon Luk are what made them popular, I find their Beef Mami better tasting and a must-try to order than their original mami. They even claim to be the mami inventor since they have established Ma Mon Luk since 1920. The beef mami may be a bit more expensive at Php160, but at least I’m definitely getting what I’ve paid for. I find their original chicken mami too bland for my taste. The shredded chicken parts which had served as soup toppings didn’t help at all. No matter how many pepper or fish sauce I’ve put on the soup, I still find it too bland. But somehow, whatever kind of soup you choose, whether it’ll be their original chicken mami or the beef mami, it goes perfectly well when you consume them with their special siopao.
When it comes to honest-to-goodness siopao, Ma Mon Luk probably has the best to offer despite the presence of newly established Chinese restaurants. They still had that old Manila vibe and somehow gives one a nostalgic feel when you come and visit their restaurant. More importantly, they remind you of the good old times, back when life were much simpler and a bun of their special siopao will make you feel better.
I maybe partial to its restaurant’s color since I love the purple color. But I’m no fan of ube [taro yam], that’s for sure. I accidentally stumbled upon Mr. Ube restaurant [from the same company that brought us Eng Bee Tin] during my very first visit to Chinatown when my godfather was still alive. What do I love about Mr. Ube? A portion of your purchase goes directly to a good cause as the owner is an active fire volunteer. He donates firetrucks as well as ambulances.
When it comes to food, I love Mr. Ube’s Kiampung rice. Kiampung rice is made of sticky rice with nuts, shallots and bits of pork or meat. Their Lechon Macau meal is also to-die-for! Not to mention, they’re made affordable so that anyone can enjoy a good meal without the need to burn one’s pocket. They also have a good selection of noodles and rice toppings. You can also buy frozen dumplings and noodles here.
Of course, since this is owned by the same guy who owns Eng Bee Tin, their products like your favorite ube hopia and tikoy are also available here.
I love the fact that I need not go to Binondo to enjoy a meal at Mr. Ube because they have a branch along E. Rodriguez Sr. [across St. Luke’s Medical Center]. That means, Quezon City residents like me can just come and visit this branch to get my favorite Mr. Ube meal.
Just like Mr. Ube, Tasty Dumplings has two branches: one in Ongpin and the other one is in Banawe, Quezon City. Tasty Dumplings has hand-tossed noodles and a really huge flat pork chop which reminds one of Taiwan’s Hotstar Chicken. Tasty Dumplings with hand tossed noodles are sold at php160 per order. They taste really good once you put in their special secret sauce which you can find in every table at their restaurant. Ask for their free unlimited soup with shallots because they complement the dumplings and the pork chop. While you’re there, take advantage of their complimentary hot tea.
|Tasty Dumplings Huge porkchop with rice|
I don’t mind travelling all the way to that part of Banawe [N.S. Amoranto Avenue corner Banawe] just to satiate my Tasty Dumpling cravings. Parking may be very limited especially during peak hours though. But I can assure you, it’s worth the trip.
A small and easy to miss eatery tucked in the heart of Binondo is called Dong Bei. Dong Bei which meant North Star since the Chinese owners come from Northern part of China. Here, you can see every dumpling made fresh every single day. You can order them for dine-in or have them cooked at home by purchasing the frozen ones. They have radish cakes, oyster cakes and other Chinese specialties but it is the dumplings that people are really into.
Seats are very limited so if you want to enjoy your meal here, make sure you come early.
Among the restaurants I have here on my list, it is Mein San that’s a little bit more on the upscale. In terms of prices and crowd, Mein San has a steep price. There are two branches that I know of: one in Connecticut in Greenhills and the other one is along Granada Street in Ortigas. They give free appetizer for dine in customers. The appetizer I was given during my visit was a small plate filled with freshly boiled okra with a sweet brown sauce which I loved. I had no idea what kind of sauce it was but it reminds me of the sauce poured on vermicelli shrimp rolls.
Mein San offers authentic Chinese food at its finest. I’ve had beef wanton noodles and they are rich in flavor and taste. The egg noodles are fresh too. Each bowl ranges from Php300-650. But a bowl can make you feel satiated and full already. Even if it’s the only order that you make, it’s certainly enough to cover for one’s meal.
Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.