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Posts Tagged ‘Chinese cuisine

When things are hectic at the store and the parents and I no longer have the time and energy to cook our own meals, we head to the nearby Banawe area in search of food. Apart from having numerous car repair stores, Banawe is known for being the place where restaurants (mostly serving Chinese food) are found left and right. We’ve visited a lot of these places over the years, but only return to a handful of those which offer quick hot meals to satiate our grumbling tummies. KimPo Tea House 鑫寶茶樓 is one of those places.

KIMPO_Mulberry Juice photo MulberryJuice_zpsc5699e71.jpgKimPo has a pretty long list of drinks and food which you could select from. I normally settle for hot tea when eating at this restaurant, but there was one time when my curiosity got the best of me and I ordered a bottle of Mulberry Juice (Php65.00).  It’s supposed to have a lot of health benefits, including treating skin problems, enhancing one’s immune system, controlling cholesterol and blood sugar levels, preventing the common cold, etc. It was a mix of tartness and sweetness, which resulted to my Mom enjoying it more than I did.

KIMPO_soya milk photo SoyaMilk_zpscf640e6f.jpgOne other time, I decided to order a bottle of soya milk. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can drink soya milk anytime of the day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for breakfast. This brand was pretty good, but it already has sugar mixed in it. Those who prefer to have them sugar-free would have to pass.

KIMPO_halo noodle soup photo HaloNoodleSoup_zps63be5d82.jpgDad enjoys eating noodles and whenever he’s feeling hungry, a good bowl of hot noodle soup is usually the answer. His favorite at KimPo? The Halo Halo Noodle Soup (Php147.00). Before I go on, just a tidbit for my non-Filipino readers: “halo halo” is the Tagalog term which means “mixed”.  This dish has several braised beef brisket slices, pork wantons, vegetables and chicken chunks on top of springy noodles. Dad enjoys everything about this, except the beef brisket since it’s a little on the sweet side. Those usually end up getting eaten by Mom.

KIMPO_noodles photo Noodles_zps1cec570f.jpgHere’s a photo of the noodles, which Dad and Mom have only positive words for. If I remember correctly, KimPo didn’t use the same type of noodles before so it was a good thing they switched to this.

KIMPO_pata tim photo PataRice_zps382a9863.jpgKimPo, like most Chinese places here in Manila, offer a wide array of rice toppings. One of my Mom’s go-to items is their Pata Rice. To be honest, we all agreed that ordering this is a hit or miss since there were times when the meat had a very slight foul odor, which affected its taste. The usual explanation I hear about this is the meat probably came from a male pig / boar. I don’t think everyone notices that faint smell, but for those who are sensitive to it (like my Mom), it can be pretty disturbing. To be fair, this doesn’t exclusively happen when dining in KimPo. You may experience the same when eating at other places as long as you’re eating pork.

KIMPO_spareribs rice photo SpareribsRice_zps3900d852.jpgAnother type of popular rice topping is the Spareribs Rice (Php125.00). I know a lot of people which love eating pork steamed with black beans or tausi. I, for one, am a big fan of this and try to order this whenever it’s on the menu. These chunks of pork spareribs are steamed with black beans until they’re very tender. The sauce gets absorbed by the rice once they’re placed on top, resulting to the delightful meal we enjoy. I personally prefer the spareribs rice from another tea house, but my Mom doesn’t seem to notice any differences.

KIMPO_white chicken rice photo WhiteChickenRice_zpse4262f29.jpgOne of my favorite things to order is their White Chicken Rice (Php120.00). It’s a quarter of a chicken, steamed and topped with ginger sauce. It’s not something extraordinary since it’s one of the things we usually serve in our own store, but for a quick fix, this version from KimPo isn’t half bad. I usually end up sharing the chicken with Dad, so it’s really worth its price.

KIMPO_KP Chicken photo KPFriedChicken_zps10df6ec2.jpgIf you don’t feel like ordering any of the rice toppings, there are many other stuff you could order à la carte. One time, I was so tired I wanted us to get home quickly and get some sleep. My parents don’t approve of skipping meals, so I had to order something. I ordered the half serving of their KP Chicken to share with the parents. This was supposed to be their signature fried chicken, which was served with shrimp crackers and banana ketchup. We found parts of the chicken meat too dry from being in the fryer too long. The shrimp crackers were, thankfully, good.

 photo YangChowFriedRice_zpsf204e2fe.jpgIf you’re craving for some carbs, we recommend ordering KimPo’s Yang Chow Fried Rice (Php100.00). A serving of this is good for approximately three persons. We’ve ordered this several times and, most of the time, it turned out to be nicely cooked. Dad can eat this without having anything else with it.

For us, KimPo is really a reliable place for a quick and satisfying meal. In addition, most of the servers here already know my parents and I since we visit this place regularly. I don’t think we have encountered any service issues here. One thing to take note of: they don’t have a very big space, although they still manage to seat a lot of people. Sadly, they don’t have a private function room so if you get seated next to a huge group who’s celebrating an occasion, it can get really noisy.

**If you want to try them out, you can visit Kimpo Tea House at 706 Banawe Street, Barangay Sienna, Quezon City.


Manila doesn’t have a shortage of places to try when you’re looking for something to eat. Apart from all the Filipino-owned businesses, there’s now a lot of foreign franchises coming in and trying their luck in the local food scene. Boon Tong Kee is a well-known Singaporean restaurant which specializes in Cantonese chicken rice. It wasn’t the first Singaporean chicken place to enter the Manila market, but it was met with a lot of positive reviews. My family and I wasn’t able to try their food during their first few months here, but was able to visit just last weekend.

BOON TONG KEE_facade photo BoonTongKeefacade_zps18787060.jpgWe visited the closest branch which was along Tomas Morato in Q.C. Parking wasn’t a problem since there were several slots available in front of the restaurant and there was also street parking available right across the street.

BOON TONG KEE_buffet area photo buffetarea_zps95026acb.jpgBoon Tong Kee’s Tomas Morato branch has an Eat-All-You-Can promo from Mondays to Saturdays. The buffet area is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. It’s priced at Php388.00/person. This area wasn’t open when we were there since it was a Sunday, but you could easily see the staff preparing the chicken behind those chafing dishes.

BOON TONG KEE_shrimp crackers photo shrimpcrackers_zps1fcda918.jpgComplimentary Prawn Crackers were served while we waited for our food to arrive. These were nice and crunchy.

BOON TONG KEE_Poached Chinese Spinach with Assorted Eggs photo spinachwith3kindsofeggs_zps4bffcefc.jpgDad saw the picture of the Poached Chinese Spinach with Assorted Eggs (Php295.00) in the menu and said that he’d like to try their version. Unfortunately when the actual dish reached our table, we were all quite disappointed with the look and the taste. There was hardly any spinach in the dish and it was also a bit bland.

BOON TONG KEE_coffee spareribs photo CoffeeRibs_zps9357f5b4.jpgOne of the popular dishes people order from Boon Tong Kee is their Coffee Pork Ribs (Php295.00). I’ve only tried eating something like this during a close friend’s wedding reception at the Crowne Plaza Hotel a couple of years ago. I was curious to see if this version was any better. One bite and my Mom declared it to be overly sweet and rich. I had to stop after eating one piece as well and we decided to just have the rest packed for takeaway. We believe there might be a way to make this taste a little more mellow.

 photo CerealPrawns_zps00e245ef.jpgWhen I visited Kuala Lumpur last year, it was my first time to try the dish called the cereal shrimp. I enjoyed it back then, so I suggested on ordering it when I saw it in Boon Tong Kee’s menu. The Cereal Prawns wasn’t exactly the cheapest thing off their list, with their regular serving of three pieces priced at Php375.00.

The verdict? Dad enjoyed this dish, despite the slight sweetness of the cereal. I found it okay, but I wished it had the slightly spicy kick, similar to the ones in Kuala Lumpur. I’m no expert, but I think that would definitely help balance the flavors better.

BOON TONG KEE_signature boiled chicken photo BoiledChickenHalf_zps69ebc5fe.jpgOf course, we couldn’t pass the chance to try their Signature Boiled Chicken (Php455.00 for half, shown above). This was the best dish of the night. Slightly sweet light soy sauce was poured on top of the chicken and a bit of preserved vegetables were served on the side.

BOON TONG KEE_boiled chicken sauces photo BoiledChickensauces_zpsaae48985.jpgYou also have the option of using any of the three sauces with your chicken. From top to bottom, you have the hoisin sauce, chili sauce and ginger dip. I enjoy combining all three of them, Dad prefers just the chili and Mom likes using only the ginger dip. To each his own!

BOON TONG KEE_chicken rice photo chickenrice_zps6dc6b079.jpgFor our carbohydrates, Dad and I decided to go with their Chicken Rice (Php65.00) while Mom went with the plain white rice (Php45.00, not in photo). It was a pretty small serving, but we enjoyed them.

BOON TONG KEE_Choco Almond Jelly photo ChocolateGelatin_zpsa1c0833f.jpgJust like most of our meals, I wanted this one to end with a dessert which Mom and I could share. I initially ordered the Green Tea Creme Caramel, but was later informed that they ran out of stock. We decided to go with the Choco Almond Jelly (Php75.00) instead. This was basically a round almond jelly, smothered with chocolate syrup, then topped with crushed almonds and a single cherry. There wasn’t anything special to this, but it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good. Mom enjoyed this very much.

While not all the dishes garnered positive reviews, the overall dining experience we had was pretty good. We all liked the feel and the interiors of the restaurant. The girl who waited on our table was very nice and answered most of our questions, although some of the other servers could definitely use a bit of extra training on proper etiquette.

We noticed that there were several Chinese families dining that night and we had no problems understanding them when they used Cantonese to speak with each other. Although we could not say for sure if they all enjoyed their own meals just by watching them, just seeing that much Cantonese people dining there could be a sign that this restaurant may be doing something right. 🙂

***Boon Tong Kee currently has four branches all over Metro Manila, but the one we visited is located at #310 Tomas Morato Extension, Quezon City. Other branches can be found at Rockwell, SM Mall of Asia and at the U.P. Town Center. Click here for their official Facebook page (Philippines) and here for their Singapore site.

The last time I set foot at Eat Fresh was in 2011, when my brother and I had a tendency to eat out after work since we were both too tired to think of what to cook for dinner (our parents were staying in L.A. back then). This time, I visited the restaurant with my parents. It was a first for both Mom and Dad and they weren’t sure which ones to pick from the menu. There was a pretty long list for them to go through, but it didn’t take them too long to decide since we were all pretty hungry. 🙂

EAT FRESH_apple carrot juice photo AppleCarrotJuice_zps1820ff58.jpgI remembered enjoying their Apple Carrot Juice before, so I made sure I ordered that for myself. It was still really good; something I would continue to recommend to everyone.

EAT FRESH_black & white gulaman photo blackandwhitegulaman_zps68af875b.jpgMom really liked their Black & White Gulaman (grass jelly). This drink is available in two sizes: Regular and 1 Liter. The photo above is the regular size.

EAT FRESH_2 kinds of sausages photo 2kindsofsausage_zps426ac4c8.jpgFor our mains, Dad went with the Two Kinds of Sausages Claypot Rice. The two kinds were the standard pork sausage (red ones) and the duck liver sausage (dark red, almost black, ones). We have our own stash of Chinese sausages at home to satisfy our cravings, but sometimes it’s nice to have it elsewhere.  This claypot rice was served with light soy sauce on the side.

EAT FRESH_chicken & sausage photo ChickenampSausageClaypotRice_zpse612b290.jpgSince Dad already chose the 2 kinds of sausages, I decided to go with the Chicken and Sausage Claypot Rice. It was served very hot, but the rice sticking at the bottom of the claypot wasn’t as toasted as I expected it to be. Again, similar to the time when my brother and I ate here, I found this dish to be quite ordinary but very filling. My claypot rice was also served with the light soy sauce on the side.

EAT FRESH_tausi spareribs photo TausiSpareribsClaypotRice_zps3091427d.jpgMom chose the Tausi Spareribs Claypot Rice and found it to be delicious. According to her, the only downside to it was that the meat was still a bit tough.

EAT FRESH_stuffed tofu photo stuffedtofu_zpscd3652d4.jpgThe three of us decided to order a couple of fried items to enjoy with our main meals. Dad initially wanted the fish cakes, but was informed that it was unavailable. He decided to go with the recommended Stuffed Tofu (Php50.00 for 2 pieces). This dish was supposed to be a small block of tofu with ground pork inside. Unfortunately, none of us enjoyed it since it didn’t have any flavor to it and Dad said that the tofu already had a tinge of sourness to them. We didn’t finish eating these.

 photo Friedwantonsandintestines_zpsf6f02376.jpgI, on the other hand, couldn’t pass up on the chance to order a personal favorite: Fried (Pork) Big Intestines (Php35.00/stick)! Just like what I used to do years ago, I enjoyed these morsels of chewy intestines with the sweet chili sauce provided. I’m glad Dad really liked eating this one too.

We also ordered a stick of Fried Wantons (Php35.00 for 5 pieces) to share among ourselves. Mom found them to be really good with the chili sauce.

***Eat Fresh is located at 100-A Maria Clara Street near Banawe in Quezon City. This branch is closed during Sundays, but is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 9am until midnight. They also have another branch in San Juan. You may visit their official Facebook page by clicking here.

Disappointment. Annoyance.

These were what we felt when we dined at Tian Pao Wan along N. Roxas Street in Quezon City. It was already a little past the lunch hour rush when we arrived at the restaurant and we noticed that it was still packed. Thinking that this was a good sign of things to come, we went inside and were ushered to our table a minute or two upon entering.

Tian Pao Wan photo TianPoWanlogo_zps562633ef.jpgI asked one of their wait staff about their opening date and learned that Tian Pao Wan started their operations on September 11, 2013.

The interiors were, no doubt, pretty. It was something that was easy on the eyes; very simple, with clean lines. I liked it a lot since it didn’t feel too stuffy inside.

After a few minutes of appreciating the interiors, the parents and I perused the menu and decided to order a few items to try. They weren’t offering a lot of items yet so it didn’t take too long for us to choose what we wanted. The wait staff who took our orders looked so flustered and kept rushing me along. He kept looking around the restaurant while we were speaking with him and, after getting our orders, left immediately without doing a recap. That didn’t leave a good impression on us, but seeing that they had these “We’re on Dry Run” signs on each of the tables, I thought I’d try to be a little bit more understanding.

Now, before I show you the food photos, here is a quick rundown of the items which we ordered:

  1. Xiao Long Bao
  2. Drunken Chicken
  3. Fried Rice
  4. Roast Pork with Rice
  5. Chinese Broccoli with Garlic
  6. a type of dessert with mangoes as the main ingredient
  7. Two cans of soda (no photo)

Please keep those items in mind. Ready? Here are the ones which were served to us:

Tian Pao Wan_xiao long bao photo PorkandCrabRoeXiaoLongBao_zps1293f1c9.jpgBeing such a big fan of xiao long bao, or steamed soup dumplings, I didn’t hesitate to order an 8-piece serving of their Pork and Crab Roe Xiao Long Bao.

Tian Pao Wan_inside xiao long bao photo insidexiaolongbao_zps6a57d514.jpgHere’s a look at the inside of their xiao long bao. We found this to be so-so since there weren’t a lot of soup inside the dumplings. We agreed that the xiao long bao from Kao Chi is still better.

Tian Pao Wan_fried rice photo EggFriedRicewithShreddedPork_zps4a0ac753.jpgA little while later, our Egg Fried Rice with Shredded Pork arrived at our table. This was honestly a pretty small serving for something that was supposed to be good for sharing with the family. Dad liked the rice, saying that it was nicely cooked. It wasn’t dry and was seasoned quite well.

……..and that’s it for the food!

What? Where are the other items?

That’s the very same thing we asked a couple of Tian Pao Wan’s servers, especially after we waited for so long. Most of them either didn’t answer our questions or said that they’ll check with the kitchen. No one came back to tell us what has happened.

After several more minutes of waiting, one of their staff asked us if there was anything else we were waiting for. Trying to somewhat hide our annoyance, we enumerated the items that were still not served. He then goes to say this: “Hindi po ba kayo nasabihan na hindi available yun Drunken Chicken?” (Weren’t you informed that the Drunken Chicken is unavailable?”). We told him that we were NOT informed and to please check if any of the other orders will be arriving soon. He left immediately, not even muttering an apology for the delay AND the wrong information.

Oh, by the way, that server didn’t return either. We saw him going around the restaurant, not stopping at any of the tables, but always looking like he’s so busy! I waved at him to catch his attention but for some reason, he didn’t see me at all.

Later on, we learned that both the Roast Pork and the Chinese broccoli were also unavailable for that day. My parents and I were extremely annoyed that we decided to just settle our bill so that we could leave as soon as possible. What’s funny is, after asking for the bill, it didn’t even take them 30 seconds to hand it to us despite the cashier being so far away. I’m not exaggerating! :-/

Oh, and one final thing. If you can help it, don’t order canned soda here. They’re absurdly priced at Php90.00 per can, when the average soda prices in a number of other restaurants is only at Php50-70.00.

I normally do not rant about our dining experiences, especially if the places we visit are (relatively) new. Unfortunately, our experience at Tian Pao Wan was the worst we’ve had in a long time. For one thing, putting up “We’re on Dry Run” signs does not give an establishment the free pass to have bad customer service. In our opinion, slower service compared to more established restaurants is forgivable AND understandable when you’re new in the ballgame; having a team who’s not properly trained on how to address customer concerns is NOT. In fact, a new business should prioritize having excellent service as this is the one thing that would encourage their customers to stay around despite a few shortcomings. 

I sincerely hope that other customers have not / will not experience the same thing we had when they dined / will dine at Tian Pao Wan. It’s a real shame since I honestly think that this place has a lot of potential. Will we ever go back? Highly unlikely, but if we do, I’ll make sure to write about it. It’s going to be a good way to check if they’ve improved or not.

On one of our free days in KL, The Boyfriend decided to bring us to one of the other places he and his friends frequent whenever they’re in KL’s Chinatown. It only took us a five-minute bus ride from Jalan Pudu and a couple of extra minutes of walking  to reach our destination. It was around 10:30am when we arrived and most of the stalls selling items were just about to set their stuff up. People were selling all sorts of things there. Food, bags, wallets, clothes, watches…  You name it, they have it there somewhere. We went around the area for a bit and managed to buy some souvenirs to bring home. A couple of minutes later, we decided it’s time for us to grab something to eat.

Our venue for lunch was called Seng Kee. It was a small, no frills place. We went there before the lunch hour rush so we were able to secure a table with no effort. It took us some time to decide on which items to get, but we were able to narrow them down to the ones which sounded okay.

Seng Kee_menu photo SengKee_zps9b4cf82f.jpg

Seng Kee_condiments photo SengKee_condiments_zps969ce7a0.jpgSeveral condiments are available for diners to use with their meal. That red thing inside the bowl looked like it was spicy, but I noticed that it was salty (almost similar to shrimp paste) when I gave it a try. I have no idea what it was for so I didn’t mix it with any of the stuff we ordered.

Seng Kee_coconut juice 1 photo SengKee_coconutjuice2_zps008c12fd.jpgWe all decided to go with fresh coconut juice for our drinks.

Seng Kee_coconut juice 2 photo SengKee_coconutjuice1_zps0d59783f.jpgHere’s the coconut with the “lid” open. The liquid inside was very clear and tasted sweet. The meat from the coconut I got was too tough, though. The Boyfriend got the more tender one.

Seng Kee_chicken mushroom claypot photo SengKee_chickenmushroomclaypot_zpsaa53cc03.jpgOne of the dishes we ordered was this serving of Chicken and Black Mushroom Claypot. When this was brought to our table, I was honestly a bit disappointed. I thought that what we were going to get was similar to the Claypot Rice I love eating in Hong Kong. I guess I assumed too much. 😛 Anyway, this still tasted okay but I wasn’t really impressed.

Seng Kee_bbq pork photo SengKee_bbqpork_zps80b93ab1.jpgThe Boyfriend also ordered a serving of Pork Ribs. I found the sauce for this a little too sweet for me and decided not to eat much of it.

Seng Kee_prawns photo SengKee_MaSongPrawns_zps880a18a4.jpgThe Boyfriend was really excited to order a certain type of dish but couldn’t remember what it was called. He asked for the Buttered Prawns (shown above) because he thought it sounded like the one that he liked. Unfortunately, he realized that it wasn’t the one he was looking for when this platter was placed on our table. We decided to order a chicken dish which was cooked roughly the same way (didn’t get to take a photo of that one), but it still didn’t turn out to be the one he wanted. 😛

The Buttered Prawns cost us quite a lot at 50 Ringgit for such a small serving. It was nice and buttery, but still not something that I found to be spectacular.

Seng Kee_Thai Fried Grouper photo SengKee_ThaiFriedGrouper_zps682de978.jpgWe also decided to go with a fish dish and ordered this Fried Grouper topped with green mangoes, onions and chili. The sauce used was from the strong Thai influence in the Malaysian food scene. It was sweet, sour and a bit spicy. This was very similar to the catfish salad I always order at Thai restaurants in Manila, so this was good enough for me. I just wished the grouper actually had more meat.

A lot of the locals started coming in when the lunch hour arrived, so I guess this place is pretty popular. There’s a probability that we didn’t get to order the right items on the menu that’s why the meal wasn’t too memorable for me (or maybe for all of us?).

May 2018
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