firsts

Legit Chinese

12:00:00 AM

My dear friend Alfred gave me a very valuable piece of advice for gauging whether or not a restaurant offering foreign cuisine is worth the try: legit places attract their own. Unless it’s recommended by people whose tastes I trust, I try to check out who’s eating before I walk in - if it’s a Chinese restaurant, I look for Chinese folks. 
All cars are Chinese-owned!
Bright and spacious

Just last Sunday, after band rehearsal, I decided to try SuZhou Dimsum in Mandaluyong. I took a cab, and when I got there, I regretted spending for it when I realized how easy it was to get there: from EDSA-Shaw Boulevard, take a jeep bound for Quiapo, alight at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and A. Mabini St. (landmark is PureGold Liberty Center), then walk along A. Mabini (or take a tricycle) until you see the restaurant, which is at the corner of Araullo St. That transpo money could have been spent on food instead! GRRRRR!

A couple of friends of Chinese descent have actually recommended the place to me, which is good enough reason for me to do so. Not that I needed any more convincing, but their predominantly Chinese clientele was definitely a bonus. I actually walked in at the same time as a Filipino-Chinese family of five parked their car in front of the restaurant. The patriarch didn't even need a menu - he just asked the waitress for "the usual!" 
Of course I started with this!
After going through the menu, I decided to start with the Special Xiao Long Bao (well, duh - the place is called SuZhou DIMSUM, for crying out loud!). It was absolutely yummy - the meat was so tender and so juicy (had to wipe off the broth from my chin after each bite). I was done with my serving (four pieces for only Php130! SULIT!) in under three minutes. Haha!
They got my favorite right!
Next, I tried the Sweet and Sour Pork - the dish I judge Chinese restaurants by (in the same way that I measure Japanese places by their tempura). I was definitely pleased with their version - they struck a balance between the two flavors, which is where others often go wrong. I also appreciate the big serving, making it ideal for sharing... Or for big appetites, like mine. :)
Salt & Peppa Pig
I also tried the Salt & Pepper Ribs (which I nicknamed Salt & Peppa Pig because I'm a weirdo like that) and I loved every bite. It was tasty and well-cooked. :) I had to scrape off the chilli (because I just can't handle anything spicy), but it was still perfect!
The veggies balance it out. Haha!
And because I'm me, I can't ever skip rice; so I ordered the Pork and Vegetable Fried Rice, which turned out to be as big as my face. No regrets, though - even if I probably have to run for five hours to burn all those carbs. Every bite was worth it, I promise! But if you're trying to watch your weight or if you don't have my appetite, I recommend you split an order with two other people.
DIVINE
Because growing children like myself have bigger protein needs than others, I didn't stop just yet. I tried the Steamed Beef in Garlic in the hopes that the garlic's health benefits would sort of negate the fact that I'm overeating again. Haha! I loved this dish because aside from being flavorful, the beef was very tender and easy to chew.
Best in Plating! I'm so amused by this!
The last thing I had there was the Tofu with Century Egg and Pork Flakes, and yes, it is every bite as yummy as it sounds. My friends know that I'm a very picky eater - I actually don't eat tofu unless it's taho (because it's taho!). But when the waitress walked past me with this in hand for the people on the next table, I got so curious that I had to try it out for myself. I'm glad I did!

Okay, you might be wondering how I was able to consume all that food by myself. I DIDN'T - I ate what I could while in the restaurant, and what I couldn't finish, I had wrapped to go. But just to complete the Chinese food expo, I decided to add some siopao, as well. For the record, all the excess food is meant for sharing. The siopao is HUUUUUGE:
Siopao partyyyyy
If you're planning to go here by yourself and you don't really want to over-order like I did (HAHAHAHA), they have what they call the "All-Day Lunch Express" meals - one viand, one cup of rice, and iced tea for only Php220. I took a snap of the menu before I gave it back to the waitress:
For solo eaters
In my opinion, though, this place is really better if you visit with family or friends (or you and your HUGE HUGE HUGE appetite, like I did! HAHA!) - so you guys can order more food and just sample each other's picks. Maybe I'll drag the band here after our next rehearsals, or the jiu-jitsu team when I finally make it back to the mats. :) For now, let me just enjoy my leftovers!

P.S. If you live in Mandaluyong or San Juan (nearby areas), congratulations and I ENVY YOU because they deliver! Minimum is Php500. KAYO NA ANG MASWERTE! But other areas may be accommodated, too, like Ortigas - but I think the minimum order is twice that (or there's a delivery charge, I think! Sorry I forgot what the lady said, I was too busy eating). Here's their number: (02) 721-6105 - just call them if you want to avoid traffic but still enjoy good Chinese food.

isawisay

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