Chinese New Year is just around the corner and if you want to welcome the year of the Dog with a twist, consider trading in your go-to traditional Chinese restaurants for something more modern.
Manila’s Chinatown, Binondo, will always be the best place to get an authentic feast but there’s actually a lot of delicious, more contemporary options around the metro that are worth trying.
Below, is a roundup of modern Chinese restaurants at different price points to try this Friday. Kung Hei Fat Choi!
Bao Bar, located in the metro’s hip hangouts Escolta and Poblacion, specializes in modernized versions of Chinese steamed buns. Their baos, sold for PHP220 (US$4.23) for two pieces come with fillings like beef curry, pork adobo, and even Spam and a fried egg.
If this isn’t enough to fill you up, try their drunken noodles (PHP200/US$3.84) made with rice noodles, spices, ginger scallion sauce, and fried shallots.
Address: First United Building, Escolta St., Manila
and The Social, Ebro St., Poblacion, Makati City
Lan Kwai Speakeasy and Hong Kong Cuisine
Lan Kwai Speakeasy in Quezon City is a bar inspired by Hong Kong’s famous party street. Enjoy neon lights and craft cocktails while eating modernized versions of famous Cantonese fare like char siu (barbecued pork) (PHP89/US$1.71) and roast duck (PHP249/US$4.78).
Address: 42 Esteban Abada St., Quezon City
If you haven’t already, you should add Lugang Cafe to your list of Sunday go-to restaurants. It has branches all over the metro and is usually located in malls you probably already frequent.
Probably the most classic one on this list, you can still order staples like roasted duck and hot and sour soup, or choose to enjoy dishes with a bit of a twist. Try the kung-pao tofu (PHP280/US$___), a vegetarian take on the classic dish, wasabi mayo prawns (PHP680/US$5.38), pork xiao long bao with truffle paste (PHP298/US$5.72), and the best-selling pineapple and shrimps stuffed in crullers (PHP290/US$5.57),
Those who were born in the year of the dog can get a peanut smoothie, an order of pork xiao long bao, or tofu with preserved egg and pork floss for free until the end of the month.
Visit Lugang Cafe’s website for branch locations.
Singapore’s Paradise Dynasty opened in Manila last year, which means you can enjoy their famous 8-flavor xiao long bao basket PHP388 (US$7.45) this Chinese New Year. Flavors include original, garlic, ginseng, foie gras, Szechuan, cheese, crab roe, and black truffle. You can also choose to order a basket of eight with only one flavor.
Address: Level 2, S Maison, Conrad Manila, Seaside Boulevard cor. Coral Way, Pasay City
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Ping Pong Diplomacy specializes in Chinese-American fusion — two cuisines Filipinos love. It doesn’t bother itself with being authentic, which is fine because what it does do is bring together your favorite flavors from the two countries.
They’ve got a wanton cheeseburger (PHP265/US$5.09), which is exactly what it sounds like, black angus beef and broccoli (PHP925/US$17.77), and what they call Fortune Balls (PHP150/US$2.88) or sticky rice balls in taro, ginger, and black sesame flavors.
Address: 3/F SM Aura Premier, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City