Archive for the ‘Restaurant Review’ Category

When I visited Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, I made sure that I would have my fill of their infamous pho or Vietnamese noodle soup. I was hellbent on trying as much pho as I could that it was actually my first meal in Vietnam (our breakfast in Ben Thanh Market). But there was one restaurant that made its mark on me, mainly because their noodle soup was really good.

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The restaurant was just an accidental discovery but it was already way past lunch time and it was the only restaurant we spotted around the area. We didn’t know anything about the place but we bit the bullet and went in anyway. Upon entering, I was appeased when I saw one wall plastered with photos of locals enjoying their food. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if locals frequent the place, yeah?

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When we got seated, we were immediately served with some sort of pastry. We weren’t exactly sure if they were complimentary but Timmy was too hungry to bother so she went ahead and ate one. I was saving room for my main meal so I only took a small bite off of hers. It was actually delicious! The pastry was flaky, and the filling (which I suspect to be minced pork) was tasty and savory.

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Also on the table were the usual accompaniment for pho – mung sprouts, cilantro and chives. There were also some additional condiments like garlic oil, sliced peppers, marinated garlic and three types of sauces that I honestly didn’t use so I never got to identify them.

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After a short while, our orders were served. Timmy and I got the same thing which had everything on it. Wantons, shrimp, pork balls, and egg noodle soup. My favorite part was the “pork chops” which were actually boiled pork reminiscent of our very own nilaga. The pork pieces were so delightfully tender and the broth was really tasty. I think the dish cost around ~Php120, honestly a fair price for such good quality.

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If I ever have the chance to go back to Ho Chi Minh, I would definitely pay this restaurant another visit. If you’re going to HCMC, this is a must-try! It’s around 8 minutes by foot from Ben Thanh Market.

Check out my previous posts on my Indochina trip here:

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It feels like it has been ages since Tim Ho Wan opened its first store here in the Philippines and I have been wantingto eat there ever since. Consistently, I see a buttload of photos of their infamous pork buns which made me even more eager to try it for myself. But since I hate crowds and I always see a long waiting line outside their branch in SM Megamall, I get turned off and always walk away looking for somewhere else to eat. Until one Saturday evening, when Cris and I were deciding where to have our dinner. There were no lines outside Tim Ho Wan so it was instantaneously decided, Tim Ho Wan for dinner it is!

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(Spicy) Pork Ribs Rice | Php170
The dish was served piping hot, and the pepper slices on top made it even hotter. The pork ribs were tender; with the right mix of meat, fat, bone, and cartilage. Cris enjoyed this so much, he ate 80% of it LOL.

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Braised Chicken Feet | ~Php140
We ordered chicken feet because we have been craving for Causeway’s chicken feet for the longest time. Tim Ho Wan’s were good, the meat was tasty and soft. However, I still prefer that of Causeway’s.

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Congee | Php140
Their congee had lean pork, Century egg and salted egg. It was super good!!! Don’t be fooled by the seemingly plain appearance, it packs a lot of flavor. I especially love the salted egg bits in it. I would definitely order this again next time.

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Beef Ball w/ Beancurd Skin | Php120
This was actually a wrong order. We originally wanted the Beancurd Skin Roll but I mistakenly ticked the wrong box LOL. With that being said, the beef balls were still appreciated. It tasted really meaty – no extenders. However, the cilantro taste was a tad too strong for my liking. This is just a personal preference though, I just don’t like cilantro that much.

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Baked Bun w/ BBQ Pork | Php145
First of all, I feel like this dish is pretty cheap considering you get 3 pieces of pork buns per order. I have heard nothing but good things about Tim Ho Wan’s pork buns so I was really, really excited to taste them. They were served hot and the crust was oh so crunchy yet soft at the same time (if that is even possible). On first bite, I was in love. So I took a few more bites, then it hit me… It’s sweet. Too sweet. I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. The BBQ Pork filling was too sweet for me, again, a personal preference. But I loved the pastry shell. I imagine it would work well as a dessert if it was filled with custard or red beans.

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Overall, I loved Tim Ho Wan’s food! I was a bit sad that I didn’t like the Pork Buns as much as I thought I would, but the Pork Ribs and Congee more than made up for it. I would definitely go back again, only if the lines are short enough LOL.

Have you tried Tim Ho Wan’s food? What’s your favorite dish from them?

For my friend’s birthday celebration (a year ago LOL), she chose to have our dinner at Naci’s. Naci Comfort Food brings comfort food that’s simple while still robust and full of flavor. We’ve tried their desserts one other time but it was actually our first to try their meals.

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First off, we each ordered their fruit shakes. They were rather fresh and refreshing (is this redundant?), but nothing worth writing home about. Their fruit shakes range from Php145 to Php175.

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Their Triple Nachos (Php280) were such a hit. A combination of deep-fried flour tortillas, taro and corn chips served with Mexican beef and the freshest tomato salsa drizzled with cheese sauce and tangy sour cream. I couldn’t stop myself from popping one chip after another into my mouth. The chips, despite being deep-fried, were not oily at all so that’s a big plus.

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The Yakimeshi Beef Rice Bowl (Php380) is a fusion of Japanese favorites. Sukiyaki beef, tofu and sauteed mixed vegetables topped over Japanese fried rice drizzled with teriyaki sauce. I honestly don’t remember a lot about this dish but I know that the beef slices were perfectly tender.

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Their Grilled Mahi Mahi (Php380) had one thick fillet topped with dill cream and cherry tomatoes served with parsley rice and buttered vegetables. The fish was grilled perfectly – it did not come out dry. But oddly, my favorite part of this dish were the buttered veggies. They were fresh, crunchy and sweet, just the way I like my veggies to be.

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Last that came out was the Milton’s Fried Chicken (Php450). Crispy fried chicken marinated in Naci’s secret spice blend and buttermilk served with mushroom gravy and tomato ketchup. The chicken pieces were huge and the batter was so deliciously crispy. To top it all off, the potato fries on the side was also yummy. I found myself eating the fries even if I already felt a little full. LOL glutton much?

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Dinner was very good and we capped it all off with their Yema Cake which we got for the birthday girl. My favorites for the night were the fried chicken and nachos.

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Sadly, Naci is no longer open in BGC (it has been replaced by Shingetsu) but I am hoping they open up again in another location.

AKA another video of me stuffing my face with delicious food. LOL. This time, Cris and I ate at Pho Hoa in SM Megamall. I actually frequent Pho Hoa especially during the rainy days. It was a very rainy Sunday afternoon so we decided to have our early dinner there to help warm out tummies. Check out the video below.

 

You can also check out our first episode of my Dead Hungry series below. Here, we ate at Eri Curry (also in SM Megamall).

 

It was a rainy Friday lunch and I was craving for soup so I convinced my usual lunchout companions to grab some ramen. I suggested one of my cheap favorites, Tampopo, but we were shocked to find it closed for renovation. Feeling beat down (LOL so dramatic), we started walking around the BHS area looking for a Japanese restaurant that was not so crowded. That’s when we found Shingetsu, right exactly where Naci used to be. Shingetsu is a fairly new restaurant around the area, maybe even barely 6 months old.

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They have a pretty big menu but we zoned in on their Lunch Sets. Each set comes with a side salad, an appetizer , soup,  and fruits for dessert. During our visit, we had a pork side dish but I’m not sure if this changes from time to time. The side dish, salad and soup were all good. And the fruits – cantaloupe and ride mango – tasted fresh and sweet.

Raissa got the Chicken Karaage Set. If I’m not mistaken, this was around Php350. I didn’t get to taste this given that she only had 3 fried chicken fillet. She was able to finish it all but when I asked how it was, she said that it was a little too sour for her taste. It seems like the chicken might have been marinated in lemon (or calamansi) before frying.

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Allan’s choice was the Fried Salmon Set. Deep-fried salmon jaw coated in salted egg sauce and served with a bowl of fried rice. First of all, look at the serving size! This could easily feed two people. I got to try his dish and I loved it! The salmon was perfectly fried, not too oily, and the salted egg sauce was very decadent. It lacked some acid so I drizzled it with calamansi juice and it came out even more delicious. And all that food only cost Php390. This was easily the winning dish of the day.

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I went for the Katsu Curry Set which comes out at Php420. Mine was good as well. The katsu was fried perfectly and was not dry even if the pork slice was very lean and thick. It is sitting on top of a bed of Japanese curry with a couple of tender pork pieces in it. I like how the curry was mildly spiced but I would have loved it more if they threw in some vegetables in there.

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Overall, it was a very satisfying lunch. The serving size was surprisingly big for the prize and all the extras that come with the lunch set made us feel like we were getting more that what we paid for. I would definitely go back to this restaurant and I will definitely get the Salmon Set next time.

 

 

It has been AGES since my first try of Uncle Cheffy’s food so I was internally jumping with joy when the usual Friday lunchout group decided to eat here. When I posted our group photo on Facebook, someone jokingly said that I blended with the wall decor due to my color. I just got back from El Nido that time hence the tan. Anyway, on to the food…

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Rockefeller Oyster | Php390
A plateful of baked oysters topped with gooey mozzarella and bacon slices. I loved how juicy the oysters were and some shells even had two oyster meat in it (score!) I love cheese so the stringy mozzarella was such a delight. And then there’s the bacon. Who does not love bacon?!? I sure love me some bacon and I’m so happy that they were so generous with the bacon slices. Would definitely order this again.

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Tiuey Noodles | Php295
Pronounced as “Chewy Noodles”. First of all, what’s up with the trippy spelling? LOL. But weird spelling aside, this was good. It’s Asian fried noodles with beef, asparagus and cilantro. The noodles were cooked al dente and the beef slices were tender. A good dish overall.

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Seafood Marinara Pasta | Php410
This would have been a good dish if not for the undercooked pasta. It was too under to be considered al dente. Because of the pasta’s texture, the whole dish sort of failed. Such a shame since the seafood bits in it were actually good.

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All Meat Barbecued Brick Oven Panizza | Php450
It had beef teriyaki, pork, chicken barbecue, onion and chili flakes, basil and cheese. I loved how thin and crunchy the panizza was and as expected, I loved the cheese. However, I am not a big fan of the meat combination. The beef teriyaki was a bit too sweet for my liking and the sweetness kind of overpowered all the other tastes. I was also missing the chili flakes in the pizza, maybe that could have balanced the sweetness off. Loved the panizza but I think I’d rather try other toppings next time.

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Buffalo Chicken Wings
For some reason, I cannot find this item in any of Uncle Cheffy’s online menu so I can’t tell you how much this dish cost us. What I can tell you though is that this plateful of perfectly crispy deep-fried chicken wings smothered in buffalo sauce was thoroughly enjoyed by our table. The serving size is very generous which makes you feel that you’re getting the appropriate bang for your buck.

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Overall, I love Uncle Cheffy’s food. I would certainly go back to this restaurant again to hopefully try their grilled specialties. How about you? Have you tried eating at Uncle Cheffy’s? If so, what’s your favorite from there?

 

I have been to Lugang Cafe a number of times and I leave the restaurant very satisfied each and every single time. So when I saw from their Facebook page that they brought back their buffet promo, I resolved to avail of it, come hell or high water. I was so eager that I dragged Cris and RC to SM Megamall on a Sunday to have dinner at Lugang. Only to be told that the promo is not available on Sundays. *facepalm* Not giving up, I convinced Philip to have lunch on a Saturday, where else but at Lugang. LOL.

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Their Feast All You Can promo allows you to order from a special menu. You can get unlimited serving of anything from the Appetizer, Dimsum, Soup and Rice and a choice of one dish from their House Specialties for Php588+.

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Let’s start with the basics – soup and rice. During our visit, we had Fried Rice with Taiwanese Sausage and Seafood Spinach Soup (I think the rice and soup varies on different days.) Both were good, as evidenced by my almost-gone-soup. I attacked it as soon as it reached our table, I even forgot to take a photo first.

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For our Dimsum, we had an order of Steamed Pork Xiao Long Bao and Steamed Angled Loofah with Shrimp Xiao Long Bao. As expected, I loved the Pork XLB and I ordered another serving of it when we polished off our first set of Dimsum. The Shrimp XLB with Angled Loofah, I didn’t care much about but it was still good.

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For our Appetizers, we wanted to try as much as we could.

Garlic Pork Roll – the roll itself was pretty bland but when dipped in the sauce, it was awesome! Inside the thin slice of pork are vermicelli noodles and other stuff I honestly did not bother to identify LOL. But take my word for it, these rolls are good!

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Vietnam Egg Rolls – your usual egg rolls deep fried to a pleasant crunch. I enjoyed this with the vinegar dipping sauce and a drizzle of chili oil. Bomb!

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Spicy Sliced Offals – to those unaware, offals are the meat taken from the pig’s face. If you love sisig, you would most definitely appreciate this dish. The offals were perfectly tender and were served with mung sprouts and a slightly spicy sauce. Philip loved this dish so much.

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Stewed Pig Feet Slices – these were like Pork Nilaga in a gelatinous form. It came with a dipping sauce that looked and tasted so much like the sauce of those Pork Rolls. These were good but I could only take a couple slices before I got weirded out by the funky texture.

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Pork Wantons in Spicy Chili Oil – the pork wantons were cooked perfectly and I appreciate that the chili oil was not aggressively spicy.

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Cucumber with Vinaigrette – this is a very simple dish but was executed perfectly. The pickled cucumber slices had the perfect balance of sweetness, spice and tang. It served as a palate cleanser for us when all the other dishes started overwhelming us.

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Now we come to our main dishes…

Taiwanese Salt and Pepper Squid – perfectly seasoned deep-fried squid slices. Best consumed while hot because the calamari tend to tern chewy when it gets cold. Nevertheless, a very good dish overall.

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Fish Head with Garlic Oyster Sauce – we originally had our eye on the steamed fish head but our server suggested we get this one instead because the other one tends to be very oily. I am so glad we went with her suggestion because this turned out to be one of our favorites. It doesn’t look like it in the photo but this dish could easily feed a family of 4. The sauce was very tasty and the fish head had generous meat in it. I highly recommend this dish.

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Overall, I liked everything that we ordered. I honestly wish we could have ordered everything from the Dimsum and Appetizer section but there was only two of us and we couldn’t possibly eat more. With that said, I think it will be more enjoyable if you dine with a bigger crowd. So gather all your friends and troop over to Lugang Cafe and eat delicious food to your hearts’ content.

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Lugang Cafe has branches at SM Megamall, SM MoA, SM City North EDSA, SM Aura Premier, Glorietta 1 and their pioneer branch in Greenhills.