Monday, March 19, 2012

Dimsum- All Day, Everyday

My cravings are usually broadcasted all over the internet. I don’t really know why I do that. Seeking moral support from enablers? Or is it an attempt at taking the world down with me on my undertaking to make my giant ass even bigger? I don’t know. But I do know how I feel all warm and fuzzy inside when like-minded individuals reach out through cyber-space with the ubiquitous “yum!” or with a useful dining suggestion.

Recently, I got the latter from Mao- a friend from my Goethe Institut days, when I was desperately trying to learn German (and failed)- who suggested I check out Suzhou after I posted a photo of xiao long bao (a delicious parcel in the form of a Chinese dumpling, its thin wrapper filled with flavorful broth) on Facebook. I do remember eating at the branch in Mandaluyong, but with my working arrangements now, the original Malate branch was a more appealing option. Besides, 92% of the time, the original branch of a restaurant served far more superior food than the newer ones. (Note: That is just a figure I came up with on my own. I like giving out fake percentages because it makes me feel smart and important.)

One weekday lunch, Matt, Mark V. and I went to check out Suzhou. Hungry (as our threesome usually is), we ordered a plethora of dimsum, soup, a beef dish and rice. Most of the dumplings were just so-so, but there were some standout dishes we will be happy to come back for.

Like the Spicy Sour Soup (or hot and sour, as it is commonly known). There was a good, clean balance of tangy, savory and spice, plus good texture with the mushrooms and tofu.

The server recommended the Steamed Beef with Chili Garlic, and honestly I did not know what to expect. Good thing we ordered it, though, because it was tender and expertly-seasoned. The marbling of tendon is gelatinous and adds richness to what could have easily been a very dry dish if it wasn’t done right.

I have had better Xiao Long Bao (locally, it’s still Lugang Cafe’s version for me), but Suzhou’s was quite good. The wrapper was thicker than what I would have preferred, and the broth a tad sweet, but it was warm and flavorful and satisfying.

I saw a photo of the Mustard Vegetable Fried Rice on a blog (sorry, I forget which one) and I knew I just had to try it. Again, really good idea- the rice was packed with flavor from the aromatic vegatables, and the small pieces of pork did not hurt, either. I loved it- one of the better fried rice dishes I have had in that price range.

Mao told me that maybe I should Google the place first before I go, but it really was not so bad. It seems to be a mom-and-pop operation, with the cook (and probably owner) casually lounging around and sipping tea when we walked in, and then quickly tucked into the kitchen to prepare our orders, then sinking into his chair once again to continue animatedly chatting with his mother (I assume). Far from the sparkly Chinese restos most go to for family celebrations, but a good place for a quick meal at a very reasonable price. We over-ordered and ended up paying P1300 for the three of us- not bad at all.

Suzhou Dimsum
A.Mabini St.
Malate, Manila
Tel. no. (632) 302 4347


Kate Baked said...

Give Mien San's XLB a try, they have the original and the shrimp version. It's also an excuse to go back and eat all their food too haha!

Chinkee said...

Oooh, Mien San! Yes, we should go and "try" the xiao long bao;-)