Everyone loves a surprise. This holds true even where a sandwich is concerned. Not knowing the type of filling, for me, makes the whole experience exciting.
I have held this belief when creating some of my dishes at Wooden Spoon restaurant. Stuffed Pechay is one of the bestsellers. A bite brings a surprising burst of flavors complemented by the mildly spicy sauce.
Siopao is another snack that yields surprises. One is not certain of what quality of filling one is to experience. The verdict usually comes after the first bite. It can either be “sarap,” “not bad” or “this is the last time I’m ordering this.”
I have tasted a siopao that may not seem that great in the beginning, but the taste grows on you with every bite.
Ma Mon Luk
When I was growing up, it was Ma Mon Luk asado siopao. My friend and I used to take a 10-centavo jeepney ride to Cubao from UP just to dine in our favorite restaurant. Two families used to run Ma Mon Luk. The first ran the branches in Cubao, across the police station in Kamias, and Pasay, while second ran the branches in Banawe and Quiapo.
To me, the branches offered a difference in taste. I preferred the one in Cubao. Masuki siopao reminds me most of that Cubao siopao even if the taste is not consistent. Ma Mon Luk and Masuki also offer a bola-bola siopao which I am not too crazy about.
Wait till you try my new siopao to be offered at Wooden Spoon for merienda.
Every time I take Philippine Airlines (PAL) on domestic or foreign trips, I never fail to take a snack. It is my form of relaxing after going through the stress of packing and braving the traffic. Foodie friends have this same craving when they travel.
There is one place I will never miss. Vin Vin is a snack place that sells all kinds of siopao and mami. To me, it has the best-tasting special bola-bola siopao. Because of my experience with the other bola-bola siopao, I was never really a fan.
I knew nothing about Vin Vin; I just wanted to be surprised with the quality of the filling. The siopao is huge, tasty and full of pork chunks, a tiny slice of Chinese chorizo and red egg. Sarap. I find no need for the sauce.
My problem begins when I leave the airport. The siopao is nowhere to be found outside the departure lounge. It seemed to have disappeared.
Then, one day, while I was doing a cooking demo at the Nestlé kitchen, one of the participants mentioned that they were from Vin Vin. When I heard that, a light bulb turned on and I never stopped harassing that kind lady until I got her office number.
Today, I don’t have to take PAL to try Vin Vin’s giant bola-bola siopao; I just call. Just the other day, I ordered six dozen siopao for my badminton friends and made a promise to never to do this again. It was like carrying around a 40-lb weight.
My simple joy though is to see my friends happy with this new discovery. At home, I just wrap a frozen siopao in a damp towel, microwave it for three and a half minutes and have a Sriracha sauce with it. Yummy!
Vin Vin bola-bola siopao is an example of a pleasant surprise. Discovering the delicious filling is something I feel is worth sharing. Check it out.
To order Vin Vin bola-bola siopao, call 0920-9602182. Visit the author’s blog at sandydaza.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter @sandydaza.