More new restaurants are opening left and right. More and more students from various culinary schools here and abroad are graduating, with money to open their own dining places with a variety of concepts.
Successful franchises from abroad are landing on our shores, trying to get a share of the food market. In other words the food business is thriving. What a blessing as a foodie to be in the middle of this frenzy.
But when the smoke clears, I believe only the ones with exceptionally good food, paired with reasonable prices, will survive. I also speak from experience.
One venue where this burst of energy is happening is the Mega Fashion Hall. Ippudo Ramen has opened; Osaka Ohsho, a Japanese franchise specializing and claiming to make the world’s best gyoza is also there; and so is Tuan Tuan, a Chinese brasserie.
My kids and I love gyoza. This is perfectly paired with ramen, or can stand alone as a wonderful appetizer. This is one of the standouts in Japanese cuisine.
But not all gyozas are good.
The pork filling in Osaka Ohsho’s gyoza is an original recipe from its Japanese franchise.
It also has an imported gyoza-making machine. It starts with a perfectly round flour sheet where each gyoza is wrapped individually.
When an order is placed, the uncooked gyoza is placed in the machine, covered, and steamed until done. The cooks flip the gyoza to retain its crunch. When the water evaporates, then the base is fried.
The result—a chewy, crunchy, tasty Japanese dumpling that tastes heavenly with traditional sauce, miso or Japanese chili oil. I enjoyed the last one the most.
It is served by the dozen or half a dozen.
I also enjoyed the original and the Nori gyoza.
Baked pork bun
Tuan Tuan, the Chinese brasserie, reminds me of Mr. Chow in London.
Mr. Chow had a modern setting, with Italian waiters serving fine-dining Chinese cuisine. Super sarap.
That’s the first thing that entered my mind as I walked into Tuan Tuan. It is a well-lit, beautifully decorated dining place with interesting items on the menu.
It makes a delicious baked pork bun. This is the new thing that has hit Manila.
Baked pork buns were introduced by the very successful Tim Ho Wan, also at the Mega Fashion Hall. Many Chinese restaurants now make it.
Tuan Tuan makes a not-too-sweet baked dough version with a fantastic pork filling. I love it!
I also enjoyed the crunchy sweet spare ribs. The tender beef and super soft and sticky tendon curry was outstanding. I was dipping everything in this fantastic version of curry sauce. I have to come back for more of this.
I also loved the authentic-tasting laksa. The sauce was light, perfectly seasoned and the noodles well-made.
I ended up having dessert at Lugang. I enjoyed its peanut butter shaved ice immensely. I love the surprises these restaurants bring.
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