A few years back, 25 of my badminton buddies and I went to Taiwan. None of us knew where to eat, so we just went around and ate anywhere we thought was good. Wrong! I didn’t enjoy the food at all in some places.
The only one that really made an impression was Din Tai Fung with its clean-tasting, delicious dishes.
We went to the street food market, too. There were a few items that were good, but really nothing significant enough.
My friend Winston Mapua who frequents Taiwan tells me otherwise. He knows where to go and all his dining experiences are wonderful. I should consult him before I go next time.
Here in Manila, there are a few Taiwanese restaurants. How would I describe Taiwan cuisine? It’s not the same as Cantonese cuisine. I think it’s more like Filipinized Chinese food—also good, but I imagine this is something you will find in the different provinces of China.
I got lost one time in San Juan and drove by a place called Flavors of Taiwan. It is new and frequented by Xavier school parents. The place is packed daily. I became very curious about it.
I was there last Saturday with two friends. We started with Xiao Long Bao, a staple in many Chinese restaurants today. I poured some black vinegar and finely shredded ginger, put that baby in my soup spoon and took it in.
It is one of the most brilliant creations of Chinese cuisine. Delicious pork broth is made and turned into gelatin. A square of this is then topped on some flavored ground pork and sealed in a thin, homemade wonton.
When steamed, the gelatin melts into the cooked ground pork and the result is a heavenly appetizer. This place is one of the best in Manila.
We tried the mushroom broccoli with a light flavored sauce. It was good.
We had a Stir-fried Misua which I really liked. It had a mild, sweetish sauce that was like pata tim sauce. The oyster omelet comes alive with this sauce. It was flavorful, sticky and tasty.
The Wu Xi Spare Ribs were tender but firm enough to stick to the bone. It was mildly sweet and delicious.
All these we had with thehouse special Fried Rice with Chopped Chinese Chorizo. I liked the contrast of flavors.
I saw badminton friend Alex Salamanca with his wife. He let me try their 3-Cup Chicken with a soy-based sauce, and Tofu with shredded pork. Good, too.
Our dessert was Taro with shaved ice. It was refreshing. This restaurant changed my impression of Taiwanese cooking. Check it out!
Flavors of Taiwan, 20 General Lim corner General De Jesus Streets, Little Baguio, San Juan City. Tel. nos. 6375574, 5478593.
My Japan food tour schedule: Fukuoka/Hiroshima/Osaka, Nov. 5-10; Hokkaido, Nov. 19-25; Okinawa, Dec. 10-15. Email: [email protected]