Last night, after visiting Speedy’s mom at the hospital, we were looking for a place where we could have late dinner. I was craving for pares, Speedy said the place near Retiro Street where we used to go for pares doesn’t stay open that late so I suggested Ma Mon Luk instead.
Unfortunately, Ma Mon Luk was already closed by the time we got there so we proceeded to nearby Banawe Street where we could check out what looked good and was still open. We passed by Lam Tin Tea House, a favorite haunt, but we were there not too long ago and I wanted to try something new.
I suddenly remembered that my brother had been talking about this Chinese Restaurant where dim sum items are discounted from 2.00 to 5.00 p.m. and, again, from 9.00 p.m. until midnight. I couldn’t recall the name of the restaurant but he said it was near the intersection of Banawe and Sgt. Rivera Streets so we went toward that direction.
And we finally found it. Even if I couldn’t recall the name, we couldn’t have missed it. There was a large tarp in front announcing the discounted dim sum. Cifu Asian Cooking almost across Causeway Seafood Restaurant.
Even before we could order, and without having to ask for it, complimentary Chinese tea was served. That was a good sign. In some dim sum restaurants, you have to ask if they have complimentary tea which always gives me the feeling that the information wouldn’t be volunteered so that diners would be obliged to order drinks. But dim sum is part of the yum cha tradition so hot tea is really what goes best with the tiny morsels of food. So, one point for Cifu for bringing in the pot of hot tea without being asked.
We had machang and bola-bola siopao. We didn’t expect two pieces of machang so we were pleasantly surprised.
The machang was quite good, lots of meat and very tasty. We didn’t like the siopao very much because the filling tasted too generic.
The Chinese chives dumplings were the runaway winner for the night.
So good. The ginger flavor was distinct but not overpowering. The amount of Chinese chives was just right so that the filling didn’t feel too fibrous. The meat was moist and succulent. Very, very good.
And then there was buchi which is something I always order when we do yum cha. According to the waiter, the buchi was among their bestsellers and I could understand why. Perfectly done with generous sweet bean filling.
Unlike most dim sum restaurants where the steamed items are placed on carts and you just have to choose which ones you like and the steaming baskets will immediately be placed on your table, at Cifu, the dim sum items are ordered like regular a la carte items. In short, they don’t start steaming until after you have placed your order. So, there’s a waiting time of about ten minutes before the food started to arrive. Personally, I prefer the dim sum cart arrangement. But then again, the food at Cifu was, as a whole, quite good so I’m not complaining.
The total bill was PHP207.00 (about USD5.00). Good food, great price, we went home happy.