Dining Out

Han Pao Chinese restaurant

My husband’s youngest brother, based in Beirut, was home for Christmas. We were planning on giving him a party at our house but the December database disaster that made me work all through the Christmas break made my husband suggest that we’d better just take him and his family out. There is no shortage of good restaurants in Metro Manila but finding one that was conveniently located proved to be a challenge.

First, it had to be near the Cubao area where my mother-in-law, and a sister-in-law and her family, lives and would be coming from. Second, it had to be near the Ortigas area where another sister-in-law works and would be coming from. The obvious choice was somewhere in the Ortigas complex. But the date agreed upon was December 29th. Malls were still crowded and any restaurant near malls meant we would have to go through some terrible traffic jams and parking headaches. I suggested Han Pao, a Chinese restaurant along Shaw Boulevard. Not a showy restaurant, nothing fancy, just good Chinese grub. The ‘noodle feast’ that my family loves so much (I called my home cooked version Fiesta Noodles) is a Han Pao specialty.

casaveneracion.com chicken feet

We started the meal with some steamed dimsum. Chicken feet (left), siomai, kutchay dumplings, shrimp dumplings. I can’t tell you about the shrimp dumplings because I had none–I’m terribly allergic to crustaceans. I don’t remember much about the pork siomai so I guess I wasn’t impressed. Or, maybe, they were all gone before I could try them. You know, when eating with my in-laws, one has to be fast. Otherwise, … :lol: The chicken feet was good–not too spicy to burn my throat and very, very tender. I’ve had better but it wasn’t bad. Not at all.

casaveneracion.com steamed chicken

For the main courses, we ordered those that we had tried before. We didn’t want to experiment and ruin everyone’s appetite. So, we had steamed white chicken with the wonderful ginger sauce and fish fillets with broccoli. What I wasn’t able to take photos of were the noodle feast, the mapo tofu, the sweet and sour pork and the yang chow fried rice. It was pretty late when dinner started because… well, because they all arrived late. My in-laws, I mean. It was already around 9.00 p.m. when we started with the dimsum.

So, how was the overall dining experience at Han Pao Chinese restaurant? Not too good, I’m afraid. The noodle feast–flat rice noodles with assorted meat and vegetables, served with asado sauce–was incomplete. The assorted meat should include chicken fillets, spicy pork, braised beef and dumplings. The waiter said they had run out of spicy pork. We tried to order a couple of other dishes but they were no longer available. I mean, 9.00 p.m. may be a little late for dinner but the restaurant was open until 1.00 a.m., for goodness’ sakes. And it was still Christmas season. And it was running out of dishes to serve at 9.00 p.m.?

Oh, well, we felt so bitin afterwards that we went straight to Starbucks.

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