Dining Out

Han Pao Tea House

We’re taking a break from the usual recipe posting because I didn’t cook anything yesterday. It was my birthday, one of the two days each year when I pamper myself senseless by not doing any chores at all. Instead, Speedy and I had lunch at a restaurant of my choice. And, yesterday, I chose Han Pao Tea House not only because it was a stone’s throw from the Canon service center (I had my dSLR cleaned) but also because I have missed the food there terribly.

Han Pao Tea House is located on the ground floor of Sunshine Square in Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City, near Puregold. There is a branch in Banawe Street, Quezon City but, for some reason, the food at the Mandaluyong restaurant has always been much better. Because we were there early, more than an hour ahead of the usual lunch crowd, we were able to get a good table that afforded a view of the main dining area. Han Pao Tea House is not a fancy place but it”?s clean, it”?s comfortable and the food is simply to die for.

We”?ve been patrons of Han Pao for years but, yesterday, I was surprised to find even more items on the menu. Aside from the usual Chinese fare, they also serve Japanese dishes these days. We didn”?t order any of the new items though. I chose to eat there precisely because I missed all the dishes that I”?ve always enjoyed there and those were what we had.

So, what did we have? Nine dimsum items and a tray of Noodle Feast to go. How much did all of that cost? P870 pesos.

Split eggplants stuffed with meat and chopped vegetables, rolled in batter, deep fried, smothered with a light sweetish sauce then steamed. You”?d think that with ALL THAT, the flavor of the eggplant would have been drowned but, no. Its natural sweetness and soft texture still stood out. Wonderful.

A staple in most Chinese restaurants, Han Pao”?s version of stuffed bean curd skin is firmly packed. Cut a piece in half and the filling won”?t fall off.

The skins of the fried dumplings were light and crisp. As it happens when dumplings are deep fried at the right temperature, the dumplings were not greasy at all. They were served with sweet and sour sauce.

There are so many ways to season chicken feet, Hao Pao”?s version is rather sweet and not at all spicy. They were so tender that it took no effort at all to separate the skins and ligaments from the bones.

Aside from what you”?ve seen in the photos, we also had siopao (asado for Speedy and bola-bola for me), radish cakes, pork spare ribs with tausi (black beans) and kutchay dumplings. It turned out that I ordered too much, we weren”?t able to finish everything, but we brought home what we couldn”?t eat. And we ordered Noodle Feast too for take out.

Noodle Feast is one of the most popular dishes in Han Pao. Wide noodles serve as a bed for the two kinds of dumplings, sweet roast beef, spicy pork, Chinese broccoli and succulent white chicken.

Here”?s another angle so you can see the dumplings better.

The spicy pork, my husband”?s favorite, dominate one corner of the tray.

To serve Noodle Feast, a sweet salty sauce (think asado sauce) is poured over the noodles, meats and vegetables.

For best results, make sure that everything catches some sauce. Then, each person gets his portion of noodles, dumplings, veggies, chicken, pork and beef. An order of Noodle Feast comes with a bowl of soup so you can sip hot soup on the side too.

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