Dining Out

Noodle soups and dumplings at Wai-ying in Manila’s Chinatown

wai-ying-roast-duck-noodle-soup

The Chinatown dinner is the third and final installment on the posts about last Saturday’s food trip. We went to Wai-ying Fastfood which is not really a fastfood because food is prepared only after an order has been placed. And that’s how I like my food.

Speedy and I had been to Wai-ying once before. It was Sam who introduced us to the place. She goes there with friends quite often, it seems, and has become extremely familiar with the menu.

What did we have?

I had the roast duck noodle soup. What can I say? If I were asked what my favorite dish is in the world, it would be roast duck. And Wai-ying’s roast duck noodle soup was lovely — generous slices of duck over noodles and vegetables in a broth that tasted and smelled like it had been simmering and reducing for hours.

wai-ying-pork-asado-noodle-soup

Speedy, the pork man, had the pork asado noodle soup. For non-Filipinos who think of the word “asado” in the Spanish context, “asado” in the Philippines’ Chinatown is char siu pork.

Alex had wonton noodle soup. Thinking that I had photographed Wai-ying’s wonton noodle soup before, I didn’t pause to take shots of Alex’s bowl. It turns out no one among us had ordered wonton noodle soup at Wai-ying before. So, boo, no photo.

Vegetarian Sam ordered what she usually orders at Wai-ying — plain noodle soup with vegetable dumplings on the side. This time, however, she was in the mood to Instagram her meal so she took pains to arrange the dumplings in her bowl.

wai-ying-vegetable-dumplings

The dumplings’ filling is a mixture of chopped mushrooms and vegetables. A great combination, in my opinion, because in vegetarian cooking, mushrooms add body and flavor to vegetables.

The noodle soups were served in generous portions, we were full after we were done and there was dessert waiting to be unwrapped when we got home. We were ready to pay our bill when a waiter with a tray brimming with food passed by and walked to serve the food at a table on the other side of the dining room. My eyes and Speedy’s followed the waiter as he crossed the room. Well, not the waiter exactly but what was on the tray. There were at least two bowls where things that looked golden and fried and crisp were peeping out.

wai-ying-curry-beef-siomai

We hailed over the nearest server and asked what those things were. She said what sounded like “kare beef siomai”, we couldn’t comprehend and had to ask her to describe the dish. She kept repeating “kare beef siomai”, I was still lost (did she mean kare-kare?), but someone — either Sam or Speedy — finally understood. Curry beef siomai — fried dumplings with beef filling served with curry sauce. Speedy asked me if I wanted to order, I was unsure for two full seconds before saying yes.

Glorious curry beef siomai the dumplings turned out to be. The meat filling was steaming when I bit into the first dumpling, the golden wrappers were perfectly crisp and the curry sauce was thick and rich and the aroma was heady. Next time, we’re going to try more unfamiliar dishes in Wai-ying’s menu. I bet they’re going to be just as good as the ones we’ve already enjoyed.

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