When it comes to food, Rikki Dee has the Midas touch.
Be it his own restaurant or a franchise, he seems to know which concepts will work. Tim Ho Wan is no exception. An understated eatery in Hong Kong which gained entry to the Michelin guide, it is now in Manila.
Tim Ho Wan is famous for its Baked Bun with Barbecued Pork, which has a crumbly cookie-like crust that holds a generous portion of sweet, savory pork that oozes out at first bite.
There’s more to Tim Ho Wan than just pork buns, though.
My other personal favorite is Steamed Egg Cake that is soft and fluffy with a deep caramel finish.
I equally like Pan-Fried Carrot Cake which has bits of lap cheong sausage that gives a flavorful twist. I enjoy mine with a bit of soy and a dab of Tim Ho Wan’s chili sauce that has a hint of sweetness to it.
The beef with fried egg over rice I find very comforting—simple but yummy rice topping. The wrapper of the shrimp dumplings, meanwhile, is nice and thin.
In my opinion, Tim Ho Wan is a dim sum restaurant that serves what seems to be regular fare, but prepared in a manner that satisfies even the most discriminating palate.
Its edge is that the food is prepared from the finest ingredients; cooked as you order it and to perfection; and served at once, fresh and clean-tasting, with a suave finish.
Tim Ho Wan is at the SM Megamall Fashion Hall.
Café Shibuya specializes in dessert toasts. It is owned by sisters Cathryn Lim and Cheryl Lee, who, inspired by the tastes and flavors of their travels, opened their own café.
I love the Original Shibuya Honey Toast, a special type of loaf bread, sliced 2½ inches thick, baked with honey and butter, sprinkled with powdered sugar, topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with honey syrup. It is sinful.
The bread looks like a very thick toast, reminiscent of a chunky biscocho. Once forked, it deflates and becomes so soft, almost cotton-candy-like, that it melts in the mouth. The toast with ice cream and honey makes a nice play of hot and cold, crisp, crumbly, pillowy, soggy, soft in parts that have absorbed the ice cream and syrup, and terribly yummy.
Café Shibuya’s breads are all-natural (no preservatives) and baked in-house and fresh every day. I’m told it took close to a year to perfect the bread so it would be crunchy on the outside but soft and pillowy on the inside.
Other specialties are eggs benedict variations, making use of the same bread.
If you’re craving something sweet, the Shibuya Honey Toast is a must.
Café Shibuya is at UP Town Center; tel. 0947-2213836.
A bit of history, as documented by the restaurant itself:
“It started with a man called Shusaku Namikawa who fell in love with tonteki, or pork loin steak, a dish he discovered during a trip to Yokkaichi City in Mie Prefecture, Japan.
“But Shusaku-san dreamed of an even thicker, more tender and juicier pork with an unmistakably unique signature flavor.
“So he devoted years to learning all about tonteki. Until one day, he came up with a unique way of cooking pork loin steak combined with his very own Tokyo Tonteki sauce of aged fruits, vegetables and spices painstakingly thought out to the last flavor.”
Tonteki is where you can have a decent piece of pork loin steak at a reasonable price. It’s perfect for growing boys! Large servings and the set meals come with soup and unlimited rice.
I am, however, a bigger fan of something else on the menu, Spring Roll of Prosciutto and Avocado with Onsen Tamago: slow-cooked eggs with custard-like whites, and soft, waxy, creamy, silky yolks.
Onsen means hot springs where onsen eggs are traditionally slow-cooked, wrapped in rice paper, served with chili mayonnaise and topped with fresh alfalfa sprouts.
Meaty avocados are combined with tasty prosciutto that gives a distinct hint of saltiness, spring roll with rich onsen egg, and chili mayonnaise—a tasty ensemble.
Tokyo Tonteki is at UP Town Center Mall; tel. 9552270.
Perfectly cooked rice
I am enjoying the new Philips Avance Collection Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker. No more sticky, mushy rice, only perfection, each and every time. Whether I eat my rice immediately after I cook it, or six hours after, no difference—it’s just as good.
The rice made from the cooker reminds me of those you find at real good Chinese restaurants, where the grains remain whole and intact—no tutong.
You can even fry rice right after it cooks without waiting for it to cool.
For more information, call the Philips hotline 6679000.
For a copy of my new cooking class schedule, call 9289296, 4008496, 0908-2372346 and 0917-5543700.
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