Dimsum time at Jade Garden, International District, Seattle

Touchdown Seattle!

After three years, I’m back in the Evergreen State for a much-needed and well-deserved (if I do say so myself) vacay! And even better, I’ve got the whole fam with me in this US adventure.

And being Jellybeans (see what I did there?), the family’s vacay will not be complete without some food trips here there.

So which Seattle establishment did the brood try on our first few hours in the city?

Well, my bro treated us to one of his favorite Chinese dimsum haunts: Jade Garden in the International District.

Having stepped out of the airport quite late last night, we were lucky that this restaurant was still open. It’s a small casual dining Chinese restaurant where, for a relatively large party such as ours, the food is served on the lazy susan on the lazy susan on top of the table. Hot tea was also provided while we waited for our orders.

Jade Garden, Seattle

Jade Garden, Seattle

Jade Garden, Seattle

Our meal consisted of:

Minced Beef Soup Westlake Style. Traditionally, soup is served last during a Chinese meal but we requested that it be served first. This soup is made of tofu, minced beef, thinly slice shiitake mushrooms and coriander in a steaming hot starchy broth. Quite a wonderful way to warm our tummies this chilly spring evening!

Jade Garden, Seattle

Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice. A flavorful rice dish that complemented the viands we ordered. Did you know that the earliest record of fried rice appeared in the Sui dynasty? Stir-frying rice in garlic and soy sauce with meat and vegetables was thought to be a way to re-use leftovers from previous meals into a new hot dish.

Jade Garden, Seattle

Mongolian Beef. Strips of tender beef sauteed in a mildly spicy (as we requested) sauce of onions and chilis.

Jade Garden, Seattle

Fish Fillet with Roast Pork Hot Pot. One of the resto’s off-menu daily specials, it has quite a lot of everything: fish, pork, tofu, mushroom and veggies.

Jade Garden, Seattle

Deep-fried Stuffed Shrimp Tofu. A variation of Hubby’s favorite crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside battered tofu dish, this one has a plump piece of shrimp that adds to the flavor and texture of the dish.

Jade Garden, Seattle

Steamed Pork Siumai, Steamed Shrimp and Scallop Dumplings and Steamed Pork Buns. These steamed dimsum fare are quite familiar to us since they have counterparts back home.

Jade Garden, Seattle

Jade Garden, Seattle

Jade Garden, Seattle

The food was served promptly by friendly and helpful wait staff. The servings are quite large and we had some leftovers which we heated up for an unusual yet still tasty breakfast the next day.

All in all, it was a nice welcoming meal for the fam!

Jade Garden is located at 424 7th Avenue South, International District, Seattle 98104, open Mondays to Thursdays from 9am to 2.30am, Fridays to Saturdays from 9am to 3.30am and Sundays from 9am to 1am. For inquiries and reservations, call +1 206 6228181.

For more details, visit www.jadegardenseattle.com.

Jade Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato  

Fine Filipino Food with a View at Fika, Capitol Hills

A Swedish chef whipping up Filipino delicacies.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles at Fika, the restaurant located in the out-of-the-way Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center up Capitol Hills in Quezon City.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Fika, Capitol Hills

Head chef and CEO Mats Loo hails from Sweden where the word “fika” means “having coffee and talks with friends.” Having long dreamed of having a restaurant name Fika, he made his dream a reality right up Capitol Hills in Quezon City.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Diners of Fika are treated, not just to fine Filipino food, but also to a stunning view of the city. Being located in the Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center, near Capitol Hills Golf and Country Club and Celebrity Sports Club, it is surrounded by lush greenery with a view of Quezon City all the way to Antipolo.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Fika, Capitol Hills

Fika, Capitol Hills

Also housed in the same building is the top culinary school First Gourmet Academy. It trains aspiring chefs in various courses that will prepare them for jobs in both local establishments and those abroad. Its working kitchen is also where the fantastic dishes in Fika’s breakfast and all-day menus are prepared and cooked.

Fika, Capitol Hills

I recently joined a foodie meetup held at Fika where, together with fellow foodies, I was able to sample delectable dishes from Fika’s all-day menu. These include:

Chicken Inasal (Php255). A popular Ilonggo dish, it is grilled chicken marinated in a special sauce that gave it its distinct color.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Laing (Php135). Dried taro leaves, coconut milk and chili peppers make this a winner among lovers of spicy food.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Pancit Luglog (Php195). Thick noodles sauteed in a rich savory sauced and topped with hard-boiled eggs and chicharon. A party favorite!

Fika, Capitol Hills

Pinakbet with Bagnet (Php265). A classic Ilocano dish, it’s made of stewed vegetables seasoned with bagoong and topped with crispy bagnet.

Fika, Capito Hills

Fika Fried Rice (Php135). A recipe that came from Chef Mats’ mom, it’s a great breakfast fried rice made with chopped Chinese sausages, scrambled eggs, pork bits and various chopped veggies.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Binagoongan Rice (Php135). A flavorful dish made of rice, pork bits and kangkong sauteed in bagoong paste then topped with salted egg and ensalada.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Bangus Steak (Php285). The fish version of Bistek Tagalog, it features boneless bangus marinated in soy sauce and calamansi and served with lightly sauteed white onion rings.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Dinakdakan (Php140). An Ilocano dish made of various pork parts such as cheeks, liver, ears and tongue.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Sisig (Php150). Chopped pork parts are deep fried and seasoned with calamansi, mayonnaise, soy sauce and chilis.

Fika, Capitol Hills

We washed down our meal with ice blended drinks such as Choco Frappe (Php165) and Green Tea Frappe (Php175).

Fika, Capitol Hills

And since any meal wouldn’t be complete without dessert, we indulged ourselves in some freshly baked cakes, all at Php110 each:

Tres Leches

Fika, Capitol Hills

Ube Queso

Fika, Capitol Hills

Chocolate Cake

Fika, Capitol Hills

Chocnut Cheesecake

Fika, Capitol Hills

Clear winners for me are the Pinakbet with Bagnet, Fika Rice and – dare I say – all the cakes!

These Fika food sure are Fika good! Do check them out!

Fika is located at the Ground Floor, Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center, Capitol Hills Drive, Old Balara, Quezon City, open Sundays to Thursdays at 6.45am to 10.30pm and Fridays to Saturdays at 6.45am to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, call + 63 917 7006588, +63 2 3553132 or +63 2 5142480.

Fika Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Xiao Long Bao is the star in Bai Nian Tang Bao, BGC

Xiao Long Bao is comprised of a savory meat filling (usually a mixture of ground pork and shrimp flavored with chopped green onions, salt, pepper, sugar, rice wine and sesame oil) accompanied by a fragrant soup (chicken broth infused with pork fat with herbs and aromatics) inside a delicately pliable bao wrapping.  This Chinese delicacy is usually prepared in a small bamboo steaming basket called xiaolong, hence the name xiao long bao.

Boldly claiming to be the origin of xiao long bao, Bai Nian Tang Bao, located inside Bonifacio Global City, promises to sate the cravings of fans of this dish.

Trivia: Did you know there’s a right way to eat the xiao long bao? Here’s a clue: it definitely does not involve immediately popping it into one’s mouth nor biting into it as we do other dumplings.  Nope, enjoying this special dish requires some special steps:

  1. Once served, allow the baos to rest in their basket for a few minutes.  This will allow the baos and their filling to cool and settle a bit.  You might want to take this time to prepare the sauce by combining the vinegar, soy sauce and minced ginger to your taste in a small saucer.
  2. Using your chopsticks, gently pick up a bao (make sure not to pierce through the wrapping), dip in the sauce then place it squarely on your spoon.
  3. Poke a small hole at the top of the bao with your chopsticks, just enough so that some of the steam inside can get out and you can slurp the soup from inside.
  4. Once the soup has been duly slurped, you can then pop the what remains into your mouth.
  5. Repeat as desired. 🙂

During a stopover in Bonifacio Global City, the fam decided to have a quick lunch at Bai Nian Tang Bao.  We ordered Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs (Php279) and Pepper Salt Chicken Strips (Php199) to go with our Beef Fried Rice (Php219) and Sausage Fried Rice (219). The pork ribs went well with the fried rice but the chicken strips were a little dry and much akin in flavor to the kind of chicken strips we would make at home. Of course, the star of the meal is the Xiao Long Bao (Php158) which was served in the traditional steaming basket. As we followed the correct way to eat this dish, we were able to fully enjoy its taste and texture.

Maybe next time we find ourselves in this resto, we’ll just get ourselves several orders of that xiao long bao, hmmm?

The restaurant has a nice minimalist feel to it with some Asian-inspired accents. The servers were also friendly and prompt with our requests.

Bai Nian Tang Bao is located at the Ground Floor, Uptown Parade, 9th Avenue corner 38th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.  It is open 11am to 10pm Mondays to Thursdays, 11am to 3am Fridays and 11am to 12midnight Saturdays to Sundays.

Bai Nian Tang Bao Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my posts about other Chinese restaurants:

Learn more about Chinese cuisine by checking out these books on Amazon.com!

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If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Family’s Intro to Fat Fook at Robinsons Galleria

When you’re planning where to eat for the family’s Saturdate, and you consider the varied tastes and preferences of your family members, sometimes you just need to put your foot down, dictate where you want to eat and hope it pays off.

And sometimes, it does.

The fam’s lunch took place at the newly opened Fat Fook at Robinsons Galleria. It’s one of two existing branches in the Metro Manila, with the other one located in SM City North EDSA.

This branch is situated in the recently renovated wing of Robinsons Galleria, where a lot of new and trendy restos are expected to open.

The place is quite spacious, warmly lit and can accommodate 40 or so people.  Similar to its SM North branch, it features porcelain bowls as part of its decor: this time, the bowls cover one wall, adding a quirky yet elegant Asian element to the resto’s interior.

Fat Fook offers authentic Taiwanese food. The dishes we sampled include:

  • Tofu with Century Egg and Pork Floss (Php198). The soft-chilled tofu was creamy and mild, and together with the century egg, the pork floss and the sweet-salty sauce, it brings a nice contrast of flavors and textures.
  • Taiwan Style Fried Rice (Php258). Served in a small pan, the rice is fried with a salty brown sauce and accompanied by bits of green onion and lots of savory-sweet chorizo pieces.  It provides an interesting complement to the other dishes we ordered.
  • Taiwan Beef Noodles (Php258).  Tender braised beef slices accompanied by hand-pulled noodles in a sour-and-slightly-spicy broth.
  • Fat Fook Chicken Chop (Php238). Juicy and tender chicken breasts coated with batter and breading, a quick hit with my baby boy!
  • Garlic Pork Spare Ribs (Php298). A safe bet, given that the fam has tasted this before in Chinese restos.

With all our orders, the bill amounted to just a little over Php1,500, so our Fat Fook sojourn is definitely among the more affordable of our food adventures.

I found this experience a good way to introduce the kids to new cuisines and food influences, which helps them develop a more adventurous yet discerning palate.  For myself, I welcome any opportunity to go off the beaten path when it comes to food choices.

Given its affordability and fresh tastes offered, Fat Fook is among the restaurants I won’t mind returning to.

Check out my review of Fat Fook’s other branch at SM North EDSA.

Fat Fook Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Want to try cooking Taiwanese dishes at home?  Check out these books at Amazon.com!

The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island. Acclaimed author Cathy Erway offers an insider’s look at Taiwanese cooking—from home-style dishes to authentic street food.

Home-Style Taiwanese Cooking. This book by Taiwanese chef and food blogger, Tsung-Yun Wan, will inspire home cooks to make these authentic Taiwanese dishes part of their own cooking repertoire.

Taiwanese Cookbook: Food from The Streets of Taiwan. Author Carla Hale gives easy tips and recipes that will help readers prepare authentic Taiwanese dishes for their family and friends.

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Sign up using this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.