Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dimsum Unlimited at Xin Tian Di, Crown Plaza Manila

When I first met Paul 9 years ago, all I remembered was that he's the guy in a blue shirt and who was wearing a gray cap. He barely spoke a word the entire evening and just sat quietly beside his friend N who invited him to our group's dinner that day. I was busy catching up with my girl friends and was obviously oblivious to the fact that there, at one corner of the room, the same quiet guy was staring at me...or so he claims he was. *blush*

Fast forward months after that, we began exchanging messages online and via SMS. Later on, as we found out that we live so close to each other, we began meeting up for afternoon merienda or after dinner coffee chats once in a while. One of the first things that I liked about Paul was the fact that he makes a great eating partner. Having met guys who have a million and one conditions when it comes to food (read: no veggies, no spicy food, no exotic dishes, etc etc etc), I was elated to find out that Paul was really game to try anything and everything. During one of our afternoon meet-ups, I found out that he loves eating dimsum as much as I do! Needless to say, the way to our hearts was through our stomachs and with that we clicked and fell deeply in love! ♥

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Enough with the cheeziness already and better yet, let me tell you about our recent lunch date at Xin Tian Di in Crowne Plaza Manila. A few months ago, Paul and I spotted a great deal over at Deal Grocer where one can avail of the Dimsum Unlimited coupon at Xin Tian Di for almost half the price! The coupon was priced at Php. 780 while the regular rate was about Php. 1, 200. Since we're both dimsum fans, it didn't took too long for us to hit that "buy this coupon" button on the website.

Sadly, our weekends have been jam-packed for months that we finally found time on the last weekend before our coupon expires. Not wanting to let good food go to waste, we took time out one Sunday lunch for our much-awaited dimsum date.

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Knowing how this restaurant can get busy with customers on a Sunday, I took extra measures by calling a day before to reserve a table. As we arrived, we were ushered to our corner and were handed sheets (yes plural) of menu checklist. The game plan is to put a check beside the name of all the dimsum items that you'd like to order and hand over the sheet to the server. Unlike the regular dimsum offering, you order the items by piece or two pieces at most. We were feeling hungry already thus we were glad that a waitstaff pushing a stainless steel dimsum cart came over to our table.

Paul and I love checking out the contents of all those bamboo steam baskets and pointing out the ones that we both want to try. Of course, we just had to have our regular favorites such as the:

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Steamed BBQ Pork Buns
Paul enjoyed this and commented that they were very generous with the filling.

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Steamed Beancurd Skin Roll with Vegetables
A disappointment, we love beancurd skin rolls but not this one :-/

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Steamed Pork Ribs with XO Sauce
This we love!! We had 3 orders of this! :) Yum yum yum

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Steamed Chicken Feet in XO Sauce
Paul wasn't too happy with this but I liked it. I love the sweet, spicy sauce covering the meaty chicken feet.

That was our first round and while munching on these yummy dimsum items, we happily ticked off more items from our order list. Here's what we got next:

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Yang Chow Fried Rice
I know, I know... I should have stayed away from carbs. It wasn't very yummy as I've tasted way better fried rice elsewhere. I recommend that you skip this and have more of those Pork Ribs instead.

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Steamed Sio Mai Japanese Style
Paul told me not to get this but I just wanted to try it. I should have listened to him. Once again, another disappointing item on the menu. The meat was bland and fatty and the nori did nothing to perk up the taste.

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Steamed Fresh Squid with Garlic
We loved the Pork Ribs and this one was equally good! I happily scooped over the garlic sauce over my bland Yang Chow Fried Rice. We got two orders of this too!

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Salmon Taro Puff
We only got two fried items from the menu and this one was totally worth all the calories. I love the flavorful salmon filling and the taro was soft and delicious! Definitely a must-try!

That was our round 1. Paul & Fran - 1, Food - 0. All dimsum baskets were wiped out and in between bites and slurps, I bonded with my loving husband.

We were ready for our second round. *ting ting ting* Xin Tian Di, are you ready?

Paul tried the Double-Boiled Chicken Congee with Century Egg which he said was pretty good. He actually wanted to get more as the bowl served to him was really small. I had to stop him (yes, I was being a good wife) and told him we have more items to try.

Here's more:

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Steamed Crystal Prawns "Ha Kao"
Our favorite and Xin Tian Di truly didn't disappoint. I love the slight crunch that I got as I bit into my piece of ha kao. It's delicious and truly addicting.

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Steamed Minced Beef Balls with Beancurd Skin
I love beef balls but after abstaining from beef for 6 months, it's taking some time for me to get use to the beefy taste again. I'll get there... I'll get there. The beef was tender and we can taste the water chesnut mixed into the meatball. We almost missed out on the beancurd skin placed at the base of the two beef balls.

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Double treat: Bird's Eye Dumplings and Stone Fish Dumplings
The Bird's Eye comes in a bright yellow wrapper. I loved this! I love the delicious addition of wansuy and that it's bursting with shrimp meat inside.
The Stone Fish Dumplings, on the other hand, is wrapped in green dimsum wrapper and has stone fish fillet, shrimps and carrots inside. The taste is more subdued compared to the delicious Bird's Eye Dumplings.

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Steamed Xiao Long Pao Shanghai Style
Nothing amazing with this but it was pretty good. I appreciated the fact that there was a generous amount of soup inside this delicate dimsum.

Last but not the least, we had dessert. I actually wanted to end our meal with more of those Steamed Pork Ribs with XO Sauce or the Ha Kao but Paul insisted that we need to have some sweet treats. Okay then, my husband wins this time.

dessert
Three's not a crowd: Malay Cake, Coffee Pudding and Chocolate Mantao
We loved the coffee pudding as the coffee was sweet and extra creamy. The Malay Cake tasted nothing like the Malay Cake that we grew up to. Sadly, we are still searching for one who can make authentic Malay Cake here in Manila. The Chocolate Mantao was also interesting to eat. Crunchy on the outside and oozing with sweet chocolate inside.

What a feast!

I love lunch dates with my husband where we can sit back, relax and eat to our heart's desire. I realized that we tried almost all of the items under the Steamed category. Next time, we'll try the rest.

Xin Tian Di's Dimsum Unlimited is available every day for lunch.

Visit Xin Tian Di at the 4th level of the Crowne Plaza Manila Hotel. Call them at 623-7222.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Fran, love your Xin Tian Di revew. I was wondering how they are with dress codes? My friends and I are basically, tshirts/shorts kind of people(kakain nga lang naman kasi)... Im planning on taking them here very very soon. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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