Cheap Eats : Hainanese Delights

Here's a case when I chose not to blog on the my first restaurant visit...neither on my second but just decided to wait and go back for a third round before I finally give my full review.

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I first heard about Hainanese Delights from my colleague ML who is a certified foodie and a budding food blogger. It was during one of our work-related events in Robinsons Galleria when she pointed out this fast food-like restaurant with a bright pink signage to me. I made a mental note to check it out but since I rarely get to visit the mall, it took me more than a month before I finally had the chance to try Hainanese Delights for the first time. My first visit was ok, nothing amazing as I was only able to try one dish and a can of Coke. Nothing more.

My second visit came shortly after when Hainanese Delights opened at Robinsons Pioneer, a mall that's just within walking distance from my office. ML and I were invited to a lunch meeting there and we were able to sample more dishes this time. Here, I found a few good ones which I found myself ordering again on my return.

This time, I will talk about my third visit in greater detail. It was a lazy Saturday and with nothing big planned for the day, Paul and I decided to go shopping in Robinsons Galleria. You see, we rarely get to go to the mall more so to shop. However, with most of my clothes looking really old and worn out, I realized that it's time to hit the shops once again.

After visiting our favorite retail brands, we started to feel a bit hungry and I invited Paul to have our afternoon snack at Hainanese Delights. We both were not able to have breakfast and lunch was very light that day so just imagine why we decided to have rice at 4 in the afternoon.

Here's what consists our hearty afternoon merienda at Hainanese Delights:

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Hainanese Delights (Php. 120) -- The dish that takes after the name of the restaurant. I immediately figured that this must be their signature dish.

At first glance, the rice may look too little but don't fret as Hainanese Delights (the restaurant) offers unlimited refill of rice for all their rice meals. I think we had two servings that day. The rice, admittedly, doesn't taste like the usual Hainanese rice served in Singapore but it was pretty tasty and fluffy at the very least. The chicken was tender and I was always given the leg portion which I really like. On the table were containers filled with the usual Hainanese sauces : hot sauce, soy sauce and ginger oil. I think we emptied out our container of ginger oil as we poured this over our chicken and rice. It was that good!

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Eat the Heat (Php. 170) -- I first tried this during my second visit and I loved the crispy deep-fried squid tossed in chili, pepper and a lot more. It was really good that I can actually just have this with rice and I'd be a happy diner.

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Take the Cake (Php. 75) -- This is an innovative way of serving the traditional radish cake. Diced, coated with flour and deep-fried to perfection. Paul liked this one very much as the coating reminds him of tempura and the radish cake stays soft and chewy inside. I love dipping this into the ginger oil. Yum!

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Tendon Beef Noodles (Php. 120) -- This was the only dish that we were not happy with as it has totally failed when it comes to taste, quality and freshness. We actually had to send our first bowl back to the kitchen as Paul noticed that the noodles were all cut up into tiny pieces -- giving us the impression that this was not taken from a fresh batch of noodles. The servers were quick to respond and offered to replace our bowl of noodles instead. Out came the second and the noodles, this time, were quite raw making it hard to bite into. It actually still had a starchy texture which shouldn't be present in well-cooked noodles. Definitely skipping the noodle dishes next time.

We both loved the deep-fried dishes and the chicken was a-ok too. I think Hainanese Delights has the right strategy by offering bottomless rice for customers to enjoy. For only an average of P120 per dish, this definitely makes for a very budget-friendly meal!

Check out Hainanese Delights at Level 1 Robinsons Galleria, EDSA cor. Ortigas Avenue, Quezon City. They also have a branch at the 2nd Floor of Robinsons Pioneer and in Robinsons Midtown (Ermita) too.

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