Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie in SM Megamall
"France, the lady owner of Monterey told me that Tuan Tuan is really good. Let's go eat there tomorrow night!"
That's what Mommy told me when she called me one evening last week when Paul and I were still in Manila. That my food loving Mommy for you! So there we were at 6PM on our last night in Manila in our effort to get to the restaurant early to avoid the long queue. We were able to get a table right away which made it all easy breezy.
The menu was quite simple, it specializes in noodle soup in Halibut stock and a few more Chinese side dishes too. That and some baked rice that I've been wanting to try since friends started posting photos of these on Instagram. The ambiance reminds me of a traditional but extra classy cha chaan teng in Hong Kong with white tiled walls, a semi open kitchen and restaurant diners talking all at the same time. They even have the famous Black & White Evaporated Milk commonly used in Hong Kong for their nai cha (milk tea). My soon-to-be brother-in-law E, got so excited that he immediately called his mom, Auntie J to share our new foodie discovery with her. Looks like someone will be back at Tuan Tuan very soon! ;)
We started our meal with Tuan Tuan's Signature Crispy Barbecued Pork Snow Buns (Php. 128/3pcs). This is said to be Tim Ho Wan's closest rival in terms of nailing the authentic taste and the delicious milky sweet top that we love so much. My personal verdict? I still think Tim Ho Wan best suits my taste as I wasn't too wild about the huge chunks of pork asado inside and instead prefers it in smaller cuts. The bread was bit too pillowy-soft that I had to gently lift it with my chopsticks fearing that it might just fall apart. It wasn't bad and I do get why people continue to rave about it but as taste is very subjective, my vote still goes to THW.
I know my parents are not fans of creamy baked rice but I'm so happy that they were game enough to try it that evening. We got the House Special Trio (Php. 398) which was really good! It comes in three different sauces : tomato-based, pesto and cream. Underneath the tomato-based sauce is a slice of crispy porkchop, the pesto side got wild mushrooms and the creamy sauce had baked seafood inside. The rice inside was like Din Tai Fung's egg fried rice that we love love love. I'm giving this dish my two thumbs up and will definitely be back for more.
We also tried the Honey Garlic Spareribs (Php. 298) which wasn't so bad. I just feel that the serving could have been bigger and the meat more tender (think fall-off-the-bone kind of tender).
Lastly, since the restaurant specializes in Halibut Soup, we tried the Steamed Halibut Belly with Light Soy Sauce (Php. 388). A healthy choice, if you ask me. The fish was delicious however the flavor was really mild. While I'm not crazy over spicy food but if you ask me, I would have gone with the Steamed Halibut Belly with Chili and Garlic (Php. 468) I think would have been more interesting. The fish isn't boneless too so do be careful in every bite.
We also got two noodle soups to share that evening:
Both tastes closely similar to one another and it has pretty much the same kind of noodles. I love that the halibut fish stock didn't have a bad fishy aftertaste and in fact it was very clean. It wasn't salty nor overly loaded with MSG. I love the first noodle soup combination with mushroom balls and enoki mushrooms. So yummy!
Next time though, we'll go a bit bold with the unique (and fiery) soup stocks such as the Thai Tom Yum Goong Soup or Malay Laksa Soup.
Over-all our Tuan Tuan experience was really good (thank you Monterey lady!).The baked rice, most especially, got me raving about our dinner for days after that. It's rare to find authentic and good Hong Kong style noodle houses in Manila so I'm glad that we finally have Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie to go to whenever the craving for our Hong Kong favorites comes about.
Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie is located at the 3rd floor, SM Megamall Fashion Hall, J. Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong City. Call them at 632-7483.