I'm not the biggest fan of Chinese food but since P is Chinese, I've come to appreciate Chinese dishes — it hasn't reached that level of ultimate love similar to how I feel about Greek, Vietnamese, Japanese, Mediterranean, and Italian food but I am slowly getting there.Ö When it comes to Chinese restaurants here in Manila ( both fancy and casual ), he'd be the best person to ask. He's brought me to several Chinese restaurants and so far, all of them have been great.
Stating the obvious, it was P who introduced me to Shi ( the howe said this is pronounced 'SHIR'.Ü ) Lin some few years ago. I first dined at their branch in Podium, Ortigas and have loved their food ever since. We sometimes go to their branch in PowerPlant, in Makati and on days when P visits me in the South, we eat at Shi Lin in Alabang Town Center. I have a love affair with food and dining out; it takes a lot to make me come back to a restaurant but I tell you, if I leave a restaurant happy, expect to see me often. This is pretty much what happened to Shi Lin & I. :)
Xiao Long Bao in progress
Home of the best Xiao Long Bao in Manila
Some say that Shi Lin is Taiwanese of some sort because the name of the restaurant was taken from a district in Taipei, but their food looks very much Chinese to me: Salt & Pepper Squid, Spicy Spare Ribs, Spicy Pork & Shrimp Wonton, Prawn Cake, Xiao Long Bao ( Soup Dumplings ), Braised Beef Noodles, Congee, Almond Jelly with Lychee, etc. Anyways, I am not here to get into a debate whether it's Taiwanese or Chinese.
I didn't grow up eating Xiao Long Bao because my family and my friends weren't into Chinese food. So, the first time that P took me to Shi Lin was to make me try Xiao Long Bao ( pronounced SHOW-LONG-BAO ), which by the way, is his super favorite. We always get the order with 10-pcs, priced at Php246 or approx. $5.55. "The Xiao Long Bao recipe originated in Shanghai but the recipe has been adapted all over China and Hong Kong. No one knows where the exact Xiao Long Bao recipe came from but usually, the dish is consumed more in the south of China where unleavened dough is used to make the dumpling skins." [ Source: iFood.TV ]
I am always encouraged to eat these little bun baskets of happiness whilst they're still piping hot, which means, as soon as they are served on the table. Unfortunately, I really just couldn't. After my thyroidectomy, I've found it difficult to take in anything extra hot because it scalds this tissue part near my trachea ( I think that's what's it called ). If you'd like to know the proper way of eating Xiao Long Baos, The Food Republic has this easy-to-follow illustrated guide.
Our Shi Lin ritual
Other Shi Lin favorites that I love are the Spicy Shrimp & Pork Wonton ( Php135 or approx. $3 ) or the Spicy Vegetables & Pork Wonton ( Php118 or approx. $2.67 ). You ought to eat these with a bath of vinegar + soy sauce + some chili oil + ginger slivers, which altogether give a nice kick ... nakakatanggal ng umay. P and I share a common liking for Shi Lin's Fried Rice and since he hates anything spicy, he always gets the fried and non-spicy versions of my Shrimp & Pork Wontons. And, when he's extra hungry, he gets an order of Shi Lin's Noodles with Sesame & Peanut Sauce ( Php145 or approx. $3.28 ). For those who want veggies, I recommend the Stir-Fry Native Spinach.
A meal is never complete without a sweet ending, right? Shi Lin has Cool Almond Jelly with Lychee, Hot Almond Cream with Sesame Balls, Red Bean Pancake, and Shi Lin Cheesecake. Although it's not a dessert per se, Shi Lin's Deep Fried Mantou ( Chinese white bread served with condensed milk ) is our favorite sweet fix. A plate of 3-pieces Deep Fried Mantou that costs Php95 or $2 is good for sharing.
Great Service. Xiao Long Bao. Generous Portions. Xiao Long Bao. Reasonable Prices. These make Shi Lin a popular dining place especially for quick but satisfying meals.
Have you tried Xiao Long Bao?
☮..Peace + ❥_Love + Good Vibes. RUSS.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
✎ Shi Lin
✉ Ground Floor, Alabang Town Center, Corporate Avenue, Muntinlupa, 1781 Metro Manila