Fab Finds Friday: Asian Foods That Rock!

This week on Fab Finds Friday, Asian food takes center stage! Featured below are four superb Asian dishes, from four different cuisines: Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and of course, Filipino. So spread out your banana leaves/wash your hands/prepare your chop sticks, and dig in!
Crispy Pata in Red Curry Sauce from Tamarind

On the top floor of SM Aura sits Tamarind, an upscale (read: same menu, but a bit pricier) version of the Thai restaurant Jatujak. In one of our mandatory quarterly team-building activities—which for us translates automatically to DINNER—we chose to stay away from the buffets and decided to try Tamarind. I have no regrets letting go of unlimited sushi and steaks. Tamarind serves up delicious authentic Thai food in a family-style setting; the servings are huge and ideal for sharing. We ordered a variety of Thai favorites like a crispy catfish salad, several curries, fried fish, sate, and spring rolls.
Crispy Pata in Curry Sauce, P568
Among all of our orders, one dish emerged victorious in satisfying everyone’s palates: the deliciously deadly Crispy Pata in Curry Sauce. As if crispy pata isn’t enough to send us to porcine heaven, Tamarind throws in some delicious curry sauce as an extra treat. It is served deconstructed, so feel free to dip the pata in any sauce of your choice. But for me, the curry did its job perfectly in lending a spicy kick to the pata. Two thumbs up!

Budget: Around PhP350/head

Read my full review of Tamarind here.

Level 5, Sky Park, SM Aura Premier, Taguig City
(02) 556-1156

Ramen Lunch Set from Ukkokei Ramen Ron

As one who initially couldn’t understand what the big fuss with ramen was all about and one who slowly got sucked into the ramen craze quicksand, I made it a point to try Ukkokei Ramen Ron before January ends. I visited Ukkokei’s newest branch in Tuscany, McKinley Hill for lunch and ordered the Lunch Set C: half a bowl of ramen (mine was shio), curry rice, 3 pieces of gyoza, and a side salad. I think I might have been converted. To what? To a devotee!

Lunch Set: P390
While the curry rice and side salad lay there almost forgotten (the gyoza was demolished in a matter of seconds—slightly charred and very juicy, this was the best gyoza ever), it was the ramen which definitely took my full attention. The broth was so damn good. The noodles were springy. The half-ramen that came with Set C didn’t have chasu in it, but I didn’t care. I’m perfectly content with noodles and broth, I could survive. Heck, I could eat this every day.

Budget: PhP400-500/head

Ukkokei Ramen Ron
Tuscany Estates, Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Hill, Taguig City
Makati branch (original)
822 Paseo Tesoro, Arnaiz Avenue, San Lorenzo, Makati City

Maki Mi from Spring by Ha Yuan

Maki Mi (P140)
Maki Mi, one of Ha Yuan’s signature dishes, is another testament to the fact that the way I think about noodles has significantly changed. Firm artisanal noodles partially hidden by a viscuous sweet-salty broth, sticky and almost resembling their lumpia sauce. Digging into the dish erased my initial fear that it might taste disgusting. The soup is rich and filling, and with a generous addition of pork loin strips, the Maki Mi is a cheap and satisfying meal in itself.

Other signature dishes you should try are the ka-pao (comes in different variants), lumpia, Taiwanese pork chops, siopao, and siomai.

Who would’ve guessed that real value for money can be found in one of the bustling business areas of Taguig?

Budget: PhP100-300/head

Read my full review of Spring here.

Spring by Ha Yuan
G/F The Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill, Taguig City
Facebook: SpringbyHY
Twitter: SpringbyHY
Spring’s Menu: Click here

Bagnet Binagoongan from Pino Resto Bar

There are days when even the most international-food-obsessed individual feels a sudden longing for familiar flavors and tastes.  On one such day I landed into Pino, a Filipino restaurant I’ve been dying to try ever since they opened a branch in Makati. I know, I know, I deserve severe punishments for going there only this year! Throw rocks at me on the street, put me under the guillotine, lock me up in the gas chamber! I deserve these!

Pino Resto Bar is unlike any other Pinoy places I’ve been to—the dishes are inventive and authentic, well thought-of, beautifully plated, and reasonably priced. The Bagnet  Binagoongan is a total assault to the senses—a beautiful heap of bagnet, on top of salty-sweet bagoong with shredded green mangoes on the side. The dish is well-balanced and will surely leave you salivating for more!

Bagnet Binagoongan, P245
The Chicken Inasal is another excellent choice—upon biting into a piece of tender, moist chicken meat, a delicious smokiness fills up your mouth, complementing every indescribable flavor.

Chicken Inasal (crispy watercress leaves, side salad) P225
You can also order dishes from Pipino, Pino’s vegetarian sister resto , which is also owned by Chef Ed Bugia. Try the Mushroom Salpicao—a perfect alternative to the beef viand. Just as flavorful, but healthier!

Mushroom Salpicao, P225
Budget: PhP250-400/head

Pino Resto Bar/Pipino Vegetarian Restaurant
38 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air, Makati City
(02) 550-1781
Other locations: click here
Facebook: PinoRestoBar
Twitter: PinoRestoBar
Pipino Vegetarian Official Site

What fabulous food finds have you discovered this week? Any ramen houses, Filipino restaurants, dim sum places, or Thai diners you can recommend?

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