When it comes to planning dinner with friends, our options are no longer limited to just a few restaurants. Several residential areas across Metro Manila have become weekend destinations for the many establishments that offer all kinds of cuisine. San Juan’s Little Baguio area allows a little more focus to a weekend food crawl: the streets are lined with all kinds of Chinese food choices that residents themselves regularly visit. Here are some of the best places to visit if you happen to drive or plan to visit the Little Baguio area.
1. Hong Kong Eat Fresh
Hong Kong Eat Fresh has gained quite the following, attracting the attention of passersby with its carinderia-like façade and very affordable prices. Popular street food options that are sold in Hong Kong are displayed behind the restaurant’s glass “turo-turo” counter: fish tofu, fishballs, breaded scallops, and lobster cheese roll, just to name a few. Those who are really missing Hong Kong may end up finishing an entire order of the Hong Kong pancake.
The restaurant also has a dine-in area where groups can comfortably share and enjoy their orders. The menu’s laksa item has also become a favorite amongst both first time visitors and regulars. This dish is reminiscent to the ones served in Singapore and can be shared among three individuals. Just like the rest of Hong Kong Eat Fresh’s menu, the laksa is affordable at PHP 195. Other dishes worth sharing are the Curry Beef and Tendon Claypot Rice and the Taosi Spareribs with Rice.
Hong Kong Eat Fresh
Address: J. Abad Santos St., Greenhills, San Juan (near Wilson St.)
2. Tung Lo Wan’s Food Express
Tung Lo Wan is perfect for those looking to celebrate a momentous occasion with large and dangerously delicious food servings. Their lechon macau fulfills what’s required of roast pork: crispy skin that crunches on each bite and meat made tender by the fat. Unlike most Chinese restaurants, Tung Lo Wan serves the pork with Morehouse mustard like at Hong Kong’s Lei Garden, to give the dish a tastier and more memorable spin.
The restaurant also greets your palate with appetizers such as the white chicken; its meat is juicy, tender, and not at all bland. The rest of their menu items let you indulge in the full flavor of Chinese cuisine: Fried Salt and Pepper Crab, Szechuan Stir Fried String Beans with Minced Pork and Picked Olives, and Szechuan Eggplant with Minced Pork and Salted Fish.
Tung Lo Wan Food Express
Address: Wison Square, 199 Wilson St. corP. Guevarra St., San Juan
3. Hai Kang Seafood Restaurant
Enter this 14-year-old restaurant, and its interiors evoke memories of large family reunions or post-celebration meals had at any of the restaurant’s four to 10-seater round tables. A large group is definitely needed to enjoy any of the menu’s classic Chinese dishes: the Hai Kang 4 Kinds Hot Cuts includes fresh jellyfish, hot chicken salad, crispy squid, stir-fried shrimps with veggies, sweet and sour spare ribs, and hot chicken salad. Another appetizer that doesn’t hold back in the tastiness of ingredients is the Fried Taope Roll with Country Style Sauce. This dish covers minced pork in beancurd and then flavors the deep fried lumpia-like structure in a creamy sauce that has button mushrooms.
They also have Laksa Prawns, which as the name states, coats a seafood favorite in the heavenly taste of laksa. We recommend this dish for those looking for some extra spice. Other items worth trying include the Steamed Eel on Lotus Leaves Rice, Egg White with Seafood, and the Fried Soft Shell Crab with Salt and Pepper.
Address: 227 Wilson St., Greenhills, San Juan
4. King Crab House
King Crab House is another restaurant that’s been around for more than a decade. Over the years, this establishment has been serving regulars fresh crabs that are flown daily from Capiz, Bacolod, and Zamboanga. Expect the best stock to be gone by the weekend or even in the evenings, as King Crab House only serves the best catch to its customers. The crab is prepared in a variety of cooking methods: from Crab in Ginger Onion, Crab in Szechuan Sauce, Crab Singaporean Style, to the straightforward Salt and Pepper Crab. Other seafood options include Hot Prawns, Shrimp Vegetable Cake, Salt and Pepper Cuttlefish, and Curry Squid. King Crab House also delivers for a minimum fee and we suggest those who want to dine at home to order in advance to avoid the dinner rush.
King Crab House
Address: 327 P. Guevarra St. cor Wilson St., San Juan
5. Yen Yen Taiwan Street Food
If you’re missing the deep-fried meat, spicy dumplings, and noodle soups of Taipei, then you might want to check out Yen Yen Taiwan Street Food along P. Guevarra Street. This small space going into Little Baguio began as a business that sold Taiwanese sauces at food fairs and expos. Today it has expanded into a restaurant that lets Filipinos enjoy Taiwanese favorites such as Spicy Wonton, Beef Noodle w/ Tendon, Taiwan Pork Chops, and Chicken Chop. The Chicken Chops’ crunchy exterior and tender insides transport you back to the streets of Taipei. All these orders and many more are affordable within a PHP 160 to 260 price range; although the price range is a little more expensive than actual street food, the generous servings per dish allow for sharing and splitting the bill.
Yen Yen Taiwan Street Food
Address: 198 Wilson St., cor P. Guevarra St., San Juan City
6. Little Store on the Hill
If you’re looking to stock up on Chinese grocery items and grab lunch along the way, we suggest dropping by the Little Store on the Hill. This hole-in-the-wall shop slash mini restaurant sells a variety of Chinese products that include condiments, canned goods, sauces, and fresh produce, along with easy-to-eat meals that can be ordered for dine-in or take out. Residents highly recommend the fresh lumpia, which stuffs a massive amount of vegetables with nuts and sugar inside the wrapper. They also serve bowls of Maki Mi, which lets diners enjoy a generous amount of pork. The rest of the menu includes standard favorites like congee and siopao, and specialty dishes such as pigeon soup and balut soup.
Little Store on the Hill
Address: 2 Jose Abad Santos St., Little Baguio, San Juan
7. Kanzhu Hand-Pulled Noodle House
Kanzhu is among the few Metro Manila establishments that serve hand pulled noodles to its customers. Diners can see the noodles being prepared right in front of their eyes before they enjoy the menu’s variety of dry and wet noodles. Each noodle dish fills you up with the tastiness of the sauce and meat. Their Sliced Beef Dry Noodles, Beef Tendon Dry Noodles, and Kanzhu Plain Dry Noodles come highly recommended. Don’t let the last item’s name fool you; it may seem plain next to the other items, but it offers just as much flavor.
Kanzhu Hand-Pulled Noodles
Address: GF Citiplace Bldg., J. Abad Santos St., San Juan
8. Su Zhou Dimsum
One restaurant that shouldn’t be left out is Su Zhou Dimsum’s original branch over at San Juan. If you’re craving for Xiao Long Bao and want to spend less than PHP 200, then this is the place to visit. Each xiao long bao is large and the skin slightly thicker for easier eating. The rest of the menu is just as tasty and affordable: they also serve Tofu with Century Egg topped with Mahu, Kuchai Dumplings, and generous servings of different types of fried rice. Su Zhou also has branches over at the Promenade and in Malate.
Su Zhou Dimsum
Address: A. Mabini cor Araullo St., Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City
9. The Tofu Store
After all that Chinese food, you’ll want a little dessert to cleanse the palate. The Tofu Store along J. Abad Santos Street lets you do just that with its Chinese, Korean, and Japanese Tofu options, and Taho sold at both 12 oz and per kilo sizes. Each taho piece is smooth on the tongue, but doesn’t break too easily from being very soft. You don’t have to worry about the taho being too sweet either, unlike the usual street food options. You can also buy other tofu products such as tofu chips and even breadsticks.
The Tofu Store
Address: 8001 Jose Abad Santos St., Little Baguio, San Juan