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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Shopping and Xiao Long Bao Sunday

The past Sunday was all about things unplanned and unexpected. Unplanned shopping and unexpected discovery of a new dining place.

First, we went to Focolare Carpentry Training Center to check their wood products. They were on a 3-day sale and we might find something useful for our home. We found a really nice 8-seater dining table made of mahogany wood but our current one was barely 10 months old. What do we do with a new set? In short, we ended up buying nothing but at least we now know a good place that offers made to order furnitures. Focolare, by the way, is a social project of the Focolare Movement for Men, Inc. - an international non-stock non-profit religious organization which aims to provide opportunities for out of school youth.

Anyway, as we were making a u-turn going back from Focolare, we heard this noisy Lady Gaga music blasting from somewhere. I thought, 'Wait, that noise was familiar and could only come from a sale!' And a warehouse sale of a popular kids' clothing store it was! The prices were so good I managed to complete my shopping for godchildren, cousins and nephews in one visit.

After my mini shopping spree, The Hubby said he wants to check out something from Anson's in Ortigas. But before we head to another hunt, I said I want to feed little Eone first. It's almost 5 o'clock and a late afternoon snack would be good to keep all three of us ready for more walking and shopping. It's been months since I last went inside Podium and thought there might be some new dining place worthy of trying.

True enough, we spotted this new chinese (or so I thought) restaurant at the 3rd level in front of Toy Kingdom. It is called Shi Lin and they have a theater kitchen showing off their chefs as they assemble dimsums and buns. Later on, we learned that Shi Lin is a Taiwanese restaurant known for xiao long bao.

They have only a few selections from their menu which was actually good (in a way) because it didn't take long (read: no discussions) for us to order.

Eone wants to have noodle soup as usual so we ordered Chicken Soup and Noodles for her. Note that there is an 'and' between soup and noodles? That was intentional because they served the noodles SEPARATE from the chicken soup. I'd recommend this one; the chicken portion is quite hefty.

Php130 for the ensemble

The Hubby chose to order Rice Pork Chop (he said this would be his dinner) while I went for the Vegetable and Pork Bun that I saw in the kitchen. Of course I also ordered the popular xiao long bao so I can compare it with that of Crystal Jade which was the best I had so far.

6 pieces for Php108. Not bad.

Since Xiao Long Bao is the house specialty, each table has a laminated instruction card that shows diners how to eat it.

Of course I followed the guide and immediately mixed my sauce which by the way was the same sauce I used for my vegetable and pork bun.

When my veggie and pork bun was served, I asked for a sauce and this was when I learned that Shi Lin is a Taiwanese restaurant and being that, Taiwanese cuisine uses ginger, vinegar and soy sauce in almost everything. No special sauce for the bun. That's sad, considering it was a bit a bland.

Php98.00 per order (2 buns)

After devouring the buns, I asked my little girl if she likes some dessert and ordered a cheesecake. What was served to us was a mamon-looking cake which made me doubt at first it was really a cheesecake. I was proven wrong, though, after Eone's first bite. To be honest, I only was able to eat a small slice.  (Server later came to check if the cheesecake was already served. She said she didn't notice us eating it. Well, my little girl finished everything within 2 minutes!)

a generous portion for Php95

Overall, I would say Shi Lin offers good food for a reasonable cost. The xiao long bao is delicious but not better than Crystal Jade. For light or afternoon snacks, the place is an excellent choice.

(Shi Lin Restaurant is at the 3rd Floor of Podium, ABD Ave., Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.)


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