10.07.2010

Tao Yuan : Best Hainanese Chicken in Town

My Ninang Josie wanted to take out some family friends who happen to be balikbayans to dinner last night. She didn't want to bring them to the usual hotspots here in the city (The Fort, Greenbelt, etc.) and so she decided to venture out to the bustling Malate area for some authentic Singaporean cuisine. According to a lot of reviews (both written and word-of-mouth) Tau Yuan supposedly serves the best Singaporean dishes here in the country. And so we all wanted to sample it and judge ourselves.

First advise is to make reservations and call beforehand because the place gets packed almost every night so this will spare you from an arduous wait. Next and more importantly is what to order. Ninang asked her friend who comes there regularly to give her recommendations. Here's what came to the table;


 Their famous Hainanese Chicken which is what people go there for. Hainanese chicken is prepared by boiling a whole chicken in bone broth flavored with garlic and ginger. Usually the stock is also used to cook the rice (producing the yellowish flavorful sticky rice) and served on the side as a soup. 

 Trio dipping sauce : Ginger sauce, Soy and Chili Sauce. They serve it in rather tiny sauce dishes but don't hesitate to ask for more. We did!

 Rich Scallop with Minced Vegetable Soup (Php 320.00)

Cereal Prawns (Php 150.00 + 10% sc per piece) - This is a unique and innovative twist on the usual prawn balls. This is a specialty so you order it PER PIECE! It's fried plump prawns with a generous sprinkle of sugary "cereal" which to me tastes more like crumbled barquillos! Very interesting!

 Mildy spiced Okra Sambal

 Another must try dish there : Deep Fried Lapu-Lapu with Mango Sauce. The fish is really fresh since you its taken from the fish tanks in front of the restaurant then deep frie with Mango Saud to give it a light and crunchy bite. The sauce is a tangy sweet chili sauce with mango, green onion and bell pepper slivers.

 Peking Duck with glistening skin. The only weird thing was that they include thinly sliced carrot strips inside the duck wrap instead of just the standard green onion and hoisin sauce.

 Tongpo Pork with Steamed Buns - similar to Pata Tim but instead of using pata this is a whole pork belly with bokchoy.
 Steamed Buns for the Braised Pork
 Our refreshing Mango Sago dessert which was on the house :) 


From the outside it looks just like a regular Chinese Seafood restaurant with well-lit fishtanks by the entrance where you see live seafood from lobsters to prawns and eel...but don't be fooled! The place serves really authentic and worth-the-Manila-drive Hainanese and Cantonese cuisine. 


I would definitely go back here for 3 things : Their signature Hainanese Chicken, Fried Lapu-Lapu with Mango Sauce and Cereal Prawns.

Tao Yuan
Mabini St. (beside Pan Pacific Hotel)
Malate, Manila
02-522 7009

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