Versus: Xiao Long Bao

To make up for the hiatus, I decided to introduce a new segment on my blog called Versus. Unlike the traditional featuring of food establishments, Versus focuses on a particular dish/item, finding establishments boasting it as their specialty, and comparing them.

As an initial treat, let’s put Xiao Long Bao on stage!

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Barcino: Te Quiero Mucho

This month won’t just end without a single tongue out!

Perhaps the absence of posts might have created an impression of stagnancy. Never think that way, I tell you! In the coming weeks, I will splurge you with unheard stories of tonguing out! :)

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Pues, el sabado pasado estuve muy especíal. No me gusta decir los razones de alegría porque tengo miedo que voy a perder una profesíon buena. Pero pienso que nacío otra vez eso día para actualizar mi sueños en esta vida. Gracias, Barcino, por las comidas y bebidas. Todos estuvieron delicíosos.

Sorry, I actually forgot that my Spanish classes are over.

Last Saturday, I went to Makati for several reasons: [1] to take an examination, [2] to work my ass off on a weekend and [3] to attend a Fridge Party at a friend’s place. If there’s one thing I anticipated that day, it’s the possible outpour of emotions in relation to the results. Other than that, the rest of the day before the party was expected to be filled with boredom.

Before the clock hit six in the evening, the party was cancelled. I never thought of having a great night with friends.

We kept roaming at Greenbelt 2 until Barcino caught me, as if saying its most seductive ‘Hola, ¡ven conmigo!‘ (Hello, come with me!)

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Papa John’s Pizza: Better Ingredients, Better Pizza, Better Bite That!

Sometimes, high familiarity could be very unstimulating. Old experiences in repetition has the tendency to drag people.

The classic pizza-pasta tandem is not foreign to this stereotype. In any celebration or opportunity to tongue-out (I mean, dining out of one’s home), the since-time-immemorial partnership has always been a given option for many Filipino families and individuals. Admit that!

If you have been reading my blog, I know most of the establishments I’ve featured can be found in Greenhills. In your eyes, I am an unimaginative, lazy food blogger who willfully wastes his money for Rock Salt and Cheese. But let me take you back to a place so homey for me–loaded with a new and better experience this time.

I was about to leave Greenhills in search of a new place to tongue-out at until I realised I need not go away. Familiarity now led me to an unfamiliar terrain, as Papa John enticed and welcomed me.

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Find Time to Know The Borough

One Friday night, whilst waiting for the rain to subside, I was messaged by a friend about a possible tongue-out I might want to try.

Don’t worry, not in Greenhills this time. Did I just hear you sighing in relief?

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The Borough, offering American comfort food, is located at The Podium. With a friend convincing me and upon seeing Our Awesome Planet’s (awesome) shots inviting enough to check out the place, I randomly decided to give it a try.

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Kimpura: Take Experience a Notch Higher

Dear readers, how did your holidays go? I’m too apologetic for the lack of update for weeks. During the holiday break, spaghetti and fruit salad had won over other cravings. Don’t worry though. I still have lots of reserved establishments waiting to be featured.

With office-related schedules already set, I will always find time to write. Sounds like I’m living up with my 2011 resolutions little by little. Cool.

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RATING: FULL TONGUE-OUT

Before the previous hiatus, I was able to visit Kimpura, a Japanese restaurant located in Greenhills.

At this point, you might be expecting me to have gone off elsewhere (aside from the comfort zones of Greenhills). Patience is a virtue, I tell you. Thus, prepare for my rebuttal.

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Honestly, I did not have any idea about what Kimpura specialises on. For a first timer, it would mean anxiousness to become adventurous. Kimpura might seem to be an ordinary Japanese restaurant for folks having no previous knowledge and overly sceptic individuals. However, if you desire to get away from the standard, almost-close-to-fast-food type of dining experience, Kimpura welcomes you for a visit.

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Ristras and the ‘Man vs Godzilla’ Bout

At the time of writing, I am excruciatingly digesting the burrito I have eaten at Ristras.

I should be in Batangas to spend the holidays with my grandmother, but I have to stay in Manila until today to meet some old friends whom I have not seen for months or years.

Yesterday, I decided to meet them in a much-loved place called Greenhills. AGAIN?!

Well, why not? Greenhills houses many recommended restaurants and beverage shops such as Serenitea and Happy Lemon. Walking around the area, one can find a wide variety of good food choices that fits any budget. Many of the firsts I had were also on Greenhills and this trivia adds a personal touch to the establishments I have been featuring on Tongue Out.

Despite habitually dining into a more affordable and commercialised food chain offering quality Mexican food, Ristras has a special spot in my taste buds. I first tasted its burrito more than a year ago. I even saw then-presidential candidate Jamby Madrigal. Unfortunately, that was also the last even if I have been frequenting Greenhills to sip some Green Tea with Rock Salt and Cheese.

Ristras is a very small place regularly filled with customers who get hungrier while waiting for a seat to be vacated. Yes, it’s usually crowded there and I can’t blame the people for clumping inside the restaurant. The food is always worth the wait due to its freshness and quality. But I wonder why its owner has not thought of physically expanding its current place.

Even before setting my feet inside the place, I knew that I’m not back at Ristras for nothing.

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Little Asia: Big Taste with a Twist

RATING: FULL TONGUE-OUT

Little Asia 1
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Two years ago, Greenhills stood as the star witness to the most memorable date I had. Apart from the start of a realistically magical love story in Peri-Peri, that night also awakened my taste buds from dormancy. All I know before was to plainly eat food without paying attention to its blend and ability to complement other dishes served on the table. After years’ worth of experiencing different cuisines, I believe I have already developed a peculiar way of assessing these aspects.

I have been frequenting Greenhills recently due to Happy Lemon (which I visit twice a week). It’s surprising, however, that my friends and I have not fully thought of coming back at Little Asia when looking for a place to eat. Though we truly recommend it, the drive to explore new and exciting places to dine in overpowers our protracted desire to relieve our antiquated memories of the restaurant.

Taste with a twist
Unlike other establishments in Promenade, Little Asia was not jam-packed. In fact, it was too spacious. Objectively, this aspect is a two-edged sword: it might sway individuals looking for serenity to dine in or it might give an impression of Little Asia’s ‘mediocrity’ in terms of serving quality food.

For us, the apparent calmness of the place worked. The ambience feels perfectly serene and looks cosy, sparing us from the usual noise of the metro. As we lengthen our stay, we felt more relaxed, an excellent build-up to an eventual enjoyment of the Asian cuisine.

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Despite flu partly paralysing my ability to taste, I ordered the following: Singapore Style Noodles (Stir-fried Egg Noodles with Curry Paste, Shrimps Squid, Vegetables, and Egg), Japanese Beef Fried Rice and Fish Fillet Wrapped in Bacon (Steamed Fish Fillets Wrapped in Bacon coated with Teriyaki Glaze).

The last dish bears a note: it takes 20 minutes to be prepared. Good thing the Singapore Style Noodles was served earlier. Sceptical, I thought it could just be a notch above the customised street noodles, if not equally comparable.

To my surprise, it was good. The noodles, complemented with squid, shrimp and bell pepper, were carefully cooked. Seafood has a reputation of being awfully blended with noodles, but that was absent from the dish. The spiciness was just. In Filipino, the rightly-spiced noodles was beyond the masarap level; it was malinamnam.

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TIP: Restaurants with a relatively higher price range, in general, offer dishes meant for sharing. Don’t carelessly order this and that.

The Japanese Beef Fried Rice came after a few minutes. To be honest, I have never been fond of fried rice in general, harbouring some ‘salty’ sentiments about it. But the beef fried rice was flavourful to deny it of a compliment. This fried rice tasted so good that one can eat a cup of it on its own!

Japanese Beef Fried Rice

Contrary to the 20-minute preparation period, the fish fillet only took 15 minutes to be served. Fish fillet should not bear any taste; it is dependent on the dip or the sauce it will be paired to. To wrap it with bacon is another story. Forget the guilt-loaded strips. The bacon was tender and juicy. The fillet inside was well-prepared, somehow neutralising the salty bacon. Glazed and seasoned with a sweet-salty and smoky sauce, the dish is best paired with the Japanese Beef Fried Rice.

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An award-winning Asian taste
In less than a decade, Little Asia has already received recognition, bagging at least 10 awards in such a short span of time. For those unfamiliar and who have read mixed reviews about Little Asia, this trivia might be decisive enough to spark your curiosity and try it. You will find yourself indulged with the menu, as it offers a wide variety of  Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian and even Filipino dishes.

Expect relatively unconventional preparation. I have been to several Asian-inspired cuisines but the ones offered by Little Asia were somehow unique or have been innovatively prepared, giving them a remarkable identity.

Price is also reasonable with the serving size, ranging from P200 to P500. Eating with friends, in large or small groups, will surely become an enjoyable time.

But I encourage you to try Little Asia not because of the awards. Instead, why don’t you try Little Asia’s specialties and award it because of its ‘truly Asian’ taste? ;)

P.S. This review is specifically and solely applicable to the Greenhills branch. Please be guided accordingly.