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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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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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.

Little Asia 2

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.