Kagay-anons just love to savor Chinese food and sea foods. So when people found out that two new restaurants have opened in the city, they can’t help but feel excited and we won’t be surprised if the volume of traffic going that direction will be huge due to the many people that will be flocking the area.
Tien Ma’s Taiwanese Cuisine
A new Chinese restaurant has opened in the city, and this time located at the Rosario Strip of the Limketkai Center Mall. Tien Ma is an authentic Taiwanese restaurant that offers a wide selection of Taiwanese cuisine and dishes at affordable prices. And if you’re thinking, what the difference is, both Chinese and Taiwanese cuisines are almost the same in nature and preparation since all of these are Chinese cuisine in general.
Tien Ma is actually the fourth in a line with locations in Libis, Makati, and Retiro, all in Metro Manila. They consider themselves the most affordable Taiwanese / Chinese cuisine in Manila. In Manila, many baby boomers and Gen X’ers attest to the good food that Tien Ma serves, and attempts to pass it down to the newer generations.
Like most Chinese restaurants, the menu lineup can be extensive, but in the case of Tien Ma, not intimidating. Chinese meals are usually started with a good basket of Xiao Long Bao. Just don’t eat too much or you’ll end up feeling satisfied even before the main course arrives. We advise taking the Xiao Long Bao if there are 5 or more in your group, and better if it’s a large family gathering. It acts like an appetizer.
Be careful biting into the Bao as there’s soup inside that you need to slurp out before taking more bites. One of their bestsellers, or actually, THE bestseller, is the Pan Fried Pork with Shrimps Dumplings that looks like an upside down crepe. This is actually the authentic way in Taiwan of cooking pan-fried dumplings. Or you can go for the 3-Cup Chicken paired with rice. Any of their chicken dishes actually are well cooked and very tender, same with their pork and beef dishes.
You’ll notice that some of their dishes have large garlic cloves, so try sinking your teeth into them. For those into veggies, they serve a nice Eggplant in Special Sauce. For those into something fishy, the Golden Tilapia with Bean Sauce is a mean fish meal that’s very satisfying. Try out their Seafood Fried Rice instead of just plain rice which is a big serving good for 6 to 8 persons.
Now as for the ambiance, well, the class, patterns, decorations, and color are typical of the interior designs of what you would expect from a Taiwanese restaurant if you were in downtown Taipei. Tien Ma in CDO has a more modern Asian look and with a funkier than traditional class, perhaps intentionally done to attract the younger customers. The furniture is typical minimalist Chinese, er Taiwanese, in nature. Other best-sellers you can sink your experimental taste buds into are the Hot Prawn Salad, Taiwan Style Fried Rice, Seafood Tofu Pot and the Three Cup Squid.
Bucket O’ Shrimps & More
After a brief hiatus, Bucket O’ Shrimp & More is back in a more centralized location at the ground floor of the new Cagayan Town Center at the corner of Capt. Vicente Roa and Antonio Luna Streets. The old location along J.R. Borja Extension has long since closed. So having them at the heart of the city will also bring their delicious signature bucket meals of shrimps, crabs, mussels and squid paired with corn. You can still order rice, but it seems that sinking your teeth into that corn seems to give the meal a good finale.
The type of meals served in this restaurant are reminiscent of the seafood platters diners are served in US East Coast restaurants, or the Louisiana styled seafood cooking on the southwestern side of the continent. And the concept of eating seafood on top of wax paper neither originated here nor in Cebu, but is how those seafood platters are served and consumed on the East Coast. Somebody obviously observed this and brought back the concept to the Philippines since Filipinos love to eat with their hands.
Of course, what the owners brought to the location in Cagayan Town Center is the same good quality food, minus the extensive decor from the previous branch. The logo is still the same, that funny looking dancing prawn we all missed.
The special sauce for the bucket meals was created to blend in a more “Pinoy taste” since the American style sauce may not be to the liking of the Filipino palate. Other bestsellers you can try are the Calamari, Cajun Wings, and spicy Buffalo wings.