Tao Yuan Restaurant
November 24, 2010
I always hear about Tao Yuan Restaurant from my mom’s friends. They highly recommend the restaurant and keep on raving about it. I do appreciate feedback but I make sure that I try it out myself before I judge.
Finally, we were able to try it last week. I admit I had high expectations of the place. When I entered the restaurant, it was pretty obvious that it was a Chinese restaurant and gosh, too many people. Almost all tables were filled up! It was almost evidence enough that they serve good food.
I love that they designed the place well. It’s rare that I see restaurants in Manila that has a great awesome interior design. The gold and red combination truly works for Tao Yuan Restaurant. Even the carpets are colored as such.
Tao Yuan is a Singapore-inspired restaurant. They serve mostly Singaporean dishes. I wanted to try out cereal prawns (which is the most popular Singaporean dish for Filipinos) but my cousin doesn’t like cereals so we ended up ordering their salted egg prawns. Worth a try, read my comment on the dish later on.
While waiting, we were served free nuts. Their nuts were unique, I must say. It was definitely not fried, if I may guess, I think it was boiled. It tasted so good but I just cannot figure out how they prepared it. I heard my mom raving about it too. My first taste of a Tao Yuan’s dish was very pleasant, so I had a good feeling that I would enjoy the rest of my dining experience.
Here is a list of our orders:
- Sze Chuan Hot & Sour Soup (Php 388)
Tao Yuan’s Hot & Sour soup is just okay for me. Nothing really special that would make me want to go back for more. As I’ve said in a previous article, I really do have high standards when it comes to hot and sour soup. In almost all Chinese and Asian restaurants that I have gone to, I almost always end up getting the hot and sour soup, so I definitely know how it’s supposed to taste like. With Tao Yuan, their Hot and Sour soup wasn’t bad, but again I have to emphasize that it really wasn’t something to rave about.
- Special Prawns with Egg Yolk (Php 488)
I was hoping that we would get to order cereal prawns but my cousin who ordered the dishes for us isn’t really fond of cereals. So we ended up with Tao Yuan’s prawns with egg yolk. I’ve tried a similar dish in another restaurant and thinking that Tao Yuan is a bit popular these days, I was expecting it to be better. Unfortunately, it wasn’t something to rave about either.
- Hainanese Chicken (Php 880)
The Hainanese Chicken is really to die for! You haven’t dined and ate chicken until you have tried Tao Yuan Restaurant’s specialty. And when I say specialty, I mean it! It’s the BEST I’ve ever tried. If ever I do get a chance to go back to the restaurant, it will solely be because of their famous Hainanese Chicken!
The chicken was tender and tasty! A simple presentation also made the dish stand out, including those flowers too. I believe the secret was the flavors of the broth plus how the chicken was cooked. The flavors of the broth really penetrated the chicken, and you could just tell that the chicken was definitely slowly cooked because of just how tender and almost falling off the bone it was.
It’s best to eat the Hainanese chicken with the sauces served which was soy sauce, chili sauce & garlic sauce. Really try to enjoy each chicken piece with these sauces and don’t be shy in really adding a little extra for the flavor that it imparts to the chicken 🙂
- Hainanese Rice (Php 50)
Everyone ordered plain rice but I really wanted to try out their Hainanese rice. I know we ordered Hainanese chicken but I wanted to have the “complete” experience. I was really glad I stuck with my order. Just imagine incorporating all the wonderful flavors of that chicken broth that comes form the Hainanese chicken and then cooking your rice with it! It truly was a wonderful dining experience enjoying both the dish and the rice itself. The simplicity of Hainanese chicken, the subtle flavors, a little sweetness, deep chicken flavor, and yet light enough that you just wanted more each time. I could have kept eating more of this combination, and I honestly forgot about my diet at this point in the meal hahaha :p
- Steamed Angel Shells w/ Garlic – 400g (Php 360)
This reminds me of the elephant shell we had eaten at Dampa a few weeks back. I somehow think that they are similar just cooked differently. I thought it tasted good, it was a bit messy though in terms of presentation, the flavors were good, but again it wasn’t balanced because of the presentation and plating of the dish.
- Singapore Mango Lapu Lapu – 500g (Php 850)
Another dish that I loved in Tao Yuan. A very unique way to cook fish. Definitely a wonderful twist to the sweet and sour, or even the escabeche type of way we cook our own fish. Mango, is a hard ingredient to incorporate into any dish, but when done right, it really gives many dishes that extra dimension of flavor. This is exactly what you get with this dish.
And do you see how good the presentation was? The taste is really good too. Again, it’s basically fried fish on a bed of chili sauce, with mangoes & peppers on top. Fish meat was kinda crumpled together though, very easy to get. No need for some grueling effort to get fish meat.
- Hongkong Choi Vegetable with Garlic (Php 620)
I wasn’t able to get the name of this dish right but this is just normal polunchay cooked with garlic. A very good balance to our yummy Hainanese chicken & mango lapu lapu.
Glad that Tao Yuan Restaurant is actually giving out free dessert! We finished our meal with their almond lychee dessert and we loved it!
One more thing, do not forget to ask for a 10% discount when getting your bill. Because in our case, it was given to us 🙂 I feel the prices are a bit steep but their Hainanese chicken is definitely unforgettable. It’s the best in the market right now. I shall always tag Tao Yuan Restaurant with Hainanese Chicken and their rice if you had to ask me at this moment.
If you haven’t tried Tao Yuan, I highly suggest you go visit and order their famous Hainanese Chicken. Couple it with their Hainanese Rice, and I promise that you will get your money’s worth and so much more 😉
Tao Yuan Restaurant
508-512 General Malvar St. cor. A Mabini St., Malate, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines