Unlike other cuisines like American or Italian, Taiwanese cuisine restaurants can still be numbered by your fingers. In fact, unless you are a hardcore fan of Taiwanese cuisine, I bet you that you can only name just 1 or 2. Recently opened, Tien Ma’s Taiwanese restaurant will now add another choice to your Taiwanese dish cravings.
Do not underestimate neighborhood restaurants like Tien Ma’s. Opened just this year, it’s already gaining attraction as you cannot catch it empty during lunch or dinner. Situated right beside McDonald’s in Retiro corner D. Tuazon in Quezon City (It’s along Retiro to be exact), this restaurant is definitely worth a visit even if you are from far away. You’ll know why in a bit.
As you enter, you’ll see the usual typical no-frills Chinese/ Taiwanese type of restaurant. Well-lighted roomy interior, open type kitchen for the noodles, and a bunch of wait staff ready to serve. These are just some of the things you can experience dining here. Parking is a bit limited though so there will be times that you need to park a bit far away from the place. Don’t worry. The walk is worth your while when you taste what Tien Ma’s has to offer.
Here’s a little history (or the lack of, if I may say so since they just newly opened. Anyway, it’s nice to know how they came about to create this restaurant).
Taiwanese cuisine can already be synonymous to Xiao Long Bao. One is not to leave a Taiwanese restaurant without trying this famous dumpling dish with soup inside. As per the chef, the trick to put soup inside this dumpling is by making the soup to be in the gelatin form. This way, when you steam the dumpling, the gelatin will melt thus creating a soup contained inside the dumpling. The biggest Xiao Long Bao I have tried though is in Beijing. It was as big as a siopao and you have to use a straw to drink the soup inside! By the way, Tien Ma’s XLB is a must order!
Waiting for someone or wanting to try some Taiwanese appetizers? Try out their beef cold cuts! If you ask me, it’s as good as one dish already! Can you believe one order of this is just 80 pesos? Look at the generous serving! I can order one cup of plain rice and this dish and I’ll be full!
Usually, Taiwanese dishes are best partnered with rice (usually same with other our other Asian cuisine counterparts). Plain white rice can do but if you want to try out something not unique but also not the usual, get the Taiwanese style fried rice. I’m not sure if I was just hungry the time I tried it but I consumed a good amount of this fried rice when I dined that time. A bit on the oily side, maybe you can just request to use less oil but hey, a little extra oil to make it yum from time to time won’t hurt.
Three cup chicken. What? The first time I heard of this dish, I was really weirded out on how it was called. Will it be served in 3 separate cups? will it just contain a tiny serving of chicken because it’s measured in 3 small cups? Well, to give you a little history of this traditional Taiwanese cuisine, it’s called SanBeiJi in Taiwan.
Apparently, the 3 cup chicken name was derived from the need to have 3 different cups of sauces to make this dish. In the olden times, they use earthenware pots to cook this. It is then cooked until the sauce is dry and the chicken has absorbed all the sauces. Well for me, I usually order this dish and ask for extra sauce because it tastes good with rice. This dish wasn’t the best 3 cup chicken I have tried but nevertheless, worth ordering if you are craving for some.
Another must-not-miss to order is the Pan Fried Pork and Shrimp dumplings. I’m not sure about the gimmicky fried lumpia skin cover but the dumpling itself was good. This is one of my most favorite dish that night! (Note: The fried dumplings are underneath the fried lumpia wrapper.)
These pork with kuchay handmade dumplings have nothing special in them. In fact, it tasted very familiar. I guess it’s hard to improve what has been “usually good” already. It tastes like any other dumplings with kuchay inside but you know what, if you think about it, it can be considered comfort food as each bite of the dumplings you are already familiar with brings back good memories. Again, nothing special but it is as good as it can be.
By Rose Dela Cruz