My family spent the weekend at Discovery Suites to celebrate the birthday week of V and Nate, whose birthdays are just a week apart. (I got a very good deal from Deal Grocer – 50% off on overnight accommodation in a one-bedroom suite!)
Across our room window we could see Shi Lin, a fairly new restaurant at the Podium Mall.
Shi Lin (“shi” rhymes with “fur”) is a famous night market in Taipei, Taiwan. And I surmise that the restaurant was named after it. As expected, Shi Lin restaurant offers Taiwanese fare.
Among my favorites to eat in Taipei are the street food – deep-fried battered squid rings, chicken fingers, skewered fruits spiced with that signature Taiwanese sweet-salty powder – and pork chop pientong (or bendong or piantong or, as we know it, bento – brought by the Japanese during its colonization of Taiwan).
In Taipei, lunch on weekdays is usually a bento box that consists of a meat dish, two kinds of veggies, rice and a drink (usually Yakult). My in-laws do not have to bring me anywhere fancy; I’m perfectly happy with pork chop pientong!
Shi Lin’s Fried Pork Chop (Php148) did not disappoint – it is so authentic. I loved the distinct Taiwanese sweet-salty flavor (I think it’s five-spice) and the meat’s tenderness.
The Fried Chicken Chop (Php168) is similarly flavored as the pork chop. The cut seems like chicken breast fillet, but it was perfectly done and not dry at all.
Shi Lin’s best-sellers, according to the waitstaff, are the Xiao Long Bao (Php210 for 10 pieces) or soup-filled dumplings, and the Shrimp and Pork Shaomai (php125 for 6 pieces). These have got to be the prettiest siomais I have ever seen, but the taste is okay. They have a bit of broth at the bottom, like xiao long bao, so I guess that makes Shi Lin’s siomai different.
The Xiao Long Bao is good. But I still like Crystal Jade’s and Gloria Maris’ more – their xiao long bao being more brothy and meaty, and the dumpling dough thinner.
Of course I wanted to try the Crispy Salt and Pepper Squid (Php279, upper photo) because it so reminded me of the squid rings hawked on the streets of Taipei. I loved how crunchy it was. The obligatory pork dish (for Nate who is allergic to a lot of food) was Spicy Spareribs (Php279) with bits of fried garlic. It wasn’t very spicy, which was good for the kids. The meat was tender – not overdone.
We also had: Noodles with Spicy Sesame and Peanut Sauce (Php138), a dish that hub often ordered from eateries in Taipei – he did not like this one much because the sweetness of the peanut sauce (which tasted like peanut butter) overpowered the whole dish; Drunken Chicken (Php240), a cold dish which did have a very distinct alcohol taste, and we did not like it very much too; Fried Rice with Shrimp and Egg, and Fried Rice with Shredded Pork and Egg (Php98 each).
Servings are small, good for 2-3 persons to share. But they’re good value for the price. I would definitely go back for the pork chops and the battered fare (crispy squid, chicken chop and spareribs).
I noticed we did not get any veggies — Hub did the ordering eh.
Shi Lin Restaurant is on the 3rd floor of The Podium Mall on ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Metro Manila. Telephone numbers: 632 4774108, 63927 2560972.
That weekend, there were a lot of sale events going on at The Podium and Shangri-La Mall. I imagine barcode scanners were beeping nonstop.