Why not extend your palate and explore more of Asia’s delectable cuisine and try Taiwanese? When it comes to Taiwanese food, not a lot of restaurants come to mind. If you’re as clueless as I am when it comes to authentic Taiwanese food, then Fat Fook is the answer you’ve been waiting for.
Fat Fook Manila is a new concept by a Taiwanese chef who wanted to put up her own restaurant. She decided to set it up here in the Philippines instead of in Taiwan because she finds Filipinos to be more receptive to new food offerings and to be very familiar with Chinese cuisine.
To remain authentic, Fat Fook keeps their recipes as is and does not adjust them to suit the Filipino palate. The stinky tofu, for example, retains its strong smell – exactly how it’s served in Taiwan. Fat Fook translates to “Fat” (big or “mataba”) and “Fook” (a Chinese word for luck or prosperity. As a whole, it can be translated to “Fat Luck” or “Big Luck”.
When it comes to Taiwanese cuisine, you can note familiar influences from Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Some common ingredients include pork, seafood, chicken, rice, soy and beef.
To start, we had Fresh Honey Lemon Juice (P158) and Wintermelon Tea (P98). I was extremely thirsty during our visit and the Fresh Honey Lemon Juice proved to be the perfect thirst quencher! It isn’t too sweet nor tangy; it has a perfect balance of flavors. The Wintermelon Tea, on the other hand, complements every dish seamlessly. If you feel too full after savoring one dish after the other, make sure you have a glass of ice cold Wintermelon Tea beside you.
Up next we had Chicken Chops (P228) – even slices of crisp chicken skin on the outside, and juicy, tender meat in the inside. It feels like regular fried chicken at first bite; but as you savor the flavor, something in the mix definitely makes it Asian. It may be the chicken breading; it may be the marinade. Whatever the trade secret is, it definitely works!
For our main course, we decided to start with Kiampong (P358) or Hokkien Chinese Rice Casserole. Kiampong is essentially a complete meal on its own. It may contain vegetables, meat or seafood. Fat Fook’s version has a ton of tiny, crispy-fried shrimp on top. The taste is a bit similar to Binagoongan. It is also loaded with several other flavors and topped with cilantro. While I enjoyed my first bite as is, I would still highly recommend eating it with the cilantro!
And because we’re typical Filipinos, we just had to add something to our rice. We had Steamed Pork Xiao Long Bao (P138) as our next dish. Because come on, who can resist Xiao Long Bao? I accidentally made the mistake of only using chopsticks when I picked up my first bite, which is why the soup seeped out a little; but the taste was still amazing. On my second try, I used chopsticks and a spoon, and boy, was it one of the most amazing moments of my life!
Of course, our meal wouldn’t be complete without a vegetable dish. Mushroom is a common ingredient in most Asian dishes, so we decided to go for the 3 Cups Mushroom (P308). You might be wondering what types of mushroom are included in the dish. We’ll keep you guessing. All I can say is that it’s the first time I’ve ever tried mushrooms with that texture, and the experience was awesome. The flavors blend so well together and the addition of basil seals the deal.
While devouring our food, I felt the authenticity of the fully-packed place despite not having visited Taiwan yet. If you feel the need to experience Taiwan’s culture on a budget, Fat Fook comes highly recommended. Not only will the ambiance give you a glimpse of the culture, the food on its own will take you there.
Ground Floor, SM NORTH EDSA