When In Manila and craving for authentic Chinese food, the best place to look is Banawe. As kid, and even occasionally these days, my family would travel from the south to this avenue in Quezon City just so we could have a taste of Chinese cuisine. A particular favorite was Wah Yuen, a restaurant whose specialty is Oysters in XO sauce.
Compared to Oysters Rockefeller, it’s raw counterpart, XO Oysters are cooked to perfection and then sautéed in XO sauce. If you haven’t tried it, you must.
A few years back, Wah Yuen closed. I was very disappointed.
It was only last year when I found out that the XO restaurant didn’t shut down as I thought it had. Apparently, the place was taken over by a new group with dreams for bigger things in the future.
On November 17, 2009, Mandarin Sky opened in place of Wah Yuen. Chris Chua, whose family originally owned the restaurant, forged a partnership with 4 others to create the new establishment.
Samson Ching, one of the partners, invited us over to sample their cuisine–
a mix of traditional Chinese entrees, and new Chinese fusion dishes, only available in Mandarin Sky.
To say I was excited would be a big understatement, let the eating commence!
The Spicy Snake-head Fish Soup was up first. The faint of heart need not worry, this is a fish dish (the fish used in this entrée has a head that resembles that of a fish hence the name). The soup has a very rich and flavor, also perfect for those who love spicy food.
This is the Stir Fried Mixed Seafood with Taro Basket. I must say that the texture of this dish is spot on. The seafood perfectly complements the taro basket.
The famous XO Oysters were then served. Chua tells us that this Wah Yuen dish is his father’s own recipe. It was as glorious as I remembered it!
The Lettuce Roll with Ebi Ko Sauce was a pleasant surprise. Ebi Ko, famous for being used in Japanese maki, adds a nice touch to the lettuce wrapped pork stuffing. This is a favorite of mine.
The Champagne Spareribs is a safe bet for those who are just starting to appreciate Chinese cuisine. This is also a no fail child friendly dish.
The Steamed Crab with Fat Tiu White Egg looked fabulous when it was served. What the crab is laying on is actually egg white and sauce. I was told that this was cooked in the very dish they served it in. T’was almost a shame to disturb that crab on the plate, but it was well worth it.
Finally, the Ginger Duck was served. The duck, stewed in wine and ginger, has excellent flavor. Great with rice, and/or beer. My only regret with this dish is that when time came to eat it, I didn’t have enough space for more.
Hands down, this is one of the greatest meals I have ever had— and I’ve eaten a whole lot.
Me with Mandarin Sky’s Samson Ching
When In Manila, (on Banawe, to be precise), make sure you let yourself experience this delightful culinary gem which is, in my opinion, the best Chinese restaurant in town. Visit Mandarin Sky and experience this for yourself.
Mandarin Sky also does catering.
478 Banawe Corner Simoun St, Quezon City
(near the Philippine Orthopedic Hospital)