Molecular Gastronomy and Liquid Nitrogen at Zenses Neo Shanghai Cuisine

By on April 3, 2010


I’ve talked about Zenses Neo Shanghai Cuisine before (first post about Zenses here), but I seem to keep coming back! So I figured it’s only fair to write about this Molecularly Gastronomic restaurant again, since we barely hit the tip of the liquid nitrogen embossed iceberg last time.

Of course we’re talking about Zenses Neo-Shanghai Cuisine, the only restaurant in the Philippines that serves exquisite dishes cooked with liquid nitrogen. You can check out our earlier post with more info about this here- First Zenses Neo Shanghai Cuisine Post. But pretty much, Zenses practices a new discipline called Molecular Gastronomy.

Molecular Gastronomy is the study of cooking. It’s finding the science in the culinary world. These chefs / scientists looked deeper into every culinary event and try to explain it scientifically. Something as simple as frying an egg is re-examined and re-evaluated. They study every little thing, including  why the egg white cooks faster than the yolk and they scientifically break it down. They then apply what they’ve learned from the kitchen and try to manipulate it towards other culinary experiences. Thus, come a new breed of Scientific Chefs who use Molecular Gastronomy to conduce a new and creative culinary delights. Liquid Nitrogen is just one of the cool tools that they use to play around with elements in our food.

But enough about that scienctific mumbo jumbo! We’re here for the food! And that’s exactly what Zenses lead chef, Johann Santos, has for us.

A “normal” trip to Zenses Neo Shanghai Cuisine should always start off with a liquid nitrogen based appetizer. The off-menu Liquid Nitrogen Popcorn is one that will start of this culinary experience right! The extra cold and extra crispy snacks helps to get anyone in the mood of fun and adventure. The cold air fills your mouth as you chew on the popcorn so be ready to have some fun with this as we did on the video.

Followed by that, I highly recommend the Tempura Lychee with Curried Crab Meat appetizer. It’s a deliciously crafted mixture of curry crab stuffed in a fried Lychee (an exotic sweet local fruit). I know, it sounds so wrong, but I swear that it tasted so right.

We then tried the unique soup…. well something like soup… You’ll see from the video above or the pictures below, a Tomato looking thingy… well it’s actually the Gazpacho, which is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup that’s been frozen by Liquid Nitrogen and shaped to look like a Tomato. So yes, that’s actually the soup itself. And this Gazpacho / Tomato Soup tasted as cool as it looks.

The best part came with the main course. We were served a few dishes including the Dragon’s Breath Chicken and the Salted Fish and Chicken Rice, but my absolute favorite is the Strawberry Ribs! I know, a real man should not have ribs with anything other than bbq sauce and a bib… but I think for Zenses, you should make an exception.

Finally, you can’t end the night at Zenses Neo Shanghai Cuisine without more Liquid Nitrogen! Queue the and Bacon and Egg  Flavored Nitrogen Ice Cream! Yes, sounds icky… I tried this during my last visit here and here I am eating it up again. I swear, it does not sound sane but it’s the crazy things in life that are more fun. Bacon and Egg Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream is one of those crazy wonderful things in life that you SHOULD try. The texture is smooth and creamy, almost better than Gellato. The taste is exquisite and yummy with a hint of sweetness. The presentation is breathtaking with all the liquid nitrogen smoke flying all over the place. Oh and they play around with words too by adding rice crispies to the final product, that way you get Bacon, Egg and Rice. Get it? Like breakfast! But for dessert! As an ice cream…. ok… am I the only one who finds this amusing.

Oh and to really end the night, we had a disappearing act performed by none other than theLiquid Nitrogen Coffee. It’s a one of a kind frozen coffee experience. The coffee sort of evaporates as you put it in your mouth. It’s totally cool and quite difficult to explain, so you’ll have to try it out on your own really.

Anyway, aside from the video on this post, we have more footage on the previous video mentioned above of the Nitrogen Popcorn, the Bacon and Egg Flavored Nitrogen Ice Cream, the Nitrogen Coffee and more!

Well I’ve said enough, you all know how much I love this place because of the cool ambiance, the tasty food, the wicked drinks and especially the one-of-a-kind Molecular Gastronomy / Liquid Nitrogen experience!

Anyway, next time, When In Manila, do come to Zenses Neo Shanghai Cuisine and try out their liquid nitrogen cooked specialties. Be sure to bring your hot dates or important clients here as they are sure to be impressed! Oh and do try EVERYTHING they have on the menu… ok more specifically the Nitrogen Popcorn, the Tempura Lychee with Curried Crab Meat, the Liquid Nitrogen Gazpacho, the Strawberry Ribs and the Bacon and Egg Flavored Nitrogen Ice Cream.

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Name of venue: ZENSES NEO-SHANGHAI CUISINE

Address: A Venue, F109 Makati Avenue, Makati City

Phone Number: +632 703-4988

Website: http://www.zensesphilippines.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/zenses

Email: [email protected]

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Some photos courtesy of Carlos Palma from FoodieManila.com and from Hannah of FlairCandy.com






About

Google+ Vince Golangco is the Founder & Publisher of WhenInManila.com, where he manages over 300 contributors, writers, photographers and story tellers. Vince graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and a minor in Business. He has over 10 years of international experience in marketing, advertising and creative writing. He served as an Information Systems Technician in the United States Navy, was a Marketing & Development Coordinator at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Senior Media Planner for Bright Box Media, was a radio DJ and hosted a tech TV show in Manila. Vince is a surfer, a skater, a writer, a US Military Veteran, Junior Chamber International (JCI) member, an AKPsi brother and an adventure seeker. Connect with Vince on Twitter @VinceGolangco.