When In Manila, chances are, recently, you’ve been treated to crazy weather. July is in full swing and with it come the wet months: rain, rain, and more rain. With gray skies, chilly winds, and the ever-present showers, it’s the sort of climate that makes you want to stay in and snuggle with someone–what my friends are apt to call “MOMOL weather.” (cue my maidenly blush)
My maidenly blush at Superbowl of China!
However, if you, like me, are happily (or not) single, there is another way to get some “tongue action”–a good foodtrip. For those who don’t have someone to cuddle and keep warm with, a piping hot, delish dish is an excellent substitute, especially when shared with (similarly single, though your attached buddies can also tag along) friends. Superbowl of China understands this need for tummy (and heart)-warming meals, and so have given foodtrip an entirely new meaning. For their newest, rainy season offering, they promise your tastebuds a trip to the province of Guangdong, better known as Canton.
The first in their Regions of China culinary series, Superbowl’s Guangdong specialties are familiar territory for the brand, since most of their dishes already have their origins in the cuisine of the famous province. However, since Guangdong is legendary for having some of the best Chinese food in, well, China, choosing to “Focus on Guangdong” makes for a promising start on a planned culinary tour throughout China. Add to this the fact that Guangdong has a wet and warm climate much like the Philippines,’ and you have the makings of a surefire successful menu.
Having never actually been to the land of my blood (yes, I’m Chinese), I thought a tastebud-trip might make for a good substitute, so when Superbowl’s Bob Vallar invited me to try out their five tempting new offerings. So, one not-quite-so-rainy day, I, along with my meimei, Keren, and my radio-buddy, SJ Leo of Mellow 94.7’s Twisted Tag-Team, headed over to the Makati branch of Superbowl to check things out.
What struck me first about the Superbowl branch was the light and friendly atmosphere of the restaurant–different from the very formal, super-ornate Chinese restaurants I was used to in my frequent lunches with my family. The decor was younger, fresher, trendier, and more relatable, made even more so by the photo-murals on the wall which, Sir Bob later told me, were composed of actual candid photos taken of customers. The ambiance was definitely infectious–by the time Superbowl’s excellent kropek (addictively salty and less greasy than other’s I’d tried over the years) and jasmine tea rolled out, Keren, Leo, Sir Bob, had fallen into easy conversation on martial arts (Bruce Lee, of course), movies, and Chinese traditions.
My “meimei,” Keren, orders up some goodies.
Ridiculously crispy and addictive Superbowl kropek!
Frankie pours the Tea: A Chinese tradition has it that you never pour your own tea, but pour for others and never to the brim: the last, empty 1/3rd should be filled with health, prosperity, and happiness.
We’d barely finished noshing on the kropek (as I said, addictive), when all six of the Guangdong dishes arrived, accompanied by–what else?–Yang Chow friend rice. Featuring five different proteins (pork, fish, chicken, beef, tofu cooked in an authentic Guangdong hot pot sauce, the dishes were united by a literal “theme,” and should, in theory, taste the same, meaning that they were best enjoyed all together. However, the variation in intensity (matching with the relative “heaviness” of the protein used in the dish) made sure that each dish had a unique identity and taste, perfect for enjoying on their own.
Yang Chow Fried Rice
Beancurd With Mixed Vegetables and Mushrooms Hot Pot
Fish Fillet (Cream Dory) With Mixed Vegetables and Mushrooms Hot Pot
Ginger Chicken and Mixed Vegetables Hot Pot
Garlic Pork Spareribs and Mixed Vegetables Hot Pot
Black Pepper Beef & Cabbage With US Potato Hot Pot
An admission: I actually do not like Chinese food. Surprising, given that I am Chinese, but when you’re made to eat it every week from seven to eighteen years old, you can get sick of the familiar flavors of grease and vetchin that so characterize Chinese food. I was pleasantly surprised, then, that Superbowl’s food had none of these lingering taste issues–something I should have picked up on when the restaurant lacked that greasy, oily, “eau de Chinese restaurant” I’d recognized from my growing-up years. Sir Bob assured me that all of Superbowl’s dishes were targeted towards being MSG free and healthy–things I could totally get by, given my weight-loss goals.
All of us had our favorite dishes–Dan favored the beef, Keren the fish, and I the ginger chicken–but they were hard to choose as everything tasted like amazing Chinese home cooking, perfectly seasoned and flavored. If you won’t believe me, know this: I actually never eat beancurd or Chinese fish dishes (as my mother will tell you), but I actually liked Superbowl’s Beancurd with Mixed Vegetables and Mushroom Hot Pot, and their Fish Fillet with Mixed Vegetables and Mushroom Hot Pot, made with sinfully creamy dory, was so addictive I had to fight my friends for it.
Our (for me personally, history-making) Chinese banquet had to have a fitting ending, so Sir Bob suggested Superbowl’s taho, which is freshly made. Another confession: I’d never actually eaten taho before. My friends all looked at me in shock–Are you really a Filipino??–and so by the time the dessert came, I was treated to a crash-course in how to prepare proper taho.
All three of us ended the meal feeling pleasantly stuffed (Keren complained she wouldn’t be able to eat dinner.) and high on that euphoric mood you get after enjoying a really good meal with good friends. And, by the end, the four of us–Sir Bob included–seemed to be good friends already. At least, we were close enough to pose for a few posterity shots, after which, Sir Bob extracted a promise from me to send him the link to an indie martial arts film I was acting in, as soon as it was released. Chalk it up, perhaps, to Superbowl’s welcoming ambiance, healthy “comfort food,” and the fact that–as Leo and I were happy to discover–their restaurant playlist was inspired by tunes heard on Mellow 94.7!
The travelers to Guangdong: (from right) Superbowl‘s Bob Vallar, my meimei Keren, me, and SJ Leo.
Overall, our trip to Guangdong was definitely memorable, not just for the food, but for the overall experience as well. So When In Manila, if you are looking for a place to chill out on a rainy day, why not give Superbowl of China a try? With their food and some friends, you’re guaranteed a cozy afternoon and a dining experience that will definitely have you coming back.
Hungry for more? Check out Superbowl online at http://www.superbowl.com.ph.
Superbowl of China Gives Foodtrip a Whole New Meaning With Their New Regions of China: Focus on Guangdong Menu