Co-owner Jan Vyliam Tan, who grew up in a Chinese kitchen with his brother Justin, are only one of the many generations of their family cooking up the delights of Cantonese cuisine at its finest.
XO Kitchen in Makati was inspired by the ever famous Chinese sauce: XO sauce. The XO sauce was developed in the early 80s in Hong Kong. Made from roughly chopped dried seafood such as scallops and shrimp, seasoned and cooked with heaping amounts of chili, garlic and preserved in oil. Since the generic XO sauce has been mass produced in such a way that it can be ever ready in our local supermarkets, extenders are added to make it more affordable. However, XO kitchen’s XO sauce is quite different. Today, Jan and Justin have modernized the take on the XO sauce: Fresh ingredients, 100% scallops, shrimp and other seafood making worth your P 450.00/bottle purchase.
XO Sauce: Php450
XO Kitchen focuses on Hong Kong style cooking with fresh Cantonese ingredients that will surely fit your budget. It’s situated on Jupiter Street and most of the customers who are out and about XO are office employees who are on a budget and do not want to sacrifice on ambiance, and the quality and taste of food.
We got to try some of their bestsellers! (Heard the dimsum was also great, but we visited when the kitchen was closed and the dimsum still wasn’t prepared.)
XO Kitchen Beef Special – Php230
It was quite unfair for me to take photos while the awesome aroma told me to already dig my face in. I’m such a big beef fan! Actually, I can’t seem to find a good place to have really tender, off-the-bone-textured beef. It seems so extravagant just thinking about how the meat of this was cooked. Also, the stereotype of Chinese dishes for it to be too salty or MSG-abused wasn’t the case. It was pure, simple beef cooked in the manner beef should be cooked: slow and simple.
Yangchow Fried Rice – Php120
If I’m not mistaken or exaggerated: a million herbs/spices were cooked in this YangChow, a lot of which were mixed together with seasoned pork. I’m not (or I choose not to be) a fan of carbohydrates unless they are comfort food. Well, this was very comforting. 3 thumbs up!
XO Kitchen Beef Special – Php230
Another one of XO’s bestsellers is this Beef Special. Frankly, I’m content with anything with soup on a rainy day. Top it off with slow cooked tender beef and it is surely therapy for the cold weather or simply the hungry. What distinguishes XO’s Beef Special from other soup based noodle entrees in Manila is the broth itself. You can tell it’s made from scratch (not the sachet packs of MSG that you just add water -and calories- to). To top it off: some prawn wantons (which is the best part!)
Ferrero Buchi – Php 120
Dessert time! Buchi balls are traditionally made of rice flour, sugar, red bean paste, and sesame seeds all dumped in piping hot oil. The modern kitchen of XO adds one very special ingredient: Ferrero Rocher chocolates. How awesome is that? Imagine hot soft exteriors with a very rewarding center of gooey Nutella chocolate and the ever popular nut of Ferrero. Jan tells us it’s quite pricey for three pieces of buchi. It’s definitely worth it, though.
When in Manila, you need to get your Chinese food cravings satisfied at XO Kitchen in Makati. It’s definitely a place to have a fulfilling meal. Oh, and be sure to try the XO Sauce, which is what started this restaurant in the first place! It will really satisfy your sweet tooth on so many levels. Do be careful, though; you’re pretty likely to get a food coma from XO Kitchen if you ever do pay them a visit!
Located at 134 Jupiter St., Bel-Air 2, Makati