In my quest to find new food discoveries, I like stumbling into places that are off the beaten track… preferably places that have not been written in the lifestyle section of the major newspapers. What is wrong with this you may ask? Nothing really…it’s just that some of the restos turn out to be a bigger hype than the dishes they are trying to promote, either because they can afford to hire a publicist or happen to be well-connected with the media.
I believe the best gauge for determining whether a place is worthy of your tastebuds is still word of mouth. Such is the case with my latest resto find, Suzhou Dimsum on Mabini St. I had heard about the place from a Chinese friend who said their noodles were good and when another pal from the hotel industry mentioned it to me, I simply had to go and find out for myself. The good thing is that Suzhou is only a few steps away from my office which is in Manila’s bohemian tourist district. I am not a noodle soup person but I found my nirvana in Suzhou’s xiao long bao ( shown in picture) which is sometimes called the ’emperor of all dumplings.’ There is a certain way of eating xiao long bao: you have to hold it with your spoon in order to sip the soup inside. The texture of the wrapper is also different from the others I tasted which makes this dumpling truly unforgettable.Aside from this, I went crazy over their shallot-oiled mixed noodle (shown in photo, left) which has pickled vegetables and stewed pork, the wuxi spareribs, mapo tofu, soy beef, shallot-oiled pancake, banana cake and assorted fried rice. So addicted I was that I went to Suzhou for five consecutive times. My friend said it must be the MSG …hope not! A little observation: there are assorted noodles, dimsum and entrees and vegetables on the menu but hardly any seafood (except if you consider shrimp dumpling in that category.) Suzhou is your typical hole-in-the-wall so be prepared to share a table and mingle with the diners who are mostly Chinese tourists and locals. Prices range from P65 to P200.
Now if you feel intrigued by this post, ask me about their branches in the north and south of Metro Manila and I will gladly get them for you. And no, it’s not true that am a stockholder of Suzhou,hahaha.
***While we’re at this, I posted recipes of tuna omelette, puto pao and shrimps with Alavar sauce in my food blog. Please be hungry enough to check them out. Have a satisfying weekend!