When it comes to the yummiest eats in town, my Filipino-Chinese (‘tsinoy’) friends are the authority and I always rely on them for the ultimate lowdown on where to go and what to order, especially when it comes to their cuisine. And that is how I came to embark on my Resto Discovery of the Week, a very unassuming place near where I live and work, simply named Malate Tea House.
I remember passing by this tea house before but ignoring it because it seemed to be dissociated from every resto on the block. Everything about it – from the signboard to the ordinary white formica tables – is nondescript. All that was needed was some prodding from my Tsinay friend who was raving about their delectable specialties, the type which wouldn’t burn a hole in your famished office worker’s pocket.
So this is how we came to learn about their Beef Hofan which even my Chinatown-accustomed friends now adjudge the Best Beef Hofan in Manila (P225 for a medium order, good for 3 to 4 persons). Their hofan is flat fresh noodles perfectly slathered by sate sauce and topped with super-tender slices of beef.
We paired it with fried milk bun, so called because it comes with a separate serving of condensed milk. I can’t adequately describe the bread which had an impeccable soft texture and would definitely give the expensive Breadtalk a run for its money. Not to mention that it’s only P50 a pop, good for three.
The exciting thing about Malate Tea House is that there are some things you can order which are not listed on the menu, if you know the in’s and outs of your Chinese food. Like the pata bihon. Or the succulent ginger chicken – your favorite fowl marinated in white wine, seasoned with spices and fried in sesame oil.
Silly confession: I’ve been eating their beef hofan for four days in a row now and can’t wait to try their other dishes (the dimsum, don’t forget the dimsum!)
This is how I like it to be: stumbling into a place that is unpretentious, cheap and would give me the ultimate Chinese comfort food on a Friday night when I would rather lounge around in front of the comfort of my teevee.
The Malate Tea House is at 728 Gen. Malvar St., Malate, Manila (a good walk from the Pan Pacific Hotel)
They deliver for a minimum of P200 in offices around the vicinity