Food

Underrated Chinese Restaurants in Manila

There are so many Chinese restaurants in the Metro. These are the ones you need to sniff out.
IMAGE LINGNAM.COM.PH/INSTAGRAM @okadamanila
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Saying there are many Chinese restaurants in the Philippines is quite an understatement. We Filipinos love the cuisine so much that we’ve made room for so many of them on our shores. Manila alone has so many that it can be easy to overlook a lot of them in favor of the more famous ones. This time, we try to round up some of the underrated Chinese restaurants we know, from the budget-friendly to the fine dining options. 

1| Hong Kong Chef

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Hong Kong Chef’s success probably came from word-of-mouth, as its well-reviewed dishes keep guests coming back for more. It lives up to its namefans rave about the authenticity of its dishes, some even going so far as saying that Hong Kong locals will truly appreciate the offerings. Seafood is its specialty, with each familiar dish served just the way we like it. For Hong Kong Chef, there’s no need for frills and fancy things. Just cook the food well and people will follow. It’s no surprise that this Macapagal Avenue staple has been declared a favorite lunch spot by many locals.

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Esquire Recommends:

  • Seafood Spinach Soup
  • Sauteed Prawn Balls with Assorted Mushrooms
  • Seafood Pancit Canton

HK Sun Plaza, Macapagal Boulevard, Libertad, Pasay

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2| Ling Nam

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Ling Nam is a go-to Chinese fast food restaurant with a legacy that goes back beyond 60 years. But when compared to its fast food contemporaries, Ling Nam doesn’t get as much fanfare. What was a thriving 11-location operation in the '80s slowed down in the next decades, and today it just has six branches all over Luzon. Odd that, as Ling Nam has arguably one of the most consistent-tasting menu offerings since it opened in 1950. Diners come in and have no need to see the menu because they already know exactly what they want. In a place that thrives on offering comfort food, getting the same thing every time is probably that is the most comforting of all.

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Esquire Recommends:

  • Beef Wonton Noodles
  • Halo Congee
  • Crab Egg Foo Yung

Branches all over Metro Manila

3| Golden Fortune Seafood

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By design, Chinese restaurants are best served in large quantities and shared by massive groups. Golden Fortune caters to this concept best, offering delicious and affordable dishes that guests would gamely buy in large amounts. The restaurant offers Midnight Madness discounts on dim sum and shabu-shabu starting at 9 p.m., and also sells certain chicken dishes for P1.

Esquire Recommends:

  • Fire and Ice Spareribs
  • Halo Halo Congee
  • Seafood Hofan

Soler Street, Binondo; TM Kalaw, Ermita; Seaside Market, Pasay

 

4| Hong Kong Little Kitchen

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HK Little Kitchen’s first branch in New Manila was literally littleit could only fit 28 people, and was often frequented by diners who ordered roasts to go. Its young, quirky interiors intrigued nearby residents, but it was the food that made them stay. Soon enough, the resto had a loyal clientele that would drop by three times a week. Owner Nelly See makes sure that the food and ingredients, most of which are sourced directly from Hong Kong, are fresh. Today, the little kitchen that could has opened a branch in MOA, and is in the process of opening two more branches.

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Esquire Recommends:

  • HK Roast Duck
  • Lechon Macau
  • Beef Kenchi Noodle

Gilmore Avenue, Quezon City; SM Mall of Asia, Pasay 

 

5| Thomson Road Chinese Bistro

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Named after a major road in Singapore, Thomson Road’s fare is characterized as a fusion of Singaporean, Cantonese, and Filipino dishes. Because the inspiration comes from different places, the menu is quite unique from other Chinese restaurantslaksa, for example, is served here, albeit in a lighter form than usual. And yet, Thomson Road offers the familiar flavors that the Filipino palate has come to look for. Guests appreciate the generous plates and the beautiful plating, making dining in the space both satisfying and visually delightful. 

Esquire Recommends:

  • Thomson Road Char Siu Platter
  • Duck Breast Claypot Rice
  • Seafood Coconut Soup

Molito Commercial Complex, Alabang, Muntinlupa

6| 8 Treasures

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Starting out as a non-descript space at the Petron gas station outside Dasmariñas Village, 8 Treasures has slowly gained recognition and opened new locations. The eight treasures refer to the main offerings in its menu: Roast Duck, Roast Goose, Soy Chicken, White Chicken, Charsiu Pork, Lechon Macau, Suckling Pig, and Chinese Sausage. Owners Benedicto Coyiuto, Jackson So, Danny and Monique Ordoñez, and Gregory Ordoñez partnered with Hong Kong-born chef Sammy Wong, whose knowledge of roasting was honed from 40 years of experience in his native country. To ensure quality and authenticity, produce is handpicked and hand-carried from Hong Kong to Manila regularly. Customers have the option to dine in or purchase special large orders in advance. 

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Esquire Recommends:

  • Century Egg
  • Roast Goose
  • HK Special Beef Brisket & Ox Tendon

Dasmariñas Village, Makati; Power Plant Mall, Makati; Little Baguio, San Juan

 

7| No. 8 China House

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While some Chinese restaurants focus on a certain regional flavor, No. 8 attempts to offer a wide variety of Chinese cuisines. Like Hyatt’s other restaurants, No. 8 has an open kitchen setup, a feast both for the belly and the eyes. The space boasts of several stations, each manned by an expert chef, all under the watchful eye of chef de cuisine Carson Luo. Some stations serve Cantonese fare, one station dishes up wok specialties, another station offers meals from the Sichuan province, while another is solely dedicated to serving signature slow-roasted Peking Duck. 

Esquire Recommends:

  • Traditional Peking Duck
  • Braised Codfish in Ginger and Garlic
  • Wok-fried King Prawns soaked in Rice Wine

Grand Hyatt Manila, 8th Avenue corner 35th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

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8| Canton Road

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John Rice, Shangri-La at the Fort’s general manager when Canton Road launched in 2016, describes its food as “a blend of heirloom cooking methods with contemporary presentation.” Representing the place where Cantonese and Huaiyang cuisines come together in harmony, Canton Road aims to combine the traditional with the modern. Under executive chef Wei Qing Wang, the restaurant offers meticulously prepared dishes that are as authentic as they are delicious.

Esquire Recommends:

  • Beggar’s Chicken
  • Canton Road Signature Fried Rice
  • Fried pork ribs infused with shrimp paste and assorted fruit salad

Shangri-La at the Fort, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

 

9| Li Li

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Serving classic Cantonese cuisine, Li Li is known for its unlimited dim sum, which is available from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Hong Kong-born executive chef Raymond Yeung, who joined Li Li in July 2017, offers his nearly three decades of experience to ensure the quality of every dish. His creative style involves using traditional Cantonese cooking methods with unconventional ingredients, bringing something new altogether on the menu. This holiday season, guests are invited to feast on a generous Cantonese banquet, choosing from the six-course set menus available: Christmas Yum Cha, Festive Special Set Menu, New Year Yum Cha, New Year Special Set Menu.

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Esquire Recommends:

  • Deep Fried Ham Shui Kok
  • Peking Duck, two ways
  • Tiger prawn, steamed garlic and vermicelli

New World Manila Bay Hotel, 1588 Pedro Gil corner MH Del Pilar, Malate

 

10| Yu Lei

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This Shanghainese restaurant first opened in Hong Kong, where it earned a Michelin star under its executive chef Mikiya Imagawa. Japan-born Imagawa has decades of experience in Shanghainese cuisine, a skill he first learned from his father and then honed by working in various Chinese restaurants and international hotels. His use of Japanese ingredients in traditional Shanghainese dishes makes for a perfect combination of flavors in a style uniquely his own.

Esquire Recommends:

  • Grilled Chicken & Black Truffle in “Youlin” Sauce in Casserole
  • Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly in Dong Po Style with Chestnuts
  • Wok-fried Sirloin Wagyu with XO Sauce in Potato Basket

Okada Manila, New Seaside Drive, Parañaque

 

11| Man Ho

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Marriott’s signature Chinese restaurant has been quietly offering quality dishes in Manila since opening in December 2016. Helmed by chef Law Wui Wing, who also oversaw the success of critically acclaimed Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre’s Man Ho, the Philippine version of the restaurant never fails to impress. Chef Law has a very sharp eye for detail, even making sure to handpick ingredients from select markets. “Good food begins with good ingredients,” he told spot.ph in 2016. “And if I cannot find the best, I will not serve it.” 

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Esquire Recommends: 

  • Fuji Can Fried Rice
  • Roasted Flambeed peking duck
  • Steamed Custard Buns with Egg Yolk

West Wing, Marriott Manila, 2 Resort Drive, Pasay

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About The Author
Monique Therese Avila
Monique Therese Avila is a self-proclaimed woman-child with a lifelong obsession with chocolate. Her attempts at staying fit are hampered by her part-time gig as a professional food taster.
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