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6404 Camia - The Secret Chinese Restaurant


I got lost when I first came here. There were no signs outside because it's just a simple house converted into a restaurant. Ivan Henares introduced us to this place through his blog post entitled, Manila: You Jie Xiao Chao Chinese restaurant near Rockwell.

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-1
Ivan said that from Edsa, one should turn left going to the ramp to Rockwell, then turn right going to the Barangay Hall (you'll see a sign). Then, turn left to Camia Street to find the restaurant. I missed it, so he asked the waitress (wearing red) to step outside to serve as my landmark.

I parked across the street and was excited by the prospect of trying the Secret Hunan Chinese Restaurant in Rockwell.

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-2
6pm: The Ivans -- Ivan Henares and Ivan Man Dy -- my Ultimate Philippines brothers, were already waiting for me so we could start our planning session for our culinary tours this summer.

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-4

The Chinese name of the restaurant is You Jie Xiao Chao and it specializes in Hunan (think Spicy!) Chinese Cuisine. The main menu is in Chinese because most of the clients are what Ivan Man Dy calls, "bagong salta (just arrived) from China".

Instead of putting up a restaurant in Binondo or 168, the owners decided to set up near Rockwell because of cheaper rent. Surprisingly, there was a market for it.

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-19
For Pinoys, they have a picture menu where you can just point out whatever you like.

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-8
Gongbao Chicken (P180). Super spicy and oily! It's like Kung Pao Chicken because of the peanuts. The taste is close to Szechuan-level of spiciness. 

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-9
Fried Shrimp (P500). This is the most expensive dish that we ordered, but we did not finish it because we got tired of using our hands to eat it. If you notice, the shrimp heads were already chopped off.

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-10
Steamed Dumpling (P120). This is my favorite -- kuchay dumplings. They taste just like Dong Bei dumplings. (Now, you don't have to go all the way to Binondo.)

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-17
Fried Dumpling (P140). You can order it fried, so you'll have a gyoza-like dumpling. At the moment, they only offer these dumplings.

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-15
7pm: Chinese customers started appearing. They do add to the overall ambiance of an otherwise simple and minimalist restaurant.

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-7
Ivan Man Dy proudly showed us The Big Binondo Food Wok Map! It covers all the restaurants in Binondo and even comes with free hopia coupons.

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-6
Finally, a map of Binondo that can help you plan your own Binondo Food Trip! :) I'll blog about the map separately...

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-13
Beef with Chili (180). The actual dish is more appetizing than the picture in the menu (see above).

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-16
To top it all off, you can have free unlimited self-servings of rice! (Eat-all-you-can rice is the trend these days, popularized by Mang Inasal.)

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-21
8pm: The place was packed with a mix of Chinese customers and people working nearby.

This Chinese Restaurant discovery is similar to the Top Meals discovery (see: Top Meals - Makati's Secret Bicol Comfort Food) and Som's Thai discovery around the Rockwell area (see: Som's Noodle House - cheap authentic version of SukhoThai).

Jie Xiao Chao Hunan Restaurant-22
If Binondo seems too far away for your taste, at least you have the option of heading to the outskirts of Rockwell in Makati for authentic Chinese food.

You Jie Xiao Chao Chinese Food
6404 Camia Street, Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City
(near the Barangay Hall of Guadalupe Viejo)
Telephone: +63 915 4252972, +63 927 7876999

Driving Directions: Take Edsa-northbound; after Buendia, take the ramp to Rockwell. Then, turn right going to the Barangay Hall (you'll see a sign). Then, turn left to Camia Street. You should see the Coznuts salon on your right. The restaurant is about 3 houses before the salon. You can already park on one side along Camia St.

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P.S. Thanks to Ivan Henares for this awesome Chinese discovery in Rockwell! :)

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Looks like a great place for serving Chinese comfort food :D

very good posting. i liked it. keep going. :)

http://www.webroyalty.com

cool :) this reminds of feng wei wee taiwanese restaurant along wilson st., san juan :)

Oh gosh!!! I can't wait for the Binondo Food Trip map!!!
Whenever my friends and I go to Binondo, we have no idea where to eat and we always end up eating in fastfoods because of the frustrations of locating the best restos!!!

Hi Anton, Gongbao is Kung Pao in Pinyin (a Romanization system for Mandarin Chinese).

Looking forward to your post about the map.

Thanks for discovering this place Anton. Now all I need to do is visit this site and taste the wonders of Chinese dishes.

I can't barely wait. My mouth is watering with saliva.....

does anyone have a soft copy of the binondo map? site where we can download? :)

Hi Anton..

My first post here.

I have a friend who lives just a few houses away from You Jie's..

Correct address should be
6408C Camia Street :)

wow!

Went there just now with some friends. Great Hunan-style food! My friends stayed in Shanghai for a year, one was in Beijing and I had gone for months in Xiamen and Shanghai, this place really reminded us of our respective stays in China. The food is great, the proprietress and her staff was very accommodating and courteous. Although us Manila people may be used to some more customer-service oriented luxuries, the service here is great for Chinese standards.

Hunan-style food is underrepresented here (as well as Beijing and Shanghai food) but this place sure is making Hunan cuisine known to us Filipinos.

Best Hunanese cuisine I've ever tasted was at Di Shui Dong on Mao Ming Lu just off Huai Hai Lu (Avenue Joffre) in Shanghai.

Reasonably priced (most entree for 3 to 4 pax under Php 300), excellent food, and a challenging spice level. Nothing comes close to its taste here in Manila (because perhaps of most Filipino's preference for sweetish non spicey food).

Bonus: Enjoy Philippines members receive 10% off with their membership =).

I have to agree. Di Shui Dong is still the best Hunan food but for us who are here in Manila, You Jie Xiao Chao will do.

Apple fritters at Di Shui Dong is the best way to end a spicy Hunan meal.

OMG. This was the "Hunan Lutong Bahay" I've read about in Sunday Inquirer Magazine last November. Still haven't tried it there though... but definitely will! Ü

Oh and I can't wait for further details regarding the The Big Binondo Food Wok Map!!!

Folk, details of the Big Binondo Food WOK Map

http://manilastreetwalker.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/binondo-wok/#comments

Going there tonight with Soulmate. Hope it lives up to my expectations. Hehehe!

Let me know please if you like or not...

great start for 2010 hehehe ...it's eating time

great review! will be eating here tomorrow. thank you anton :o)

Well it is being sold at P100 per map but you can get it for FREE if you join one of Ivans tour.


Anton


One of these days, I will try that Di Shui Dong place :) Thanks for the tip!


Anton


Alfie!! Next time, punta tayong Shanghai just to eat here :)

I just had dinner here, and the food is great!

I just had a litte problem finding seats though, as this is a very tiny place and people seem to be flocking to it. Although the place would be usually be hard to find since its really a house in a residential area, you can easily identify it because chinese people are often waiting outside for a seat.

Just some reminders though... the filipino waitresess are really having a hard time because people have been unendlessly coming in for the past 2 weeks. they are quite under pressure, so when you talk to them, try to be nice and understanding. Also, please discreetly give the filipino waiters the tips. The waiters are not allowed to take the tips from the customers which goes directly to the store.

Also, try to keep this "secret chinese restaurant" a secret. Its really just a side business that theyre doing in their house. It was really intended not to put any signs outside. If it becomes popular, it might draw the attention of the authorities. you will also notice that they dont issue recipts. They are complaining already that this appeard on the internet.


Hi Norbert,


Thanks for sharing this comment. I would understand their predicament and Ill stop promoting this blog post. Over time it will be buried in the archives and hopefully the secret would continue to be a secret... Ill remember to give the Filipina waitresses some tips. Thanks for that.

Anton

Ate here just last Saturday and it was a whole new different experience in terms of Chinese cooking. I like the level of heat in each food me and my boyfriend ordered. What is amazing about it is that you know it is spicy but it complements well and not over powering.=)

Would love to go back for the eggplant hotpot!=)

I ate here a couple of months ago. Boy were all the dishes HOT HOT HOT! YumMmy!

where is Di Shui Dong?

Me and my mom went to eat there last saturday lunch. When I arrived there at 11:30 am, there was still no sign of life inside so I made a loud knock then suddenly the Filipina waitresses came out. By 12 pm, the place was already packed with people (majority are mainland chinese).

Now on to the food. We ordered the Fried pork ribs (as per Ivan's recommendation from his blog), Soup w/ egg yolk + seaweeds, Beef with chili and steamed dumplings (both as per Anton's recommendation from this page). All tasted quite good but they didn't taste particularly special at all. The taste is quite common and there is no indication that this was supposedly of Hunan origins. To make things worse, all our orders (with the exception of the soup) were rock hard (literally). I even had to ask for spoon and fork because the fried pork ribs was particularly very difficult to pry the meat from the bones. The beef were not tender at all (other Chinese restaurants can serve it better and cheaper). The beef was supposedly spicy but we did not even taste a hint of spice in it. I'm I missing something here?

Overall, I quite disappointed with my first experience with this establishment. The taste was not particularly special (there are other chinese restaurant that can serve better tasting food). In my opinion, this is does not even come close to Hunan cuisine (not that I'm an authority in this area). But my biggest complaint of all, is really the rock hard meat that they served us, which gave my teeth a real workout.

The (thinner) waitress was the one who is most accomodating so we deliberately gave her a tip, even though we were completely disappointed with our meals.

This is place is good but only for the first 2 times you eat here. The experience is unique and the food comes fresh-off-the-fire. However, I was a little disappointed with the Kung Pao chicken, which is one of my favorite Sichuan dishes. (Kung Pao and GongBao are actually one and the same dish, just spelled differently in some restos). The one here tasted good, but the chicken portions were very small and it was overloaded with peanuts. Your photo above, though, looks better than what we were served on both occasions. This is really how it should be--bigger chicken meat portions, and not too many peanuts.

Thanks for the comment and other readers would appreciate this so that they can proceed with caution when trying out this restaurant.


Anton

no wonder! when we visited this place, we were so shocked to see the waitress hurriedly pocketed "THEIR" tip! ... i was so disappointed coz she did it in front of us and made a hunch that she'll be keeping it all to herself, but now i understand why! =p just hope their sharing their tips.

what also shocked me was when we overheard a customer asking for a O.R. and waitress said she would give it but with addtl cost... oh well, i guess totoo nga ung sabi ng mga pinoy.. MAHIRAP KUMITA NG LEGAL.. kahit anung gawin mo, they will always find ways to harass u, lalo na if "click na click" ang business.. =(

I ate at this establishment once and have no intention of going back for the following reasons:

1. the food is just "so-so"
2. all the secrecy i.e. no resto sign, no receipt probably indicates that they also don't have the necessary business permits and more importantly, sanitary permits
3. the prices are at par with other chinese restaurants (not cheap) and portions (not huge) as well
4. they only give 10% senior discount and rationalize that their ingredients are "expensive"

I understand the sentiment of some people to keep this resto "a secret" if they followed the laws of the land. But it appears they do not and if it is true that they do not allow the waitresses to keep the tip, why should we allow these foreigners (they are foreign owned) to make a mockery of our laws and people.

We shouldn't be so short-sighted and selfish to allow this kind of behavior. For some "so-so" chinese food? (or great food for that matter)

I am not picking on this restaurant. I have reported other restaurants that disregard our laws (surprisingly many are foreign owned).

i ate at this place once and have no plans of returning for the following reasons:

1. the food is just "so-so". prices are not cheap and are comparable to other restos. servings are not huge either but average.
2. i wonder what's behind all the secrecy. is it because they have no business permits and more importantly sanitary permits. they have no receipts either which is in itself a give-away.
3. they do not give the full 20% senior discount (just 10%), claiming their "raw materials" are expensive.
4. collecting the tips for themselves is outright stealing from what I am guessing are underpaid waitresses.

I believe we should stop and not promote establishments like this because of their deliberate disregard of our country's laws.
Yes, they will find ways to harass establishments even if they're obeying the laws, but it seems these foreigners will have no reason to complain after i report them to the authorities, since they are not following the law.

Thanks for alerting me to this place.

is this place open on sundays?

Im not sure... but I dont see any reason why it wont be open.

does this place even have a business permit? i think this guy is not paying taxes.

Di Shui Dong is a restaurant that we bring guests visiting Shanghai but even the locals don't like it. if you look around its mostly tourists and foreign expats eating here.

My favorite Hunan Restaurant (and is rated highly by the locals) is Guyi on Fumin Lu. Amazing menu!

This resto expanded but service sucks!

Hi Anton,

went there with a friend and we found the place to be good...we had a bit of a time finding it but we had a good time eating and we thought it was worth the trip..loved their steamed pork....will try the patatim next time as I hear it is their specialty...


Thanks for the feedback Chay! nice to see good reviews about this place...

Hi Anton! My husband, 5 yo daughter with her yaya,and I just had dinner here...We ordered the boiled fish (tinolang isda according to yaya) worth 400, the Gong Bao Chicken and boiled dumplings as per recommendation, plus 4 plain rice. We paid 780 for everything and contrary to what was said in previous comments, the servings were big enough to share. We took home our leftovers because it was big enough to have it for lunch the next day. Overall we were satisfied with our orders because we came there with no great expectation as should the future foodies who wish to try it out. As for d absence of a business permit and OR, I guess this was solely intended for Chinese locals but its popularity spread through word of mouth of satisfied customers. Thus, I respect their wish to keep it secret. Thanks for the post Anton. My family and I will surely follow you in your other food adventures in Makati and within the Metro. God bless!

ABOUT THE TIPS:
the reason tips are all collected by the cashier, instead of allowing each waitress to pocket "her" table's tips, is that all the tips are MEANT to be pooled, and then distributed equally among ALL the waitresses at the end of the day. this way, the "less lucky" waitress doesn't go home empty-handed, and any (or all) individual waitress doesn't stick to only serving a particular "table" (i.e. regular client), particularly if said "table" is more generous with its tip than average. all the waitresses are also hereby discouraged from snarling amongst themselves and fighting over who should serve the "favored" table.

this practice is standard among many small chinese eating places. i hope the wrong impression given by several earlier posts is corrected.

sometimes, we see something, and not thoroughly understanding what we're seeing, we just assume we know what it is we're seeing. like some posters above, who upon seeing that the tips are returned to the cashier, immediately ASSUME that the management is POCKETING the tips MEANT for the servers.

this frequently pinoy habit of ASSUMING, has got to be acknowledged, faced, and dealt with until eradicated. otherwise, no educated and mannerly discussion can proceed for long. even in a food blog where the topic is food, and therefore ostensibly not as "itchy" and controversial as let's say, politics or religion.

Ate here earlier had the fish head that was REALLY SPICEY!!! The gongbao chicken was good too and so were the fried dumplings. They seemed to be freshly made, not the type that was jusy defrosted. It didnt have the makunat factor to it..the canned drinks are expensive though at 40/can..we were 5 our total bill was 1,100 quite reasonable for meryenda! They are open until 10pm on Sundays and best of all, we were served Tsing Tao even if there was a liquor ban!

Ate here earlier had the fish head that was REALLY SPICEY!!! The gongbao chicken was good too and so were the fried dumplings. They seemed to be freshly made, not the type that was jusy defrosted. It didnt have the makunat factor to it..the canned drinks are expensive though at 40/can..we were 5 our total bill was 1,100 quite reasonable for meryenda! They are open until 10pm on Sundays and best of all, we were served Tsing Tao even if there was a liquor ban!

Just ate there today for lunch. We also had the spicy fish head, gongbao chicken, fried dumplings. These were very good. Only thing we didn't like was the beef w/ chili - it wasn't anything special. Total bill was around P1200 for 4 people so it was really a great lunch. I would definitely eat here again.

Btw, I saw business registration certificates e.g. BIR, etc. posted on the wall so I don't think this is an illegitimate restaurant. It just doesn't have a sign outside.

Staff themselves said that the management keeps the tips and that it does not get to them.

http://www.happyfoodies.com/2011/05/28/chinese-makati-peace-and-happiness/comment-page-1/#comment-2201

We had lunch here today with my family. Food is splendid and the price very affordable. The serving of the steamed fish head is enormous. Seated right next to us is Teddy Boy Locsin and some politicians who were very gracious to my family.

Is still open ? always looking foreard to your post . Tnx . Authentic chinese food ala chinaman sorry for my word but a little expensive to think in a small house your dinning but the food is real good ... I can say bec. Alot of restaurant in binondo is opening nw like this one in small condo in binondo and ongpin ... To think this one opens in makati near rockwell ... I just wonder how can foreign chinese from china ala chinaman reach here to far from them . Tnx

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