Our Awesome Planet

Our Awesome Planet

January 23, 2012

To P.F. Chang's or Not to P.F. Chang's in Manila?

January 23, 2012

To P.F. Chang's or Not to P.F. Chang's in Manila?

Read FirstP.F. Chang's in ManilaShortlink: oap.ph/PFChangsManila

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P.F. Chang's, the popular American Chinese Restaurant of Philip Fleming and Philip Chiang, finally opened its first branch in Asia. With 200 restaurants across the US, and branches in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Kuwait and UAE, it also now calls Alabang home.

When you eat Chinese food in the US, your friends would probably take you to either P.F. Chang's or Panda Express. (Check out my P.F. Chang's experience in California.)

Its appearance in Manila caused quite a stir. A lot of people question whether or not an American Chinese restaurant concept will work here. 

We decided to celebrate Aidan's 7th birthday there when P.F. Chang's in Alabang opened its doors to the public recently. Here is a rundown of our P.F. Chang's experience... 

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P.F. Chang's Main MenuStarters, Soup, Salad | Chicken, Beef | Pork, Seafood | Noodles & Rice, Vegetarian, Kid's Menu | Glutten Free Menu | Emperor's Choice 

Dessert MenuPage 1Page 2Page 3

P.F. Chang's is a modern Chinese bistro that offers MSG-free and gluten-free, made-to-order, Chinese comfort food. Its ambiance is pretty similar to other modern restos in Manila, except for its signature replica statues of the Chinese terracotta warriors and horses.

The restaurant is also known for its highly-trained staff who can help you navigate through the menu and provide sharp recommendations.

(Tip: The American trainers are still here in Manila; try your best to order from them. The local waiters do not seem to know the menu yet and tend to answer everything is good.)

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Drinks MenuP.F. Chang's Specialty Cocktails | Red Wines | Sparkling & White Wines | Beverages

The bar is located at the center and enjoys a comfortable, high-ceiling breathing space.
The dining areas, on the other hand, are a bit cramped and seem to exude this "dark bar" ambiance at night (not ideal for kids).

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There's only one private function room in the corner. Reserve this room for your private events.

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The second floor is better lit than the dining area on the first floor and has a more romantic ambiance -- although it can get packed.

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You can also dine in this space overlooking the floor below if you want a relatively more private table.

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It has a nice view of the first floor.

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Our birthday boy, Aidan, was able to meet Philip Chiang, one of the founders of P.F. Chang's, who flew all the way to Manila to open their first Asian store.

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Wonton Soup (P350). Pork wontons, mushrooms, fresh spinach, water chestnuts, chicken and shrimp in our savory chicken broth. Made to order.

We started with the wonton soup, which is good for sharing and recommended for the kids.

I think you can get better Wonton Soup in Peking Garden.

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Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps (P285). Our signature appetizer. Wok-seared minced chicken, mushrooms, green onions, and water chestnuts served over crispy rice sticks and with cool, crisp lettuce cups.

The waiters highly recommended this as a starter.

It tasted good with the signature sauce, but it's nothing special in a Manila setting. The duck lettuce wraps in other Chinese restos would beat this anytime.

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One thing I noticed is that the food here in P.F. Chang's Manila has stronger flavors than in the US.

You don't even need to add their signature sauce of honey mustard with soy sauce and a bit of chili. Anyway, if you're already there, you might as well try their sauces when you visit.

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★ Dynamite Shrimp (P295). Crispy shrimp tossed in a zesty sauce and served over lettuce in a martini glass.

I loved these chili shrimps, which had the right amount of sauce. Perfect appetizer or bar chow.

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Crispy Green Beans (P175). Fresh green beans, lightly battered and served crispy with a spicy, tangy dipping sauce.

Our waiter recommended this; he said it was good for kids.

The fried green beans were a letdown and the sauce was spicy, so the kids didn't like it at all. We don't recommend it.

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★ Seared Ahi Tuna (P385). Sushi grade ahi tuna, served chilled with spices, mustard vinaigrette and fresh mixed greens.

The ahi tuna was seared perfectly and we loved the sweet mustard vinaigrette that accompanied it. Good to share with 3-4 people.

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Tito Spanx celebrated Aidan's birthday with us. He was raving about P.F. Chang's food. :)

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★ Shrimp with Candied Walnuts (P795). Tender shrimp tossed in a creamy sauce with candied walnuts and honeydew melon.

I liked these creamy shrimps, but you have to eat it with the sweet walnut and honeydew for a balanced and complete flavor experience. A bit expensive though, but worth it.

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Kung Pao Chicken (P365). Chicken breast stir-fried with peanuts, chili peppers and scallions.

Most of the good food in P.F. Chang's are spicy and, unfortunately, not recommended for kids. This is one of their signature dishes, but it's common here in Manila.

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★ Oolong-Marinated Chilean Sea Bass (P1,115). Steeped in Oolong tea, broiled and served with sweet ginger soy and spinach.

We loved this creamy sea bass on a bed of healthy vegetables. Highly recommended for the healthy eaters and those looking for a different take on sea bass.

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★ Wok-Seared Lamb (P950). Marinated lamb with scallions and sesame, served with cilantro over shredded lettuce.

This came highly recommended.

The roasted sesame taste of the lamb was actually quite enjoyable. I couldn't get enough of it! (You can opt to have rice to go with this dish.)

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My high school friend Demie Torres recommends the Northern Style Spare Ribs. :)

What are your favorite dishes in P.F. Chang's?

and now, on to dessert...

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Great Wall of Chocolate (P395). Six rich layers of frosted chocolate cake topped with semi-sweet chocolate chips, served with fresh strawberry and raspberry sauce.

I'm not impressed with dessert that is all presentation but does not deliver on taste. We have better chocolate and dessert options here in the metro.

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★ Mango Cheese Wontons (P150). Mango and cream cheese in a wonton wrapper. Fried to a golden brown and served with chocolate sauce.

If you are looking for a unique dessert or just want the right sweet ending, try these wontons filled with sweet cheese and mango.

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Ninong Spanx and Raphael enjoyed the night at P.F. Chang's.

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Overall, most of the spicy (Hunan-inspired) food were really good, and you'll be safe with ordering the best sellers. However, it has to improve its service to make the P.F. Chang's Manila experience a memorable one for its diners.

Time will tell if it will be a big success or be seen just as an overpriced American Chinese restaurant.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro
The Street, Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa
Operating Hours
Monday - Thursdays: 11.00am to 11.00pm
Friday - Saturdays: 11.00am to 1.00am
Sunday: 11.00am to 11.00pm

Website: www.pfchangs.com
Telephone: +632 687 5611 to 16
Email: marketing@globalresto.com
FacebookP.F. Chang's Philippines
Twitter:  @PFChangsPH

Live an Awesome Life,

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Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Contact me: a
nton@diaz.ph iphone

Full Disclosure: The Ultimate Philippines brothers (with Spanx, Ivan Henares and Ivan Man Dy) were invited to meet Mr. Philip Chiang on the public opening of P.F. Chang's in Manila. They gave us a birthday treat for Aidan's 7th birthday. :)

P.S. It's not that kid-friendly -- staff is not trained to handle children and the restaurant gets this "dark bar" ambiance at night. If you are dining with kids, it would be better to eat there during lunchtime (or wait for a little while before trying this resto if you don't want to be frustrated).

One more thing... I'm not a fan of restos that make people wait outside even if they have reservations; the place can accommodate 200 people, so is that just their way of giving the impression that there are a lot of customers waiting?

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