Until now, I can't believe that the President Restaurant in Binondo closed down. It was a foodie institution and President was THE Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. The rumor in the foodie community is that the head chef of President transferred to Ying Ying Tea House Restaurant. (Can anybody confirm this?) Ying Ying Restaurant is now becoming the new "President" in Binondo.
Our family loves chinese food. On my father's birthday, I reserved this special chinese restaurant -- Choi Garden in Annapolis Greenhills. It is seldom that you hear a buzz on Chinese restaurants. Most people rave about Choi Garden because of the food prepared by their Hongkong Chef and the interesting interiors.
Choi Garden occupies the hole left by Country Waffles in Greenhills. It has two floors -- the first floor is for shabu shabu, while the second floor is for fine dining. For special occasions, better reserve the rooms on the 2nd floor. The first floor is for casual meetings and romantic dates. Better reserve to get the best seats in the house. I love the dramatic tunnel entrance, and the interesting chandelier lighting effects. The word "opium den" comes to mind (I don't know why) when I entered the first floor because of its bloody motif.
The specialties of the house are usually not found in the menu. Choi Garden is famous for their Pigeons (which you have to order in advance) and 3-way Lapu Lapu.
Choi Garden Pigeons (P350/ pigeon). I don't eat pigeons ever because usually it is oily and rubbery in texture. This is the first time I've eaten pigeons because it is a bit crispy without the oil. A must try in Choi Garden for special occasions.
3-way Lapu Lapu (P3,000). First, the lapu lapu is served in Miso Soup. We kept raving about how good the soup is. It tastes like Japanese miso soup and appears like Lapu Lapu sinigang with a smoother taste.
Zhu is the latest addition to the chinese cuisine options in the Fort. You can't help but think that this is a Gloria-Maris affiliated restaurant because of the distinct similarity of the menu options. Its bright pink and bright yellow motif was enough to entice us to spend our Father's Day celebration in Zhu. It was on its first week of operation so expect faulty aircons/ exhaust systems, and inefficient crew. Despite that, I knew that it was a winner after I tasted the soup of the Xiao Long Pao dimsum and the secret house sauce of Zhu's Hot Pot. Our Hong Kong style meals ended with the taho similar to the ones we order in Gloria Maris. For me, I like Zhu because it is away from the crowded friday night scene in Serenda and the usual Mall establishments. It is conveniently located beside Secret Recipe's so you can end your meal with its award winning Cheese Cakes!
I'm always on a lookout for good chinese restaurants in the Manila area. Normally, I prefer not to blog about them because there are too many of them. Although if you are tired of always eating at Gloria Maris or Emerald Garden for that special occasion, maybe you might want to try out the new Legend Hongkong Seafood Restaurant in Boom na Boom complex in CCP. It has a nice ambiance for a chinese restaurant and the food is good chinese cooking by a Hongkong trained chef. This is their first store in Metro Manila but they have branches in Malolos, Bulacan; San Fernando, Pampanga; Tarlac and the most popular one in Angeles City. We treated my parents-in-law and the food passed their taste buds. I'll tell you that they are a great critique about chinese food (they know what good chinese food is) and they can certify that the food was cooked by what my father-in-law calls as a Hongkong Boy :)
Overall if you are looking for a good cantonese Hongkong-style chinese food, your budget is P300/head and you are escaping the madness in Mall of Asia, then it is worth to try out The Legend Hongkong Seafood Restaurant in CCP. Check this out!