Monday, September 19, 2011

Choi Garden Seafood & Shark’s Fin Restaurant

Choi Garden doesn’t have a website, which made this blogging experience a bit difficult as I found it hard to get enough information about the place. All I know is that it is one of the best Chinese restaurants in the metro and they serve top quality food.

Choi Garden’s exterior alone can ward off solicitors, beggars, and illegal vendors within the area as the establishment appeared so intimidating on the outside. It even got really close to warding me off as well!
The main entry door looked like the ones I’ve seen in Chinese movies. It was a close imitation of the huge and grand doors of the ancient Chinese. 
There was this dramatic tunnel-like entrance inside, which leads to the dining hall. The receptionist will have to literally block your way before you can even set foot inside because, during peak hours, only people with reservations would be allowed entry inside as the place can get heavily packed.
The place looked very oriental with hanging Chinese lanterns, red table cloths, Chinese calligraphy on the walls and everything. The place looked pretty clean as well.
As this was a shark’s fin and seafood restaurant, they have these aquariums inside with lobsters and other sea creatures and they’re not only placed there to entertain the people, they can also be cooked and served to the hungry customers too!
A clear glass wall enables the guests to see what’s cooking inside like these poor yet very delicious ducks and a goose, which have been roasted for the customers to enjoy.
The establishment didn’t even leave the restroom out as they still maintained that oriental Chinese theme even inside the toilet. 
Overall, I would have to say that Choi Garden’s interior was absolutely breathtaking. It was definitely a feast for the eyes. I have seen some minor flaws like some signs of natural wear and tear but I believe that they’re too minor to even be noticed.
Before I discuss anything here, I would first want to apologize, for the pictures I have taken for the food are horrible. I’m not a camera expert and neither am I a professional photographer and I found the red lights rather harsh as a light source and no matter how hard I tried to make the settings of my camera work for this lighting setup, it was hopeless.
Complimentary Garlic Nuts (Free)
Similar to other Chinese restaurants, Choi Garden offered us a free serving of Garlic Roasted Peanuts, which, to me, is like any other peanut you can buy from the convenience store. The only thing that makes this special is that it comes for free.
Chicken Feet (P 90.00)
I love chicken feet! We ordered chicken feet as our dimsum appetizer and though I thought that it was not a bad choice, I didn’t really think it was that good. I believe the meat was delicious and the sauce was to die for. However, I thought that the chicken feet was a little bit tough and it was hard to eat. I had to gnaw this one really hard to get some meat off of it.
Fookien Fried Rice (P 220.00)
This one’s a rice dish that is floating in a sauce with shrimps, chicken, pork, mushrooms, and other ingredients. It’s like the yang chow fried rice with a sauce and this one’s really unique because this is rarely ordered.
My verdict: it was awesome. I do not have enough words to describe this rice dish. It was like nothing I’ve ever tasted. The serving size is big too!
Cold Cut Combination (P 340.00)
I do not know exactly what’s in the cold cut combination dish but I pretty much think that everything on it was delicious because we ate everything in this entire platter and left nothing but the bones.
I think there was this roasted barbecue pork on it and some roasted chicken and duck and the jelly fish (which my friend found to be a comfort food) and some century egg slices.
The Sauces (Comes with the Cold Cut Combination)
They have the sweet soy-sauce based condiment for the cold cut combination and this ginger-based sauce as well. The ginger-based sauce was very pleasant and I found it more delicious than the dark sauce.
Braised Pig Knuckle, Tai Shan Style (P 240.00)
This was a little disappointing. I wish it could’ve had some more sauce as it was very dry (as you can see above). The presentation was not really nice too and was far from the picture on the menu. The broccoli was chopped in chunks, which were too big to fit into our mouth and were hard to chew, and the pig knuckles didn’t really taste so special. I’ve tasted better ones from other Chinese restaurants.
BBQ Pork Rice Roll (P 90.00)
We weren’t able to touch this anymore as we ate so much, we felt as if we needed to drag ourselves home because we felt so heavy. The serving size of the food was very big. Anyway, we had this wrapped and I took it home. I guess this one’s good too because before I even had a bite of this dish, the folks at home had already consumed everything.
The service here was superb. I would understand if there was a delay with the delivery of our food because of the number of people in the restaurant but our food came hot and complete in only a few minutes. It took the waiters only around 10 to 15 minutes to complete serving all our orders. There wasn’t even a single one that was left out.
The waiters were also very fast in serving us water and all the things we requested for. One of the waiters even offered to take a photo of me and my friend together when he saw that we’re finding it difficult to take a picture of us together. Them handling so many people that well was worth the return visit.
I thought at first that the food here is expensive but now I realize that it’s just fair and reasonable. For the serving sizes, I can say that the food was rather cheap. However, if you’re going to dine here alone or if you have just one companion, I would suggest that you just purchase their rice toppings as the serving size could be overwhelming. The food will really fill your tummy.
Ambiance - 4/5
Food - 4/5
Service - 5/5
Value - 4/5
TOTAL - 4.25/5

Choi Garden Seafood & Shark's Fin Restaurant
(63 2) 727-6042, (63 2) 727-7489  
12 Annapolis St. cor. Purdue St., Greenhills
San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines


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