Thursday, September 22, 2011

Choi Palace Seafood & Shark's Fin Restaurant

I accompanied my sister to the Department of Foreign Affairs a couple of days ago and, because it took her a lot of time to finish applying for her passport, we ended up feeling a little hungry. To make matters worse, traffic that time was extremely heavy. Hence, realizing that it would take us some more time before we actually get home, we decided to have dinner somewhere. 

I originally wanted to eat in Greenhills but, seeing the heavy traffic around the area, I decided to head to Eastwood instead, partly because it’s closer to our house, but mostly because I really wanted to eat at Choi Palace in Eastwood Mall.
I’ve read plenty of positive reviews about this restaurant since it opened early this year and I have actually wanted to eat here many weeks before finally being able to try this place out. True enough, this restaurant did not disappoint.
Like its sister restaurant, Choi Garden, we saw some aquariums outside the dining hall for the live seafood.
There were lobsters and other live sea creatures in the tank.
But I wonder why this poor sea mantis is trapped in a plastic bottle.
We went inside and saw this popular Choi Palace sign, which has been photographed countless times already by other bloggers. It looks very elegant.
And finally, the very nice interior!
Everything’s still relatively new here, so I found the place very appealing. It’s close to those fine dining restaurants in other upscale areas. It’s a pretty decent place to have a warm and cozy dinner with family and friends.
Now, onto the food! I did all the ordering because, believe it or not, I’ve already memorized what I’m going to order here even before this accidental dinner date.
I ordered my favorite, Fookien Fried Rice, two servings of dim sum, a Cold Cut Combination platter, and, for dessert, I asked for the Egg Tart. 
Unfortunately, the waiter told us that the Egg Tart was not available at that time, which was very sad. They suggested other dessert options but I really wanted to try the Egg Tart, so I just told them that we’re going to pass on dessert. 
Garlic Nuts (Complimentary)
As usual, they served garlic nuts before our order and they were fine. It’s really good to nibble on something before the meals are served.
House Tea (Complimentary)
They also served tea, which was really good. It tasted like tea-flavored water and it was not offensive at all. Plus, it’s unlimited, which is just perfect! I guess I and my sister drank more tea than water during this meal because the tea was just superb (at least for us). This is just among the very few kinds of tea I’ve enjoyed in my life.
Sioa Long Pao (P 120.00)
I think this one’s properly spelled as Xiao Long Pao, as I’ve read in other articles, but it’s really weird how Choi restaurants would have different spellings of this dish in their menu. Maybe it’s just a typographical error or maybe it’s because these dumplings are really different from each other.
Anyway, I think this version of the Xiao Long Pao is better than H.K. Choi’s. Its wrapper is not thick and gummy and it is  more delicate. The soup inside is as delicious as that of H.K. Choi’s but I think there is  more pork meat here. This has become a new favorite of my sister.
Chicken Feet with Taosi Sauce (P 95.00)
This is my sister’s all-time favorite dish, so it’s a must to order this while dining with her in a Chinese restaurant. She doesn’t really care what sauce it has, be it spicy, salty, or sweet, and this one’s just right for her.
I actually enjoyed this more than Choi Garden’s because this one’s more tender and the meat just literally slips off the chicken feet bone. It was so good, I and my sister had an argument on who eats the last piece! Fortunately, being the good brother that I am, I just sliced the foot into two and gave her the bigger piece.
Lechon Cold Cut Combination (P 450.00)
This was actually not included in the menu but when I asked the manager if they have a combination of cold cuts, he offered this dish to us.
Now, let’s evaluate what’s included in the dish one by one, starting with the Lechon.
Lechon Macau
This one’s the highlight of the evening - the ultimate reason why this place now belongs to my roster of favorite restaurants. This was heavenly! If I am to die and be sent to Lechon Heaven, I’d like to have this around me to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and even snack on whenever I feel hungry! It was that good. I’d go as far as saying that this is the best Lechon Macau I’ve ever tasted in my life.
The meat was very tender, it was lean, and the skin was to die for. It had a distinct crispiness that stays even if it gets a little cold. It was so crispy, I thought I was eating freshly-made Chicharon with a thin layer of fat. Yum!
Char Siu (Chinese Barbecued Pork)
The Char Siu, however, was not as good. This was okay but I think Choi Garden’s Char Siu is superior to this. Anyhow, I think many Filipinos would love this because it tasted close to Tocino.
Century Egg
On a lighter note, the century egg was pretty good. I wonder who supplies their century egg. It was very pleasant and it didn't have that harsh metallic flavor.
The jellyfish was fine and I guess at par with Choi Garden’s
Soy Chicken
Unfortunately, the soy chicken wasn’t really our type. We were wondering why we didn’t like this much because we still thought that the flavor of the meat was really good and the sauce was delicious as well. Hence, to solve this mystery, I had another slice of the chicken and after eating the big chunk, I concluded that the reason we’re not enjoying it much is that the meat was too hard. It needs more tenderizing.
We hardly touched this one and brought it home. The next day, I had this reheated and ate this for breakfast. Thence, I realized that it was not really bad after all.
Fookien Fried Rice (P 320.00)
For the rice meal, we had the Fookien Fried Rice. This remains to be my favorite specialty rice dish. It was as good as Choi Garden’s
Overall, the food here was superb but I am still a little sad that I wasn’t able to try the Egg Tart. I hope they’d have that on stock next time.
More than the cozy and relaxed atmosphere inside and the excellent food, the service here was also outstanding. There was not a single time that we asked for anything. Everything seemed automatic. The waiters would pour in some more tea into our cup whenever we’d consume at least half of the tea, water was served without even asking for it, and the waiters even replaced our plate before we started with our main course. Also, just like in Choi Garden, it only took them 10 to 15 minutes to complete our order. This is a service that’s really worth tipping for.
The food was not really cheap but it was worth every peso we paid for.  I couldn’t say anything bad about this place at all. I’d definitely recommend this place to anyone.
Ambiance - 5/5
Food - 5/5
Service - 5/5
Value - 4/5
TOTAL -  4.75
Choi Palace Seafood & Shark's Fin Restaurant
(63 2) 706 7807, (63 2) 480 2157
3rd Level, Eastwood Mall, Orchard Road
Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City


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