Saturday, January 12, 2013

Suzhou, the finest place to discover and relish Eastern Chinese cuisine

Tasteful interiors aside from delicious food
I discovered this restaurant after one of my friends shared his most memorable experience there. Suzhou Eastern Chinese restaurant is barely a month old in the Bonifacio Global City (a few meters away from St. Lukes Hospital and near Home depot, where Starbucks is at), but it is gaining a lot of admirers because of its superb services and excellent food.

At first, I was skeptical, since I already went to top-notch Chinese restaurants here in Manila, Hongkong, China and the States, and for me, there is nothing so authentic as eating in an ordinary stall in Hongkong or Guanzhou. Besides, what is so special about Eastern Chinese cuisine, by the way?

The famous Sweet and sour soup from Eastern China,
spicy Chicken, Xiaolongs, excellent Noodle soup and
special rice
It turns out, that Eastern Chinese cuisine, is one of the most surprisingly delicious dishes on planet earth. Yep, this type of Chinese cuisine, some might find "spicy, oily and sweet", but, for most people who regularly eat Chinese food, the East offers more than what the "West" can provide.

We are all familiar with Western Chinese cuisine. We are normally accustomed to eating Sichuan and Hunan cuisines, that we are simply clueless as to what Eastern Chinese cuisine taste. What we don't know is that Eastern Chinese dishes have been the stuff of delicious talk in Manila's Chinatown ever since the very first Suzhou chef came into our shores and introduced those delicious dishes to the Chinoys first, and Pinoys, second.

Now, you don't need to go to Chinatown to experience the gustatory delights our fellow Chinese-Filipino brothers and sisters experience each and every time they go to Suzhou restaurant there. You can now experience it when you visit Suzhou Eastern Chinese cuisine restaurant at the Fort.

Those who already visited Shanghai, these people are quite familiar with Eastern Chinese cuisine. Eastern Chinese cuisine, in my estimation, is the most healthy of them all. Most dishes use fish, shrimp and shellfish. Those caught in the Yangtze river, numerous lakes and river tributaries in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai and surrounding provinces in the Eastern seaboard are steamed, stewed, braised or fried. Eastern Chinese cooking recommends the use of sugars, fine tasting vinegars and wines to provide that exquisite sweet tastes and subtlety of flavors.

You want privacy? Go to Suzhou at Global City
Dining at the Suzhou restaurant is like being transported to another place. The fine neo-classical interiors of the restaurant gives you a feel of eating in one of the ritzy places in Shanghai. Cozy you might say, but never costly. The prices of those dishes included in the menu are surprisingly reasonable. You don't need to spend a lot to enjoy fine Eastern Chinese dishes.

One of the menu surprises there is the Xiaolong. Suzhou's pan fried or steam xiaolong is a delight. These are usually buns, not dumplings. Some would erroneously say that xiaolongs are dumplings, but they are not. The closest description to a Xiaolong is a bun. However, don't even confuse it with tang bao, which literally means "soup bun". Soup dumpling is more likely to be understood by a native Chinese speaker to be jiaozi or 'wantons' placed in a soup.

Fusion of old and new, tastefully done
Xiaolongs are pinched at the top prior to steaming, so the skin has circular cascade ripple "marks" around the crown. What is so unique about Suzhou xiaolongs is.....opps, I'll not tell you my dear readers. You just have to experience eating them.

When I visited the place, I was with my family and several media friends. They were all satisfied. The service is superb. The staff was very responsive. The food orders did not take long. And we all enjoyed eating delicious food in a comfortable place.

What a way to celebrate my forty second birthday.