I have long heard and read about this hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Malate that supposedly serves good dumpling, including my favorite xioa long bao.
And in the three years that I have worked in the area, I would always pass by this restaurant, even when it was still in its old location (a couple of establishments away from its current address). I never got to try it until last week when I was on my way to work on election day.
It is now housed in the commercial area of Red Planet Hotel. I decided to eat there on a whim and did not have enough time to do research on what to order. So I went the safe route — spareribs noodles soup and xiao long pao (yup, they spell theirs with a ‘p’ instead of ‘b’)
There were a handful of people eating when I was there and they all seemed to order the kuchay dumpling. I am not a fan of leeks so I decided not to try it. Maybe next time.
The noodle soup was so-so. Somehow I am having a hard time finding a great-tasting one outside of North Park. The soup was rather bland and while the meat easily falls off the bone, it already had a hard texture, maybe from overcooking.
What I really loved was the xiao long pao. For those who are not familiar, it is a dumpling with soup encased inside. You eat it by first biting off a small piece of or poking a hole at the wrapper to sip the soup. Then you dip the dumpling in the ginger and vinegar sauce.
It comes in four pieces per order (sorry, I forgot the price but it is less than PhP150, if I remember correctly).
Its wrapper is thicker than those I’ve tried before but not too thick that you’d fee you’re eating siopao. The filling inside tasted okay. Not great but not bad either. Adding ginger and vinegar made the meat and wrapper combination taste better.
It was the soup that was the winner. I love that it had the right amount of sweetness to create a richer flavor.
Would love to come back to have my fix of their xiao long pao. And maybe their kuchay dumpling as well.
Suzhou Tea House
1740 A. Mabini Street, Malate, Manila
Menu (from Zomato)