At a time when people are being swayed or convinced to be anti-Chinese (Mainland, that is), it’s an irony that there’s a new Chinese restaurant with authentic Cantonese cuisine that is now poised to make its mark in Metro Manila.
Beyond the irony, of course, is the realization that our ties with China go way back. It’s embedded in our psyche and culture; we are intertwined no matter how some politically-motivated people would try to undermine that relationship.
“Chinese cuisine has always been a favorite among Filipinos. And in Quezon City, there is a need and a gap to be filled for a good restaurant with a contemporary setting and one that offers Cantonese cuisine,” said Cinty Yniguez, director of sales and marketing of Seda Hotel Vertis North, where the 130-seat Pin Wei restaurant is located.
While the initial consideration is the numerous Chinese families living nearby, the restaurant can also be a go-to place for Filipinos who want to experience quality Cantonese cuisine.
“We chose the name Pin Wei because it means ‘good taste.’ It’s actually a very auspicious name both in Cantonese and traditional Mandarin. It does not only mean good taste in food and ambience, but also in a person. We hope to bring this experience to Filipinos in nearby communities.”
While authentic Cantonese favorites that include dim sum items and hand-pulled noodles are on the menu, the culinary team headed by Executive Chinese Chef Hann Furn Chen also came up with signature dishes and Chef’s specialties.
During the recent media dinner hosted by Seda Vertis North Hotel, the first course — Double Boiled Herb Maca with Dried Scallops and Chicken Soup — first caught this writer’s fancy. “It has Goji berry. In fact, most Chinese ingredients are medicinal,” said Yniguez about the dish that originated from Peru.
Although Sweet and Sour Pork is a favorite of Chinoys, it was not part of the menu that evening. But Chef Chen, a former executive chef of Tin Hau restaurant in Makati, attests that the dish is also a favorite in Indonesia, Singapore and Dubai where he also worked as an executive Chinese chef.
Pin Wei then served a Deluxe Dim Sum Basket, which is popular among regular weekday diners. These siomai samplers include flavorsome combinations of caviar tobiko, baby abalone, scallops and shrimps. Other popular dim sum items are the carrot-shaped glutinous dumpling with black pepper minced beef and the steamed buns with minced duck in oyster sauce and the must-try Xiao Long Bao.
The Beijing duck’s crispy skin with homemade hoisin sauce went well with the tender yet firm Chinese pancake. Then there’s the Vegetarian Peking Wrap with Chinese Pancake and Traditional Ingredients followed by Deep Fried Prawns paired with mayonnaise and golden cornflakes.
Next on the menu was the Two-Way Chicken. The first version is the wok-tossed chicken meat coated with a piquant honey-vinegar sauce while the second version has the chicken skin stuffed with shrimp mousse.
Coming in succession were Stir Fried Baguio Beans with Minced US Beef and Shimeji Mushrooms, Steamed Live Garoupa with Scallions in Superior Soy Sauce (Hong Kong Style), Crispy Roasted Suckling Pig and Slow Cooked Short Beef Ribs with Chinese Buns (Zhi Jiang Style).
As with Chinese cuisine, the best dishes are served first and the rice comes as the last course. In this case, the last rice items on the menu before the Dessert Petit Four was served, were the Wok Fried Fragrant Rice, Yang Chow Style and one with Minced Chicken and Salted Fish.
“Rice is just a filler and you can eat only if you are still hungry,” Yniguez explained. But who needs rice when o
ne is already full with all these delectable dishes?