Date # 78: Shi Lin
It was just by chance that we ended up in Shi Lin a few weeks back. We originally visited SM Megamall to get Douglas’ laptop fixed and then we drove to Podium for a quick lunch. Shi Lin is a relatively new Chinese place that serves dim sum and noodles, much like Crystal Jade.
Ever since Shi Lin opened in Podium Mall, people have been proclaiming it as the winner of the Xiao Long Bao battle in the Metro. But frankly, I don’t get it. When I got to taste their Xiao Long Bao for the first time, I knew right at that moment that what I had in my mouth wasn’t the one.
The broth of their Xiao Long Bao (P210/10pcs) was a bit strange to my taste—it had this fishy taste that made me wonder if they’d used fish stock for the soup inside the dumpling. The dumpling skin was also difficult to work with—it punctures so easily that one must have the skillfulness of a ninja to be able to pick up the dumplings from the bamboo steamer without accidentally making the soup leak through.
There was also an unpleasant gritty texture to their meat—it’s rough to the tongue, as if the meat had not been kneaded properly before cooking. This makes me think that maybe my experience in Shi Lin was an isolated case, and that the staff was just really having an off day when I went there. But that’s a sign of a weak restaurant—a good restaurant must always be consistent in serving good food to their diners.
Besides the Xiao Long Bao, we got the Vegetable and Pork Dumpling (P128/6pcs). It was a bad call for us since you can just guess the ratio of vegetables to pork from the picture. It was also quite bitter for my taste. (No, I did not eat the dumplings with my hands. Just that I couldn’t take a proper picture while holding the dumpling with my chopsticks)
Thankfully, Shi Lin’s noodle dishes were able to redeem their dim sum mishaps. My order of Noodles w/ Spicy Sesame and Peanut Sauce (P130) was superb. The creaminess and nuttiness of the sauce plus the toasted taste of sesame was the perfect combo. The level of heat was also just right: not too spicy, but enough to keep things hot and interesting.
Another noodle dish that exceeded our expectations was the Noodles w/ Braised Beef Soup (P235). This was one of the more expensive dishes on the menu, and good thing it delivered. The broth on this dish didn’t taste like the usual one-dimensional beef broth that’s served in other restaurants. Their broth had a more interesting flavor profile because it had a bit of tanginess to it that complemented the rich taste of beef.
Overall Verdict: Since half of what we ordered was good, while other half was below par, I might think twice before going here again. Maybe I’d go here if I’m nearby and I’m craving for some good noodles and dim sum, but it’s not really something I’d travel for.
Shi Lin, The Podium
3/F The Podium, ADB Ave. Ortigas Center
Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila
With and For Love,
Rina Caparras and Douglas Chong