Date # 64: Choi Palace
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Choi Palace at Eastwood Mall is the newly opened sister restaurant of Choi Garden, located in San Juan. Both are highly esteemed Chinese restaurants that promise to serve high quality food ranging from the common dimsum and noodles fare to the more costly seafood, pork, poultry and beef dishes.
Choi Palace makes use of a unique gold and white color scheme, different from the usual red-dominated colors that other Chinese restaurants use. The setting exudes a posh and luxurious vibe which may strike some customers as intimidating, but I assure you that the prices here are actually very reasonable.
The tables at this side of the restaurant have rotating Lazy Susan’s embedded on top, which make it more convenient for people who would like to dine in large groups.
We began with a serving of Hakao (P100). It was a steal for its price—the four pieces of plump, pinkish, crystal skin dumplings were generously filled with succulent and flavorful shrimps that tasted fresh out of the water—nicely crunchy and sweet. The dumpling skins were skillfully made—they retained their beautiful, scallop-like shape, and had a nice firm texture without being too tough or thick.
Choi Palace mixes XO sauce with the usual chili found on the table that diners can use to their heart’s content. XO sauce is a sweet and spicy flavoring that adds more depth to the flavor.
I am one of those people who cannot live without Xiao Long Bao (P120). They’re my not-so-secret obsession. Choi Palace’s version is extremely delicate, so be careful not to poke a hole with your chopsticks, or else the savory (albeit oily) broth inside these dumplings will leak out. The meat inside the dumpling is tender and fresh, although the overall taste pales in comparison to other Xiao Long Baos in the country.
Douglas ordered this Dried Shrimp with Spring Onion Rolls (P140) because he said the dimsum reminded him of their old family restaurant where they served this as their specialty. These are pan-fried rice rolls that are coated with dried shrimp and spring onions.
We would have preferred it if the rolls had been fried long enough to have a toasty coating. The taste was okay, pretty average, they’re more enjoyable with the sweet mayonnaise dressing, but pretty boring just by themselves.
For our main dish, we ordered Beef Ribs w/ Black Pepper Sauce (P480). The dish is comprised of thin slices of beef ribs generously coated in black pepper sauce, all lying on a bed of crunchy noodles. The beef was a tad bit too tough—I assume it’s because they had sliced the meat against the grain. I ate this with my spoon and fork halfway through the meal because I got impatient with chopsticks. The taste compensated for the overall texture, though. It was sweet, buttery, peppery and savory all at the same time.
Of course, we couldn’t leave the restaurant without letting Douglas have a hot bowl of Almond Puree (P140). This is a staple in Chinese restaurants. Choi Palace’s version was sweeter than the usual blend, and the almond did not dissolve too well into the soup. Nevertheless, it was still good, and it still made us happy.
Overall Verdict: I’m really glad, ecstatic even, that Eastwood finally has its own Chinese restaurant that it can be really proud of. This place is a must try for everyone who want to satiate their cravings for good Chinese food. Next time we’ll try more of their seafood dishes, given the chance.
Choi Palace Seafood and Shark’s Fin Restaurant
3rd Level, Eastwood Mall
Eastwood Ave. & Orchard Road, Bagumbayan
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
With and For Love,
Rina Caparras and Douglas Chong