Friday, June 19, 2015

Tien Ma's Taiwanese Restaurant in Retiro QC

Unlike other cuisines like American or Italian, Taiwanese cuisine restaurants can still be numbered by your fingers. In fact, unless you are a hardcore fan of Taiwanese cuisine, I bet you that you can only name just 1 or 2. Recently opened, Tien Ma's Taiwanese restaurant will now add another choice to your Taiwanese dish cravings.

Do not underestimate neighborhood restaurants like Tien Ma's. Opened just this year, it's already gaining traction as you cannot catch it empty during lunch or dinner. Situated right besides McDonalds in Retiro corner D. Tuazon in Quezon City (It's along Retiro to be exact), this restaurant is definitely worth a visit even if you are from far away. You'll know why in a bit.

As you enter, you'll see the usual typical no frills Chinese/ Taiwanese type of restaurant. Well-lighted roomy interior, open type kitchen for the noodles, and a bunch of wait staff ready to serve. These are just some of the things you can experience dining here. Parking is a bit limited though so there will be times that you need to park a bit far away from the place. Don't worry. The walk is worth your while when you taste what Tien Ma's has to offer.

Here's a little history (or the lack of, if I may say so, since they just newly opened. Anyway, it's nice to know how they came about to creating this restaurant).

Taiwanese cuisine can already be synonymous to Xiao Long Bao. One is not to leave a Taiwanese restaurant without trying this famous dumpling dish with soup inside. As per the chef, the trick to put soup inside this dumpling is by making the soup to be in the gelatin form. This way, when you steam the dumpling, the gelatin will melt thus creating a soup contained inside the dumpling. The biggest Xiao Long Bao I have tried though is in Beijing. It was as big as a siopao and you have to use a straw to drink the soup inside! By the way, Tien Ma's XLB is a must order!

Xiao Long Bao | Php 200
Waiting for someone or wanting to try some Taiwanese appetizers? Try out their beef cold cuts! If you ask me, it's as good as one dish already! Can you believe one order of this is just 80 pesos? Look at the generous sized serving! I can order one cup of plain rice and this dish and I'll be full!

Beef Cold Cuts | P80
Usually, Taiwanese dishes is best partnered with rice (usually same with other our other Asian cuisine counterparts). Plain white rice can do but if you want to try out something not unique but also not the usual, get the Taiwanese style fried rice. I'm not sure if I was just hungry the time I tried it but I consumed a good amount of this fried rice when I dined that time. A bit on the oily side, maybe you can just request to use less oil but hey, a little extra oil to make it yum from time to time won't hurt.

Taiwanese Style Fried Rice | Php 200
Three cup chicken. What? The first time I heard of this dish, I was really weird-ed out on how it was called. Will it be served in 3 separate cups? will it just contain a tiny serving of chicken because it's measure in 3 small cups? Well, to give you a little history on this traditional Taiwanese cuisine, it's called SanBeiJi in Taiwan. Apparently, the 3 cup chicken name was derived from the need to have 3 different cups of sauces to make this dish. In the olden times, they use earthenware pots to cook this. It is then cooked until the sauce is dry and the chicken has absorbed all the sauces. Well for me, I usually order this dish and ask for extra sauce because it tastes good with rice. This dish wasn't the best 3 cup chicken I have tried but nevertheless, worth ordering if you are craving for some.

Three Cup Chicken | Php 199
Another must-not-miss to order is the Pan Fried Pork and Shrimp dumplings. I'm not sure about the gimmicky fried lumpia skin cover but the dumpling itself was good. This is one of my most favorite dish that night! (Note: The fried dumplings are underneath the fried lumpia wrapper.)

Pan Fried Pork & Shrimp Dumplings | Php 200
These pork with kuchay handmade dumplings have nothing special in them. In fact, it tasted very familiar. I guess it's hard to improve what has been "usually good" already. It tastes like any other dumplings with kuchay inside but you know what, if you think about it, it can be considered comfort food as each bite of the dumplings you are already familiar with brings back good memories. Again, nothing special but it is as good as it can be.

Hand Made Pork w/ Kuchay Dumplings | P 150
Disclaimer. I am NOT a fan of anything stinky when it comes to food but, I am willing to try. This next dish is the stinky tofu in special sauce. When it was served, it looked just like any tofu hotpot dish would look like. Except when you get some, you'll know why it's called stinky. For a few seconds before I took a bite, I felt like a contestant in Fear Factor. Exaggeration aside, it is really stinky but once you eat some, it just tastes like normal tofu. I'm really not sure why it's famous in the streets of Taiwan or Hong Kong where you can smell the store selling stinky tofu from a block or two away. If you want something more stinky, get the fried stinky tofu. They said that the special sauce of this dish has already masked majority of the stinky-ness. Wow! Good thing this is what we had!

Stinky Tofu w/ Special Sauce | Php 199
If you can still keep count, the next few dishes might sound less than stellar because we were stuffed to the brim. You know the feeling? It's like you still want to eat but the mouth won't chew? Anyways, I still tried a few strands of the Ja Chang noodles. It can be eaten dry or with the clear soup provided. Eating just a spoonfull won't give me enough words to describe it but if you are a fan of noodles, I think it's a must try.

Ja Chang Noodles | Php 120
Dessert time. I'm not sure what this dessert is called but it seemed like a pear cooked using 1 liter of syrup. It was so sweet! The pear was also so soft and has absorbed most of the sweet stuff I just called syrup. I'm not a fan of how it tasted but I still congratulate the restaurant for trying to be innovative. Or is this an authentic Taiwanese cuisine inspired dessert as well? I don't know.

Pear something (?)

Ahh, Man Tou! These deep fried, oil producing things can supply oil to the Philippines and make us rich! Yes, it is oily. Dip it on the condensed milk provided and you'll know why this dish, although super oily (because it is deep fried) is still ordered by many. It's nice to indulge once in a while but, moderation is still key.

Fried Man Tou | P 150
That's what we had that night. The experience was good. I was seated with some of our blogger friends, Rowena (Animetric). John (Kumagcow), and Peter (Maybe soon to be blogger if he was not so busy with all his businesses). The meal was well enjoyed because it was delicious but also, because it was spent with friends (and maybe family, in your case). Overall, Tien Ma's Taiwanese restaurant is a good place to dine as they serve the usual home-cooked style Taiwanese fare at a very affordable price. It's a neighborhood restaurant for now as they have one branch but hopefully, one day, they get to open more so more people can try their delicious Taiwanese food.

Tien Ma's
Operating Hours: 10am ~ 11pm
168 D. Tuazon Street corner NS Amoranto (Formerly Retiro), Quezon City

Facebook: TienMasTaiwaneseCuisine
Twitter: @TienMas
Instagram: @TienMasTaiwaneseCuisine

Tien Ma's Menu

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