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Monday, March 12, 2012

YOU JIE XIAO CHAO: A CHINESE HIDDEN TREASURE NEAR ROCKWELL


             If you ever find yourselves in the outskirts of the Rockwell area in Makati, and you pass this gate on Camia Street, do yourself a favor.. 

            Stop, go down, knock on the door and walk in.

          Because inside, you'll find some of the most amazing Chinese food you'll ever try in Metro Manila.  

                     Friends, let me tell you all about You Jie Xiao Chao...
          
       Though you (admittedly) probably won't see it from most of my 2012 posts, something that I resolved to do more of during the start of the year was to focus more on "hole in the wall places" to eat.. Small businesses that don't have the budget to afford a strong marketing campaign, and instead, rely on word of mouth and social media to advertise what they have to offer (I know Pancake House & P.F. Chang's don't qualify as a small business, but you'll have to forgive me because they made for good stories to tell). 

          Some of the small businesses I've been to this year include:

      Zark's, which has already reached legendary status among burger lovers that have seen what the Tombstone Burger looks like, making people demand for branches all over the metro.

      Sandwicheese, which given the quality of their sandwiches and the popularity of it's big brother Bannaple, I don't see it staying a small business for very long..  

         And most recently, Mad Mark's, whose titanic MAN Sandwiches and homemade ice cream 





How ya like my new ride?

    This weekend, Rina, my brother Ryan and I, decided to take my cousin Neil, who's here on vacation, out for lunch before we visited the EXPO KID Fair at Rockwell (To visit the Bug And Kelly Music Inspired Kids Wear booth!). Since Neil lives in the States, I didn't want to give him a fancy dining experience ethat wouldn't be much different from the food he can get back home, so I thought this would be the perfect time to try out this "Hole in The Wall" that I had heard about from my blogger friend, "Trip Or Treats" (She posted a picture on her facebook page of a fatty pork belly dish that made me drool).

   When I told Neil about my plan, he responded with an ecstatic, "I love hole in the wall restaurants!". 

   You Jie Xiao Chao is the EPITOME of "Hole In The Wall". When you get to Camia Street, (which is near Estrella Street on the side without water) there's a good chance you WILL drive past the restaurant, simply because there is no signage there to announce that you've reached the right place. Hell, even the hair salon beside it "Coznuts" has a signage to it, and yet this restaurant does not. 


   (But that's what made me feel even more Indiana-Jonesey


                The place is rather straight forward.. The interiors were simple, to the point of being boring, which kinda reflected on the names of the dishes (Not the flavors, mind you). I said that dish names such as "Fried Lamb" or "Fish with Brown Sauce" might not win points in creativity, but at the end of the day, as long as it tastes good, then it's fine in my book (I just made sure to stay away from the "Fried Intestines")


          You Jie Xiao Chao specializes in the Hunan style of Chinese cooking, which is known for its spiciness, bold flavors and beautiful colors. Thankfully, since my brother and I are weaklings when it comes to heat, they allowed us to set anything we ordered with chili in it to "Mild"

THE FOOD


                     Starting off the meal was the Fried Dumplings. It kinda reminded me a vegetarian gyoza, but truth be told, it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. The sweet soy sauce did give it an added punch of flavor, but this was something that I could get in any other Chinese Restaurant. 



           The Rice with Egg (P100) was amazing. It made me think about why the hell I had been eating fried rice with so so many ingredients such as Yang Chow or Salted Fish Fried Rice all these years (Because they're awesome, that's why). The rice was soft and buttery, and the little bits of green onions prevented it from being overly rich. We plowed through three of these bad boys with the greatest of ease.. and truth be told, we could have handled another plate with no entrees if needed be (Good thing it didn't need to be).
               


ENTREES


                   When you do the basic math of me loving lamb and onions, it came to no ones surprise that I ordered the "Lamb With Onions" (P280). Beautiful strips of lamb, sauteed with caramelized onions. Another simple, yet excellent dish. Both Ryan and Neil were surprised after virtually destroying the dish, because it was so tender and it didn't have the gamey flavor of lamb. They thought it was beef. 



             The actual beef dish arrived, Ziran Beef. The Beef itself was so thinly sliced, it was almost to the point of stringiness, so that it easily soaked in the flavors from the chili's and other spices that were mixed into the stir fry. I was amazed because they managed to keep it so flavorful, despite having to temper the spiciness due to our request. You get the nice aroma of the beef fried with the medley of onions in your mouth, followed by the light kick of heat that doesn't overwhelm you as much as captivate you. 


        The Steamed Pork, which was the picture I saw from Trip Or Treats that caught my attention, didn't look as pretty when I ordered it (Her picture looked absolutely gorgeous). Neil placed a spoonful into his mouth, and it only took him a couple of seconds to say "I love it!". 


     The slices of Pork Belly had generous heapings of fat on it, which immediately melted in your mouth once you took a bite. Flavor-wise, I was expecting it to be a little bit sweeter like "Humba" but it reminded me more of the Chinese Dish, "Pata Tim".. except with melt in your mouth fat.  




     Budget-wise, I was expecting the food of You Jie Xiao Chao to be a lot cheaper, since you're not exactly paying for the ambiance. However, you can't say that you are being ripped off either, because you see exactly where your money goes, in terms of the quality of the food! I'm gearing up for a visit to Binondo with my friends very soon, so it's good I visited this place for comparison. 


  I sincerely thank The beautiful Trip Or Treats for sharing her post with her readers, because this is something me and my family enjoyed.. Thanks Jean :)




PICTURE TIME




Neil discovering that Chinese food is more fun in the Philippines!


My bro Ryan, Neil and I... Empty plates all over

19 comments:

  1. Ah yes :D It's these hole on the walls that can deliver some of the best experiences of delight and satisfaction of finding something unassuming yet of great value :D

    I don't get the last picture where there is a golfer on the menu. That was funny :D

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    1. Yeah I guess they ran out of that dish and didn't have anything else to cover it up with hehe

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  2. oohh.. interesting! :) Will visit this one for sure :)

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    1. Please share your post here when you do, Berylle!

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  3. owwww. Looks yummy! More hole in the wall places please! ;)

    http://www.dekaphobe.com

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  4. So it has a name! D: We tried looking for this place before but it was so difficult to find that we just gave up. But I really do hear nothing but positive comments from this place. :)

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    Replies
    1. Apparently it does! If you need directions the next time you try to go, just lemme know :)

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    2. Actually, we were right there! :P Nakita namin yung barber shop pero di namin alam na it's right next to it. Fail. Haha!

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  5. By the looks of the place, it might be quite hard to find. :-p

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    1. Its not too difficult but there will be a good chance you'll miss it at first because it blends in with the neighborhood, and apart from the sign that shows they sell load, you won't get any idea that there's a business hidden in that house hehe

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  6. yes, i love the food here. brought some friends several times already. my main issue is actually the oiliness of the food.

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    1. Ah thankfully I don't mind oily food.. as evidenced by the state of my rather rotund physique hehe

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  7. That restaurant used to be called Hunan Lutong Bahay (loved the old name) and for that area (Rockwell) is as good as a Chinese hole-in-the wall could be. If youre going to Binondo, you should join the the Binondo Food WOK tour, its food with lotsa of history on the side!

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    Replies
    1. That was a great name! too bad they changed it!

      I really plan to join the Binondo Food Wok tour.. i've heard lots of great things about it! :)

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  8. This is along Camia right? One-way lang ba yung street na yun?

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    Replies
    1. Yes it's on Camia but I don't think it's one way :)

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