The Banawe neighborhood in QC is now being marketed as the Chinatown of Quezon City, but the food scene there is more than just about China. There’s also quite a bit of Taiwanese fare as well.
Tien Ma’s Taiwanese Cuisine is located a few steps away from McDonald’s along Retiro (or N.S. Amoranto) Street in Quezon City. We went there at the peak of the lunchtime rush on a Sunday and were lucky enough to score a table without having to wait. If we arrived a little bit later, we would have joined the groups who had to wait in line to be seated.
Upon being seated, we were given a pot of hot tea to enjoy.
Dad has eaten at Tien Ma’s before, so he recommended we get a serving of their xiao long bao (Php200 per basket of 9 pieces). These little pockets of heaven tasted really good, especially with the delicate wrapper that held the pork and the “soup” safely inside.
We also decided to order a serving of their Steamed Pork Dumplings with Kuchay (Php150.00). There’s a stronger kuchay smell and flavor in these versus those from other restaurants, so some people may find it a bit unappetizing.
The Cold Beef Slices swimming in some light soy sauce and topped with spring onions was one of the dishes Mom and Dad enjoyed a lot. They said that each slice was tender.
Dad also thought that ordering their Deep Fried Stinky Tofu (Php199.00) was going to be fun, to Mom’s absolute disgust. :p These were served extremely hot and stinky, and tasted pretty close to the ones we had in Taipei. The tables beside ours were giving us more disgusted looks as we munched through the pungent pieces of tofu. One tip: Eat some pickled vegetables with each small chunk of the tofu. The sourness cuts through the pungency really well. We find that it’ll distract you from the smell quite effectively haha! 🙂
Dad had a bowl of Tien Ma’s Wanton Noodle Soup, which was served with chewy hand-pulled noodles.
Looking for something a little heavier, Mom chose to get the Minced Pork Rice (Php60.00). We were expecting ground meat, but noticed that it was really just a bowl of rice topped with minced pork fat. Think of the pata tim’s (stewed pork leg) skin and fat, minced finely and tossed in its gooey, sweet sauce. In all honesty, it tasted pretty good but we don’t think it’s anything close to healthy. :p
If you find yourself stuck in the middle of this place during peak hours, I suggest you extend your patience as service has a tendency to be slow. Some of the wait staff look like they’re still undergoing training while we were there. Parking can also be a nightmare as there are very limited slots availablein front of the restaurant. Since its location is right next to several establishments and a major intersection as well, you won’t be allowed to park anywhere you like.
Overall, though, the food quality for its price range isn’t all that bad. Tien Ma’s is a good place to visit if you’re craving for decent xiao long bao while in the Banawe area, especially since good xiao long bao isn’t easy to find, even in this place dubbed as the “Quezon City Chinatown”.