Thursday, October 30, 2014

TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie: Hong Kong Comfort Food with a French Flair

The friendly staff greet you at the entrance, and a server leads me to my table. Garbed with a crisp white top and a brightly colored scarf topped with a beret, the server suggests I try their signature Hong Kong style coffee while I wait for the others. And for a brief moment, the rustic charm of the brasserie-style interiors bring you to the famed streets of Paris until a quick glance at the menu reminds you that you're here not for French cuisine, but for traditional Hong Kong style comfort food. At TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie, the seemingly mixed visual cues is just one of the unique elements that make it stand out for a unique dining experience.   

TuanTuan is the first Chinese Brasserie in the country, serving classic Hong Kong style comfort food with a French flair. Traditional Hong Kong style favorites comprise the core of TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's menu, served fresh from the kitchen amidst a sophisticated yet cozy French-inspired ambiance.  

Located at the 3rd Level of the new SM Mega Fashion Hall, TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie is the latest in a string of new dining establishments to open at the new wing. Inside TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie,  the dark wooden chairs are dramatically contrasted by the elegant crystal chandeliers. This is definitely not your typical Chinese restaurant...  

Named after the Chinese word for "gathering things together" or "round and round," TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie brings together the very best of traditional Hong Kong comfort food, all "rounded up" in one place. And it all starts with a perfectly brewed cup of coffee to kick off your dining experience at TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie.   

TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's signature Hong Kong Style Coffee, a robust and intensely flavored brew balanced by the right amount of milk. Rich, creamy, with a lingering sweet note, TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's Hong Kong Style Coffee brings you back to the simpler days when coffee was coffee. And the secret ingredient is the familiar Black & White Milk, the same brand used by the most reputable Hong Kong tea masters.  

Friesland's Black & White Milk was one of the very first brands of condensed milk introduced in Hong Kong over seventy years ago during the colonial era, and has remained an iconic brand enriching both coffee and tea for generations. And this is perfectly recreated at TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie in each and every cup.  

As more diners arrived, the kitchen fires up and comes alive with a frenetic pace, and the first of TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's signature dishes were served.

TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's Crispy Barbecued Pork Snow Buns, light and crisp buns filled with savory pork. The distinct white color differentiates TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's pork buns from the other buns in the metro, but the color isn't the only feature that sets it apart.   

The buns have a noticeably crispier texture, with a gentle crackling sound in every bite. The rich flavors of the barbecued pork complements the crisp buns, and not too overly sweet as the other buns. Balanced flavors and contrasting textures, TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's Crispy Barbecued Pork Snow Buns is definitely one of the best in the metro. And the best part? You don't have to wait in long lines to enjoy these buns...

Then, TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's wide and diverse range of Hong Kong comfort food, with many dishes reflecting influences from Macanese cuisine, as well as Asian curries, were served.  Start with the Honey Garlic Spare Ribs, deep-fried crunchy pork with a light breading in a thick and sweet sauce. The bite-sized pieces are just packed with rich flavors, you'll definitely go for seconds and thirds.

TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's famous Mui Garden Curry is a rich blend of over twenty meticulously blended spices with creamy coconut milk for a thick, flavorful and comforting curry dish. The dish is recreated here in Manila from the same recipe that has satisfied diners in both Hong Kong and Canada, where TuanTuan first gained recognition. Go for the US Premium Beef Rib & Tendon Curry, with tender beef in a thick and rich and lightly sweet curry sauce. A comforting curry dish that's just perfect with steamed white rice, classic comfort food.

Another rice dish is served, the House Special Trio, with Baked Seafood, Wild Mushroom and Pork Chop on Rice, a medley of rich flavors in one dish. Each component of the trio has distinct flavors, yet all blend perfectly as you go for another scoop.

The dishes at TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie are best paired with their tall signature Thai Milk Tea, sweetened with the familiar Black & White Milk. The bold note of the dark tea is enhanced by a layer of sweet, creamy hints from the milk for a refreshing beverage.

Not to be missed are TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's line of specialty congee, cooked for hours until the rice blooms for that distinctive smooth and creamy consistency Hong Kong style congee is known for. The different ingredients are then added to the congee base and slow cooked until the flavors are infused for a comforting bowl. Congee dishes include the Chao Chou Rice Porridge with Oysters and Pork Ball and Liver Congee

And there's more. TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's Grilled Ox Tongue, perfectly grilled and tender, a personal favorite. As is or with steamed white rice, this is one dish I'd come back to at TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie. 

TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie also offers Malay Laksa, with pork or seafood and vegetables in a spicy and creamy broth. The spice levels are soothing, without being too spicy, balanced by the creamy coconut milk.

Macau Style Cajun Chicken Fillet, a meal in itself, with boneless crusted chicken on vegetables and rice with sauce and sweet corn on the side.  Anything fried with rice is always a comforting combination, and this one is too.

At TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie, cap your dining experience with another kind of bun, the sweet kind. TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's Pineapple Buns, with the same crisp buns filled with sweet and tart pineapples. The light and crisp buns and the pineapple stuffing are a perfect and delicious ending to a comforting meal. 

Traditional comfort food in a cool brasserie setting, definitely not your typical Chinese restaurant. TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's Dining Operations Manager, Katrina K. Chua, and the rest of the staff welcome you to the newest restaurant at the Mega Fashion Hall for a comforting taste of Hong Kong and a unique dining experience.

Have a cup of TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's Hong Kong Style Coffee with or after your meal, a few Crispy Barbecued Pork Snow Buns, maybe a Malay Laksa or perhaps Grilled Ox Tongue. At TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie, you can have all your Hong Kong style comfort food, while being served by the friendly staff dressed with scarves and berets. Now that's cool. 

TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie is located at the 3rd Level of SM Mega Fashion Hall, Building D, SM Mega Mall, Mandaluyong City or call 632-7483 or 0915-500-8026 for inquiries.

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