Sunday, November 9, 2014

Asian Flavors at the TriNoma Food Crawl

Japanese, Thai, Singaporean and Chinese flavors, in one place, all in one day. The modern mall has definitely evolved becoming a true dining destination. Yummy, one of the country's leading food magazines, in cooperation with TriNoma by Ayala Malls, present their top culinary picks at the TriNoma Food Crawl... 

Five distinct culinary experiences curated by Yummy Magazine, one epic food crawl. Here's a rundown on the top picks by Yummy Magazine's editorial staff at TriNoma...

First Stop: Ginza Bairin. One of Japan's oldest Tonkatsu restaurants established way back in 1927, Ginza Bairin knows tonkatsu. And they know it well. With a growing presence in Hawaii, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Korea, and now with three branches in Manila, you can't go wrong with their traditional and authentic cutlets. 

Yummy Magazine's editorial team selected two of Ginza Bairin's signature dishes, starting with their Rosu Katsu Curry Set, tender and juicy pork loin coated with a crisp and light layer of breading paired with a thick and richly spiced curry sauce. You can choose between the regular or mild and spicy curry base, either way, the combo packs quite a flavorful punch. The delicate flavors of the juicy pork and the crisp breading offer contrasting textures, perfectly finished by the rich curry. The full set comes with a bowl of comforting miso, shredded cabbage, pickled vegetables and fresh fruit for a complete meal. Here's a tip, try a piece of the crisp and juicy cutlet without the sauce. Juicy, tender with a crisp layer with pure flavors that's just great on its own. That's pretty much 87 years of katsu experience right there.  

The second dish selected by Yummy Magazine's editorial team is Ginza Bairin's Special Katsudon Set, with tender Hire Katsu on soft, fluffy and fragrant Koshihikari Rice with an intensely flavored sauce of broth simmered for hours topped with delicately poached farm fresh eggs. Gently poke the egg and let the yolk run for an even richer blend of flavors. The leaner Hire pork cutlet is just as tender and juicy with its signature panko breading, complemented by the rich sauce and the egg. A Ginza Bairin original, and another winner.

Ginza Bairin's Green Tea and Black Sesame Ice Cream caps your katsu meal, with uniquely Japanese flavors. My TriNoma Food Crawl is off to a great start...

Second Stop: Hanamaruken Ramen. Established in 1982 by a family of Japanese butchers in Osaka, Hanamaruken Ramen is known for its signature Happiness Ramen, combining pure pork bliss with noodles and a rich broth. And you'll agree this is a perfect marriage between pork and ramen. Seriously.   

The signature Happiness Ramen, the ramen that built Hanamaruken, with its rich and comforting shoyu tonkotsu broth and noodles topped with tender, slow-braised custom-cut soft-bone pork ribs. And that's a perfect marriage right there. First, take a sip of the shoyu tonkotsu broth. The creamy broth, simmered for an entire day and flavored with Japanese soy sauce, a proprietary blend of secret seasonings and lots of pork, leaves a butter-like feel in your mouth, and you're just about ready for the noodles. Add a piece of the fork-tender, or in this case, chopstick tender ribs, and close your eyes. And repeat. Also braised for hours, the pork ribs add that distinct flavor unique to Hanamaruken. The aji tamago, negi, narutomaki, and Japanese nori complete the flavors and textures in this Osaka style ramen. This is happiness in a bowl.

The hearty Drunk Man Rice Bowl, with Japanese rice topped with tender slices of braised pork and two eggs. Like the Happiness Ramen, the braised pork with its savory and sweet glaze makes this dish unique. Hanamaruken's expertise and passion for pork is evident in all its dishes. Mix it up with the rice and eggs, and you've got a surefire cure for the blues, or even a nasty hangover. A meal in itself, this dish is just as popular as Hanamaruken's line of ramen.

Hanamaruken's refreshing Iced Green Tea is the perfect match with your ramen or rice bowl, not too sweet, with clean flavors to contrast with the richness of the Happiness Ramen or the Drunk Man Rice Bowl. Two down, three to go, and one more spoonful of Drunk Man Rice Bowl, and it's on to the next stop.  

Third Stop: Mango Tree Bistro. The best of Thai cuisine, now at TriNoma. Specializing in the rich culinary heritage from all four regions of Thailand, Mango Tree Bistro serves authentic Thai dishes using the freshest ingredients. The interiors are pretty impressive too, with a cool modern vibe. 

Gai Tha Krai Yang, grilled Thai herbed chicken with lemongrass served with Northeastern Thai dipping sauce. The tender chicken, with the subtle hint of fragrant lemongrass, is really great as is. But a dip in the distinct dipping sauce gives it a burst of flavors. As with many Thai dishes, the dip adds layers of sweet, sour, and salty notes to the chicken. Elegantly plated, a great starter.

Next, Mango Tree Bistro's Grapow Moo, stir-fried pork with garlic, fresh hot basil, and spicy red chili. A northeastern Thai specialty, Grapow Moo is best with steamed white rice, with the delicate flavors of the tender pork enhanced by the garlic, herbs and chili. Fresh, clean and bold authentic Thai flavors round out our third stop at the TriNoma Food Crawl.

Fourth Stop: Wee Nam Kee. Since it first opened in Singapore's Novena District in 1989, Wee Nam Kee has grown to several more branches, including its first international location in Manila, driven mainly by the popularity of its signature Hainanese Chicken Rice. 

But there's more to Wee Nam Kee than its signature Hainanese Chicken. Like Wee Nam Kee's version of the iconic Laksa, the new Hainanese Chicken Curry Noodles. Thai noodles in a rich and flavorful curry broth topped with tofu, vegetables and Wee Nam Kee's steamed Hainanese chicken combine for a medley of rich flavors in a bowl. The complex blend of curry spices pack quite a punch, with just enough heat from the chili that makes you go for yet another sip. The tender chicken and tofu balances the soothing heat, while adding even more flavor. One more bowl? Absolutely.

Wee Nam Kee's Salted Egg Chinese Style Fried Chicken, a personal favorite. Tender and juicy chicken with a crisp outer layer enriched with salted egg. The sharp notes of the salted egg coating contrasts with the delicate flavors of the juicy chicken, and the crisp breading gives it texture. Rich flavors and contrasting textures in every bite. Sounds awesome? It is. Seriously good.

Fifth Stop: Pearl River Cafe. Craving for dimsum, noodles, congee, rice toppings and other Cantonese dishes? Head over to Pearl River Cafe, our last stop in the epic TriNoma Food Crawl. Traditional, hearty and comforting Cantonese cuisine at reasonable prices. Sounds like another winner...

Steamed Crab Roe & Shrimp Shaomai, the classic steamed seafood dimsum favorite, starts my dimsum experience at Pearl River Cafe. The dimsum is moist and juicy, perfectly steamed with delicate flavors. A dip in light soy sauce or chili does the trick, and the bamboo steamer is empty in no time.

Then, Pearl River Cafe's intricate Steamed Buns with Custard Paste & Salted Egg Yolk were served, almost too pretty to eat. But it doesn't take long before you go for one of the buns. The soft bun and the sweet custard paste filling enriched with salted egg yolk combine for a sweet finish, and you'll probably want one more piece. And another.

Five distinct cuisines. In one mall. All in a day. One awesome food crawl...the TriNoma Food Crawl by Yummy Magazine and TriNoma by Ayala Malls was definitely a memorable experience. Can't wait for the next...

TriNoma by Ayala Malls is located at EDSA corner North Avenue, Quezon City or call 901-3000 for inquiries. You can also visit their FB Page for promo updates here at

Check out Yummy Magazine's feature on the TriNoma Food Crawl here at more information on Yummy Magazine, and the latest recipes, check out their FB Page at

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