Sunday, August 20, 2017

Caveman Beef Ribs, Not Mapo Tofu, and Surf & Turf Noodles at Ping Pong Diplomacy

You definitely won't find these dishes with their descriptive names in the usual mainstream Chinese joint. Then again, Ping Pong Diplomacy isn't your usual Chinese restaurant. Not by a long shot...

Drawing inspiration from the seventies with the historic re-opening of Sino-American relations sparked by the exchange of table tennis players, the cleverly-named Ping Pong Diplomacy offers a uniquely fresh and inventive take on Chinese cuisine infused with good ol' American flair. Chefs Him Uy de Baron and Noel Mauricio call it "progressive Chinese." You can simply call it Ping Pong Diplomacy's power-smashing #killerserve...

Start your feast with a refreshing Cucumber Ginger Cooler (P 110) and the Soup of the Day (P 80), a hearty Pork Rib Soup (for more on Ping Pong Diplomacy's progressive Chinese-American cuisine and its cool New York Chinatown vibe, see my earlier post, Progressive Chinese: A Tasty Peek at Ping Pong Diplomacy's New Dishes).

Ping Pong Diplomacy starts with familiar flavors as its base for each dish, then throws away the traditional recipes along with the rule book for its Chinese-American dishes adding their own innovative spin for a refreshingly new and different dining experience. Take the Surf & Turf Noodles (P 295) with plump blue mussels, char siu thick-cut bacon and 63c egg for example. It's a noodle dish transformed, one bite brings nostalgia while another bite tells you this isn't your grandma's noodle dish. It's this play on old and new that makes Ping Pong Diplomacy's menu so exciting. 

The Not Mapo Tofu (P 345) with delicately steamed silken tofu topped with pork two ways, minced ground pork and slabs of pork belly draped in a fiery hot and thick chili sauce is another case in point. The classic Szechuan dish of tofu with the signature scorching yet soothing heat from loads of chili is given another makeover with the addition of tender pork belly slices adding a savory richness. Different, yes, but this reinvented version does the trick. So well, in fact, that you'll want some extra rice with it. The rich notes of the pork belly are tempered by the chili, rounded out by the delicate nutty hints of the tofu. The silken tofu just melts in your mouth, releasing the mouth-numbing spice, and it gets better with the pork belly. Definitely not something you'll find in a Szechuan restaurant simply because Ping Pong Diplomacy is far from just the usual Szechuan or even Chinese restaurant.

And no, you probably won't find something like this as well at the neighborhood Chinese joint. The Caveman Beef Rib (P 625) is as impressive as its name, a massive slab of fork-tender braised beef, deep-fried to crunchy perfection topped with crispy shallots and served with a flavorful Zhenjang vinaigrette. The texture of the beef is made lighter by deep-frying after braising for hours, yet that savory firm bite is there to remind you this is real beef. The crispy shallots add both texture and flavor, while the mildly sweet and tart Zhenjang sauce completes the dish.

Comfortingly familiar yet refreshingly different. And you can only find it here at Ping Pong Diplomacy.

And with a spread like this, you'll need some fried rice. The Fluffy Egg Fried Rice (P 265) is just what you need to complete your not so Chinese feast at Ping Pong Diplomacy. And it works just fine. There's Chinese food, and there's progressive Chinese dishes. And you can find it here at Ping Pong Diplomacy.

Ping Pong Diplomacy is located at the Third Floor of SM Aura Premier, C5 Road Corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City or call 02 960-4271 for inquiries and more information.

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  1. Those look really good! They sure have some nice twists from the classic Chinese food you usually see. I'll be sure to give this place a visit next time :)

    1. Hi Lev, it's a cool and refreshing twist to the usual Chinese food, and it really works! Thanks for visiting my blog!


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