I haven't been to La Loma for quite a while now. My Mom used to be a school administrator at E. Rodriguez Jr. High School so a trip to this part of Quezon City was but a normal thing. This place is sprawling with restaurants, several specialty stores and the haven for lechon. There are tons of Chinese Restaurants but only a few good ones. I guess it's time you pay a visit to Tien Ma, a restaurant that specializes in Taiwanese cuisine. I haven't been here but honestly, my first impression is, they've got really good food in this joint.
Tien Ma is owned and operated by the same people who brought you Angel's Pizza and Figaro. The owners are Chinese, and the family wanted to have authentic tasting Chinese food while they live here in the Philippines. Tien Ma means Mama Tien, and the premise is, to ultimately make this place feel like home. You can say it's a hole in the wall thing, they also have some dishes that you can only find in Taiwanese stalls and theirs is a good version.
The place can sit around 80-100 people, but lunch and dinner probably gets pretty packed especially on weekends. Parking is another matter, so if you're planning to have lunch, go there a little earlier. As for the price, I haven't really seen anything too expensive at all. I love what we had that evening though, which I'll show you here.
For starters, we had Xiao Long Bao. This small steamed bun just explodes in your mouth when you get your teeth pierce its exterior. As with any dimsum, you must consume it while it's hot. Take notice of the dipping sauce (vinegar with ginger) that will be served with this because it'll probably taste bland without it. It's essential and is just so good when you bite on it.
Since it was a little hot outside, I ordered the Chinese Melon Shake. They use real fruit and none of those powders you see in other stores. It did it's job, albeit a little pricey it was well worth it because I think they use Chinese melons, prolly imported.
I think this is still part of the appetizers, they call this Beef Cold Cuts. It's on the savory side so I thought this was going to be heavy but since they sliced it real thin, it was something good you can imagine to put onto hot white rice. But we didn't have white rice that evening.
This is Tien Ma's Taiwan Style Fried Rice. I think it's mostly comprised of savory pork sausages and dark soy, plus a couple of other herbs from the Chinese side of things. It's not too oily, just right. If you're a little tired of white rice, then this would be a good thing. They also had Pineapple Fried Rice on the other table when I peeked.
It's like chicken broiled for hours in soy based sauce, this is their 3 Cups Chicken. Anything cooked in a claypot is really good for me, I think I've tasted something like this in the past and I think the way they cook this is with just three cups of ingredients hence the name. I can imagine a hot bowl of porridge together with this because it's fresh and the basil breaks your Chinese experience a bit in this dish. It's savory, on the sweet side but still very good. I'd probably order this again.
This is one of their specialties, they call it the Pan Fried Dumplings. I think they use the same batter to keep the pieces together and they flip it over after a few minutes of frying in the wok. They also have a thick sweet sauce with this which makes it have a little character. This is very pretty in person and you're going to love it once you start slicing it open, a pretty good thing with kids who have never tasted Chinese food.
This is my personal favorite on their menu, the Pork with Kuchai Dumpling. Well I have to admit I really love these boiled type of dumplings. It's like a canvass where you can dip it into anything and it'll still taste great. If taken alone, it was pretty bland but once you get the dips in the mix, this is just so good. I was the only one who took quite a lot on the dinner table and I haven't been sorry since LOL!
I was afraid of it when they mentioned they had this on the menu. This is the famous Stinky Tofu in Special Sauce. It's been said that when you have this in Taiwan, you can smell it from a block away and know where it's being served. This however wasn't the case in Tien Ma, I think they know how to tone it down a bit by using the special sauce, it was my first time trying this and you know what? I didn't find it so bad. If you can, you might actually compare this with cheese but of course it's made of tofu. I survived and the others liked it too. If you're feeling adventurous, then by all means go ahead!
This is their Ja Chang Noodles. I guess it's soy based and the bits and pieces are made with mushrooms and tofu. You can opt to have this dry which will make it savory and a tad sweet or have it with beef broth and it'll turn out like a rice noodle. It's nice both ways but I prefer the dry version, you'll get to experience the intense flavors.
I heard the dessert selections and this one is their Pear in Red Wine. I didn't think it would work, but it really was good. I can compare it with the Sweetened Saba Bananas which Moms usually make at home. The thing is surprisingly similar but it felt lighter since it is a pear poached with this sauce. Pretty good!
Most of you probably had this Cuapao before and never even thought that it could actually be fried. Yes, this is their Fried Cuapao. They serve this with a side of Condensed Milk which for me made it even interesting. I didn't know you could do this really, so the next time I'm going to the grocery's freezer, I'll pick up Cuapao and make one at home. Or better yet, just order one off Tien Ma since their version is crunchy outside and a little fluffy inside. I could finish a whole plate of these just for lunch, that's how good it is. Loved it so much that I took some home.
I thought I already had Chinese food in other restaurants but this one by Tien Ma made me thing that there's really some other things out there that are just waiting to be tasted! If you're around the area, or if your family or friends are finding some place to eat, make sure one of your choices would be Tien Ma. They're located at 168 D Tuazon Street Corner NS Amoranto Avenue in Quezon City. It's like a block away from Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Retiro, the street's former name. Don't hesitate to take the trip down there because as I've seen, they don't have anything on the menu that is past 200 pesos. Really bang for the buck!
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Tien Ma Taiwanese Cuisine
Visit their official website
Tien Ma Taiwanese Cuisine