A close runner-up and as pricey as Lung Hin at the Marco Polo Hotel, serving similar international Chinese fare, but with better service. Try the lechon appetizer.
Try Crystal Dragon at the Upper G/F, Crown Towers Manila, Aseana Boulevard corner Macapagal Avenue, Entertainment City, Parañaque City, +632 691 7782, +632 800 8080. Table reservation recommended.
2 Lung Hin
Currently leads the pack when it comes to Chinese fine dining. It’s not cheap and will set you back more than P2,000 (about US$44) per head for the a la carte menu, but this restaurant most accurately reflects the state of contemporary Chinese cuisine on the international circuit.
Get to Lung Hin at 44/F, Marco Polo Hotel, Sapphire Street corner Meralco Avenue, Ortigas, Pasig City, +632 720 7777.
3 Ling Nam
Serves the best beef brisket and wonton noodle soup in town. Not the most authentic, but the most adapted for local taste. There’s only one branch worth going to and that’s the one on T. Alonzo Street. Dinner for two will cost around P500-P600 with drinks. A solo order of beef wonton noodles is priced at P170.
Grab a bite at Ling Nam at 616 T. Alonzo Street, Santa Cruz, Manila, +632 733 5231.
Offers a very authentic Sichuan experience — brush up on your Mandarin or enlist the help of one of the servers. Their Chongqing chicken is good, but most people go there for the hotpot (unlike shabu-shabu, the water/oil mixture is not to be imbibed!). Eye-wateringly hot but extremely cheap hole-in-the-wall. Set aside P500 to P1,000.
Visit Hot Space China at 2/F Jupiter Suites, 1 Juno Street corner Makati Avenue, Bel-Air, Makati City, +63 917 543 4303.
5 Mann Hann
Perhaps unique among the Chinese restaurants outside Binondo, Mann Hann serves the kind of food that the Chinese in the Philippines eat at home. Try the ke kiam. Dinner should set you back about P500.
Mann Hann has branches throughout Metro Manila. The main branch in Little Baguio, San Juan is the best at 233 Jose Abad Santos, Little Baguio, San Juan City, tel +632 723 2918.
6 Choi Garden
The main rival of Gloriamaris for the Greenhills crowd celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and family reunions or gatherings. Generally, you’ll be ordering for a banquet rather than a table for two, although that’s possible as well. In which case don’t miss their fried pigeon, braised tofu, and fish maw. About P800 a meal for one.
Visit Choi Garden at 12 Annapolis corner Purdue Street, Greenhills, San Juan City, +632 727 6042.
7 Hai Kang
A little downmarket, with correspondingly less ambiance, but good value for money. Live fish and braised turtle are particularly good. A full meal for one or two is P800 to P1,000.
Try Hai Kang at 227 Wilson Street, Greenhills, San Juan City, +632 570 6325. Table reservation recommended.
The place has its regulars for dinner — the Peking Duck is excellent — but best to go for lunch, when it’s bustling and the tall glass windows show off a lovely manicured view. Best place to go for dim sum (yum cha), shrimp hakaw, various dumplings, and dongbo pork (an off-the-menu item). P3,000 to P5,000 for two to three people.
Summer Palace, 2/F, Edsa Shangri-La, 1 Garden Way, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City, tel +632 633 8888.
“The following restaurants aren’t on my list of top Chinese restaurants, but there’s one or two good things going for them,” Palanca said.
Everyone’s favorite restaurant that we wish we could still love. Sadly, food has gone downhill and the prices have soared. Their hot prawn salad was a fixture during its heyday. About P1,000 per person for a group of six.
Visit Gloria Maris at Missouri Street, San Juan City, +632 570 0921.
It’s an old and stuck-in-time restaurant along Roxas Boulevard that does make a great hotpot (ask what’s available), P1,500 to P2,000 for two.
Szechuan House is at Aloha Hotel, 2150 Roxas Boulevard corner Quirino Avenue, Malate, Manila, +632 526 8088.
Okay, so it’s a chain, but the Manila branches of the Hong Kong restaurant are well up to their one-Michelin-star standard and their menu goes far beyond the famous barbecue buns. The beancurd rolls are highly recommended. P300 to P500 per person.
Tim Ho Wan is on the ground floor of Glorietta 3, Ayala Center, Glorietta Complex, Makati City, tel +632 729 9367.
About our insider
Clinton Palanca writes about food for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He is a trained chef and was a restaurateur. He has written several books, including The Mad Tea Party: The Pleasures of Taste, a collection of essays on his food adventures, and My Angkong’s Noodles, a recipe book and exploration of Chinese Filipino food culture.
Originally published in InFlight Traveller June to August 2016. Updated September 2016