Red Onion Café: Bringing the Best of Taiwanese Cuisine to Manila
Taiwanese food is not as popular in the Philippines as its fellow Asians: Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, and so on. The simple reason for this is that there aren’t many places here that offer food from Taiwan. More often than not, they are just a little addition here and there to Chinese menus. Red Onion Café is here to change that. This recently opened restaurant is situated in what promises to be a hub of good places to eat, the U.P. Town Center. The brainchild of Mark Endaya and Wen-Szu Lin, Red Onion Café brings us the best of Taiwanese and Chinese fare in one menu.
The main theme of our meal at Red Onion was “wow, I’ve never had anything quite like that before”. The flavors were somehow familiar but different. The dishes were conventional yet executed differently. The appetizers are a good example. We were served three kinds of dumplings: Taiwanese Crispy Dumplings (P168 for 5pcs), Pork Handmade Dumplings (P138 for 8 pcs), and Vegetable Handmade Dumplings (P138 for 8 pcs). The Crispy Dumplings are thin and long, filled with pork and held together by a thin and crispy base. For those of you, like me, who have never had this dish before, the proper way to portion it is to flip it dumpling-side-down on the plate and then cut along the lines at the back. It is best eaten with Red Onion’s house sauce.
Taiwanese Crispy Dumplings
Vegetable Handmade Dumplings
Sichuan Mala Chicken
Double Fried Sweet and Sour Pork
Red Onion House Fried RiceThe star of the show in Red Onion Café are the Gourmet Beef Noodles. Try their 39 Spices Beef Noodle (P228 all meat; P258 ½ beef, ½ tendon). The rich broth is a mix of several flavor profiles: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. The beef is nice and tender. It makes for a nice and filling meal which is why a lot of Taiwanese eat it for breakfast. It goes really well with their hand-shaved noodles. These, by the way, are a spectacle in themselves. It’s fascinating to watch the chefs shave an oblong slab of dough into broad, thin strips of noodles. The hand shaved noodles are slightly chewy when cooked. If you can’t get enough, just keep asking for more because the noodles are all you can eat.
39 Spices Beef Noodle
All you can eat hand shaved noodles!The Winter Melon Tea (P78) is a nice accompaniment to all the savory dishes. It’s refreshing and not too sweet. Refills are 50% off.
Winter Melon TeaI was told that food stalls in Taiwan typically have one specialty. Part of the Taiwanese food experience is to go from one shop to another, eating good food to your heart’s content. Enter Red Onion. Now you don’t have to hop from stall to stall, or go to Taiwan for that matter, to experience their cuisine. Red Onion has brought Taiwan to you.
Additional images courtesy of Red Onion Café.