One of my fondest memories of childhood are Sunday breakfasts with the entire family after a refreshing bike run around the CCP Complex. Every week of the year, without fail, my stepdad would take us on his favorite food joints around the city to try something new (or not). He enjoyed watching us kids scarf down our plates and ask for more.
Apart from the long-running Jollibee along Roxas Boulevard, Sunday staples included Eng Bee Tin and The President Teahouse in Binondo, Maxim’s in Ermita, The Aristocrat in Malate, Savory in Pasay, and this al fresco restaurant from across the Manila Bay breakwater that served the best daingsilog ever (Sadly, that one has seen its last curtain call). A couple of times we also visited Emerald Garden Restaurant along Roxas Boulevard and I remember it to be a tummy- and soul-filling experience.
But it wasn’t until recently that I was able to try the restaurant’s famous Emerald Garden Siopao. And I am so, so thankful that my mom is thoughtful enough to make a quick run to Emerald to buy me a couple of these ginormous treats when we came to Manila last week.
Truth is, I’m not a siopao person. I’d like a good siopao every once in a while, but not to the point that I will crave for one. Or maybe it’s that I haven’t tasted one that’s heavenly enough to be craved for. Emerald Garden changed that.
|When cut to half, this meaty siopao can satisfy two hungry tummies 🙂|
I’m not gonna go around the bush. I loved loved loved the Emerald Garden Jumbo Siopao. This gigantic bun is a smorgasbord of everything there is to love about Chinese cuisine: chorizo, salted egg, pork asado, bola-bola, shreds of chicken, chopped kinchay, and soft, glutinous white buns. It was love at first bite.
Each ingredient were in their best subtle proportions. No one meat overpowered the others in taste: the salted eggs were done so very lightly; the pork asado had just enough sweetness and wasn’t all fat. The chicken and bola-bola were very tender that they rip to shreds when bitten. Even the chorizo was too die for, and mind you, I am averted to chorizo, having previously tried variants that tasted like Tempra. It also comes with a wonderful asado sauce which thank heavens, didn’t taste like a spoonful of muscovado sugar.
|A closer look at the filling. More proteins, less carbs.|
At only P85, the siopao is good enough for two (Jigs and I shared it for breakfast and we were stuffed!). Unlike other commercialized siopaos, this one actually has more filling than pao, making it one yummy protein treat.
|When measured with a calipher (ze trusty ruler was missing, sorry.), the siopao is 65mm thick,
or roughly 2.6 inches. That’s about as big as a double quarter pounder.
Be sure to drop by Emerald Garden before noon though, as these wonderful buns tend to run out pretty quickly. My mom had to drive at 8am to make sure she gets two for take out. That’s how fast they run out.