I honestly did not know where it was - its has been a while since I was at the Podium, so I was wondering where it was. The restaurant was located on the same floor as Toy Kingdom. When you first see it - you'll notice that the entrance is quite narrow and that there's a show window where the cooks are making the Xiao Long Baos manually. This reminded me of Din Tai Fung, one of my favorite restaurants abroad. I was skeptical, I thought - I'm sure the skin of the Xiao Long Bao will be thick, and I said to myself 'No restaurant can copy the thin skin of DTF!'
So when we sat down - I immediately ordered the Xiao Long Bao - I was excited to see and taste this restarant's version of the XLB. The menu looked familiar too - the red color, the design of the logo, even the fare - it was so DTF! When the XLB arrived in bamboo steamers - I was quite excited, and then my chopstick caught one - and it didn't rip - I said to myself 'PLUS points for Shi Lin!' and when I bit into the XLB - I was already impressed. The skin of the XLB was just perfect! It was thin enough to hold in the juices and not break easily. I thought to myself - 'This XLB - coming from a copycat (remember, this is my opinion!) - was very well made!!' I mean, look at Suzhou's, Crystal Jade and Lugang's - the skin is still thicker than Din Tai Fung's! :) And since it was a local copycat restaurant, I was more impressed! Think about it - Crystal Jade couldn't do it - Lugang too! But Shi Lin was able to somehow give us the thinner skinned Xiao Long Bao! :) Shi Lin's Xiao Long Bao - has got to be THE BEST
The BEST Xiao Long Bao (in Manila) for me!!
I also remembered how good Din Tai Fung's Noodles with Peanut sauce was so we decided to order Shi Lin's version with a bit more spice. The dish in general tasted great, my only complaint was that the noodles were not as fine as I was hoping them to be - they were actually unevenly shaped, but nevertheless - I enjoyed eating them whilst sweating out the spicy-ness! I also ordered take-out for my mom to try! And she agrees that its really good!
Spicy Peanut Noodles
The Beef Noodle was also good - the soup was very flavorful - and the nice thing was that when I asked for extra soup twice - they didn't charge me for them! :)
Beef Brisket Noodle Soup
As for the Drunken Chicken that we ordered - it was served cold (as it usually is) this was the only complaint of my friend Selene - but my Panget liked it and was used to eating this dish, cold! I didn't try it because I have this thing of not eating chicken that is steamed or with liquid-y sauce, but there are exceptions! Haha! Yes, I am that maarte when it comes to chicken.
For dessert it was Selene's request that we order the Taro Dumplings. This friend of mine LOVES taro so much - and true enough - they also tasted yummy. The Taro dumplings dish was a refreshing end to our early dinner - it was not overpowering but it was tasty - the sweetness was just right.
Overall - I enjoyed my dining experience in Shi Lin. I was really really impressed - I don't know if I was just hungry or what, but I liked everything that I ate there. I am excited to bring my family there to try it out1 I just hope that the skin will be the same - still thin. Hahaha!! :)
Kudos to whoever thought of putting up Shi Lin - your Xiao Long Bao has to be THE closest thing to Din Tai Fung that we have here in Manila! No need anymore to buy the expensive franchise anymore! Hahahaha... :) Galeng!