If you can't go to Hong Kong to get authentic Chinese cuisine, bring Hong Kong to your tummy via Summer Palace, my family's favorite restaurant for fine Chinese food with elegant ambiance. Ever since I was a kid, I remembered celebrating our special occasions at Summer Palace. When I grew up and began working, a lot of our lunches would be dimsum in this much-loved restaurant.
Though we frequent Choi Garden more because it's more relaxed and their Shabu-Shabu menu is fantastic, Summer Palace is the perfect lunch location. Plus all Shangri-La hotels have impeccable Chinese restaurants, and Summer Palace is really in a league of its own.
One of my favorite spots for dining is the Crystal Room, which is right in the center of the restaurant, enclosed by Chinese etched rosewood enveloping diners for more privacy.
Since my family had our annual yearly gathering, we decided for some more enclosure and were situated at the Peony Room. Great for events, or meetings, or just for people who want more privacy while dining.
Since we have been eating here for more than 15 years now, my parents are very close to Nancy Farm, Summer Palace's Restaurant Manager. She's well known in the hotel industry all over Asia having worked in different Shangri-La properties. And with that, we let her order our menu because she actually injects her own recipes and special touches to many of the menu's dishes.
BBQ Meat Combination
You can never go wrong with this combination as a starter for your Chinese meal. The Char-Siu Pork is sweet and tender, the Roast Duck and Chicken moist, the Jellyfish fresh and the Century Egg fragrant. They have over 10 Chinese & Hong Kong Chefs in the kitchen, plus a quality control manager, to ensure the superiority of their offerings.
Pan-Fried Radish Cake
Lightly toasted on the outside but delicate on the inside. The cuts are bigger than Luk Yu'Tea House in Central HK.
Deep-Fried Taro Puff with Shrimp
This is such a treat! fluffy Taro puff deep fried, with large shrimp peeking in the middle. The sweet plum sauce enhances the flavor of the taro. If you don't like it with shrimp, their Taro Duck is also fantastic, albeit a more deadly combination.
Clear Bamboo Pith Soup with Fresh Scallops & Asparagus
I would've never thought of ordering this soup, but it was perfect because it was broth, which made it light, yet at the same time had flavors of the asparagus, bamboo, chicken and scallops well-incorporated and was delicious even without the asparagus. The Scallops were impeccable fresh, and had a slight sweetness to it.
Fried King Prawn Balls with Cornflakes
One of my favorite dishes on their menu. Giant prawns the size of kumquats lightly fried to soft perfection, coated with a mayonnaise sauce and tossed with savory sweet cornflakes makes this a a paradox of soft & crunchy, sweet and savory. Better than any Prawn Salad on earth.
Braised Homemade Bean Curd with Fresh Mushroom & Spinach
Nancy personally recommended this dish, as they have the BEST fresh Bean curd or Tofu dishes. It's a bit hard to describe, but easily one of the more interesting dishes on their menu. The bean curd is firm on the outside while airy on the inside, coated with Nori seaweed for some umami (the fifth taste), topped with 3 kinds of mushrooms and served with freshly cooked spinach. Great for Vegetarians for its meaty flavor.
Pan-Fried Cod Fish in BBQ Sauce
Another one of Nancy's picks. She described it as "delightfully soft on the inside and crispy on the outside". I call it decadence in your mouth, as cod is naturally fatty hence it was very rich. The nice crunch on the coating was very delicate but ha good charred flavor from the BBQ sauce. The Calamansi (Filipino Lemons) lends acidity which is good for cutting through the fatty fish.
Steamed Fresh Crabs in Garlic Sauce
I absolutely love crabs but, unlike my family, I don't like the fatty part. Hence if you're ordering crabs, make sure it is Male so it is more meaty, instead of the female of the bakla (gay) crab, which is fattier. More crabmeat for me! This was so fresh the meat was sweet and soft. The Garlic sauce was very light in oil yet big on garlic flavor. I love that Summer Palace delivers a refined version of all the best Chinese dishes out there.
Beef Tenderloin in Steak Sauce
Wafer-thing Wagyu beef with a piquant Chinese steak sauce, it was extremely tender and tasted like the best type of beef ever. The portion is quite small because it's meant as a teaser. Too much of this could be hazardous to your health, the fat content of the beef hiding in sheep's clothing.
Yang Chow Fried Rice
A faux pas to any Chinese Lauriat, but a necessity for any Filipino's dining pleasure. their Yang Chow is filled with bits of Char-siu Pork, fresh scallops and shrimp, shredded vegetables, and lots of yummy yang chow flavor.
Steamed Birthday Buns
Lots of restaurants serve bean paste buns for dessert, but how many restaurants put this much effort into a tiny little bun!?
Steaming hot from the bamboo steamer, it was the perfect bite to cleanse my palate from the impeccably-seasoned Chinese meal.
What I love about Summer Palace is its entrance, a long corridor of Chinese etched glass up-lit to create a waterfall silhouette. Even more striking is the restaurant manager showing us to the exit after our sumptuous lunch with graciousness and appreciation. And this coming from a 5-star restaurant from a 4-star hotel.
I know there are plenty of Chinese restaurants stealing the limelight of every other establishment in the Metro, but Summer Palace is a superior choice for special occasions and for some supremely fantastic Chinese cuisine.
What's your special place for some Amazing Chinese food?
Mezzanine of the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel
Look for Nancy Farm, and let her order for you. You will not be sorry.
1 Garden Way, Ortigas Centre
Mandaluyong City 1650, Philippines
T: (63 2) 633 8888
F: (63 2) 631 1067