Shi Lin: Taiwanese Food Fare at The Podium

Taiwanese cuisine, a lighter take on Chinese food fare, has become quite popular in the Metro especially with the fame and glory of Lugang Café. However, this Taiwanese gem in Greenhills and SM Mall of Asia has found a new competition in the name of Shi Lin, a restaurant inspired by the Shilin district in Taipei.
Shi Lin Xiao Long Bao Makers Shi Lin Podium

Two weeks ago, during Father's Day, I convinced my dad to have lunch in the Ortigas area. If you know my parents, they'd probably reject my idea since they despise long drives. Fortunately, luck was on my side as my dad miraculously approved. And although The Podium was packed with families celebrating the day's occasion, we were lucky to score a table at Shi Lin in just a few minutes. (Oh okay, 15 minutes to be exact.)

The Steamed Dumplings

Shi Lin in The Podium has light-colored walls, sleek contemporary atmosphere, warm ambient lighting and comfortable seats mostly for fours. Nothing too fancy. However, it excited me and my tummy with its clear-glassed dimsum kitchen exposing skilled dimsum makers meticulously crafting pieces of its famous soup dumplings.

Xiao Long Bao 10pcs P230

As expected, we first ordered a 10-piece serving of Xiao Long Bao (P230) -- light steamed buns containing pork broth inside. Hailed as Spot.ph's Top 1 Xiao Long Bao, I had high expectations which were gracefully met upon taking my first spoonful. The dumpling's skin was soft, light and silky, the perfect coat to encase a delicate yet flavorful hot soup. Although I prefer my dumplings with a dab of black vinegar, eating a piece on its own was still very delightful as the soupy explosion had a nice savory, ginger flavor.

Shrimp and Pork Shiomai P165

Our soupy start was followed by Shrimp and Pork Shiomai (P165), 6 pieces of another equally soupy dimsum item. Like the soup dumplings, these babies also have pork broth at the bottom. However, atop the soupy surprise sits a mixture of pork and a piece of shrimp. These dimsum treats were also tasty, but had a tougher skin than xiao long bao.

The Small Plates

The selection at Shi Lin isn't as extensive as those of Chinese restaurants. There also weren't a lot of main entrées that my family and I can share with. However, we appreciated that there is an interesting list of short orders mostly good for two.

Century Egg with Bonito Flakes P95

We ordered a serving of Century Egg with Bonito Flakes (P95) which is just sliced century eggs with Japanese bonito flakes and chopped green onions. My family isn't as crazy for century eggs as I am, so I was very happy to finish this plate on my own. This serving was good especially with a hint of saltiness from the bonito flakes. Nothing extraordinary though. (What more can you expect with a century egg dish anyway?)

Japanese Cucumber P105

My dad then ordered this plate of Japanese Cucumber (P105), slices of Japanese cucumber pickled with rice vinegar, salt, onions and chili. While I'm not a big fan of pickles for a meal starter, I actually liked this dish as it had a nice combination of salty, sour and spicy, as well as a lovely crunch with every bite.

Seafood Omelette P88

I don't know what my dad was thinking when he ordered a Seafood Omelette (P88). (He probably ran out of items to order?) But although I didn't approve of my dad's impulsive choice, I actually liked how savory and full of seafood flavors this omelette was. It was perfect with rice, or simply by itself since it also had a sweet and spicy sauce on top.

Fried Shrimp and Pork Wonton P125

We also had a serving of Fried Shrimp and Pork Wonton (P125), crispy pieces of shrimp and pork-filled fried dumplings served with a sweet chili sauce. Although I didn't quite dig this one, my dad and my little sister seemed to have liked it a lot. These 6 pieces of wonton weren't enough, and we went for another round.

Spicy Spareribs P289

My choice of short order was the Spicy Spareribs (P289), a crisp-fried plate of flavorful spareribs with a really strong spicy zing. Although I liked how savory every piece of this dish was, the spiciness was a little bit overbearing. Even my little sis who loves spicy foods admit that she can't quite take it gracefully without a cold beverage on the side.

Mushroom and Vegetable Bun P108

We also had an order of Mushroom and Vegetable Bun (P108), 2 pieces of steamed buns filled with what I believe were shiitake mushrooms and spinach. Although there wasn't anything extraordinary with the buns, they were soft and chewy as they should be. However, the savory, tangy and healthy flavors of the filling made munching a piece really enjoyable. Kids, as well as people who don't enjoy veggies, might not get easily accustomed to the taste though.

The Soups and Noodles

My family and I already ate a lot, but we thought we were not quite satisfied yet as we haven't had heavy dishes. Our main course for the visit would probably be the 2 orders of Fried Rice with Shrimp, Pork and Egg (P128) which I even forgot to take a photo of, and servings of soup items which eventually left us really full.

Hot and Sour Soup P108

Among the list of soups, I went for the Hot and Sour Soup (P108). Although Shi Lin's version didn't have as much bamboo shoots and pork as I would've wanted, this bowl definitely got the flare. It may not look red, but this was really quite spicy.

Shrimp and Pork Wanton Soup P165

My mom went for the Shrimp and Pork Wanton Soup (P165). This bowl despite being tasty, was delicate and very mellow. Even the wantons weren't too overbearing, so a bowl is definitely perfect to keep yourself warm during the rainy days, or to calm you down when having a PMS. (Okay, or just a bad day.)

Noodles with Braised Beef Soup P248

While my little sis isn't a fan of soups, my dad on the other hand, didn't fail to get his choice of a hearty bowl -- Noodles with Braised Beef Soup (P248) which was the total opposite of what my mom had. This bowl was an explosion of strong savory flavors. The broth was sweet and very tasty, while the beef pieces were juicy and very succulent.

The Beverages

Shi Lin also has a nice selection of unqiue desserts. However, my sis and I skipped the meal ender to give way for Mochi Creme. So, let me just share what drinks we had to accompany our bountiful Taiwanese lunch.

Refillable House Tea P40 Green Mistique Iced Tea P60

Most Chinese restaurants provide free house tea, but not at Shi Lin. We ordered a pot of refillable House Tea (P40) which was a very unique blend of Taiwan oolong -- a mix of earthy and minty flavors perfect to cleanse the palate. Good thing it was unlimited too as we've had 4 to 5 rounds. My sis and I on the other hand, ordered another drink for ourselves -- the Green Mistique Iced Tea (P60) which was a light, herbal and refreshing blend of green tea, jasmine with mango, ginger and schizandra.

THE VERDICT

After the 2-hour lunch, I can look back and say that we've had a really enjoyable lunch at Shi Lin. The dining space was clean, service was fast and very courteous, and the food didn't only taste great, but were also reasonably priced. However, all of us in the family agreed that Shi Lin is probably a better merienda destination than a lunch dining spot for its lacking of heavy main entrées. Nevertheless, I know we'll return back to this restaurant for another gastronomic Taiwanese feast.

Taste - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Shi Lin, The Podium
3/F The Podium, ADB Ave. Ortigas Center
Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02) 477-4108
Facebook Page

41 comments:

  1. Sumi, you never fail to make my mouth water with your pictures. I'm now fighting the urge to order Chinese for lunch.

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  2. Finally! You've tried Shi Lin! :) I miss their Xiao Long Baos, hope I could go back soon!

    Sharing my Shi Lin blogpost:
    http://www.dekaphobe.com/2012/01/shi-lin.html

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  3. ok.. im craving for xiao long bao right now!! :)

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  4. wonderful photos! i miss Shi Lin! especially the Taro dumpling which I previously featured at http://eattoyourheartscontent.blogspot.com/2012/06/eat-to-your-hearts-content-dines-at-shi.html

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  5. I havent' tried Taiwanese kind of dishes. Is it almost similar to Chinese? As always, your photos make me drool big time. Kakagutom lagi. Regards Sumi!

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    1. It's actually similar but Taiwanese cuisine has lighter and subtler flavors than Cantonese (mostly dimsum) and Szechuan (spicy hot pots) variants of Chinese cuisine.. :)

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  6. This post reminded me of our usual pre-booard meeting dinners in Taiwan and now I know that I there's a Taiwan food restaurant in the Podium.

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  7. oh my goodness...i suddenly have a craving for anything asian. rawrrr!! i miss PInas and the Asian food. The Asian restaurant here is okay but not the same as there. *sigh*

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  8. Drooling at the sight of those wontons! I wanna sink my teeth into them! :)

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  9. Wow.. Sarap.... Na curious ako sa Vegetable and mushroom bun. Similar din ang food nila sa Chinese food and the Century egg, that is so high blood.. lol LOve chinese food, na miss ko tuloy ung school ko.

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    Replies
    1. Actually sis Taiwanese is kinda like Chinese cuisine but subtler in flavors.. :)

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  10. My mom would love these, sis! She enjoys asian cuisines so much :D

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  11. Now I miss the Xiao Long Bao in Shanghai. Haven't had anything like it here in PI.

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  12. You have an eye for food photography! Love ko na silang lahat! :)

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  13. Yum! Everything looks so delightful! I must find a place that serves similar dishes here in Baguio. :)

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  14. I do like Shi Lin and their xiao long bao. I've eaten there several times na rin and I just love how their food always tastes fresh and clean. Chinese food kasi can be a bit oily but Shi Lin's isn't. :)

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    Replies
    1. I think that's the good thing about Taiwanese food. They're not too oily unlike most Chinese cuisine.. ^^

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  15. natakam na naman ako sa post mo :D hehe! miss ko na century egg :)

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  16. wooowwwwww! i haven't tried taiwanese food but its more like chinese based on your photos! wanna trryyy :)


    Rovie,
    RK Manila Shoes , OASAP and FIRMOO giveaways on The Bargain Doll! Hope you can join! :)

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  17. Shi Lin reminds me a lot of Din Tai Fung in Taiwan. You should try their taro dumplings next time, super yummy! :D

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    1. I definitely will! :D I love taro, but we had to skip that na 'cause we were full. And I'd love to eat at Din Tai Fung when I visit Taiwan in the future.. :)

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  18. Looking at this post made me full. I'm a big fan for Chinese food...

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  19. So Shu Lin is Taiwanese food? I love their dimsum and I want to try that seafood omelette. Looks really good!

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  20. Wow Sumi, now that's a real feast!

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  21. I love Chinese but not the fine dining chinese food. I love eating at Ma Mon Luk along Quezon Avenue or at Kim Hiung in Binondo. They have the best authentic Chinese this side of the Pacific.

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  22. I love dumplings. I think I can never get enough of those. Is the Japanese cucumber the same as our pickled cucumber?

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    1. It's actually pickled, but they used Japanese cucumber.. :)

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  23. I love their dimsum esp. the xiao long bao, noodle soup, and spicy spareribs too!
    Great photos as always! ;)

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  24. It's been a while since I last visited the PODIUM. Missing good food now!

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  25. The Xiao Long Bao looks mouth watering. I like that the price looks fair. Hope to visit that store soon.

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  26. note to self: only visit this blog after eating or else...teehee. even though i had my meal already, my mouth is still watering.

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  27. I work around the area, but haven't been there yet. Your photos are awesome, made me drool over the food, LOL! :-)

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  28. I have not tried eating in a Taiwanese resto but is it similar to the Chinese cuisine?

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    Replies
    1. It is, Taiwanese fare's more lighter in flavors though.. :)

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  29. Oh Xiao Long Bao is mouth watering alright...mouth watering..coz its all water..I dunno why should there be really any difference between chinese and taiwanese food...they're all chinese people anyway....

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  30. Thank you for this resto review. mosty of my officemate are chinese and they been looking for a chinese resto to try if its authentic or not and I will suggest this:)

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  31. Have tried Shin Lin other products Like Taiwanese fresh tofu and Twice cook beef noodle. Really very expensive. Even their shio Long Pao nothing to rave about since it's almost the same as other dimsum house

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  32. this is my fave place to eat now! when i tasted their xiao long bao(the siomai with soup inside), i felt like i was on cloud nine! it was definitely great! i'd sure go back to Shi Lin Alabang Town Center!

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  33. Thanks Sumi for that wonderful food review :) I am a dim sum lover myself and have been searching far and wide for the perfect restaurant that has both delicious food and ambiance. I will surely check this place out. Since i have been to quite a few dim sum places in manila may i suggest yet another amazing dim sum joint, its called the Golden Bay located at Block A2, CBP, Diosdado Macapagal Blvd. Pasay City . They have incredibly delicious dim sum at a very affordable price. If you have the time i strongly suggest that place to eat dim sum as well! :D

    P.S. I love your BLOG! ^.^ Keep on Blogging!

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  34. drooling on Shrimp and Pork Siomai and Noodles with Braised Beef Soup looks yummy,my husbnd and i would look for this resto in the future

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