Tuesday, May 14, 2019

First Bite: Shi Lin

I'm a big fan of Xiao Long Bao. I simply cannot resist these adorable steamed soup dumplings especially when doused with black vinegar. And though Paradise Dynasty and Lugang stole my heart and a part (or whole compartment) of my tummy, I'm always open to trying other places offering my favorite. This time around, I visited Shi Lin. 

Hello, Shi Lin
I love how R lets me choose where to eat (except on Mondays when it should be Fish & Co.) for dinner. I'd always pick either our favorite joints or a place I've never been to. Since I've never tried Shi Lin's xiao long bao, I suggested that we have dinner there one night. 
I've heard lukewarm reviews about this place so I wasn't expected to be mindblown by its dishes. And first impression definitely didn't impress. Shi Lin's branch in Trinoma was rather small, cramped and quite hot. The A/C doesn't seem to be working or cooperating to beat the summer heat. 

We went with Original Xiao Long Bao (PHP170, 6 pcs | PHP285, 10 pcs.), Shrimp and Pork Shaomai (PHP200, 6 pcs.), Hakaw (PHP180, 4 pcs.), Shrimp & Pork Wonton Soup with Noodles (PHP230), Congee with Century Egg and Pork (PHP175) and Fried Chicken Chop (PHP230). For drinks, we went with Lychee Shake (PHP130), Mango Shake (PHP110) and Cucumber Shake (PHP110).
Service was quite fast and we got our drinks and a few dumplings within 10 minutes. 
Though R and our guest liked their drinks, I found mine a bit off. It had a sour taste to it which is uncharacteristic of cucumber. I only managed to finish half of it.
The original xiao long bao was quite good and better than what I was expecting. The dumpling wrapper wasn't overly thick and held the stuffing and broth perfectly. The ground pork was also flavorful.
I was a bit disappointed with Shrimp and Pork Shaomai. It didn't look like the photo in the menu at all. It looked more like Shrimp and Pork Dumpling. I sure hope that they didn't confuse our orders as we paid a premium for the former. Taste-wise, it was just your usual dumpling and it didn't strike as something I'd crave. 
The basket of hakaw though was great! The shrimp bits were plump and had that snappy texture that I love. 
The chicken chop was served next and it looked sad with its pale color. The chicken also lacked a bit of taste. It would have been better with more salt, pepper and that signature Taiwanese spice. 
I was pleasantly surprised that the congee and wonton noodle soup come in generous serving sizes making it bang for the buck. Each bowl is good for sharing and we only managed to eat about half of both. 
The bowls both had light flavors so feel free to add seasoning based on your preference. 
As we were about to bill out, I noticed that the discounting with our Zomato Gold seemed to be wrong. Turns out that the signature dishes which includes the bland chicken chop is not part of Zomato Gold. It would have been great if they informed us about it beforehand when we showed our Zomato Gold accounts. Also, our bill reflected different prices for our Mango and Cucumber Shakes. When asked, I was told that they had a price increase and the server who attended to us failed to inform us. Such excuse is not acceptable according to DTI so they changed our bill to reflect the same price as that on the menu. The staff were courteous the whole time so we didn't have an issue there. But they could have also gotten away with it if I didn't check our bill. 

Overall, food was okay. I wouldn't mind going back for its bang for the buck congee and noodles

Shi Lin is located at 4th Floor, Trinoma Mall, Bagong Pag-Asa, Quezon City.

Shi Lin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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