Wednesday, May 3, 2017

First Bite: Hai Kang Seafood Restaurant

I usually get stressed out when eating in Chinese restaurants. Everything seems to be so fast-paced. Plate after plate after plate of food gets served within a few minutes and we have to eat fast to make room for the next set of dishes. And the same case is true when we visited one of the popular Chinese restaurants along Wilson.

Hello, Hai Kang Seafood Restaurant.

I’ve never heard of this restaurant before but I was told that this has been around for years (or even decades) and it is quite popular especially to the Chinese community.

I was greeted by a huge dining area with high ceiling and several pocket rooms that could be enclosed by movable partition walls. The place was packed with diners on a Saturday night and one could get lost with and drown in the chaotic dining scene. Thankfully, R’s family was near the entrance and we didn’t have to squeeze our way in to the other side of the restaurant.

First served was a platter of appetizers.

Since I didn’t have lunch that day, I kept munching on the pork slices, seaweed, chicken and century eggs. R had to tell me to slow down as there would definitely be more dishes to come. It was hard though as each one was pretty good. (Either that or I was really hungry.) The sweet taste of the pork and chicken went beautifully well with the slightly tangy seaweed.
Next served was Cold Prawn Salad (PHP1,100, small | PHP1,650, medium | PHP2,200, large) and it was pretty good too. I loved that it was not downing in mayonnaise making it too overwhelming. I had no problems eating it without rice. In fact, I had two servings of this. The batter covering the prawns and veggies balanced the taste of the thick sauce.
We also had this fried pork with enoki mushroom dish which was a safe dish to order when you have kids with you. The fried enoki was addicting and it reminded me of Le Petit Souffle’s version. As for the fried meat, I enjoyed dipping it in black vinegar for that delectable tangy kick.
The Seafood Pumpkin Soup (PHP500, small | PHP750, medium | PHP1,000, large) was your usual thick pumpkin soup but with a few seafood like shrimps. Taste-wise, it was forgettable but I remember how it made me warm when I was feeling a bit chilly in the restaurant.
The steamed Lapu Lapu in soy sauce was undeniably fresh. The soft and smooth texture of the fish delighted me while its delicate taste, well complemented by the soy sauce, was an absolute treat and a nice break from the other dishes which had stronger flavors.
The Roast Duck was served two ways-- one with the crisp skin and some “kropek” while the other was minced duck meat with potatoes and carrot bits. 
Though both were good, I can’t help compare it with Choi Garden which, for me, has the best roast duck
For the minced duck, I also prefer Choi Garden or Summer Palace.
I wasn’t able to try the Steamed Crab but based on how happy everyone was feasting on this huge shelled seafood, I bet it was just as fresh as lapu-lapu
As for the Yang Chow rice which is usually served last, it was pretty much your usual fried rice. Nothing more, nothing less.
To cap our meal, we had some buchi and it was your usual chewy ball of happiness.

Overall, food was good and service was fast. I just didn’t like the chaotic ambiance and the feeling of having to eat fast to match the fast-paced environment. I don’t think I’ll be visiting this place anytime soon.

Hai Kang Seafood Restaurant is located at 27 Wilson Street, Greenhills, San Juan City.

Hai Kang Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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