Taiwan is a multi-cultural food paradise, that has recently been a favored destination by travelers and foodies alike. Despite being heavily influenced by the Dutch, Japanese, and Chinese who conquered them, their identity still exists. The Taiwanese are very creative and innovative when it comes to food and our travels have always led us to their busy night markets, where we were welcomed by the aroma of stinky tofu, the smell of different spices and seasonings, the sounds of slurps and gulps of people eating, and the sight of unique dishes that makes your mouth water.
Luckily, we don’t need to go far, as Fat Fook finally opened in Manila. Fat Fook (發福) serves authentic Taiwanese dishes that you can also find on the streets of Taiwan. It is co-owned by a Taiwanese chef whose dream is to visit the Philippines and introduce Taiwanese dishes to Filipinos. Out of curiosity, we paid them a visit and tried some of the items on the menu. We admit, eating them has transported us back to Taiwan.
Xiao Long Bao (小籠包)
The dimsum known for its soupy broth with pork and garlic encased in a thin wrapper. Most Xiao Long Baos more or less has the same taste, but for us, what sets a good Xiao Long Bao apart from other dumplings and buns is the skin. The wrapper has to be thin and delicate and should never overpower the taste or flavours of the filling and the broth. Fat Fook has achieved this with perfection, and that is why, it is now our go-to place for Xiao Long Bao.
Stinky Tofu (臭豆腐)
This can be found all over Taiwan. These tofu cubes are fermented and brined, then fried. They are usually served with sweet soy sauce and pickled vegetables. If you can get through the ‘unique’ smell of this dish, then you will see how great this dish is. At Fat Fook, the serving is bigger and “meatier”, and each component is served separately but best when eaten altogether. And as they say, the stinkier it is, the more flavorful it gets.
Cua Pao (割包)
A favorite snack of the Taiwanese. If the Chinese have their siopao, the Taiwanese have cuapao. Cua Pao is basically a sandwich. The bread is similar to that of a siopao’s. The filling is a thick slab of braised pork belly with the right amount of fat, then topped with peanut powder and preserved vegetable. This is filling yet highly addicting. The sweet, sour, and salty taste of each ingredient is like an explosion in your mouth. We had to admit, Fat Fook’s cuapao tastes way better than our home-cooked version.
Chicken Chop (炸雞排)
This bigger-than-your-face chicken fillet is one of the more famous Taiwanese dish we have locally as it was on trend not so long ago. Fat Fook’s version is bigger, thicker, and meatier, but still very moist and tasty. This giant-sized goodness is way better enjoyed when shared, it only costs Php228.
Chinese-style fried rice made with soy sauce, braised pork, and other vegetables. We liked the fact that Fat Fook uses glutinous rice for this dish and cooked over a bamboo steamer, locking in all the flavors that made the rice absorb them and create a wonderful aroma.
Taiwan Beef Noodles (臺灣牛肉麵)
You haven’t been to Taiwan if you haven’t tried their beef noodles. The secret to this dish, according to a Taiwanese chef, is the quality of the beef, and the flavor of the broth. Fat Fook’s Beef Noodles are rich in beefy flavor and the beef chunks are so tender, they melt in your mouth. A terrific dish!
Three Cups Chicken (三杯雞)
A classic dish made with simple ingredients. It is chicken that has been cooked with a cup each of soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine – resulting to a tender and tasty dish all generations love.
Wintermelon Tea (冬瓜茶) and Fresh Honey Lemon Juice (新鮮蜂蜜檸檬汁)
Two of some refreshing drinks from Fat Fook that can quench any thirst especially during hot days as these drinks literally cool you down. Each drink has its own unique flavor that you’ll love.
Other classic Taiwanese ‘must-try’ dishes that are also available at Fat Fook: Oyster Omelette (蚵仔煎), Spicy Pork Ears (香辣猪耳朵), Beef Tendon (牛筋), and Stir-Fried Eggplant with Minced Pork (紅燒茄子).
Indulging in Taiwanese food need not be expensive. Fat Fook makes it so affordable and authentic, you don’t need to book a plane ticket. Just brave the traffic up north and visit them at SM North EDSA for a taste of Taiwanese cuisine.
Fat Fook is located on the Upper Ground Floor of the Main Building of SM North EDSA, Quezon City. They are open during mall hours: 10AM-10PM.