Eating is the best way to spend your money in Chinatown, Binondo, Manila. Planning for a food trip here? Then please don’t miss out on Hok Kee (福記) Food Haus in Yuchengco Street (parallel to Quintin Paredes Street). Note I’m not a shareholder or a part-owner of this Chinese restaurant 🙂 ; I’m just a foodie turned new fan of their food specialties. Let’s see how Hok Kee Food Haus delivers its own spin on Chinese cooking.
Before I go on, however, I should apologize for the poor quality of the photos, which were all taken on my iPhone 4 camera. Because this dinner last Saturday was not at all planned, I did not carry my DSLR for blogging.
Review of Hok Kee Food Haus (Binondo, Manila)
Hok Kee Food Haus is a hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant that’s minimally designed. Plain white walls, clean tables, green and orange chairs, and a “vertically rectangular” area welcomed us. Bright lights illuminated the colorful photos of food posted on the walls.
A door at the back further brings more room to diners (yup, we were surprised). At one glance, you would not notice that Hok Kee Food Haus could accommodate up to about 70 people. Add the dining area on the second floor, which is currently under renovation, and this house can end up serving up to 100 diners altogether.
Three staffs worked very efficiently as they greeted, mingled and served customers in quick paces. They were cheerful, the type that deserves to receive some customer service tip at the end of the meal.
I’ve never read any review of this restaurant before, but we had a clue that the food here are generally delicious and full-flavored, thanks to Chinoy TV’s feature in one of its episodes.
One of Hok Kee’s most recommended dish happens to also be my favorite: Hok Kee Hot Shrimp Salad (PhP 310). Their version of the hot shrimp salad is very similar to Wan Chai Tea House and Uno Seafood Wharf Restaurant. Essentially, it’s a platter of skinless shrimps with fruit salad and mayonnaise. The shrimps were fried until just-crisp. The subtle flavor of the shrimps held its own against the other elements.
Next was another seafood dish: Hok Kee Oyster Cake (PhP 175) which did not scrimp on quality and ingredients. The “cake” was bounty with oysters unlike other oyster cakes served in most Chinese restaurants. In fact, this oyster cake wowed us. We were also suitably impressed at how the busy flavors of egg and veggies give one another massive amounts of flavor high-fives!
Perhaps everyone would love the Hok Kee Fried Chicken (Half, PhP 200). Perfectly cooked, the white meat was tender and moist. Taste was unpretentious and was even improved with the accompanying gravy. The chicken skin brought a satisfying crunch and crisp which was just so good! Oh, we could forget about being allergic for one moment.
The Kiampong (Chinese Rice Casserole or 鹹飯) was not transcendentally good; it was okay. It’s pretty close to the kiampong prepared in Buddhist temples. It was saddening that this bowl of sticky rice did not contain any shiitake mushroom I was expecting.
Desserts options on the menu are quite limited, so your meal may seem to finish rather abruptly. Chances are, by the time you are done eating, you’d be full and leave happy anyway.
Menu (and my sister behind ^_^):
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
If there’s any Chinese restaurant that should draw you into coming to Chinatown and trying out the best of Chinese food, Hok Kee Food Haus must one of them in your list of destinations. Prices are decent and reasonable for the quality of tastes. They are especially fair if you’re more accustomed to prices of food in highly commercialized places. Serving sizes are generous. (One order is enough to feed two to three.)
Unsure of what to get? Follow ours or follow your nose—you’ll smell delicious food in other tables and before you know it, you’re already sold, craving for their food over and over again. 😛