On one lazy Sunday evening, my family and I agreed to dine out together at Lucky Chinatown Mall, Binondo. We were in the mood for some Chinese/Taiwanese food. Too bad that the branch of Little Asia in LCM had been closed probably because it went without an apostrophe. So we opted for this restaurant serving authentic Taiwanese epicurean delights: Shi Lin. Judging by the crowd, this one is here to stay.

Review of Shi Lin 士林 (Lucky Chinatown Mall, Binondo)

Ambiance: ★★★★☆

We’re no stranger to simply designed Chinese restaurants in the hood. And honestly, we liked the ambiance here. It’s clean and nice, with lanterns, red accents and table style arrangements definitely reflecting an Asian vibe. The L-shaped space is fully utilized in the dining room, as sets of tables and chairs were neatly arranged and placed closely with one another. It has a large view to the outside street in between the main building of Lucky Chinatown Mall and the Annex building.

Service: ★★★★★

Food came to our table incredibly fast. Two thumbs up for the cordial and attentive service!

Food: ★★★★☆

I had high hopes on the Noodles with Sesame and Peanut Sauce (PhP 155) as Louie kept mentioning prior that it’s delicious. The hand pulled noodles were cooked al dente and the sauce had just the right balance of creamy and nutty. To me though, it was pretty average. Feel free to order it and taste the peanut sauce (quite odd when combined with soft pasta), but temper expectations.

The saltiness of the Salt and Pepper Squid (PhP 345) was tolerable—not like you just swam a few laps in the ocean with your mouth open. I loved the squid as it was perfectly cooked, with a nice charred outside and buttery smooth inside. Dipping it into a small bowl of vinegar made it more appetizing.

Served in appropriately sized, tasty chops, the Fried Chicken Chop (PhP 205) is famous here. The crispiness of Shi Lin’s fried chicken was nothing spectacular but nothing to complain about either.

The fried chicken chop was quickly followed by a glistening bowl of Fried Rice with Shrimp and Egg (PhP 135) which was satisfying. The fried rice didn’t come as flashy as the other entrees, but it was good.

Until the Xiao Long Bao (PhP 155 for six pieces), there wasn’t a single dish at Shi Lin that I got so much fired up about. Shi Lin’s Xiao Long Bao was juicy, meaty, and not so insanely hot that it will scald the hell out of your mouth. It’s a compelling reason to eat here in your own right.

How to Enjoy Xiao Long Bao

As if my mom wasn’t full enough, she additionally ordered the Seafood Omelette (PhP 88). Overall, it tasted fine but this omelette didn’t get the merit to be one of our favorite versions. It lacked in ingredients and also in portion size. While we happily ate every last bite, this was probably our least favorite thing on the menu.

Price for Value: ★★★☆☆

Shi Lin authentic Taiwanese restaurant is named after the largest and most famous night market in the city of Taiwan, the Shih Lin Night Market. Prices are not so expensive but are not a real bargain, too. For the bill, I thought I could eat in better restaurants in the same area, but this one’s worth a try. 🙂

G/F Lucky Chinatown Mall, Reina Regente St cor Dela Reina St Binondo, Manila
For inquiries, call (02) 516-0321
Date Published: 09/19/2014
16 / 20 stars

Other branches:

  • Fort Bonifacio – G/F Commercenter Bldg., 4th Ave cor 31st StFort Bonifacio, Taguig |  0917 740-8567
  • The Podium – 3/F The Podium, 18 ADB AveWack Wack, Mandaluyong | (02) 477-4108
  • Power Plant Mall – 2/F Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Drive Corner Estrella Street, Rockwell Center, Makati City

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74 Responses

  1. Fernando Lachica

    What a lazy day for you Roch with so much to eat…I love the Xiao Long Bao, (well 10 pieces for me alone) and Noodles Soup – with more noodles and pechay, little soup only. Seems I’m ordering …ha..ha..

    Reply
  2. Sandy

    Are those pork buns in the picture? My favorite. There’s nothing like finding perfect blend of good ambience and good food. Thanks for sharing the review.

    Reply
  3. Fernando Lachica

    Noddle’s soup and dumplings are my favorites, and even before I was a kid This place looks good to me like a “to go” kind of restaurant concept. But most of all, more noddle strands than soup.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, at first we thought that the Noodles with Sesame and Peanut Sauce was a soup dish. Then we realized that it’s not. That’s why there are more noodle strands. The peanut there was sauce and it was better that way. (must be weird to drink peanut soup – it’s like drinking the juice out of a peanut butter jar)

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You should try them all to know the taste. 🙂 I’m usually using my Nikon prime lens 50 mm f/1.8 for food photos and the kit lens 18-55 mm to shoot the restaurant environment. However, for this day, since I was too lazy to bring two lenses, I just brought the kit lens haha. Told ya it was a lazy Sunday for us! 😆 If I was super lazy then I would have to use only my iPhone 4 cam.

      Reply
  4. Shirgie Scf

    Awesome. Some Authentic Chinese or Taiwanese food is nod bad at all.I’m guessing that Xiao Long Bao is either a chinese version of Korea’s Mandu. Or maybe a more glorified Siopao I guess. I think I wanna try that one. Omelette is also a must try in that restaurant

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Xiao long bao is soup solidified into jelly form mixed with meat. It’s a different gastronomic path when compared with siopao. I mean the fillings are both made of pork, but then their overall taste and texture and the way they’re prepared are not the same. Mandu is Korea’s take on dumplings and I haven’t had enough of it to have descriptive words to say hehe. I’ll pass this time. 😛

      Reply
  5. Jonas Labagala

    The dishes seem to look good based on the pictures but on the other hand, I’ll consider your reviews so that we’ll be guided on what to order.. Thanks! 😀

    Reply
  6. Francis Balgos

    I’m surprised that you didn’t have any pic..
    But anyway, I imagine a store of oriental interiors.
    WOuld love to see the hand-pulled noodles at least in a photo.

    Reply
    • Francis Balgos

      oops! sorry Roch.. my net is slowly loading..
      I’ve read the text before the pictures came out.. LOL!
      They’re close to what I thought they would be.

      Reply
      • Rochkirstin Santos

        Haha that’s okay. It happens to me sometimes when visiting other blogs, too. 😀 Thanks for going through the descriptions and my rants/raves anyway. Hope you enjoyed reading!

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes and that’s if there’s no other decent Chinese restaurant to try around the area. 🙂 I don’t prefer going to the same restaurant twice even if it’s good. Exceptions happen though but rarely.

      Reply
  7. Janine Daquio

    The Noodles with sesame and PEanut Sauce looks delectable! I have to try first the other Taiwanese resto… because it’s nearer to my area. hihi.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      When weather is cold, soup is usually what you’d like to order for the day. Yet sometimes a gigantic steaming bowl is simply too much. The noodles with sesame and peanut sauce in that case may just be perfect for your taste. 🙂

      Reply
  8. carra d

    Everything looks yummy. Always good when food is brought out in a timely manner.nothing is worse than waiting on food , especially when hungry. Like the design on the shrimp omelet . Thanks for-sharing

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You’re welcome. 🙂 I’m not amazed by the omeleete as it was rather thin and small with not so many typical ingredients for a seafood omelette. It wasn’t also bad–just trying to escape the cold hug of this flimsy sheet of eggs.

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh I’m sure you also have a lot of restaurants in your area that I’d love to visit as well. It’s my dream to trade places with someone living on the other side of the planet for a day. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      There are many bloggers organizing their trips and some are inviting people to join them. You may want to find a group like that and visit Chinatown for a different foodie experience. 😀

      Reply
  9. michele d

    Fried Chicken Chop is something I would love to try. Looks like a great place to visit.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It’s like pork chop except chicken. The fried chicken chop tasted much different than American version of the fried chicken since the batter is different. I believe corn starch and sweet potato starch are used.

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Some people are already addicted with their xiao long bao. Shi Lin has ongoing deals right now online (e.g. upgrade of xiao long bao in terms of flavor and count). You may want to check them out. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      They’re good but not as good as the heights of food in Taiwan, but for those times when you can’t take the extra time (and budget) to fly overseas, there’s Shi Lin and eating here can make your day, too. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I used to think once that this is a franchise from the Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks food chain from Taiwan. Apparently, the name is different and I can’t find any article online saying that. Anyway, yeah this place is nice. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes, I think kids will love eating xiao long bao. It’s a different experience for them to taste this kind of food. 🙂 Of course there are exceptions–the picky eaters (just like me, before).

      Reply
  10. Gil Camporazo

    My attention was right caught by this familiar Taiwanese food, Xiao Long Bao. I don’t know if it is the same with Siomai which my better is addicted to eat it every time we visit a mall.

    Reply
  11. mindy

    When we went to Taiwan last year i realized that i really love their food (weird since i actually hate Chinese food and Taiwanese food’s essentially pretty similar!), unfortunately local Taiwanese restaurants never seems to be able to copy the original’s taste-farrr from it! We also have Taiwanese eatery called Shi Lin here in Indonesia but they sells only street foods like fried chicken chop, fried taro, fried sweet potatoes etc, they’re really good though!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I see. For some reason, you’re right. There are more Taiwanese/Chinese joints that can’t copy the authenticity of taste from the original country where the cuisines originated. Even so, these food we have locally are good enough for our taste buds. 🙂

      Reply
  12. Rebecca Swenor

    Wow all this food looks so beautiful and delicious. I would love to eat there for some of these gorgeous dishes. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  13. Emy Cooks

    Wow, those dishes sure looks so delicious and well done. I would love tasting and savoring them. The place looks really nice as well.

    Reply

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