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