Ever since having my first taste of xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung in Singapore, I have yearned to taste them at restaurants that really specialize in making the soup dumplings. My colleagues apparently have the same love for these juicy steamed buns. One day after work, we came to Tien Ma’s Taiwanese Cuisine in Libis, Quezon City with the main goal of trying out their XLB. Fortunately, this restaurant is just a couple of blocks away from our office.

Review of Tien Ma’s Taiwanese Cuisine (Libis, Quezon City)

Ambiance: ★★★★☆

Class, pattern, color—Tien Ma has it all. The interior design is quite focused on the modern Asian look, offering a funkier alternative to more traditional Chinese restaurants in the metro. Minimalist decor and bright spaces are most appreciated. Chairs are cozy and the arrangement of tables on the side create an essential volume of area at the center and the perfect ambiance of elegant celebration. Nothing was oddly out of proportion.

Service: ★★★☆☆

Service was efficient but not friendly.

We have been eyeing on the steamed xiao long bao (R1) on the menu, but for some reason, I mistakenly ordered the fried xiao long bao (R2). Whoops! We couldn’t just have it exchanged since it was already served, and it would be bad to push the blame on the service attendant. Fault acknowledged. The thing that was not so pleasant was the way the order-taker motioned to our table confronting us on the issue in an “in-your-face” manner without subtlety. No regretful face, no smile. I felt somewhat attacked. 🙁

Food: ★★★☆☆

So it was Fried Xiao Long Bao (PhP 200) then. We were excited anyway since it was our first time to taste the fried version of XLB. Made with stretchy wheat dough, the bun had a juicy and tasty meat filling. The best part was the crispy, crunchy, fried bottom of each dumpling. We were surprised to find that it still had soup inside we could slurp. Despite that it was fried, it did not end up saturating the dumpling walls. Yummy!

Hot Prawn Salad (PhP 200) is one of my favorite dishes of all time. Fried with a thin batter, the prawns were sweet, crunchy, and moist all at once. The creamy sauce accompanied with fruit cocktail was quite refreshing. The rainbow sprinkles on top were somewhat inappropriate though, as they reminded me of candies and desserts.

Taiwan Style Fried Rice (PhP 200) was okay but not any better than the classic Yang Chow Fried Rice. If you absolutely prefer flavored rice than plain white rice, get this. If not, feel free to skip.

Served on a hot pot, the Seafood Tofu Pot (PhP 199) was a nice bite but not the most memorable part of the meal. There was nothing fancy here; no schtick, no bells, no whistles, and no exotic sauces but just textbook execution. The squid was so chewy and rubbery that is was hard to eat. Palates that await superior seafood tofu pot won’t revel.

Supposedly a Taiwanese home-style favorite, Tien Ma’s Three Cup Squid (PhP 200) was disappointing. Cooked with salty and sweet soy sauce, the squid was largely rubbery and uninteresting. Its awful texture surely was a telling sign that it was overcooked. While the distinctive flavor of squid failed to shine through, the leaves managed to ratchet up the savory quotient.

Price for Value: ★★★★☆

With this experience, I thought dining at Tien Ma’s Taiwanese Cuisine can be a hit or a miss depending on what you order. I recommend getting the xiao long bao for sure. Prices of food on the menu average at PhP 200-PhP 250 and are pretty reasonable based on the serving portions.

184 D. E Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Barangay Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City
For inquiries, call (02) 3723955
Date Published: 02/10/2016
14 / 20 stars

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26 Responses

  1. Elizabeth O.

    Sounds like a pretty nice deal if you’re craving for Chinese food and you’re not into something too fancy. It’s nice that they are efficient too.

    Reply
  2. Erica

    What you said about Din Tai Fung’s xiao long bao…exactly how I feel with homemade family recipes, but nothing so far has been close to Din Tai Fung’s flavorful goodies! Can you imagine how amazing the original DTF in Shanghai is?! I wonder if the new one in Megamall is just as good.

    Reply
  3. Fred

    Interesting variation that one with the fried xiao long bao that there is still soup inside. I want to taste that one. Really odd about the hot prawn salad with the sprinkles. Maybe to add sweetness?

    Reply
  4. Pooja kawatra

    I feel like having it now and you have captured it so well. I am so fond of Chinese food and this is perfect.

    Reply
  5. shivansh

    I havent yet tried the Taiwanese cuisine, but i guess im inspired to try it out 😀 Thank you!

    Reply
  6. Danessa Foo

    Seems like a good place to get good and affordable Chinese cuisine, if one is not particular about service. Thanks for sharing your honest review 🙂

    Reply
  7. Claire Marie Algarme

    The interiors look cool. I remember eating in Din Tai Fung in Taipei. The Xiao Long Bao there was delicious. It’s nice to see new eateries sprouting in the metropolis. I just hope that quality and service will always be a priority by these businesses.

    Reply
  8. PJ Zafra

    That place looks like a nice environment. The food sure looks delicious. I’d give this a try if ever I’m in the Libis area. Thanks for sharing. Great review.

    Reply
  9. Tammilee Tips

    I don’t think I have ever had Taiwanese Cuisine before! This looks like really good food to enjoy and the restaurant looks like a great place to meet up for dinner!! I love trying out new food and restaurants.

    Reply
  10. vidya sudarsan

    The Chow fried rice looks yummy! This restaurant looks stylish and spacious too. I like the way the seating is arranged here and the decor as well. I like Chinese food and never shy from trying anything vegetarian 🙂

    Reply
  11. Bhushavali

    The dumplings look great. Esp the way you’ve described it that its fried on the base but was filled with soup, is just too appetizing!!!

    Reply
  12. Melissa

    This looks like a great place to head out to and get a bite to eat. Where we live there is no where good to get a meal. We pay so much to eat and the service and food is horrible. I wish we had a place like this out here!

    Reply
  13. Tiffany Yong

    To be truthful, these dishes look nothing like Taiwanese cusine! I believe they might be changed to fit the local’s palette so I’m not sure if I will ever go for it!

    Reply
  14. Donna Ward

    The food images look beautiful and yummy – well except for the sprinkled candies, as you said was a bit odd.
    Too bad you couldn’t give it a 5 star rating – the way the server acted would turn me off to going back all by itself.
    It was a great detailed review 🙂

    Reply
  15. rika

    Great food review! I love Taiwanese cuisine, especially the noodle soup. I can’t wait to visit Asian countries, so much fun

    Reply
  16. Cara (@StylishGeek)

    I love little restaurants that have a warm and inviting ambiance, simple, and very clean. Looks like Tien Ma’s Taiwanese Cuisine fits the bill! Thanks so much for sharing your review. I will have to look them up if ever I visit Manila in the future.

    Reply
  17. Yvonne Bertoldo

    Not really a fan of Taiwanese cuisine compared to Japanese/Filipino, but those photos look really appetizing. I just really find it weird that they topped that dish with sprinkled candies. lol

    Reply
  18. krystal

    The hot prawn salad looks so crazy cool! The sprinkles are kind of amazing and it is such a unique dish. This looks like a cool place.

    Reply

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