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Friday, April 22, 2016

Tao Yuan Chinese Restaurant, JCenter Mall Cebu

My mom has a Chinese friend who's been raving about Tao Yuan Seafood Restaurant  since last year. Since my favorite Chinese restaurants are already fixed (see previous post here), I was never particularly interested to try this place. However, after going to JCenter Mall with every intention of buying Cebu's Original Bellychon, we ended up here. The bellychon on display looked a day old and sad. It wasn't like their Parkmall branch where the bellychons moved fast and always looked freshly cooked, so we ended up passing on the purchase.

At Tao Yuen, we were surprised to find that the place was huge. There were not too many waiters for a space so big, so we had to walk all the way to the end of the room (ballroom?) to find a server. He then led us back to the entrance for our table -- hahaha, quite funny.

Anyway, in all it was pretty good. The Fujian style rice (tasted like high-end Ding Qua Qua seamed rice with bigger shrimps and meat) was super good. It was perfectly balanced in taste. And I couldn't help but mouth "mmm" with my first mouthful. They also have a Sticky Dumpling which was really interesting since it tasted like bicho-bicho siopao or bicho-bicho empanada. The vessel was sticky rice but the filling was savory. It was a nice food surprise, especially since I've not been surprised for a while. The texture of the fried sticky rice coat is so perplexing but enjoyable nonetheless. The xiao long bao is not worth getting -- the wrapper was rough, uneven, and holey. It didn't hold the soup well at all. The pork belly dish, I forgot the name, taoshin-something, was okay. The texture of the meat and tofu was nice but I found it too salty for my taste.

Ambiance: 4/5
Service: 4/5 (one you get your waiter, it's smooth sailing)
Price: Mid-expensive (P1,000 for all four items, two of which was dim sum)
Food: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 3.6/5

So while my top Cebu Chinese restaurants still stand: (1) Ding Qua Qua, (2) Luy's Seafood Restaurant and (3) Tsay Cheng; Tao Yuan can be number 4.

Try the sticky dumpling! :)