Makati is known for two things: expensive stuff and expensive food. Being the capital’s central business district there aren’t a lot of places to get cheap stuff, unless you really know where to look. In pockets of the city there are places like Jam and Viet that defy the price points many outsiders of Makati have come to expect. Cheap, quality, comfort food that doesn’t break the bank and will make you want for more. Ever since our friend, Ron, introduced me and Tricia to Lao Beijing a few months back, we have made it our unofficial go-to meeting and dinner place. One reason why we keep coming back is because of the deliciously good xia long bao and pork kuchay.
For people, like me, who aren’t familiar with the whole Malugay/Mayapis/Buendia area of Makati a whole community of food places will just pass you by. When Ron introduced me and Tricia to Lao Beijing one Saturday afternoon, we were both surprised there were restaurants in the ground floor of Makati Cityland. In the past we had always taken this place for granted and never took a look and explored it fully. After watching Les Miserables, Tricia and I decided to have our dinner here before heading home.
As always Lao Beijing was filled with Chinese expats slurping down hot bowls of noodle soup, their saucers filled with vinegar and soy sauce, and their chopsticks gently picking up either xia long bao or vegetable/pork kuchay. Without perusing the menu we ordered the same dishes many diners were having: xia long bao and pork kuchay; plus chicken and mushroom dish and black tea.
After eating in Din Tai Fung I know the experience will never be the same, but there is something about eating cheap food and eating dumplings that no Michelin star or no-star restaurant can fulfill, dumplings are plain heaven! Lao Beijing’s xia long bao came in 8 pieces and there was no stopping me and Tricia from slurping down its soup and enjoying the meaty filling. With the vinegar and soy sauce mixture, the dumplings were HEAVEN!
Joining our evening meal were pork kuchay dumplings, tear drop shaped dumplings filled with pork meat. It might sound like the typical siomai and maybe it is but eating these dumplings as if they were chips just makes it plain comfort and heart warming food.
Despite the somewhat dough heavy wrapper, the xia long bao and the kuchay are absolutely delicious. Despite ordering the chicken dish, the two orders were enough to make us full. Each dumpling is really loaded and the soy-vinegar sauce really brings out the flavor.
Lao Beijing may not be known nor does it have the culinary world’s accolades but it certainly gets plus points in my book. It’s a simple place for casual dining and those late night cravings, Chinese cravings, and dumpling cravings.
G08 Makati Cityland Executive Towers
3 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City
Lao Beijing is open from 12 am to 12 pm every day