Ping Pong Diplomacy
3/F SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway cor. 26th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila
- 19 Reviews
- 169 Recommend
- 18 Reviewers
- Business Hours
- Open: 10:00a - 10:00p
- 10:00a - 10:00p
- 10:00a - 10:00p
- 10:00a - 10:00p
- 10:00a - 10:00p
- 10:00a - 10:00p
- 10:00a - 10:00p
- 10:00a - 10:00p
Most Recent Reviews
Was excited to try their food because of the reviews and their modern take on dishes so of course, lunch was a no-brainer when we finally found ourselves in Aura.
We got there past lunch time, around 3 or 4 PM and only two other tables were occupied. We got the crispy eggplants, the simple egg dish, a noodle dish I forgot the name of, prawns, and their dan-dan rice. I'm not one to order drinks as I usually settle for water but I decided to get the ginger cooler because their beverage list seems really interesting.
Surprisingly, service was very slow even if the place isn't crowded. The egg dish probably arrived 20-30 mins after, just when we were ready to cancel it. All of the dishes we got were SALTY...as if someone went HAM on the salt. The only thing we liked was the eggplant which was on the sweet side. I don't usually like my food sweet but this was quite exceptional!
The drink was good too though I wish it came in a taller glass. Given the number of ice tubes in it, you don't really get much.
Their only saving grace was their service. The wait staff is very courteous, attentive, and mindful. They seemed to be happy to do what they're doing. Our glasses were never empty as they kept refilling it with water and offered to change our plates several times.
- No. of Comments: 7
- No. of Likes: 7 Likes
I’m not a big Chinese food fan but Ping Pong Diplomacy is a place I’d probably keep going back to.
Ok fine, it’s not really your traditional Chinese restaurant but if you’re looking for modern Chinese dishes that are comforting, flavorful, creative — and affordable (except for the Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns lol Abe C), you HAVE to try this place.
I was lucky enough to have been able to try most of their dishes during the PPD looloo rendezvoos from last month. That night, the ones that really stood out to me were the Simple Fried Eggs, Chicken Skin Dan Dan Rice, and Crunchy Eggplant.
Returned the other day to try them all again and was not disappointed! The Crunchy Eggplant + Chicken Skin Dan Dan Rice is
The Crunchy Eggplant can be a bit sweet but it’s perfect for me when paired with the savory Dan Dan Rice. Save for one piece, I finished the entire stack by myself. #NoShame Also, this is probably the only eggplant I’ll eat haha. If they made an ampalaya version, maybe I’ll eat that too. Haha.
Also recommending their Cucumber Ginger drink! A bit bitin for a camel like me but it’s very refreshing!
Service is good also! They even offered to mix my Dan Dan rice!
- No. of Comments: 13
- No. of Likes: 26 Likes
Call me a latebloomer, looloozens 'cause it's just recently that I was able to dine here on another rare BGC sojourn....hehehe
I was intrigued by the eyecatching food pics again from the looloozens, and so I couldn't help but shout for a PPD Sojourn when we got a chance to visit SM Aura....
Here's what I got for a quick fix
Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice, was it named after a brapanese celebrity? I don't know... hehehe.. but one thing's for sure... it's more than chicken skin, fermented chili bean and toasted peanuts..... I love the sweet-spicy kick of this dish moreso it had mushrooms,peas and seemingly small slices of ripe mango? And of course, can't deny the sunny side egg on top 🏻 I was reminded of Charlie Chan Pasta with its oriental spicy flavor, only that, it was in this cleverly composed rice dish! Yum!!
Also tried an off the menu foodie item, the Chicken Curry, it tasted like indian curry but had a bit of twist with the addition of sweet, mashed pumpkin around the dish... perfect match to the plain rice 🏻
Chugged em all down with a refreshing glass of regular Coke ( not Diet, not Zero ) ahhh ( bubble fitz ) 🏻
Time was of the essence for a quick drop-by.... I shall be back for the Crispy Eggplant Tower and more!!!
- No. of Comments: 9
- No. of Likes: 20 Likes
Friday night dinner w my friends and Ony after a very tiring week. I feel so happy to be back here because I really loved the Simple Fried Egg and Crunchy Eggplant before and I can't wait to eat them again!!!! Ordered both again just so they can try and taste AWESOMENESS! Haha!
The Simple Fried Egg, as expected, was good! I am still in love w this dish and I don't think I'll ever get tired of this simple yet oh so good fried egg. Only comment though was the serving size. Is it smaller now??
The Crunchy Eggplant was just okay.. Also, we had to wait for it for more than 30 mins. We're almost done eating but this one was still not yet served to us. So we had to follow up only to find out they forgot to place our orders. And then after a while, a server approached us and said that the first batch didn't passed their "standards" so they have to prepare another one so we had to wait another 10mins.
My friend who doesn't like eggplant tried it and said it was okay. It doesn't tastes weird daw. It was good but was just a little too sweet than usual. Ony even said that it tastes like TURON. 🤔 Hard to not taste turon once someone said it tastes like one (Hayyynako, thanks Ony! ).
We also got to try the PING PONG WINGS and the NOT MAPO TOFU. Both were just okay. The 12 spice chicken was kind of salty. We were all hoping it was spicy but nope. I still haven't tried a "real" Mapo Tofu so I don't know how this should taste like. It was just okay. I like tofu but not the soft type. I like it fried.
Still giving them 3 stars because of the SIMPLE FRIED EGG. But was kind of disappointed with the rest of our orders.
Sorry, Ping Pong!
- No. of Comments: 4
- No. of Likes: 10 Likes
I usually get inggit especially when it involves anything breakfast related but if not breakfast related, kebs lang. BUT the inggit was way too strong when my homies went here, sent pictures of the dishes they tried and were all raving about how good the dishes were. THANK YOU, FRIENDS!
I had to endure the inggit for more than a week but I guess God didn't want me to suffer that long because my aunt decided to just work in a coffee shop in Aura one Friday. And yes, I found the perfect excuse to invite her for lunch!!!!
We ordered the following:
SIMPLE FRIED EGG. Simple yet so goooooooood. I love all things egg so it was not a surprise that I LOVED THIS ONE. A LOT. Fried egg w pork floss and scallions and oriental sauce on top. It was crispy outside but when you slice it, you'll see that the yolk is still a bit runny which is PERFECT. I almost finished this one!
CRISPY FRIED EGGPLANT. Our favorite! Sweet crunchy fried eggplant. This is really good and everything about this one reminds me of Recipe's General's Chicken (my fave!! ️).
WONTON CHEESEBURGER. Chinese x American. Wagyu Beef w cheddar cheese deep fried wonton. Served with caramelized onions, wasabi mayo? and Sriracha and lettuce. It's like a deconstructed burger but instead of a bread bun, it's wrapped w wonton. This was interestingly good but was just okay for me.
DAN DAN RICE. You just can't eat here and not order this. A must order. Once you get to taste this, you'll understand why. Was expecting it to be spicy but it wasn't (but according to my aunt, it was spicy), maybe I should ask them to make it a bit spicier next time.
Overall, it was a very nice lunch date. I'm so happy I finally got to try PPD. Can't wait to go back next time and try the Scotch Egg, the Garlic Prawns?, and the desserts!!!
TIP: If ever you'll be ordering the Prawns, order extra plain rice and ask the servers to mix the garlic and the rice. You're welcome!
SERVICE. As always and as expected, was excellent. 🏼 Staffs are well trained, they know the menu and explained the dishes to us.
PLACE. Ganda! Haha. Yun lang po.
- No. of Comments: 4
- No. of Likes: 8 Likes
I remember asking Charlie if they have any plans bringing back Dan Dan Rice on any of his restaurants and he said Yes.
The conversation transpired last year at Fowl Bread, Looloo Rendezvoos. I usually forget stuff but not this time, Dan Dan Rice is the crowd favourite at Fire In The Hole and when the pop-up store ran its course, Ive been hoping for the day to come that my fave dish will make a comeback.
The Tasteless Group is at it again – bringing joy to foodies in the metro. And since I’ve been Nice last year, they brought back Dan Dan Rice by way of Ping Pong Diplomacy *happy dance*
Apart form grating foodie wishes, The Tasteless Group is known for having the most imaginative and smart names of their establishments. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear Ping Pong Diplomacy? Well…I thought of The Longest Yard, the part when Adam Sandler is asking the big scary due to join their football team. They were playing Ping Pong then. According the wonderful people of Wikipedia, PPD refers to the refers to the exchange of table tennis (ping-pong) players between the United States and People's Republic of China (PRC) in the early 1970s. The event marked a thaw in Sino-American relations that paved the way to a visit to Beijing by President Richard Nixon.
Now, why the name eh? Simple, the restaurant specialized in Chinese American dishes. Gah, I really really want to meet the brilliant mind who named all of the restaurants under the Tasteless roster.
PPD and Hey Handsome has the same design aesthetic. Industrial meets Modern. Perfect Balance, it is not “too cool” and not “too artsy”. I like the Ping Pong Racket adorned wall. Nope, I don’t play Ping Pong, I just like looking at it. It sort of reminds me of “waving hands”
Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice. Crispy chicken skin, fermented chili bean, toasted peanuts.
“Marry me and let us make spicy babies together!” This is the rice that launched a thousand ships, the alpha and the omega, this is what dreams are made of….(drop the mic)
The rice is seasoned to perfection and it is not spicy at all (sorry, Dragon Lady Standards). I guess they cooked the rice in fermented chili and added some “awesome” seasonings and recited an magical Chinese incantation hence the end result is Magical. The chicken skin is crunchy and extremely addicting.
Simple Fried Eggs. Eggs, pork floss, scallions and oriental sauce. What sorcery is this???? How can one make fried eggs taste like this??? Blame it on the pork floss and the oriental sauce – the awesome twosome made dem eggs divine. The eggs are cooked perfectly, they sure know how to make a mean sunny side up. The pork floss adds texture to the dish while the sauce adds a sweet x salty element.
Crunchy Eggplants. Battered eggplant, fragrant sauce and prickly ash. Another anomaly (in a good way) in the PPD menu. The expertise and imagination involved in this dish is insane. Chef Noel Mauricio made a household vegetable taste like royalty. They are not kidding when they said “crispy”…. I can still hear the crunch up to this day. The batter is seasoned perfectly and it highlights the eggplant.
What makes PPD special is the artistry involved in the dishes they offer. They don’t use fancy ingredients like the others, they stick to what is common and enhances it to the nth power.
- No. of Comments: 6
- No. of Likes: 5 Likes
Wanting to join one of the newest wrinkles, I decided to skip lunch yesterday so I can go heavy at PPD for dinner. From the outside, the place looked like one of the restaurants in Chinatown in the City by the Bay. The place was crowded and that's probably because of the hype. I skipped the small plates and went heavy.
I started with Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns (PHP650). I can't remember how many pieces I had but I think it was four. It was served swimming in crispy garlic and garnished with charred pickled vegetables. One of the servers approached me and taught me the best way to eat it. He told me to put a lot of crispy garlic inside the prawns so every bite is packed with flavor. He was right and I think I would have not enjoyed this dish just eating the prawns. The server's name is Aries, so Kudos! 🏼
Next was the Caveman Beef Ribs (PHP550). I was a bit surprised by the size because it was hefty and I think two persons can share on this dish. At first bite, I thought it was okay and nothing out of the ordinary. I added a lot of zhen jang vinaigrette and that's when I started enjoying it. I liked how it was cooked and there were parts that reminded me of Mighty Quinn's burnt ends. It was delicious. The crispy shallots added freshness to every bite.
I had two drinks. I tried their Almond Soy Cooler (PHP85) as suggested by Aries and he also mentioned that Charlie would normally serve this to his guests. I love this drink. It was too small though and because of that, I had to get their Mango Tarragon Smoothie (PHP150), STRATEGY AH!. The smoothie was sweet and at the same time refreshing because of the tarragon. I would still prefer to have the Almond Soy Cooler though. I think it would also be best if they provide size options for this drink.
For dessert, I had the Fortune Balls (PHP150). The presentation was impressive and the plate looked really beautiful. It was a combination of Taro, Ginger and Black Sesame Mochi. This to me was fun to eat. Slightly sweet mochi followed by a kick of sweetness from the pistachio cream and that exciting crumble you get from the sesame.
Other than the food, what I really like about PPD is their service. It was fast, the servers know what they are talking about and they check on their customers about the experience.
- No. of Comments: 2
- No. of Likes: 6 Likes
The fusion of flavours and contrasting textures make the ping pong experience.
I was invited to an event to sample the menu, which is still in its early stages, so far it holds well with the brands image, Asian Food with a flare in flavours and presentation. I enjoyed the taste of some of the dishes so much, I went back the next day for full portions for my own consumption.
Some of their dishes hold a spice like the Dan Dan Chicken Rice, which can't be adjusted due to the integrity of the dish...
The Caveman Ribs (535+ PHP) #Recommended
Is what led me to return, I call it the high class pares with crispy shallots giving it a nice texture in between the savoury tender fall-off -the-bone beef.
Taro Shake (130+ PHP)
The coconut milk allows the taro "ube" to express its irresistible taste while giving it a smooth texture to flow easy on every sip.
Crunchy Eggplant (140 PHP) Must Try!
A tower of eggplant wrapped in a thick batter and coated with in a sweet fragrant sauce and sprinkled with some diced chilli which can be removed or sided on request. The crunchy bits on the is so addicting, sometimes appetisers are enough to satisfy.
Wonton Cheeseburger (290 PHP)
A western idea made well, wontons stuffed with beef balls and oozing cheese. I find the rest of the line-up presents a better satisfaction ratio..
Truffled Mushroom Edamame Dumplings (160 PHP)
Truffle oil, 3 kinds of mushrooms, and edamame wrapped in a delicate siomai wrap. The mixture of ingredients makes for a delicious soup.
Interior is simple and blue, an in-store restroom is convenient.
- No. of Comments: 3
- No. of Likes: 21 Likes
My first |oo|oo rendezvoos (sponsored event) for 2017 happened at Ping Pong Diplomacy! Another ah-mazing restaurant from the ever creative Tasteless Group.
The restaurant's name and the story behind it will give you a hint of the dishes they serve:
"Ping-pong diplomacy (Chinese: 乒乓外交Pīngpāng wàijiāo) refers to the exchange of table tennis (ping-pong) players between the United States and People's Republic of China(PRC) in the early 1970s. The event marked a thaw in Sino-American relations that paved the way to a visit to Beijing by President Richard Nixon. " - Wikipedia
And no, this is not another Chinese-American fushion restaurant. This is ze Chinese-American fushion restaurant! What sets them a part is probably how the menu came to life. According to Charlie (Head of Tasteless Group), he challenged the chefs to go back in time and come up with dishes from their own interpretation of Chinese cuisine. The outcome was insane.
The menu consists of small plates, big plates, desserts and rice & noodles.
Our group was served with almost everything on the menu and every food was so good! My favorites would have to be the following:
Wonton Cheeseburger (P290) - Crispy wonton, wagyu beef and sharp cheddar. You have to add caramelized onion before wrapping it on a lettuce. It comes with two types of sauce. I chose to dip mine on a cilantro sauce which made the appetizer more stellar.
Crunchy Eggplant (P140) - Battered Eggplant, Fragrant sauce and Prickly ash. Everyone was raving about this dish and I have to agree! Just like the name suggests, it is indeed crunchy with a little sweetness on each bite. It was made simple but it was also addicting at the same time!
Simple Fried Eggs (P135) - Scallions, Pork Floss and Oriental sauce. Straightforward and yummy! I loved each bite specially the crunchy and well-cooked part of the egg. I can eat this every day!
Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice (P285) - Crispy chicken skin, fermented chili bean and toasted peanuts. Tasty and good play on the texture! You can talk to the waiter to adjust the spicy kick of the dish.
Ping Pong Diplomacy officially opened on February 1st but they only released half of the menu. Exciting! 🏓
- No. of Comments: 4
- No. of Likes: 10 Likes
From the brilliant minds behind one of a kind food concepts in the Metro such as Wrong Ramen, Fowl Bread, The Beef, Le Petit Souffle, Freezer Burn, etc. comes a new restaurant that's so easy to love - Ping Pong Diplomacy! The name sounds a little intriguing but a quick check in Google would reveal that Ping Pong Diplomacy is in fact an event in history involving table tennis (or ping pong) between China and the US. Thinking about Forrest Gump? That's it!
The concept was Chinese-American fusion, nothing traditional, nothing like those Chinese-American fusion in the local scene now. We were welcomed by Tasteless Group's owner, Charlie Paw, and explained where they got the name and the concept. He told us that they didn't use any cookbook as reference. He had his team of chefs think out of the box! What was important was their own creative interpretation of the concept and their soft opening menu was the product. I think Chef Noel Mauricio did a good job here.
The restaurant itself was one of a kind! Walls painted in blue, one section was full of hands holding table tennis rackets, as if ready to strike! A bit scary at first, and if you think of the place when it's dark lol, but you'll get used to it. It's actually one of the charms of the place making it so unique! Floor tiles of black and white, more tiles (blue this time) on the counters, open kitchen, well-lit and very modern industrial in design - it kinda reminded me of Fowl Bread.
Charlie had us try almost everything in the menu! Isn't he the most generous of all hosts? Let me drill down ---
| From the Small Plates section of their menu, we had Wonton Cheeseburger, Truffled Dumplings, Crunchy Eggplant, Ping Pong Wings, Prawn Scotch Eggs, Simple Fried Eggs, Beer House Mussels and Clams.
> Simple Fried Eggs for 135Php
Starting off with my favorites, the Simple Fried Eggs was indeed one of the easiest to prepare among the dishes but it was a good one! It's basically just scrambled eggs topped with scallions, pork floss and oriental sauce. The pork floss and the oriental sauce made all the difference giving the simple scrambled egg a whole new character - salty and savory! And before I forget, I loved the crunchy edges of the egg!
> Wonton Cheeseburger for for 290Php
See the fusion here? It's genius IMO! This was like a deconstructed cheeseburger, only that there's no burger bun. The crisp wonton were packed with tasty ground Wagyu Beef, well seasoned with sharp cheddar. This was served with fresh and crisp lettuce on the side as well as caramelized onion, sriracha and a cilantro sauce. Wrap the "dumpling" into the lettuce and add in the sides, dunk everything into your mouth! Delicious!
> Truffled Mushroom Edamame Dumplings for 160Php
You love truffle oil? This one's more than just an olfactory treat! As soon as it was served, the strong and distinct smell of truffle lingered and as soon as I took a bite -- ohhh truffle heaven! Loved the strong kick of truffle, the tasty soup and the mix of mushrooms that quite seemed like meat to me because I was only paying attention to the truffle lol! Not your ordinary kind of yellow siomai here, but it sure was delicious!
> Crunchy Eggplant for 140Php
This is definitely one of my overall favorites that night! It's amazing how Ping Pong Diplomacy will make you eat your veggies! I swear even kids will like this and will not notice that they were actually eating eggplant! The eggplant slices were coated in batter, deep fried and then smothered with "fragrant sauce" and garnished with sesame seeds, herbs and chili! I love it when simple ingredients are turned into something extraordinary without trying too hard.
This was more Japanese than Chinese, according to Charlie. They were trying to depict a Teriyaki kind of dish here.
> Ping Pong Wings for 320Php
Deep fried chicken wings covered in a strong mix of spices, crunchy and flavorful but nothing so extra ordinary for me though I liked it. The mix of spices was very Asian, reminded me of Serenitea's Chicken Chops.
> Prawn Scotch Egg for 180Php
What is a Scotch Egg, you ask? It's basically hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat. Ping Pong Diplomacy's version used pork with shrimps as the shell of the 5 minute egg. The meaty shell was tasty and the egg had a runny center. Loved the side serving of wasabi mayo dip that elevated the flavors of the meaty shell.
This dish was more British than American, Sesame seeds coating the shell + the wasabi mayo gave it it's Asian flare.
> Beer House Mussels and Clams for 175Php
Mussels and clams in a Tsingtao Beer sauce with dill weed, this dish didn't reach our side of the table though.
> Cranberries and Tofu for 245Php
Silky tofu, century egg, sun-dried cranberries, plum powder with pork floss on the side, lots of onion leeks and chili on top. I would love to go back for this since I wasn't able to try it that night.
| Onto the Big Plates section of the menu, we tried the following: Not Mapo Tofu, Grilled Prawns, Lamb and Beef Ribs.
> Not Mapo Tofu for 330Php
Mapo Tofu is a popular Chinese dish from the Sichuan Province, known for it's very spicy dishes. Usually made up of tofu cubes with ground meat, Ping Pong Diplomacy's version used Steamed Fresh Soya Custard which was silky soft and so smooth, more like "taho" but it was set in a very spicy sauce. Instead of using ground meat, this version used pork slices, that were so tender and with just the right amount of fat trimmings, for that modern twist!
> Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns for 650Php
Tiger Prawns on sticks, grilled and topped with lots of crispy garlic and charred pickled veggies. I loved that the tiger prawns were cooked just right, easily peeled the skin, sweet and juicy meat. The pickled veggies gave an additional flavor profile to this dish.
> Cumin Lamb Pouches for 650Php
I would love to love this dish, I like lamb meat a lot, but I just can't. The components and the overall concept was good - lamb shack with cumin seed sauce with mint on the side, pickled veggies, lots of cilantro and toasted bao, which gave it the Chinese touch. It's was like a DIY bao, which is very popular now-a-days. But then the lamb meat was dry. You have to get to the part that's attached to the bone to somewhat enjoy a juicy and tender meat.
> Caveman Beef Ribs for 535Php
One of my favorites during our dinner, the braised beef was so tender! Served with crispy shallots and a generous serving of zhenjang vinaigrette, this dish had the right balance of sour, sweet and salty.
| We also got to try all of the dishes under the Rice & Noodles section of the menu: Dan Dan Rice, Chickpea Noodles and Surf & Turf Noodles.
> Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice for 285Php
Oh my heart! My favorite from Fire in the Hole, a pop-up concept in Whole in the Wall, I was more than glad to be reacquainted with this dish. You have to be prepared if you'll order this coz it's one super spicy dish! Sitting on top of warm rice is a generous serving of crispy chicken skin, fermented chili bean and toasted peanuts. Garnished with lots of sesame seeds, onion leeks, crispy shallots, green peas, lots of chili and a sunny side up egg, you can request for a less spicy version or maybe ask them not to top it off with red chili. You won't be able to stop munching because the chicken skin itself was so cholesterolific good, plus lots of texture and flavors that went well together.
> Spicy Chickpea Noodles for 265Php
Another hot dish, this had thick Lo Mien noodles, deep fried chickpeas, thick cut bacon strips lots of onion leeks and spring onions in a thick and spicy sauce. This dish did not really leave an impression aside from the bacon.
Surf and Turf Noddles for 285Php
I was hoping for a nice and runny egg here but that didn't happen. But I guess that's alright because this was one delicious dish! Loved the tender slices of Char Siew, the salty and somewhat sweet but definitely spicy sauce.
| Then there was dessert. We tried all three!
> Fortune Balls for 150Php
Taro, ginger and black sesame mochi balls on a bed of pistachio cream, topped with sesame crumble. The black sesame was very evident but the taro and ginger - not so. What I liked about this dessert though was the pistachio cream! It was thick and had a nice toasted nut flavor - just go ahead and bathe the mochi balls with this cream!
> Jicama Pie for 220
I honestly didn't know that this dish was made up of Jicama (which I needed to google while writing), commonly known as Mexican yam bean or simply Mexican turnip. All along I though I was eating apples! It's a little deceiving but if you come to think of it, when turnip is cooked in sugar with cinnamon, it will really turn out just like apple pie filling! Anyhow, this dessert was a deconstructed pie with puff pastry and compote served side by side together with a Five Spice Ice Cream. Now, I'm not surprised that the ice cream tasted so good because Chef Miko Aspiras made it! Kinda reminded me of Freezer Burn's Cinnamon Milk ice Cream.
> Mungo Buchi for 220Php
My favorite dessert of all was the Mungo Buchi. I love Hopia, the Tipas kind! I can finish a small box all by myself and golly I just did yesterday! This dessert had deep fried buchi, red bean puree and a heavenly scoop of mungo hopia ice cream which had chunks of hopia! Oh my heart! Hopia heaven in every scoop! I can probably consume a pint of this ice cream in one go!
| For my drink, I went with Mango Tarragon Smoothie coz I was intrigued how the flavors will play out. Surprisingly, the tarragon part was very subtle. I'm curious how it will taste like if there was a stronger tarragon taste. I shall request that next time!
> HK Milk Tea for 85Php
I also went for an order of HK Milk Tea. Got this just out of curiosity - if it will taste like that of Milk Trade. Sadly, I liked the one from Milk Trade more. This drink was too bitter and needed some more sweet milk. I asked for some ice in an attempt to water down the bitterness but I ended up with a bland milk tea. - watered down indeed LOL
Overall, I loved our dinner here and I am excited to go back! Most of the dishes were spicy but you can always request for them to adjust the level of heat. They will also be launching new items in about a month, so that's really something to look forward to.
Their staff were also friendly. Always ready to be of assistance, I especially liked Amiel because he was so hyper, explained the dishes proactively and helped me out a lot while I was taking pictures.
Warning: if you are looking for authentic Chinese dishes, this is not the place for you. Their dishes were very playful in terms of flavors and combinations so some might not appreciate this kind, especially if you are not the adventurous type.
- No. of Comments: 5
- No. of Likes: 23 Likes
My First |ooloo Rendezvous for 2017! HURRAY!
We were invited by the Tasteless Restaurant Group to visit their newly opened restaurant in SM AURA - PING PONG DIPLOMACY. The same team who created the famous Hole in the wall - Bad Bird, Le Petite Souffle, Fowlbread and many more. We were accompanied by Charles Paw and Chef Noel Mauricio the whole evening.
If you're wondering why the restaurant name 'Ping Pong Diplomacy', it's actually an event in history wherein table tennis became a tool for international relations. A Ping Pong tournament gave an opportunity for America and China to get to know each other and start a good relationship.
Chef Noel told us that PPD's menu is inspired by what the Americans thought about what Chinese Cuisine might actually look and taste like during the time they haven't met them yet.
I was able to try the following:
️ TYPHOON SHELTER GRILLED PRAWNS P650
Grilled Tiger Prawns, Crispy Garlic, Charred Pickled Vegetables
This is my top pick among all the dish that were served during the night. Dennis O and I have agreed to that! I liked how the prawns were so crispy and garlicky. I love anything with garlic and this is something i'd reco if you love it too. I would go back for this!
️ TRUFFLED MUSHROOM EDAMAME DUMPLINGS P160
Edamame, 3 Kinds of Mushroom, Truffle Oil
This dish reminds me of Xiao Long Bao and Shomai combined. The best way to eat it is to take the dumpling like how you would on Xiao Long Baos and add soup. Mmm! Love that the truffle oil's taste is very noticeable.
️ CRUNCHY EGGPLANT P140
Battered Eggplant, Fragrant Sauce, Prickly Ash
Inna A and I agreed how this dish stood out despite the dish having a simple and straightforward ingredient - Eggplant. Sweet and salty - simply delicious.
PING PONG WINGS P320
12 Spice Blend, Crispy Leeks, Sweet Pickled Cucumbers
Now this Chicken Wings reminds me a lot of Badbird's because of the different spices it's seasond with. I saw the emphasis on the fusion here from Purposely using the wing part of the Chicken which is very American then adding those very oriental Spices which is mostly used on Chicken Chops in famous street stalls that can be found in China/Hk.
CRISPY, Flavorful and Brilliant!
PRAWN SCOTCH EGG P180
5 minute Egg, Prawn and Pork, Wasabi Mayo
This is how I want my Hard Boiled Eggs to be cooked at home! The shell's texture is made of prawn and pork perfectly contrasts the softness of the egg. This dish can be done at home btw! It tastes so much better with wasabi mayo!
This is a Fried Dumpling with a twist! The meat is wrapped in wonton wrapper with wagyu beef and sharp cheddar inside. How to eat:
Wrap a the dumpling with lettuce, add caramelized onions and sauce - Savour the Flavah!
NOT MAPO TOFU P330
Steamed Fresh Soya Custard, Pork Two Ways, Crispy Leeks
Made with freah soya custard - for lovers of anything spicy!
CUMIN LAMB POUCHES P360
Lamb Shank, Cumin Seed, Toasted Baos
The lamb was a little overcooked. The texture was similar too that of Crispy Pata which I think it shouldn't have turned out. Liked the creamy sauce on the side though.
DAN DAN CHICKEN SKIN RICE P285
Crispy Chicken Skin, Fermented Chili Bean, Toasted Peanuts
Now this! Everyone on the table is raving about this. It looks like pina-modern yang chow fried rice to me but more spicy. I liked how the chicken skin added crunchiness to the texture and made it interesting to eat.
FORTUNE BALLS P150
Taro, Ginger and Black Sesame Mochi, Sesame Crumble, Pistachio Cream
Interesting dessert. The presentation is also very oriental, I like the plates they used which added more character to the dish. I've only tried the Ginger Mochi and liked how it didn't turned me off. Hate Gingers but thanks to the Pistachio Cream it balanced the over all taste. 🏼
JICAMA PIE P220
Puffy Pastry, Jicama Conpote, Five Spice Ice Cream
MUNGO BUCHI P220
Deep Fried Buchi, Red Bean Puree, Mango Hopia Ice Cream
ALMOND SOY COOLER P85
Happy that i've ordered this. I was surprised that almond tastes good when mixed with Soy. Yum! Very interesting drink! I've read this can be found in street stall in HongKong. Must order when you dine here!
HK MILK TEA P85
The ambiance makes me feel at home. It's like staying in an old Chinese Restaurant that serves modern cuisine. The hands mounted on the wall holding Ping Pong Paddles gave me a mini heart attack at first LOL. But really like the overall concept of the restaurant!
Impeccable! Despite being bombarded with orders cause of the number of customers they've had that night, happy that the quality of the food is maintained all through out.
The servers also explains the dish they serve 🏻
VALUE FOR MONEY = ️️️️️
There have been a lof of restaurants in lately coming up with their own take on Fusions, Trying to mix the unusual, breaking the norm and incorporating ingredients that don't seem to work but ends up tasting excellent. Ping Pong Diplomacy is a game changer and is definitely one for the books!!!
Ps. Still upset that I wasn't able to try the Simple Fried Egg loved by many!🙁
Thank you again Peanut D for the invite and happy to be seeing familiar faces during the event ️
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JENGA! a perfect thought looking at one of Ping Pong Diplomacy's Fried Eggplant (and one of my favorites). Check out the pic and you'd probably guess why.
So starts my atypical review of the Tasteless Group's newly launched restaurant. It's rare that I review a restaurant worth writing lengthily about in a fairly short way. Why, because it was an anti foodie occasion... Not a sponsored event, nor was I with fellow foodies on one of our food trips. Instead, I met up with longtime friends here and they were all hungry (one was actually hAngry), a few were balikbayans and I arrived late (hence missed taking pics of a few IG worthy dishes), so it was a confluence of many things working against me.
But I just had to eat here after reading so many 5 star reviews from respected looloo reviewers. So obviously, I used my Jedi mind tricks to divert my friends from our initial resto of choice to this. Plus how could one say NO to trying something by Charlie Paw and his Tasteless group, spearheaded by the creativity of chefs Noel Mauricio (Le Petit Soufflé), Miko Aspiras (Freezer Burn) and Him Uy de Baron (Nomama)-- disclosure, I read this bit of info from various reviews and also the write up by Esquire's Sasha Lim Uy and Spot.ph. Even if it was just on its 7th day (or so) and in its soft launch mode.
Resto Name, at a Glance:
> Food & Beverage: 4.5/5
> Service (Dine-In): 4/5 (they missed serving one of our fried Eggplant orders)
> Kitchen Service: 4/5 I found the Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns a bit dry but everything else was perfect.
> Ambience: 5/5 clean, well themed place, and loving the ping pong paddles with matching mannequin hands on the wall; small but the turnover here should be fast
> Value for Money: 4/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5 (which I'll round off at 4/5 for now coz of the Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns and the missed fried eggplant experience)
Worth a try - hell YEAH!
Worth a return - Absolutely!
I'd recommend ordering the Chicken Skin Dandan Rice, the Fried Eggplant appetizer, the simple fried egg, the scotch egg, the Ping Pong Wings plus the Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns is another one I'd love to give another go at it (coz I love garlic!). Chef Miko's Fortune Balls is awesome. And the fried Mungo Buchi with Mongo hopia ice cream is good too. Ask if dishes are spicy coz you might be surprised to taste the heat with certain dishes. The HK milk tea is good but at P85, the glass was too small for my taste. Go in a group to try more.
> VERDICT: one exciting offering yet again by Charlie Paw's Tasteless Group. They say it's a mix of Chinese and American, because of the history of the use of Ping Pong to ease the tension between US and China decades ago, but I'd say it's using Chinese roots, taking liberties and using the uniquely Chinese flavors and spinning it with other cuisine influences and ingredients to come up with winning dishes. Sort of what they did with Peranakan cuisine in Hey Handsome and Asian dishes at Your Local. Absolutely brill, Charlie.
P.S. It's 1 am and I have lots of work to do and I would like to sleep, so since I cannot edit this later, I'll type this up as is. And will definitely return to try the other dishes.
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Ping Pong Diplomacy, historically, is about how Table Tennis or Ping Pong became a diplomatic channel that lessened the Cold War tensions between China and the US. In an unexpected turn of events, travel bans and trade embargos eased after the Ping Pong teams of both countries showed good will to each other during the 1971 World Table Tennis Championships held in Nagoya, Japan.
So now, in relation to that historical event, Ping Pong Diplomacy – the restaurant, celebrates that renewed diplomatic relation by serving Chinese-American cuisine.
During the looloo rendezvoos (#doubleOforbranding) last week, owner Charles paw and Chef Noel Mauricio presented the following dishes. Seriously, everything was good but, I’ll mark with | my favorites:
|🔹 Wonton Cheeseburger.
🔹 Truffled Mushroom Edemame Dumplings
|🔹 Crunchy Eggplant
🔹 Ping Pong Wings
🔹 Prawn Scotch Egg
🔹 Cranberries and Tofu
|🔹 Simple Fried Eggs
🔹 Beer House Mussels and Clams
🔹 Not Mapo Tofu
|🔹 Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns
🔹 Cumin Lamb Pouches
|🔹 Caveman Beef Rib
🔹 Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice
🔹 Spicy Chickpea Noodles
🔹 Surf and Turf Noodles
🔹 Fortune Balls
|🔹 Jicama Pie
🔹 Mungo Buchi
Take note though that some (or most?🤔) dishes are spicy so check first with the server before ordering.
Thank you, PPD! Thank you, looloo! Nice seeing everyone during the #looloorendezvoos!
1. A meeting of loolooers, usually to eat, at an establishment that has agreed to provide free meal/s or service/s to select looloo reviewers.
2. An event you just can’t say no to.
Spelled with double “o” because… looloo.. Y’know. Branding.
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A testament to how good this place is a perfect 5 Star coming from the first 5 reviewers. I'm giving it another 5 Shining Stars!
Charlie Paw and his gang never fail to excite me. Every time I hear that they are opening a new restaurant, I immediately think what kind of bold revolution of flavors are we going to experience. I was lucky to got invited in Ping Pong Diplomacy |ooloo Rendezvoos. I was really excited to try this place since I heard about it. I was very curious how are they going to evolve the tried and tested Chinese foods. Then I learn that the place was named after the actual Ping Pong Diplomacy event. Where US and China had their ping pong match which open up the good relationship between the two countries. That's the key. Chinese-American Fusion restaurant.
The place had a very unique design. The great wall of hands with ping pong racket for sure will be an instant IG landmark. The feel was inside was a mix of modern and old China. Gave a homey feel to my Chinese blood. Specially the front gate screen. Really reminds me of our store gate hahaha..
Now lets go to the goodies the feast. First up was the small plates:
Truffled Mushroom Edamame Dumplings (160PHP) - the first to be served and it really gave an immediate lasting impression to me. You can never go wrong with truffle. This siomai looking dumplings is just pure goodness. Was a bit tricky to pick it up and need to be extra careful. Use the soup spoon so not to mess it up.
Wonton Cheeseburger (290PHP)-this one reminds me of Viet spring rolls with a twist. The Wagyu meat and cheddar cheese inside gave it a notion of a cheeseburger. Love the mixture of Sriracha and Cilantro dipping sauce. Complete it by wrapping in the lettuce. Exact feel of Viet spring rolls but with more explosion of flavors.
Crunchy Eggplant (140PHP)-a tower of battered egg plant. One of my fave for the night. The sweet and spicy delicious combined with crispiness of the eggplant was just awesome. Never knew eggplant can be this good!
Beer House Mussels and Clams (175PHP)-what I love about this dish was the mashed baby potato. The mussel and clams were also good but was a little bitin with its serving size.
Simple Fried Eggs (135PHP)-Tasteless Group might be an expert when leveling up a simple fried egg. First was that unforgettable Hey Handsome Deep Fried Egg and now this one at PPD. Scallions, pork floss, oriental sauce is the secret to this dish. Something simple yet so good!
Prawn Scotch Egg (180PHP)-Another dish that I love. The prawn and pork scotched added with wasabi mayo and sesame seeds were delicious. Another great appetizer for me.
Ping Pong Wings (320PHP)-Me and Jayson J. agreed this one tasted very similar to the peppered chicken being sold near our school. Quite similar to Serenitea but a bit better. I love the peppery flavor.
Now for the Big Plates here what we got to test.
Not Mapo Tofu (330PHP)-Mapo tofu is one of my fave Chinese dish and I love how they made it more modern. They made it thick slices of pork meat instead of the usual ground meat. Another they used fresh steam custard soy for this one. I love it tasted very similar to your regular Mapo Tofu but at the same time very unique.
Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns (650PHP)-Hands down my fave for the night. I love how crispy it was that I ate the whole prawn from head to tail. Just the way we Chinese do hahaha. No part wasted. The head was the best part full of flavors and add a good amount of those crispy garlic. Perfect!
Cumin Lamb Pouches (630PHP)-This one felt very middle eastern because of the cumin. I love the crispy pata kind of feel of this shank. The flavor was very powerful and tasted great with the baos.
Caveman Beef Rib (535PHP)-Braised beef rib, crispy shallots, zhenjang vinaigrette. The beef was so tender and the sauce was very good. Also one of my fave.
We also got to try one of their rice and noodles
Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice (285PHP)-If you are a fan of Fire in the Hole pop up store. Rejoice they have added this fave in their menu. For the spit firing spicy hot lover this is definitely for you. I love the overall flavor of this but I'll take note to ask the server to lessen the spiciness level.
Spicy Chicken Noodles (265PHP)-Another spicy dish. But this one was more tolerable for me. Deep fried chickpeas and thick cut bacon ingredients added to old school chinese lo mien noodles. Another nice PPD version of an old Chinese dish.
Now my fave part dessert and drinks.
Black Sesame Smoothie (150PHP)-A big fan of black sesame drinks. I use to buy powdered black sesame drinks when I go out of the country just for the love of this drinks. PPD version was like drinking black sesame ice cream of FIC. This one is a must try. I love it!
Fortune Balls (150PHP)-I find this dessert very cheap to be prices at 150PHP. The 3 different flavor of mochi (Taro, Black Sesame and Ginger). My fave was the refreshing Ginger flavor but the black sesame was equally good. The sesame crumble and pistachio cream was also so good that I wanna licked the plate haha.
Jicama Pie (220PHP)-This one got an amazing 5 spice ice cream flavor. Definitely a Chef Miko's Freezer Burn signature style. Amazing creative dessert. The 5spice tasted like chai tea and it was refreshingly good. The Singkamas was also delicious. It was like a filling for an apple pie. I love this dessert!!!!
Mungo Buchi (220PHP)-Another Chef Miko's creation. Amazing how he was able to think of this kind of dessert. The typical Chinese buchi dessert is now deconstructed removing the Mungo inside and making it a Mungo ice cream on the side. Amazing Idea and it was delicious!
Overall a new fun way of having Chinese food. Price was very affordable and serving size was good for sharing. I'm excited since this is just the 1st batch of their menu. Can't wait to try the 2nd wave of dishes including the highly anticipated Chinese Burger they are planning to serve in the take out counter in front of the store. Bravo and congrats Tasteless Group another job well done!
Thanks Peanut D. for the invite and Happy meeting and seeing fellow |oolooers.
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When people invite me to eat in a Chinese restaurant, you basically know that you'll be getting the same thing. Dimsum, fried rice and all those sauces and stuff I can't even spell. But Ping Pong Diplomacy change how I see Chinese cuisine.
My first Looloo rendezvoos (yes, that's how we spell it, spelling nazi!) was really awesome. This restaurant recently opened in SM Aura Premier in Bonifacio Global City will definitely flip your taste buds and say "This dish is certainly unique!"
AMBIANCE: You can definitely see how unique the place is. The design is a fusion of millenia and history. The one thing very new to me is the wall where you see hands holding a table tennis racket. It was lined on the other side of the wall when you enter the place. It looks creepy but kudos to the desginer.
The tables and chairs are great. Though am sitting with the whole Looloo team, it is still comfortable for me. The lights are also great if you are an Instagram freak to take photos.
SERVICE: Knowledgeable! That's all I can say with the crew. Since most of the dishes are not usual, they present each food with a narrative! They even know the spices used in the dishes. That is so awesome, right?
FOOD: Okay, let's start the real deal!
First, Simple Fried Eggs! Yes, I went to a restaurant that makes me love fried eggs that are simple! It was so new! The eggs include scallions (I Googled that!), pork floss and oriental sauce. It made the eggs really taste different! The cost, P135!
Second, Crunchy Eggplant! I only eat eggplant if it is fried, but they made eggplant taste so different! It was an appetizer but it tasted like it was a dessert. I think more of TURON. But it was not bad. You will totally love the crispiness and the soft eggplant inside. And the cost, P140! Yes, it is si budget friendly!
Third, Cumin Lamb Pouches. They said that the smell makes the lamb not appetizing to eat. But the lamb pouches really taste like crispy pata. It was easy to chew and the meat has taste. The only thing I tasted different was the green thing. Not sure what they call it, probably the cumin, but I did not like the taste. For P650, that is worth a try!
Fourth, Mungo Buchi with mungo hopia ice cream. I actually wanted to eat all the buchi, but I need to share! It was so soft and sweet but definitely not the usual Chinese butchi. The ice cream taste good but I'll let someone eat it for me.
The Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice was too spicy for me! Probably if I eat with something else, then I probably not going to notice it. Overall, I think my experience is great.
There are a lot of other options in the menu, you can also check my photos for more information! 🏻🏻
Overall, Ping Pong Diplomacy is such a great restaurant. It was something new, something unique and definitely worth to try. I would definitely visit with my friends and eat at this awesome place again.
Thank you Looloo team for inviting me on this awesome Rendezvoos.
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My second time joining the looloo crew and my first Rendezvoos for 2017, and it was uuuhhhmazing!
CEO of TRP Charles Paw was gracious enough to invite us to his new restaurant, Ping Pong Diplomacy.
Crunchy Eggplant – This is my favorite dish out of everything. I never knew that a simple eggplant could be this delicious! I loved every bite of it.
Wonton Cheeseburger – Basically a deconstructed burger, however the meat is wrapped in wonton wrappers and fried. You may wanna ease up on the dipping sauce if you are not a fan of cilantro, like I am. Thankfully Jai was nice enough to switch his with mine after I smothered it with the green dipping sauce (which was made up of cilantro). LOL.
Truffled Mushroom Edemame Dumplings – This has cilantro too, but little enough that I was able to eat it, and the truffle taste overpowered the cilantro so I liked it!
Prawn Scotch Eggs – These were just divine. The eggs were perfectly cooked and the wasabi mayo was a great combo. *no photo
Simple Fried Eggs – Eggs and pork floss, I never knew that such a perfect match existed.
Beer House Mussels and Clams – If you are a seafood fan, this is the dish for you!
Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice – Crispy chicken skin and spicy rice. I knooooooow!
Caveman Beef Rib – Super tender beef rib that had crispy shallots. Super yummy!
Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns – So grilled prawns smothered in crispy garlic! Mic drop.
I liked every entre that was served, especially that eggplant and grilled prawns.
But the authentic HK Milk Tea was incredible, I had two! I was supposed to order my third but Amiel told me they ran out, that is how spectacular it is! WOW!
My favorite dessert were the Fortune Balls. Basically they were mochi balls in sesame crumble and pistachio cream. It was wonderful.
Overall I thought this restaurant's great! I would definitely go back and recommend to my famly and friends! Price is very reasonable too.
P.S. : I have updated my profile picture. LOL
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Thanks to looloo and pingpong diplomacy creator Mr. Charlie Paw for inviting and entertaining us last night at their newest restaurant launch from the Tasteless Group. PingPong Diplomacy is a Chinese-American fusion that was inspired of the real PPD way back in the early 1970s, yes, there was such history. It was the start of Chinese-American camaraderie after the cold war. The act of exchanging ping pong players between the two countries signified such diplomacy. Too much about history, being surrounded by a lot of Chinese, i would know if the dishes served here are legit or not.
They actually serve small and big plates here. The small plates only good for 2-3 pax while the big dishes 4-5 pax. Chef Mauricio and his wonderful servers gladly introduced to us each dish followed by our critical taste testing. It's good that they did serve hot dishes and have a separate set for photography.
- most of the dishes were spicy, mr. Charlie Paw really designed it as it is because he noticed that spice flavor is now trending. So once you see this icon, it means it got some level of spiciness.
小盤 Small plates
wonton cheeseburger @290PhP
This, for me, is the dish that most represent the PingPong Diplomacy. The Chinese taste of crispy fried wonton with sriracha and cilantro dip then americanized by the wagyu beef and cheddar filling! I was amazed by the outcome of such fusion! Eating burger dumplings or dumpling burgers!
Truffled Mushroom Edemame Dumplings @160PhP
Ooh lala. Truffle lovers sure is gonna faint of satisfaction once they try this dish! There were chopped portabella and button mushrooms in truffle oil! This is more on the Chinese dish. Place it in the soup spoon to eat it. Chopsticks wont do since the wonton skin is very delicate and it sticks to its neighboring wonton skin.
Crunchy Eggplant @140PhP
That towering tempura looking batter got hot and succulent slices of eggplants. The garnish of this dish makes it spicy so you might want to take off those chili if you ain't a spice lover.
Pingpong Wings @320PhP
This is similar to the taiwanese chicken pops that was sold at school when i was still studying. The flavor was just nostalgic. What americanized this dish is the chicken wings itself plus the radish and pickles! Tolerably spiced.
Prawn Scotch Eggs @180PhP
Very eastern, say British, in origin. But i love eating 5 minute eggs! Prawns and pork were the main ingredients for making the scotched eggs. What made it Chinese were the sesame seeds and the wasabi mayo dip that really made it very delicious and appetizing!
Simple Fried Eggs @130PhP
This was not much of a hit for me, but for those who really love eggs with that crispy edges would love this! I was not able to taste the pulled pork that much but there was definitely a mild spice in there!
Beer House Mussels and Clams @175PhP
Taste wise was good but contents could be a little disappointing as some mussels and clams does not have meat. Lol. The smashed baby potatoes were great as fillers. Mildly spiced this was quite ordinary.
Too bad i was not able to try the Cranberries and Tofu
大盤 Big Plates
Not Mapo Tofu @330PhP
Say what?! It's not your ordinary tofu because this is made of soya custard. Mapo tofu spicy level! Welcome whole new experience of Chinese dish.
Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns @650PhP
Crispy tiger prawns! I was first hesitant to eat the shell but when i tried it, "hey, not bad!" The crispy garlic should not go to waste! This is one of my favorite!
Cumin Lamb Pouches @630PhP
Another American dish that made my night. This one played a little to our crispy pata's texture. I love that the shank although some parts were dry, every part was tender! Eat it chinese style with the toasted baos at the side!
Caveman Beef Rib @535PhP
Your American super tender beef ribs full of crispy shallots bathing in this Chinese zhenjang (i think it's zhenjiang) vinaigrette that actually tastes like black vinegar. Somehow it resembles to out pares dish.
米麵 Rice and Noodles
Dandan Chicken Skin Rice @285PhP
The once hole in the wall pop up store star is now back and will be always available at PPD! Always advise your server the level of spiciness as this one will normally be served a little too spicy.
Spicy Chickpea Noodles @265PhP
Even more spicy that of the dandan rice, the taste of its thick sauce was really good. Bacon? Yes! This got strips of the juicy ones.
Too bad i was not able to try the Surf and Turf
Hong Kong Milk Tea @85PhP
It's not the best milktea in town but maybe i just prefer something lighter. HK milktea tastes dark and not that sweet.
Mango Tarragon Smoothie @150PhP
The mangoes used were really sour it was such a let down. The tarragon flavor strongly comes in the beginning of each sip then subtly blends with the mango and ends weakly. Bad choice of mango fruit. Should the mango be sweet, this drink is a winner!
Red Bean Coconut Smoothie @150PhP
Red bean with cocomilk sounds new but it did not disappoint. I was looking for a stronger mung taste though. This was rather light and a spice quencher.
Black Sesame Smoothie @150PhP
The real spice quencher! This actually got cocomilk as well and that sesame taste really nailed it!
Chef miko's turn to impress the jury (Lol, though he wasnt there)
Fortune Balls @150PhP
An early sign that desserts were good is this Japanese treat. Did you know PPD happened in Japan? Haha. The mochi in taro, black sesame and ginger flavors were sitting on a chilled pistachio cream and sesame crumble. I liked the ginger the best but i still wanna try the taro flavor. Might change my decision.
Jicama Pie @220PhP
Well, a deconstructed singkamas ala mode pie surprised all of the chinese loolooers there. We liked the chai tasting five spice flavored ice cream mixed with sesame seeds, singkamas compote and puff pastry!
Mungo Buchi @220PhP
I think we were just already anticipating this one. I did not like this much because the buchi was already redundant of the mochi. The hopia ice cream tastes like the light mung plus sugar syrup.
The tasteless group never fails to bring us good food. Can you name any that flunk? What's best is it's value for money! Com'n look at the prices!!
But wait there's more.
Mr. Charlie Paw announced that these are just part of the final menu that they'll be launching in the coming week. With that, the launching of the take out area where they'll be selling Chinese burgers. Interesting!
They made adjustments as the place was already given before they started the planning. There's a not so reliable wifi and a humble but clean common CR near the bar. Glad the interior included an open kitchen to see live action.
Im gonna give it a high 4.8 for the amazing fusion concept, price and service. A little more space for some adjustments in the spiciness flavor.
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What the F-usion! Another spectacular restaurant by the Tasteless Group. I love all their restaurants and my expectations were more than satisfied.
This is a Chinese-American restaurant, heavily influenced by Hunnan cuisine. But as I told chef Noel (close na kami), I have never tasted anything like this in an American Chinatown.
I don't think you can go wrong here. Everything was great, except for 1 dish for me that needs tweaking lang. Having tasted almost everything on the menu (lucky us) I'll just talk about the top 8 dishes that I will re-order when I am dining in a smaller group and can't order everything on the menu. Not part of my list are food which I cook at home. This will be hard. But here goes nothing:
* * * * * * * *
🏓TRUFFLED MUSHROOM EDAMAME DUMPLINGS. 150.
Edamame, 3 kinds of mushroom, truffle oil.
Oh the aroma. It’s a must to eat this with a spoon with the soup.
🏓CRUNCHY EGGPLANT. 140.
Battered eggplant, fragrant sauce, prickly ash.
A tower of an almost guilt-free plate. Vegetarian option. Eggplant wasn’t mushy.
🏓SIMPLE FRIED EGG. 135.
Scallions, pork floss, oriental sauce.
Crispy edges on the egg, just how I like them when I eat a Pinoy breakfast. That floss added another texture and flavor to the dish. I can eat this with white rice as an ulam.
🏓NOT MAPO TOFU. 330.
Steamed fresh soya custard, pork 2 ways, crispy leeks.
A whole lot of protein in a bowl. A little soupy. The sliced pork compliments the dish.
🏓TYPHOON SHELTER GRILLED PRAWNS. 650.
Grilled tiger prawns, crispy garlic, charred pickled vegetables.
Cooked to perfection. The prawn shell was crunchy enough to eat. Best way to eat this is to take a bite with a heaping spoonful of the fried garlic.
🏓DAN DAN CHICKEN SKIN RICE. 285.
Crispy chicken skin, fermented chili bean, peanuts and lots of fresh chili.
Thank you for putting this on the menu! Now it has a home. I used to eat a lot of this in their pop up, Fire in the Hole. Told the chef I prefer it with more nuts, just like how it was made before.
🏓SPICY CHICKPEA NOODLES. 265.
Fresh lo mien, deep fried chick peas, thick cut bacon.
Smokin'. I'm starting to appreciate Asian noodles and this is another addition to my list of yummy noodle dishes. Chickpeas for that added texture. And bacon… because bacon.
🏓ALL DESSERTS. 150-220.
Sorry, I grouped them into one. I can't decide! But I can see myself rotating an order of each dish at every visit.
FORTUNE BALLS. 150.Taro, ginger & black sesame mochi, sesame crumble and pistachio cream. Each Fortune Ball had a different subtle flavor. The pistachio cream is plate-licking good.
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JICAMA PIE. 220. Puff pastry, jicama compote, five spice ice cream. In other words, singkamas. It’s like the filling of an apple pie. And one should never doubt chef Miko as that five spice ice cream is amazing. The spice wasn’t overpowering. It’s so undeniably Chinese the 3 Tsinoys (D, D and J) in front of me all voted this as their top dessert. Eat a little of everything in one bite.
MUNGO BUCHI. 220. Deep fried buchi, red bean puree, mungo hopia ice cream. It’s like a deconstructed buchi because the actual buchi has no filling. Eat a little of everything in one bite.
🏓BLACK SESAME SMOOTHIE. 150.
Coconut cream and black sesame. It’s so creamy delicious. I thought I was in heaven with the red bean, but this takes you higher all the way to the moon. This is not a thick smoothie and I’m glad it’s not icy. This is a good drink to order to cool off your tongue from all the spicy food you are eating.
* * * * * * * *
They have a lot of spicy dishes. I mean, hot, hot, hot which I love. They explained to us that while they recommend eating experiencing the beauty of the dish as is, they are ok with requests to remove the spice.
My only comment was the lamb, which is like a crispy pata sana, was dry. Maybe na overcook lang on day 2 of their operations, which was understandable. The kitchen was definitely busy. Kudos to the whole team because we were a full house and they were able to keep up. Servers knew exactly what they were talking about, so you can ask them about the dishes. Special mention to Amiel, aka Anne C. sa umaga. He explained the dishes to us with enthusiasm and panache.
Very affordable for a BGC restaurant especially that it can be good enough to share. The coolers and the milk tea need to be bigger though.
People might wonder if this is just the same as Hey Handsome. I think not. The menu is different and the flavors from both restaurants are still distinct. They will be doubling the menu options next month. They will also come up with a spinoff, Pong (or Ping? Haha) which will offer an even cheaper menu.
I suggest you visit now while chef Noel Mauricio is still keenly overlooking the operations. Thank me later.
Thank you Ping Pong for an unbelievable dinner. You are one of the most welcoming hosts we've encountered. Love to you |, Peanut D. and Pam L.. Cheers! 干杯 - Brie K., Clarissa P., Denise A., Dennis O., Giovan T., Inna A., Jairus d., Jayson J., Ruth D.
PS. May nawawalang paddle. Hmmmm....
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I've been waiting for Ping Pong Diplomacy's opening ever since I saw its board up in SM Aura a couple of months back. Clueless of what this restaurant will offer, I was sure of one thing... that it'll be superb given that it's the brainchild of the Tasteless Group. From hits like Wrong Ramen, Le Petit Souffle, Hey Handsome, Freezer Burn, Bad Bird and so on, it's guaranteed that this new foodie destination will be just like its big brothers (or sisters?). And when I found out that they finally opened this week, I just have to be one of the first to indulge in its mouthwatering dishes.
Hello, Ping Pong Diplomacy!
Before I drool again as I recall all the dishes I enjoyed during my visit, let's do a bit of recap on history.
Ping Pong Diplomacy is actually part of American and Chinese history and an important one at that as it was the first contact of both countries after two decades of neither diplomatic or economic relations. So why ping pong? The two countries' first exchange was through a game of table tennis during the 31st World Table Tennis Championships. If you've seen Forrest Gump, you'd get what I mean.
I'm sure you're still wondering why the Tasteless Group named its newest venture such. To answer, it's because Charlie Paw envisions this restaurant to be a place that offers a fresh take on Chinese food; just like how Americans pictured it to be in the 70s. (Note that there was no communication for two decades so the younger Americans then were quite clueless of the Chinese culture, more so for its cuisine.) This is also the reason why the innovative restaurant group tapped chefs Him Uy de Baron and Noel Mauricio, known for their unconventional and fresh dishes, to be the head chefs of this restaurant.
Now that we're on lunch break, let's focus on Ping Pong Diplomacy restaurant.
I was first greeted by a quirky lighted signage that changes lights to depict the movement of a ping pong ball. Such cute facade gave me an impression that I was about to have one fun lunch.
The wall filled with table tennis paddles caught my attention as I stepped inside Ping Pong Diplomacy. And as I tried to count the paddles, I kept thinking how perfect this wall would be as background for food shots!
I saw Charlie during my visit and he did the ordering for me. He chose Crunchy Eggplant (PHP140), Ping Pong Wings (PHP320), Simple Fried Eggs (PHP135), Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice (PHP285) and Almond Soy Cooler (PHP85). I also ordered Fortune Balls (PHP150) as I'm crazy for mochi!
As I admire the interiors some more, my glass of Almond Soy Cooler was served. I tried my best not to take a sip in order to include it in the food shots and I barely made it.
This drink may come in a small glass but each sip is packed with flavor. I hate almond drinks but I was surprised that I enjoyed this one. The almond taste was pronounced but I'm happy that it didn't taste like medicine as some other almond drinks or desserts taste like. I also enjoyed munching on the jello.
A pretty fried egg topped with scallions, pork floss and sweet Oriental sauce was served next and it was love at first bite.
I love pork floss and eggs but I've never really had those two together at the same time. It sure tickled my tastebuds with its sweet taste. The crunchy edges of the fried egg went well with the chewiness of the floss and the smooth texture of the yolk. This dish made me wish I discovered this pairing sooner.
The striking tower of battered eggplants was pretty good as well!
I loved how true the dish was to its name. The coating was indeed crunchy and was beautifully covered in sweet sauce with a bit of spicy kick. It was a nice contrast against the soft eggplant.
A bowl of chicken wings soon followed and to be honest, I wasn't too excited with this one as I'm not a fan of chicken wings.
But I was surprised that I liked it to the point of not minding the bones. I didn't expect that a 12 spice blend (think KFC with an Asian twist) chicken wings paired with crispy leek and pickled cucumbers would turn me into a fan of this popular finger food.
I was already getting full when the Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice was served. Knowing that this is one of the talked about dishes at Fire in the Hole (Hole in the Wall's pop up booth last year), I just have to try it, even when I was told that this dish is hot. And by hot I mean spicy.
And it was indeed spicy but not to the point that I'd rush to the kitchen and drink gallons of water. It was manageable and I liked it! The scrumptious rice was a mix of sweet and spicy flavors topped with crunchy chicken skin and fried egg. The result, a gastronomic experience! The blend of flavors brought me to dandan heaven!
I read somewhere that you could request to make this dish a bit spicier if desired. I'm fine though with it as is.
And to cap my meal, I indulged in a colorful plate of mochi in black sesame, taro and ginger flavors topped with sesame crumble served on a bed of pistachio cream.
As usual, Chef Miko, the person behind this dish, wowed me. I loved each mochi and the sesame crumble was a brilliant touch as it added texture to the chewy treat.
Overall, it was a fantastic dining experience. Food was great and prices were very pocket/wallet friendly. I'd definitely be back to try the other dishes and perhaps some more of the ones I've already tried.
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