Ping Pong Diplomacy
3/F SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway cor. 26th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro ManilaSorry! We're closed for good.
- 26 Reviews
- 209 Recommend
- 24 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
We had late dinner here last Saturday and we ordered for their best sellers
Pingpong Wings (P320) 6pcs - I super love their wings! It's crunchy and tasty at the same time.
Dandan Chicken Skin Rice (P335) This is TDF!! It has crispy chicken skin, chili bean and toasted peanuts topped with sunny side up egg! Perfect with the wings! Super sarap! I can finish the whole serving 🤣
Crunchy Eggplant (P195) this is also a must try! I like the crispness and the sauce that comes with the eggplant
Will definitely be back! ️
Thanks Norman Lester T for bringing us here
- No. of Comments: 8
- No. of Likes: 16 Likes
When I think of Chinese food, I imagine dimsum, fried rice, and noodles. When I think of American dishes, I see steak, fries, burgers and pizza. Who would have thought that these two extremes would create a fusion?
The rich history behind this restaurant dates back to 45 years ago when Cold War tensions between the United States and communist China were lessened thanks to an unlikely diplomatic tool: ping-pong. Who knew sports could unite two raging countries together?
Enough of the history background, let’s get on to the food review!
CRUNCHY EGGPLANT P195 ️️️️️
Battered eggplant • Fragrant Sauce • Prickly ash
Never would I have visualize this humble vegetable to be such a star. Absolutely loved the seasoning in batter of this dish – crispy and flavorful. Strangely addicting. One more serving please!
SIMPLE FRIED EGGS P195 ️️️️️
Scallions • Pork floss • Oriental sauce
And I asked myself, why did I not think of this combination sooner? Of course fried eggs and pork floss would make the perfect combination! I’m solved with this and a cup of rice. Simple yet divine.
CAVEMAN BEEF RIB P625 ️️️️
Braised beef rib • Crispy shallots • Zhenjang Vinaigrette
When this was served, I initially thought we ordered a fancy version of Crispy Pata. The presentation and the vinaigrette definitely led me to think that. The crust was deliciously crunchy while the insides where fork tender. I didn’t even bother with the steak knife they lent us.
DAN DAN CHICKEN SKIN RICE P335 ️️️️
Crispy chicken skin • Fermented chili bean • Toasted peanuts
I was quite disappointed with this one since I was expecting to be really “wow-ed” based from the reviews I’ve read. But sadly, it seemed pretty average to me. Although my father’s delicious signature fried rice may have something to do with it. The good side is that a serving can feed already four people.
FORTUNE BALLS P150 ️️️️
Taro, ginger and black sesame mochi balls on a bed of pistachio cream topped with sesame crumble. Presentation was simple yet impressive. The color combination definitely screams Chinese to me. The mochi balls were fun and easy to eat. Although the thing that brought everything together was the pistachio cream. I could swim myself in that I’d skip the ginger though. It’s just too overpowering.
At a glance, food, service and ambiance is great. I’d recommend the crunchy eggplant and simple fried eggs for sure. Fortune balls were enjoyable as well except for the ginger flavor. Service is above average. Our server was observant and attentive to our needs. The place was well kept and the interiors speaks for itself. The only down side is that the restaurant may be easily missed since their sign blends too well with the walls.
When visiting Ping Pong, make sure to bring a group of at least four to try out the different dishes. I really can’t believe we finished everything with just the two of us. Talk about food coma!
- No. of Comments: 6
- No. of Likes: 24 Likes
Chose to dine here last weekend because of the good reviews here in looloo. Had the pretty looking chicken skin dan dan rice and one of their new dishes the sweet and sour pork. Both dishes done well, worth the money you spend. I forgot to order desserts: the fortune balls. Gives me a reason to come back soon!
- No. of Comments: 2
- No. of Likes: 10 Likes
Ping Pong Diplomacy joins Gourmand Market! Wee!
Truth be told, visiting Gourmand is not part of my Friday plans but i gots to try them egg tarts quick.
Golden Macau Egg Tart (Php 80 each). I may sound biased as i am a fan of all of the restaurants under The Tasteless Group. In short, read at your own risk *har-har*
Back to ze egg tart, i love the texture of the crust . It is similar to croissants! Flaky x soft. The egg custard is perfect - semi sweet and has the right consistency.
I love me some PPD Egg Tarts!
- No. of Comments: 3
- No. of Likes: 8 Likes
We headed to the 3rd floor of SM Aura for our 2nd stop - Ping Pong Diplomacy of Tasteless Group. The team behind Bad Bird, Hey Handsome, Freezer Burn to name a few. Ping Pong Diplomacy offer fusion of Chinese American cuisine. Interesting right? That's why I'm so thrilled to know that it is included in our crawl.
My expectations are high for Ping Pong Diplomacy. I heard and read a lot of good words about the restaurant.
As we enter, the server assisted us to our table and handed the menu. We've got the bestsellers and chef's recommendations.
🏓Simple Fried Egg for Php195.00 (Scallions, Fork Floss, Oriental Sauce) - ️️️️ 4/5
🏓Crunchy Eggplant for Php195.00 (Battered Eggplant, Fragrant Sauce, Prickly Ash) - ️️️️ 4/5
🏓Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice for Php335.00 (Crispy Chicken Skin, Fermented Chili Bean, Toasted Peanuts) - ️️️ 3/5
🏓Surf and Turf Noodles for Php285.00 (Blue Mussels, Char Siew, 62 Degree Egg) - ️️️️ 4/5
🏓Fortune Balls for Php150.00 (Taro, Ginger and Black Sesame Mochi, Sesame Crumble, Pistachio Cream) - ️️️️️ 5/5
All the dishes we had were too strong. And it turn out parang nakakaumay na. Mali ata combination namin. I like the Fortune Balls because it balance the strong flavor of the savory dishes. The Simple Fried Egg and Crunchy Eggplant were remarkable too, literally... it's simple and good.
- No. of Comments: 5
- No. of Likes: 20 Likes
We celebrated our monthsary here because of the good reviews and I'm craving for Chinese food.
Wonton Cheeseburger - Juicy and flavorful.
Not Mapo Tofu - I like the flavor but there's nothing special to it.
Spicy Chickpea Noodles - the noodles were soggy and I hate soggy noodles. It was bland and the bacon bits is few.
Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice - it would have been good if it was not too salty. As too salty to the point we cannot eat it.
- No. of Comments: 5
- No. of Likes: 2 Likes
Ping Pong Diplomacy is another standout restaurant at SM Aura, established by one of the restauranteurs currently dominating the business, Charles Paw and the Tasteless Group. The restaurant offers a fusion of American and Chinese cuisine, a combination that really interests me.
Team Kalakdarin went on a mini foodcrawl at SM Aura and visited this place second. At past lunch, this place was still pretty packed. Good thing our wait time only took a few minutes.
Although this was our second stop, we really thought about having our heavy meals here, so we ordered the crunchy eggplant, simple fried eggs, Dan Dan chicken skin rice, surf & turf noodles and fortune balls.
CRUNCHY EGGPLANT P140
Battered eggplant, fragrant sauce, prickly ash. I loved their crunchy eggplant! Its sweet and crunchy batter went so well with the eggplant. Definitely addicting.
SIMPLE FRIED EGGS P135
Scallions, pork floss, oriental sauce. I'm not a total fan of eggs being cooked in high heat and getting toasted, but the oriental sauce and pork floss made this dish bearable for me.
DAN DAN CHICKEN RICE P285
Crispy chicken skin, fermented chili bean, toasted peanuts. This rice has all the components of an Asian dish, but the taste was still phenomenal. It was so packed with flavors that I had the urge to eat it with rice, forgetting that it IS already rice. It was still good, though. Serving was also a lot.
SURF & TURF NOODLES P285
Blue Mussels, char siew, 62 degree egg. This is another classic Chinese dish, especially the sweet sauce used to toss the noodles in. The taste was very familiar. It was good, although I didn't find it too special.
FORTUNE BALLS P150
Taro, ginger and sesame mochi, sesame crumble, pistachio cream. Mochi balls are one of the many food items I was addicted to years back. There were times when I bought a bunch of them to store in my fridge and snack on back when I was in Taiwan. The fortune balls from PPD weren't too different from the regular mochi balls, except that the former were smaller and a bit firmer. A dessert that doesn't taste all sugar, these fortune balls have my yes.
The Tasteless Group has once again proved why they are clearly ahead, if not winning the race. Ping Pong Diplomacy is another restaurant that successfully surprised me with its play with flavors.
- No. of Comments: 3
- No. of Likes: 18 Likes
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: 12
- No. of Likes: 25 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: 6 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.
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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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