Friday, April 11, 2014

Back for More at Pink Panda Southeast Asian Diner

I've been back to Pink Panda Southeast Asian Diner more than a few times now, and this place just keeps giving me more reasons to come back. Maybe it's because they aren't afraid of using chili in their dishes, which I love. Maybe it's because the Malaysian and Singporean flavors remind me so much of the fun times I had with my dad, exploring those countries with him. Maybe it's because it tastes all too familiar to the Filipino palate yet also somehow different.

There's something about Pink Panda that always has me coming back for more, and this time, I was determined to bring a few of the guys from my foodie fambam along with me.

Whenever I walk in here, I can't help but enjoy all the quirky decor. Everything from the pink flamingoes, the cute Asian toys, and the jeepney-like windows all make for fun conversation pieces.

I didn't know what to expect when we ordered the Prawn Toasties and Tom Yum Shots (P285), but this stuff is the bomb diggity! Take a bite out of a shrimp toast canapé sprinkled with sesame seeds before taking a shot of the red curry shrimp paste sour prawn and mushroom broth, and a bite of the big prawn chaser. If I didn't love my friends, I may have just polished off the whole order!

Up next, we got Pink Panda's Rack of Bones (P430) ,which was pork spare ribs coated in a tamarind barbecue with a chili lime dipping sauce. This had very Thai flavors and is something I'd love to have over a few beers - if I drank beer. Excellent stuff!

I'm quite the lightweight when it comes to alcohol, and quite a few of the restaurant's bourbon-based drinks have left me stumbling out the door after half a glass. Thank goodness for MoMo's Delight, a new vodka-based drink that tastes light and fruity - perfect for the ladies who want to remember the rest of the evening.

A huge orange chicken fan, I am so glad they came out with General P's Chicken (P290)! This is sprinkled with dried chilies and fried peanuts, so you also get a lot of crunch and a little bit of heat with eat bite, cutting through the citrus. Why only a handful of international Asian restaurants have bothered to come out with this is puzzling - this and the spicier General Tso's should be a staple!

Everybody was raving over the Crispy Beef Rendang (P420)! It may not look like much, but what it lacks in aesthetic appeal, it more than makes up for in flavor! The caramelized beef curry is cooked 'til almost dry, leaving all the flavor coated on the meat. This is then topped with fried golden shallots, lemongrass nasi kuning, and cucumber acar to compliment the spice. Enjoy this with rice, folks!

With everyone really enjoying the food, we swapped out rice for the Crab Mie Goreng (P285) instead. The egg noodles hid big flakes of hand-picked crab meat smothered in sambal and kecap manis, topped vegetables and an egg done sunny side up. Break the egg up into smaller pieces and give everything a good toss up before enjoying the flavors of Indonesia!

Things get a bit crazy with dessert, which is where Chef Pete and Siggy throw all the rules out the window and just come up with their own stuff. Take the Mix Mix (P195) for example, which is their take on the deconstructed halo-halo. A leche flan made from pandan and coconut works at the base, with panutsa sago, nata de coco, red mungo beans, and pinipig crisps surrounding it. Get a little bit of everything with each spoonful and enjoy!

I wasn't so sure I'd like the Mango and Jackfruit Sansrival (P245), more because of the jackfruit layered in between the wafers, but this with the slices of mango, cashew nuts, and creamed butter was pretty good. The jackfruit tasted a bit dry, so you don't get the slick texture that gives most first timers of the fruit the heebie-jeebies.

The Panda's Balls (P220 for 5 pieces) now come in three flavors -  black bean mongo paste, peanut butter and jelly, and dark chocolate. You won't know which one you're getting until you bite into it. Surprise!

I was so full from all the food and a bit buzzed with the Momo's Delight, I ended the night with Malongo Coffee and a Misfortune Cookie. The fortune I got was so apt, there must be some truth in this American invention. Haha!

When mucking around Makati, please give Pink Panda a go! The food tastes authentic with a modern twist in the presentation, and prices are affordable. They're located inside the Y2 Residence Hotel, right next to A. Venue and Beni's Falafel. I'll probably see you there!

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Pink Panda Southeast Asian Diner
+63 2 224 3000
+63 906 205 3898
G/F, Y2 Residence Hotel,
4687 Santiago cor. B. Valdez Sts.,
Poblacion, Makati City