Boon Tong Kee (U.P. Town Center)

U.P. Town Center bustling with activity.
U.P. Town Center bustling with activity.

My brother and I were left to fend for ourselves this Chinese New Year dinner. We decided to make the most of our short-lived independence and have our dinner in a relatively Chinese place. We decided to drive to U.P. Town Center due to larger number of options compared to other areas in Katipunan. Once there, we finally decided to go to Boon Tong Kee for some Singaporean food.

We ordered quite a bit for two people. A total five items split between us both. We got most of the usual stuff since we didn’t really feel like going adventurous/giving lots of thought to what we’ll order. Add to that my brother’s restricted, no-chew-intensive-food diet and our options were really quite limited.

Hakaw with tails still on
Hakaw with tails still on

Hakaw (Php 120)

This was the first time I’ve seen hakaw served with the tail on. This was just okay. The filling wasn’t that memorable but it wasn’t bad.

Their take on the Pork Bun.
Their take on the Pork Bun.
The filling which wasn't too sweet.
The filling which wasn’t too sweet. (That’s a good thing.)

Pork Buns (Php 35/piece, minimum of 3 pieces an order)

These were actually quite good! I liked how the filling and the bun itself wasn’t overly sweet. The obvious comparison would be with Tim Ho Wan’s pork buns and I feel that these can stand up to the Tim Ho Wan take. Given the choice though, I’d love to have the texture of Tim Ho Wan’s bun with the filling of these from Boon Tong Kee. There’s still something about that crumbly sweet bun of Tim Ho Wan that I strangely enjoy given that I don’t really go for sweets.

Deep Fried Stuffed Fritters, what I'd like to call Kikiam's Porky Cousin
Deep Fried Stuffed Fritters, what I’d like to call Kikiam’s Porky Cousin

Deep Fried Stuffed Fritter (Php 195)

This is a staple for me whenever I dine in Boon Tong Kee in Powerplant. Crispy on the outside with a nice pork filling that reminds me of kikiam. Funny that the first time I ordered this here in Manila, I was expecting something more like the fried you tiao (fried dough fritters) in Singapore. Instead of getting fried bread, I got a kikiam-esque dish. Needless to say, I did not complain.

Leg and thigh, deboned.
Leg and thigh, deboned.

Quarter Boiled Chicken (Php 245)

Chicken Rice (Php 65)

Now on to my go-to source for calories during my four years as a college student in Singapore: Chicken Rice. When the whole Singaporean food trend hit local shores, the quality of chicken rice that they offered in most restaurants had A LOT to improve on. Good thing is, it seems that they have finally started to catch up. Gone are the days when the chicken rice offerings were just boiled tinola-tasting chicken.

The chicken I got was definitely better than my usual chicken in their Powerplant branch. I always ask for the leg and thigh since dark meat is ALWAYS tastier. The meat was soft, tender, and tasted just like how I remembered it from Singapore. Of course, my personal gauge for a properly done chicken is that layer of “jelly” between the skin and meat. That gelatinised fat is the highlight of each piece of chicken.

The dark soy-ginger combo with some chili sauce action right behind it.
The dark soy-ginger combo with some chili sauce action right behind it.

Of course, there are also the sauces. Everyone does it their own way. I know some who drizzle the dark soy over their rice and use the ginger and chili for the chicken. The way I do it is to mix the dark soy and ginger in equal amounts in one saucer and have the chili sauce ready in another.

A few chicken slices all dressed and ready to party.
A few chicken slices all dressed and ready to party.

A good helping of the dark soy-ginger mixture first topped with the chili right after. I find that this combination makes the sauce in the dish tastier the farther you go through the dish. When I get to the second half of the chicken, I get to toss the pieces in this rich sauce before I add a little extra dark soy-ginger and chili.

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