My friend, Ralph, was craving for a cheesecake one afternoon when we met at SM North. However, my client from Manila requested that we meet up at UST. Because of the drizzle, we were walking briskly along P.Noval street to go to Starbucks, but the cheesecakes were all sold out. This left us with no choice but to look for another café. Our hunt brought us to this new coffee shop at the corner of J. Barlin Street and P. Noval—Café UK.
Café UK opened last November and it offers coffee concoctions, pastries, and teas. The café’s main market are students who want to get enough caffeine boost to stay awake while studying and doing their assignments or thesis.
We have decided to order Dulce de Leche Cheesecake (P 140.00) because it was recommended by their staff. The cake is not too sweet and that is what I love about it. It is served with whipped cream on the side and fresh apples topped with cherry.
Ralph ordered Caramel Tea Grande (P 120.00) and I ordered a coffee-based frappuccino, Mocha Choco Chips (P 155.00). Café UK uses a vacuum coffee maker. A vacuum coffee maker brews coffee using two chambers where vapor pressure and vacuum produce coffee, which creates a clear brew. You can have your coffee hot, iced, decaffeinated, blended, or with an extra shot of espresso.
It was funny that Ralph and I were the only guests at that time who were not holding a book, a paper, and a pen. Ultimately, the ambience is perfect for people who want to concentrate. Most of the people who dine there are studying, so you wouldn’t expect any unwanted noise from chatty groups or giggling girls. This three-floor café can occupy at least 25-30 guests in each floor. There are also tables placed outside for smokers. Plus, there are so many outlets, I guess each table has one. They also have WiFi service for each floor, so it’s amazing!
When it comes to their prices, I find that their pricing is just enough for the taste and the amount of serving of their products. One thing that is weird, however, is that they don’t issue a receipt unless you request for one. Meanwhile, each of the staff is accommodating, but they were a bit unfocused. Having a little more knowledge about the products they offer is important and it will surely make the customers more satisfied with their service.
We know that we’d find a Chinatown in almost every corner of the world, but did you know that the oldest Chinatown in history is located here in the Philippines? Yes, you got it right—I’m talking about the one in Binondo, Manila. I wouldn’t focus on blabbering about its history, but I will talk about what Binondo could offer us today. Megaworld Lifestyle Malls have launched a tour program for the public last May 10 at Lucky Chinatown Annex A. The tour starts at 11 AM. I got to experience it firsthand last May 3, though.
Lucky Chinatown Annex A is similar to a tiangge where you could find stalls and bargain stuff. We started off the tour at the Botanical Herbal Hall.
Botanical Herbal Tea is popular in Hong Kong and Singapore. Lo’5 Tea can help reduce phlegm and cough, Snow Pear Tea is said to improve eyesight, Maybloom Tea, on the other hand, comes from Myanmar and China which is good for lowering cholesterol. Meanwhile, Plum Tea helps improve digestion. These teas can last up to 1 month and can be served hot or cold. Moreover, the teas have no preservatives.
We are taught about Buddhism at our next stop in Miao De Temple located in Lucky Chinatown Walk. The crowd got all interactive by lighting incense. We were asked to say our intentions and wishes by kneeling in front of the temple. I’ve learned that Buddhism is a religion of the mind founded by Siddharta Buddha who was born in Nepal.
Moreover, the temple is celebrating Vesak Day Celebration on May 13-14, 2014 from 10 AM to 8 PM where the final Nirvana of Buddha is observed on a full moon on the 4th lunar month.
Staff from Mr. Fast Foo food stall handed us their Cua Pao made of shredded pork, Maki Mi—a slimy dish flavored with beef broth, and their Signature Lumpia that every vegetarian will love.
The next food stall is the Fu Dao Dumpling where they practice making dumplings by hand. Fu means ‘luck’ and Dao means ‘arrive’, so the store’s name technically translates to “may the luck be with you!” I like their Sate Seafood Noodles with Shrimp, because it is spicy and full of flavor (it just reminded me of Korea’s ramen). Meanwhile, the bland Taiwan Pechay is also in a Sate soup base which means the pechay was not a boring dish for me.
What Cha Cha Food House offered us is something that helps nurture our skin—the Pumpkin Cake! It taste like tikoy from the inside, but it’s crunchy on the outside. The wanton noodles have thicker noodles and their chicken was flavored with different spices.
After feeling rather bloated from eating all that food, we had learned about a brief forecast regarding our Chinese zodiac signs at Phoenix Dragon. Some of the people had their charm bracelets cleansed to take away all the negative vibes. It was also said that although it may be the year of the wooden horse, the sign that is really lucky are the people born in the year of the sheep. This year’s element is fire, which means that several fire accidents may happen. There’s actually more to say but it would be better if you find out about it yourself. 🙂
We’re all quite familiar about how rich the culture of the Chinese is when it comes to marriage. We headed next to Reflexion’s Studio. Chinese people are accustomed to announcing their engagement on newspapers. Pregnant, newly-engaged couples, and newly-wed couples are not allowed to attend. According to their sayings, this will keep them from snatching each other’s luck.
After enduring the scorching heat while walking on Chinawalk, we had a refreshing treat from Rainbow Snow! This time, we are already inside Lucky Chinatown Mall. Rainbow Snow offers Chocolate Snow and Mixed Berry Snow flavor. The blocks of ice are already flavored, so that when crushed, it may already be served.
After that, we paid attention to our well being at Wellness Sanctuary with our choice of 15-minute acupuncture, tui na (massage), or fish spa session. I chose the acupuncture. It did not hurt that much. I just don’t know why it has to be placed in the ears. Acupuncture has different responses to every individual. For some, it makes them calm or could stir up emotions. The needles help people to “feel” again. Strange, isn’t it? After a day, I had this weird feeling inside me. I guess I really need some poking from those needles.
Of course, the final blow is another set of food. This time, we went to Tao Yuan Restaurant! The welcome drink we had was Melon Shake. The Hainan Chicken with Chicken Rice is a good combo because the flavors are infused with one another – they are fully dependent with each other. The presentation is very unique to my eyes. Agree? On the other hand, this innovative dish that they have is a must-try. It is so delicious. I am referring to their Mango Lapu-Lapu. The pansit canton is what they call the delicious birthday noodles! It is special, because its broth comes from steamed chicken and spare ribs.It is also my first time to try sago with mangoes on their dessert, Mango Sago.
Sorry, I tried to be as brief as I can, but this food and culture tour is brimming with activities. In a span of 4-5 hours, this is where your P888.00 would take you. You can buy tickets at the Lucky Chinatown Concierge or the Eastwood Mall Concierge. Hurry now for it only runs on May 10, 24, 31 and on June 7, 2014.
Thanks again to Sir RJ Ledesma for the invitation and for a dynamic tour. By the way, there would be an upcoming Mercato in May 24, 2014 at 11 AM in Lucky Chinatown Walk. Chinatown just keeps coming better!