The culinary world is full of accolades for restaurants, and the coveted Michelin Star is reserved for the crème de la crème of them all. Michelin Stars are awarded by a select group of reviewers who tour the world with the aim of finding the best food served up by local restaurants. Chefs and restauranteurs highly prize these Michelin Stars for their rarity and difficulty in earning them and will fight tooth and nail to ensure that their establishments retain this mark of excellence.
The Philippines’ Michelin-starred restaurants are concentrated in Metro Manila, allowing easy access for local city dwellers as well as travellers passing through. This article covers only three out of several beloved dining spots in the metropolis. Although the traffic and queues may make trips to these locations seem daunting, the exquisite meals served up by these restaurants are definitely worth the hassle and the wait!
1. Tim Ho Wan
How can something as everyday as ‘dimsum’ and as rare as the Michelin Star exist in the same sentence? The Hong Kong grown brand Tim Ho Wan proves that yes, this is very possible, and that excellent food can be had without breaking the budget. As of 2019, Tim Ho Wan has several branches located in major malls throughout Metro Manila. These include Robinsons Place Ermita, SM Megamall, Glorietta 3, and Uptown Place Mall.
Apart from dimsum mainstays such as soups, congees, dumplings and spareribs, Tim Ho Wan offers some unique delights such as the Baked Pork Buns. These little trios combine delicate, almost flaky exteriors with a savory-sweet meaty filling good enough for a main course. Best of all, most of the items in Tim Ho Wan are very affordable; for less than 900 pesos you can already have lunch out for two! Now that is truly an all-star deal!
2. Din Tai Fung
Craving dumplings and nothing else? Then head over to any of the branches of everyone’s favorite specialty dumpling house, Din Tai Fung. This restaurant originating in Taiwan has become synonymous with xiao long bao, the hot soup dumplings so favoured as an appetizer or accompaniment to a hearty Chinese meal. Among Din Tai Fung’s banner offerings are xiao long bao favorites such as Pork and Roasted Garlic and Green Squash and Shrimp, as well as exciting combinations including Foie Gras and Chicken, or Truffle and Pork. Not in the mood for dumplings? Din Tai Fung also offers a selection of soups, noodles, and other dimsum offerings, as well as set meals. Lastly, complete your feast with a serving of special Chocolate Lava Xiao Long Bao for dessert!
Din Tai Fung has opened 3 branches in the Philippines, located at Bonifacio High Street, Powerplant Mall, and SM Megamall.
3. Liao Fan Hawker Chan
A hawker food stall may seem an unlikely candidate for a Michelin Star. Liao Fan Hawker Chan defies this by rising from its humble beginnings to becoming a multinational chain specializing in street-side/open air market cuisine. Dubbed as one of the most inexpensive Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, Liao Fan Hawker Chan prides itself on good food, quick service, and accessibility to the general public. Must-try dishes include the rice/noodle combos featuring delicately prepared meats such as soy chicken and pork rib with generous helpings of hot noodles or white rice. Other Hawker Chan specialties include Char Siew meat, Wonton Soup, and Thai Style Tofu. The soy chicken, its most celebrated dish, can be ordered ala carte as half chicken or whole chicken.
Liao Fan Hawker Chan has 3 branches located in Glorietta, SM Mall of Asia, and SM North EDSA. Both dining in and takeout options are available, as these restaurants tend to get full very quickly!
Thanks to the dynamism of the Philippines’ culinary scene and its attractiveness to franchises, entrepreneurs, gourmets, and gourmands, we can hope to see more Michelin-starred establishments making waves in the coming years. Perhaps in the not too distant future, we may even one day see a homegrown restaurant earning a Michelin Star, or maybe even two or three! For now, we have these well loved dining spots to enjoy, eat, drink and be merry at. Bon appetit!