October 29, 2018

Hua Yuan Brasserie Chinoise at Hilton Manila

Hua Yuan Chinese Restaurant at Hilton Manila

Hua Yuan Brasserie Chinoise (华苑中式餐馆) is the premier Chinese restaurant of Hilton Manila specializing in authentic Shanghainese cuisine. The restaurant also serves Cantonese and Sichuan cuisines with dishes especially curated by Hilton Manila’s Chinese Sous Chef, Chef Kevin Xu.

Hua Yuan Chinese Restaurant at Hilton Manila

The restaurant is inspired by the former French Concession of Shanghai and this is seen in the chic and modern Sino-Franco interior design of Hua Yuan. The main dining area features tables that can accommodate two to five persons while the private dining area can accommodate eight to twenty persons.


► DINNER AT HUA YUAN: OCTOBER 24, 2018

Hua Yuan Chinese Restaurant at Hilton Manila

We had dinner at Hua Yuan on the opening date (October 24, 2018) of Hilton Manila. It was our first time to try Shanghainese cuisine and we really don't know to expect. All we knew was that the restaurant has a Shanghainese restaurant. That alone was the only guarantee that we will be experiencing authentic Shanghainese cuisine.



We started our dinner with Rice Cake with Dried Scallops (干贝粢饭糕) which is a Shanghainese fried dumpling commonly served as an appetizer. It was very compact and moist and had a crunchy crust. The taste of the scallops was very light and not too overwhelming.



Xiao Long Bao is perhaps the representative dish of Shanghainese cuisine. Here at Hua Yuan, guests can choose among three varieties: Classic Shanghai, Crabmeat and Mushroom. We ordered the Steamed Xiao Long Bao with Mushroom (香菇小笼包). I prefer this original version of the xiao long bao which has thicker skin compared to its more contemporary Taiwanese counterpart.



The Stir-fried Fresh Thin Noodles with Sliced Pork (上海肉丝炒面), or simply Shanghai Pork Noodles, is a very simple noodle dish in Shanghai consisting of egg noodles fried together with Chinese cabbage and pork slices.



Shanghai Fried Rice (石锅菜烤饭) is a seafood-free fried rice dish which has an herby and smokey pork taste. This is the perfect alternative to the usual Yangzhou Fried Rice (also available in the menu) ordered in many Chinese restaurants in Manila.



If you feel like ordering some of your favorite Cantonese dishes, options from the menu include the cold dish Hong Kong Chicken with Shallot Oil (小葱香油三黄鸡). They also have the quintessential Steamed Pork Dumplings (烧卖) and Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (虾饺).



For those who love spicy food, there are a couple of Sichuan dishes in the menu that will surely give you that lip numbing experience. The Shrimp Mapo Beancurd (虾仁麻婆豆腐) is my most recommended one. If someone in your group is allergic to seafood, just instruct the staff not include shrimp in the dish.



The highlight of our meal was the Braised Pork Belly "Hong Shao Rou" with Eggs (外婆家味红烧肉加蛋). This iconic Shanghainese dish is famous for its melt-in-your-mouth texture of the pork braised in a thick aromatic sweet soy sauce. This dish goes well with the Shanghai Fried Rice.



Finally, we ended our dinner with a variety of desserts. The Walnut Cream Tea (核桃鲜奶露) is the specialty Shanghainese dessert of Hua Yuan. It has a jelly texture with a creamy and nutty taste and hints of aromatic spices.




► LUNCH AT HUA YUAN: MARCH 11, 2019

Hua Yuan Chinese Restaurant at Hilton Manila

My recent trip to Shanghai and Suzhou made me crave for Shanghainese cuisine and Jiangsu cuisine. Hua Yuan has become my go-to place in Manila when I crave for these regional Chinese cuisines. Equipped with my dining experiences in Shanghai and Suzhou, I knew exactly what to order from the menu.



Fried Pork Buns, or locally called sheng jian bao (生煎包), is a specialty dumpling in Shanghai. It is a popular breakfast item in Shanghai but is sold all-day as a snack. The fried buns are filled with minced pork and gelatine, the same filling used in making Xiaolongbao. It is like eating a fried siopao with a soupy pork filling.



I fell in love with this noodle dish when I traveled to Chengdu, the capital of China's Sichuan province. Fortunately, Dan Dan Noodles (担担面) is one of the Sichuan dishes featured on the menu of Hua Yuan. They serve a thick and soupy version of this dish made authentic by mixing Sichuan peppers and sesame paste.



An iconic dish from Shanghai is the Squirrel-shaped fish with sweet and sour sauce. Traditionally made with Mandarin fish, here at Hua Yuan, this dish is made with either yellow croaker fish or with pomfret fish. During this lunch, we ordered the Sweet and Sour Pomfret Fish with Pine Nuts (松子鲳鱼). Preparing this dish required a Shanghainese chef to have excellent knife skills.



One of the dishes recommended to us was the Crispy Eggplant Pyramid with Beef Chili Sauce (茄子塔). It is a simple dish made of eggplant (aubergine) sliced into strips, coated in a batter, fried until crispy, and finally coated with a savory, mildly spicy sauce.



One of the signature dishes of Chef Kevin is the Fragrant Tea-Smoked Duck (烟熏鸭). Preparation of this dish is very laborious, involving marination, boiling, smoking with black tea leaves, steaming, and finally deep-frying. This dish is usually served during special occasions such as birthdays and Chinese New Year.



The best pairing to all the savory dishes we ordered in nothing less than the best-selling rice dish of Hua Yuan, the Fried Rice with X.O. Sauce (X.O.留蛋炒). They use short grain rice for this rice dish which a mildly spicy and packed with umami.



Finally, for our dessert, we had the Red Sugar Glutinous Rice Roll (红糖麻糍). It is like sheets of mochi rolled with ground peanuts, sesame seeds, and red sugar, and are then deep-fried until golden brown and crispy.



The Red Date Fruit Milk Tea is one of the signature drinks of Hua Yuan. The drink got its mild sweetness and tartness from the red dates while the frothy finish gives it a smooth and refreshing texture. This is a great partner for savory dishes.




Hua Yuan Chinese Restaurant at Hilton Manila

Customer service here at Hua Yuan has always been excellent. The staff was familiar with the menu and could confidently provide recommendations based on your preferences. They also anticipated our need by offering to portion our dishes for the group. Most importantly, the quality of the food here is outstanding and tasted very authentic. There is so much more to try from the menu, so I will surely be back here at Hua Yuan.




Hua Yuan Brasserie Chinoise
Second Floor, Hilton Manila
1 Newport Blvd, Newport City, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Contact: +63-2-2397788
E-mail: mnlph_hotel@hilton.com
Website | Facebook | Instagram