New eats: Chinese fusion cuisine with an Italian backdrop

Angelo G. Garcia

Posted at Aug 02 2017 03:01 PM | Updated as of Aug 02 2017 04:35 PM

DaTang is located at the Venice Grand Canal Mall. Handout photo

MANILA - DaTang is the newest addition to the growing list of restaurants at the Italian-inspired Venice Grand Canal Mall. The eatery takes on the countless Chinese restaurants in Metro Manila by offering a more modern take on one of the most-loved Asian cuisines.

The restaurant’s name is the combination of the words “Da” which means great, and “Tang” that signifies the Tang dynasty. They would like to honor the Tang dynasty because it is considered as the Golden Age of ancient China and one of the most prosperous Chinese eras, especially in literature and food.

Looks-wise, DaTang’s interiors are modern with modern tables, chairs, and marble dinnerware. The dominant colors are black, brown, and gray, far from the usual gold and red seen in Chinese restaurants. 

However, there are still pops of the traditional style through red lamps, old classic paintings, and huge clear jars of spices and herbs.

DaTang is located at the Venice Grand Canal Mall. Handout photo

In terms of food, the restaurant promises modern and traditional Chinese eats, made by its highly trained Taiwanese chefs. It employs classic styles and flavors from the eight great Chinese cuisine traditions — Cantonese, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Hunan, Anhui, and Shandong — and fuses them with modern techniques.

“Actually, our brand is trying to do something different from traditional Chinese food. What we did is we combined a lot of elements, like Western, Japanese, and Chinese styles and mix them all together to create new Chinese fusion food,” explained DaTang food and beverage director Tani Lu.

The menu is a mix of traditional and modern Chinese fare. For instance, the seafood salad is composed of steamed mussel, squid, octopus, and green tomato, lightly tossed with seasoning, lemon, and fresh cilantro and served with a spicy “five flavors sauce.”

Seafood salad. Handout photo

While Filipinos are used to Cantonese cuisine, Lu pointed out that the other Chinese cuisines, especially the ones up north, are totally different from what Filipinos are familiar with. So what they serve at the restaurant may be new to most diners – no stir-fried noodles, beef with broccoli, or sweet and sour fish here.

But there are still the familiar dishes like steamed fish, which is cooked in the classic soy sauce-sesame oil-ginger-green onions combination and topped with shredded pork and mushrooms.

Steamed fish. Handout photo

The traditional Chinese yam and pork ribs soup, on the other hand, is a flavorful clear broth with red dates and wolfberries.

Chinese yam and pork ribs soup. Handout photo
Cold stew pork with peanut. Handout photo

The DaTang deep-fried chicken wings serve as the restaurant’s signature chicken dish. The fried chicken wings are coated with a sweet garlic sauce glaze, a perfect match for beer or a cocktail.

DaTang deep-fried chicken wings. Handout photo

Speaking of cocktails, the restaurant also offers specially concocted drinks with unique names like Queen Blushed (rum, lychee liqueur, peach, grapefruit juice, and lemon juice), Good Luck (black rum, pineapple, black tea, lemon juice, and mint leaves), A Good Medicine Tastes Bitter (gin, Pimm’s, Campari, black tea, and lemon juice), and Poet’s Afternoon Tea (black rum, cointreau, black sugar, and lemon juice).