Cebu's Dimsum Break comes to Manila

By Karen Flores,

Posted at Nov 16 2012 07:22 PM | Updated as of Nov 17 2012 03:22 AM

Dimsum Break's first outlet in Manila offers 23 types of dimsum such as the Empress Rolls.

MANILA, Philippines – A new player on Manila’s fast food restaurant scene promises to change the way Filipinos here look at cheap dimsum.

Cebu-based Dimsum Break, which has earned raves from locals and visitors in Cebu, has found a new home at the SM North EDSA Annex in Quezon City. The branch, which will be officially open to the public on Saturday (November 17), sells 23 types of fried and steamed dimsum, the widest selection offered by a fast food chain in Manila.

Similar to its 15 branches in Cebu, Dimsum Break’s first Manila outlet follows a cafeteria-style/self-service set-up where customers line up in front of the counter, where all the food is laid out.

“Compared to other fast food establishments, here it’s an interactive setup,” said Christopher Kokseng, business development manager of the Cebu-based company Harbour City Dimsum House Co. Inc. (HCDHCI), which owns and operates Dimsum Break. “You see the food right in front of you as opposed to seeing it on a menu. You see what you want to order.”

HCDHCI currently has 15 branches of Dimsum Break scattered all over Cebu. It also runs two equally popular Chinese casual dining restaurant brands in the province – the Harbour City and Ding Qua Qua dimsum houses.

Quality-wise, food served at Dimsum Break is close to Harbour City and Ding Qua Qua, if not the same, according to Kokseng, who said that the main difference lies in the setup and ambiance of the three restaurants.

Dimsum Break's Steamed Fried Rice was first served in Harbour City and Ding Qua Qua.

“One of the reasons why people in Cebu come back is because of the price, so we’ve always tried to maintain a value-for-money perception,” he explained. “And now, we’re bringing that also to Manila.”

Chef Glenndon Uytengsu, who is also a member of HCDHCI’s executive committee, said: “It’s a modern take on the Chinese teahouse. We serve great food – simple and fast. We cater to fast-paced lifestyles especially to working professionals.”

The food

At P65 each, Dimsum Break’s fried and steamed dimsum are dirt cheap, especially considering the taste and quality of each dish. Served in twos or threes (or 75 to 100 grams), each item on the menu is good for one person.

Bestsellers include the Sweet and Sour Pork, Spring Rolls and Crab Pincers, which are filled with a crab mixture and deep-fried. But the most popular dimsum among Cebuanos remains the steamed Shaomai (or siomai), particularly the ones wrapped in bacon and topped with a slice of quail egg or mushroom.

Dimsum Break serves four types of Shaomai: plain, bacon (in photo), mushroom and quail.

Another well-loved dish here is the Steamed Fried Rice, an original concoction by Uytengsu’s late father Henry.

“We use steamed rice, then we fry it, add some soy, chicken stock and other ingredients for the sauce, add some toppings like pork and shrimp, and garnish with green peas,” Uytengsu said of the dish, which is sold at P68 each.

“It’s a meal in itself,” he added. “Some people just order this and they’re good to go.”

Aside from the Steamed Fried Rice, the restaurant also offers the ubiquitous Yang Chow Fried Rice, and Beef Steak Rice.

Other fried treats offered at Dimsum Break include Garlic Pork Spareribs, Stuffed Shrimps, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Sweet and Sour Fish, Stuffed Taro, Spiced Eggs, Shrimp Toast, Fried Wanton and Fried Shrimp Balls.

Dimsum Break's Spring Rolls, a bestseller in Cebu.

For steamed items, the fast food joint serves Fish Fillet, Chicken Feet, Empress Roll (wrapped in steamed cabbage), Mandunggo (steamed tripe), and Pai Kuat (pork ribs).

On top of the dimsum and rice is a selection of noodles and soups, as well as three types of steamed buns or Shaopao (siopao). For dessert, Dimsum Break has a mix of Chinese and Filipino treats, from the Buchi to the Halo-Halo and Leche Flan.

Dimsum Break's Mini Pao, or small Chinese buns.

Boholano singer Luke Mijares attests to the quality of the food served at Dimsum Break, appearing at the press launch as one of the fast food chain’s ambassadors.

“Taga-Bohol ako pero every time we go to Cebu, we eat at Ding Qua Qua and Dimsum Break,” he shared. “Dati pa, hanggang ngayon. I love their Steamed Fried Rice and Spring Rolls.”

Kokseng said Dimsum Break will soon offer a full menu – similar to the one in Cebu – as they study the preferences of their Manila customers.

For now, the fast food chain leaves its patrons with more than enough good quality dimsum to deal with, he said.