MANILA -- As one of the top culinary destinations in Asia, Taiwan has become a popular holiday destination for Filipinos.
That's why travelers who have gone to Taiwan will surely love Fat Fook Taiwanese Kitchen, as it allows foodies to sample Taiwanese food without hopping on plane to brave the night markets. That's because the food here will really bring customers back to the streets of Raohe, Xi Men Ding, and Shi Lin.
Fat Fook is a homegrown concept from the Ramen Nagi group. It was started by the group’s executive chef, Rachel Kao, who was born in Taiwan and grew up in the Philippines.
“Most of the recipes are from their homes, inherited from her parents and have been refined for Fat Fook," said Patricia Buzon, marketing manager of Fat Fook Taiwanese Kitchen.
"We guarantee that the food is as close to the Taiwanese versions because the owners go to Taiwan regularly to taste and source ingredients.”
Taiwanese food is a bit close to Filipino cuisine in terms of how the dishes look. But in terms of flavor profile, Taiwanese dishes tend to be salty, sweet, and sometimes spicy.
Here are some recommended items from Fat Fook’s menu, which features a lot of rice and noodle dishes, as well as dumplings. If you've never been to Taiwan, sampling the food here will surely pique your culinary curiosity and possibly put our northern neighbor on your foodie travel bucket list.
For starters, Fat Fook has fried seafood balls, tofu and chicken mushrooms that you’d normally find in the alleys of the night markets. Though the originals are mostly grilled on charcoal or an electric grill, Fat Fook deep-fries them and sprinkles salt and pepper sourced from abroad.
Taiwanese sausages are a night market favorite. Fat Fook inserts garlic chips into the sausage that provides a sharp counterpoint to the sausage’s sweetness.
Fat Fook serves a special version of xiao long bao with salted egg in it.
For fans of century egg, Fat Fook serves it with soft tofu and pork floss.
This restaurant’s version of cua pao, a sandwich made of tender pork humba and steamed man tao buns, also has pickles and cilantro for added flavor.
For those with more adventurous palates and noses, try the infamous fermented stinky tofu. It does have an interesting smell and it tastes like a savory, if slightly funky, version of fried tofu.
Spicy pork ears are cooked from the same pig parts that sisig is made of. But this one isn’t chopped up. The pieces are slightly fried then splashed on with a soy-vinegar sauce with chilies.
Fat Fook’s version of Lou Rou Fan, sweet Taiwanese minced pork with a sweet anise sauce, approximates the best version of this dish found in the Xi Men Ding night market.
Lou Rou Fan also comes with noodles if that’s your preference
The oily red broth is an indication how spicy Fat Fook’s Taiwan beef noodles are. Perfect for foodies who love their noodles and love their heat.
Fat Fook’s beef tendon is a spicy gelatinous treat.
Fat Fook liberally mixes hibe (dried shrimp) in its kiampung to add salty umami to this rice dish.
Taiwan is known for pork and chicken chops. Pork or chicken meat that is pounded flat, breaded, then deep-fried with a simple seasoning of special salt and pepper.
Taiwan is credited with inventing milk teas with boba (sago). Fat Fook has a number of these on their drinks menu.
Since opening its first branch at SM North Edsa, the Ramen Nagi group has quickly expanded Fat Fook, opening branches in Robinson’s Galleria, SM Megamall and most recently Glorietta.
It is opening two more branches of Fat Fook in the near future -- one in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and another in Ayala Feliz, the new Ayala mall in Marikina.
The group is also opening a couple of new concepts. Wonder Bowl, touted as an upscaled izakaya with higher-end ingredients, is being created with the original Japanese Ramen Nagi principals and will be located beside the upcoming Fat Fook branch in Taguig.
The other one is Propaganda, a Vietnamese bistro, which will open in Greenbelt 5.