Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ping Pong Diplomacy, SM Aura

Definitely one of the best eats at SM Aura!



It's always nice when friends bond over food. You get to converse and share laughs while eating - I can't imagine a better way to spend time with friends than that.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Recently, my foodie friend Richie of The Pickiest Eater in the World and I met up at SM Aura for lunch and ended up at Ping Pong Diplomacy. He's quite the picky eater (I actually think his blog name fits him perfectly), so we decided it would be best that he choose whatever he wanted from the menu, and I'd pick a couple I wanted to try as well.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Ping Pong Diplomacy is an American-Chinese concept by Charlie Paw with chefs Him Uy de Baron and Noel Mauricio at the helm. The name refers to the exchange of table tennis (ping pong) players between the US and China in the 1970's - it was a way to thaw the frosty relationship of the two nations during the Cold War.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Based on my research, Charlie challenged both chefs to not look at cookbooks and come up with their own impressions of Chinese food instead. In the end, they came up with a mix of old and new - something you'll see not only in the dishes, but the restaurant's interiors as well.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
At PPD, you'll see hipster elements mixed with old Manila / Binondo feel, especially with the outside sitting and take out counter.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
P.S. don't these jars look like something out of a horror film involving creepy laboratories and random experimentations on people? I dunno, it kinda has that effect on me haha!
Ping Pong Diplomacy
On another note, they have booze!
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Ping Pong Diplomacy offers a number of small and large plates. Small plates are mainly for solo consumption, while the big plates are for sharing. I was pleasantly surprised when the dishes came out - the small plates looked to me like they were also good to share, maybe at least by two or three people, especially if you're planning to order a lot.

I picked the Orange Chicken Wonton and Truffled Mushroom Edamame Dumplings to start, while Richie got the Crunchy Eggplant and Wonton Cheeseburger. I actually like that PPD's menu doesn't have photos, so if you haven't been following them on social media, then you're just basing everything off of its name and description without any clue on how it will look like.

Orange Chicken Wanton (P190)
crispy wanton, orange chicken, orange supremes
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Though I normally avoid fried wantons (I like it steamed better), I thought this was worth trying because it incorporates oranges in the dish. If you've tried lemon chicken before, well, this is nothing like it since the flavor is very balanced, as compared to lemon chicken being too overpowering or lemony.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Truffled Mushroom Edamame Dumplings (P265)
edamame, 3 kinds of mushroom, truffle oil
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Whenever I see the words "truffle" and "mushroom" on the menu, I just have to order it. This is PPD's version of siomai, and my, does it pack a lot of flavor! The texture is very soft, you can easily break it down with your tongue, and I like that about it (as weird as it may sound).

Crunchy Eggplant (P195)
battered eggplant, fragrant sauce, prickly ash
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Quite a beauty, this one. I love how they presented this dish (so photogenic and instagrammable!) and how crunchy each piece came out.

Wonton Cheeseburger (P265)
crisp wonton, wagyu beef, sharp cheddar
Ping Pong Diplomacy
This looks nothing like a burger, I know - that's exactly what I mean when I say that sometimes, not having photos on the menu is a good thing!

I guess what makes this a "burger" is because you actually wrap the wonton in lettuce before you eat it. It reminds me of Peking Duck in Two Ways that we often see in Chinese restaurants where in one of the ways they cook it, they dice the duck meat, wrap it in lettuce then top with sauce.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Onto the mains or what they call "big plates"

We started off with the Sweet and Sour Pork, one of their newest dishes at PPD, if I'm not mistaken. Isn't it interesting how one of the mainstays of Chinese restaurants isn't on PPS's initial menu? They really want to change things up in the food scene and even in this one, you'll see the creativity of the chefs.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Sweet and Sour Pork (P445)
pork spare ribs, pineapple chunks, roasted apples
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Yes, their version of Sweet and Sour Pork comes with pineapples and apples! How unique is that? I guess that's where the American aspect of it comes in (also the fact that they used pork ribs).
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Caveman Beef Rib (P625)
braised beef rib, crispy shallots, zhenjang vinaigrette
Ping Pong Diplomacy
We ordered another meaty dish since the Pickiest Eater loves his meat. This one comes with vinaigrette on the side so you can control how much of it you want in the dish.
Ping Pong DiplomacyPing Pong Diplomacy
Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns (P945)
grilled tiger prawns, crispy garlic, charred pickled vegetables
Ping Pong Diplomacy
For our last big plate, I picked the Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns, which of course, Mr. Pickiest Eater didn't bother trying because, ugh, prawns! I really enjoyed this one, but was already quite full at this point so I only had a couple. Personally, I wish they removed the shells so that the garlic would stick to the prawns, but that's not a major issue. I still really liked the flavor and how tender the prawns came out.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Of course, we ate all of these with rice, specifically, PPD's Simple Fried Rice (P265) which is wok fried with green peas and garlic. We went with this one exactly because it's simple - it's not too flavorful so you still get to enjoy the flavors of the dishes.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Original Egg Tart (P80)
egg custard, mille-feuille pastry
Ping Pong Diplomacy
For dessert, we each had an egg tart. It was perfectly baked with a flaky crust to it, and not sweet at all.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
This is one of the things you can purchase from the take out counter. I suggest you wait for the staff to bring out a fresh batch - that's when they're most delicious.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Love you, PPD. Be back soon! ♥
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Ping Pong Diplomacy is located on the third floor of SM Aura Premier, Bonifacio Global City.
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Ping Pong Diplomacy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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