I didn’t really feel like cooking last night so we decided to just go out with the kids for dinner. We went to Pingpong Diplomacy, our friend Charles’ newly opened restaurant in SM Aura. Our kids are at an age where they’re more adventurous with food so I figured it was perfect.
Ping Pong Diplomacy is a Chinese restaurant but not in the usual sense of the word. They serve Chinese-themed dishes with a twist. It’s located on the 3rd level of SM Aura right across Bench.
According to Charles, he asked chefs Noel Mauricio and Him Uy De Baron to come up with dishes which came to mind when you say “Chinese food”. They didn’t have to be limited by the usual fare Chinese restaurants serve. Ping Pong Diplomacy would serve Chinese food as they imagined.
We started off with Wonton Cheeseburger (P290). Crispy fried wontons are filled with ground wagyu beef and cheddar cheese. You wrap wonton in lettuce, put some caramelized onions and sauce, and then take a bite. Whoa! We all loved this unique take on the burger. The beef is really juicy and flavorful.
The discovery of the night was the Crunchy Eggplant (P140). Hubby and the kids all don’t eat eggplant. But we were told this was one of the most popular dishes. I’m glad they were game enough to try. We were all surprised by how good this was! You have to eat it while it’s hot. It’s really crunchy, sweet, and spicy all at the same time. My three eggplant non-eaters couldn’t stop raving about this dish. If you want to share the love for eggplant with others, this is your dish.
Next up was Simple Fried Eggs (P135). It’s actually two sunny side up eggs fried with scallions, pork floss, green onions, chilis, and oriental sauce. Whoa. This is how you level up plain old fried eggs. This would go nicely with plain rice. It can be overwhelming if you pair it with equally flavorful rice.
Since most of the dishes are on the spicy side, the perfect drink to wash it all down is this Soy Almond Cooler (P85) which I wish came in a bigger glass lol. Milky, creamy, but not overly sweet it even has grass jelly… or was it coffee jelly?
We had the Dan Dan Chicken Skin Rice (P285) to go with all our ulam (viands). The kids loved this. It’s tasty fried rice with crunchy chicken skin, shitake mushrooms, fermented chili bean, roasted peanuts, green peas, nori strips, and a fried egg on top. Umami heaven is how I’d describe it. It’s not really spicy so it’s pretty kid-friendly.
Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns (P650) was the priciest dish we tried. Up until this point, everything has been in the P100+ to P200+ range. Five big juicy prawns are grilled to perfection and then literally buried in super crunchy fried garlic. My gosh I could shovel up the garlic with a spoon and eat it all lol. This one’s a family favorite too.
Everyone knows me as someone who isn’t so fond of chicken but Ping Pong Wings (P320) was good. It’s chicken seasoned with 12 spices, reminiscent of Taiwanese fried chicken.
Meet the Not Mapo Tofu (P330). Instead of silken tofu, this spicy savory sauce has a bed of incredibly smooth steamed soya custard underneath. There are delectable and tender chasyu pork strips in it too. Yummy!
Chef Miko Aspiras is in charge of all the desserts at Ping Pong Diplomacy and he really nailed it. My personal favorite is Fortune Balls (P150). Black sesame, ginger, and taro mochi are served on pistachio cream and sesame crumble. My goodness… the mochi are so chewy and perfect, the cream is just divine. I can finish one order by myself!
Hubby’s favorite dessert is the Jicama Pie (P220). It’s kinda like deconstructed McDonald’s Apple Pie served with Five Spice Ice Cream on the side. Oddly enough, the jicama cubes are so addictive it’s hard to stop munching on them.
Mungo Buchi (P220) is Ping Pong Diplomacy’s take on the buchi. Served with mungo hopia ice cream on the side, these chewy buchi don’t have any filling. They’re served on red bean puree. Yummy but my vote still goes to the Fortune Balls.
Congratulations Charles on this new concept! My kids said everything was good. They were confused what to eat at some point because they wanted to eat everything hahaha!
If you think Chinese cuisine is all about the usual sweet and sour pork, lumpiang shanghai, and yang chow fried rice, you just have to visit Ping Pong Diplomacy. Food is surprisingly affordable too, especially considering the upscale location. About 70% of the dishes in the menu cost between P100+ to P300+.
I want to go back and try the rest of the menu, lol.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
Level 3 SM Aura
8 McKinley Parkway, Taguig City
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