Earlier this month, Lala and I decided to give Little Beijing, a new restaurant near our street, a try. The establishment was notable, at least as far as we were concerned, for two reasons: first, it was one of the very few restaurants that isn’t a popular chain and isn’t inside a mall that’s near us; and second, it opened in a place where many previous businesses closed down after a few months. The restaurant, in fact, has been on my radar since it opened, though it wasn’t when Lala was craving for a bowl of congee that I had the motivation to try it out.

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Little Beijing looks like hundreds of other Chinese restaurants in Metro Manila. The menu doesn’t deviate much from the usual Cantonese fares, and the food themselves are, while filling and all right, not that memorable. But the place is nonetheless a welcome respite from the numerous fast food restaurants and milk tea shops in the area, as typified by the steady stream of customers, ranging from Chinese families to groups of students from the nearby university.

Entering the restaurant, we feel like teleporting into somewhere in Binondo or Banawe. The dining area is big and brightly lit, with aquariums near the kitchen, and the walls are painted with various icons of the Middle Kingdom.

Spicy Wanton (PHP 110)
Spicy Wanton (PHP 110)
Chicken Mushroom Congee (PHP 135)
Chicken Mushroom Congee (PHP 135)

We went for some light fares since Lala had been having some ulcer attacks, and was avoiding a lot of food types. I had an order of Spicy Wanton upon the staff’s recommendation, and she had a bowl of Chicken Mushroom Congee. The latter was tasty and surprisingly large, that even if Lala had to share, we weren’t able to finish the whole bowl.

Sliced Chicken With Celery (PHP 190/ PHP 280)
Sliced Chicken With Celery (PHP 190/ PHP 280)
Mapo Tofu In Pot (PHP 150 / PHP 250)
Mapo Tofu In Pot (PHP 150 / PHP 250)

On another visit, we tried the Sliced Chicken With Celery. It’s more celery (and bell pepper) than chicken, though the steamed chicken strips are really good. The Mapo Tofu In Pot lacks the fiery kick I’ve come to expect of it, but makes for a passable rendition of the classic Sichuan dish.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of Little Beijing’s menu, and we’re willing to check more of it, especially their bestsellers. Honestly, based on what we’ve tried, the restaurant won’t rank among the top Chinese restaurants in Metro Manila, but for the price, it’s not bad. At least, there’s a classy yet affordable Chinese restaurant nearby when the craving for fried rice hits and Chowking won’t suffice.

Little Beijing
186 McArthur Highway,
Karuhatan, Valenzuela City
(02) 7823924, (02) 4321352
http://www.facebook.com/littlebeijingchinesecuisine

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