CHECK IT OUT: P.F. Chang's in Alabang Town Center
The American franchise opens its first Asian outpost in Manila.
The Street, Alabang Town Center,
Open from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. (Sunday to Thursday);
11 a.m. - 1 a.m. (Fridays and Saturdays)
P.F. Chang’s opens its first branch in Manila. Click for more.
(SPOT.ph) Those familiar with the American franchise's signature terra cotta Chinese warriors standing guard outside their numerous branches worldwide will recognize Alabang Town Center's newest tenant: P.F. Chang's has officially opened a branch in Manila. Known for their MSG-free Chinese food, the chain’s first Asian outpost can be found at Alabang Town Center's The Street.
The same elements found in over 200 P.F. Chang's branches are evident in the newly opened ATC branch: panoramic hand-painted murals depicting 12th-Century China mixed with modern Asian interiors provide a stylish yet laidback backdrop to casual dining. "P.F. Chang's is really all about uncontrived food, food that's not busy, not too saucy," says Phillip Chiang, P.F. Chang's founder, who flew in from the United States to open their first branch in Asia.
You won't find traditional Chinese fare on P.F. Chang's menu, nor is there a long dim sum list to choose from. Instead, you will find plates inspired by cuisines from the different regions of China: from fiery Sichuan cuisine to the more familiar Cantonese fare. All the dishes, according to Mr. Chiang, are always made only upon ordering, with fresh vegetables prepared daily; dumplings are made from scratch and the kitchen uses a Chinese wok to cook most of the dishes. "We also like sticking to dishes with just three to four ingredients," he added.
What to order? The Shrimp Dynamite (P295), bite-sized shrimps coated in a semi-sweet and spicy sauce served in a cocktail glass tempts you with each fiery, succulent piece. If you prefer less heat in your appetizer, choose the best-selling Chicken Lettuce Wraps (P285), a mix of wok-seared minced chicken, mushrooms and water chestnuts served with cool lettuce cups. A vegetarian version of the lettuce wraps may be ordered, with tofu as substitute for chicken. The Mongolian Beef (P695), a serving of tender flank tossed with crunchy scallions and garlic, is also a must-order. The Chengdu Spiced Lamb (P900), listed under P.F. Chang's "Emperor's Choice" deserves a space on the table, too: marinated lamb cuts are tender and tossed with sweet, juicy tomatoes, yellow onions and spiced with cumin and mint-the dish is a curious mix of slightly sweet, spiced flavors coupled with the rich flavors of meat. All orders come with free unlimited servings of rice, with a choice between brown or white rice. P.F. Chang's also has a separate gluten-free menu. "Even the soy sauce used for those dishes are gluten-free," shared Chiang.
While the local menu does not mirror the exact same dish list found in the U.S. branches, there are enough dishes to warrant a second or third trip, including the too-tempting six-layer chocolate cake dubbed The Great Wall of Chocolate. There are also other desserts made specially for the Philippine market plus P.F. Chang's refreshingly sweet tamarind iced tea, specific only to the branches in Manila. Global Restaurant Concepts, Inc., which brought in P.F. Chang’s, is expected to open more branches this year, including a Bonifacio Global City location.
Photos courtesy of P.F. Chang’s and by Jean Natividad, additional interior shots by Rina Zamora of thepickiesteater.net