New Restaurant Alert: Yo! Panda at SM Megamall, Mandaluyong
They serve irresistible melt-in-your-mouth egg waffles.
4/F SM Megamall Building A, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) The first thing you’ll notice when you walk into Yo! Panda, apart from the attention-grabbing stringed lights, the Instagram-ready booths, and the Hong Kong MTR-inspired sign, is the scent—a mouthwatering aroma of freshly cooked egg waffles that’s enough to sway any random passerby into finding a table and pulling up a seat.
Yo! Panda is the brainchild of siblings Prim Chua, Spencer Co, and Aaron Co. The idea came from the streets of Hong Kong where egg waffles are a familiar sight. At first, Prim and Aaron wanted to focus on waffle desserts, but Spencer pushed for a savory menu as well. “Hong Kong is brimming with foreign restaurants, so I took inspiration from that and decided to come up with dishes that have different Asian twists,” Spencer says.
Shrimp and Cheese Balls
The Shrimp and Cheese Balls (P290) will remind you of takoyaki. The batter has a light crunch, and instead of octopus, the center is a gorgeous cheesy mess. The best way to enjoy it is to dip the balls in both the Japanese mayo and soy sauce before taking a bite.
Their Premium Hong Kong Milk Tea (P130) is served in a carafe with ice in the perimeter, to keep the drink's bold flavor.
Scallion Chicken Chop
The Scallion Chicken Chop (P230) is a hodgepodge of crispy fried boneless chicken chops, an organic sunny-side-up egg, and Korean green salad, on top of your choice of plain or salted-egg rice. The chicken, cooked just right, is tender inside, crispy outside. The salad is a refreshing contrast, and the subtle flavor from the salted-egg rice is a nice way to tie all the flavors together.
Cantonese Style Beef Brisket (P280)
For those looking for something familiar, the Adobo Bao (P190) will do the trick. It's sinfully good—the succulent braised pork belly perfectly complements the baos’ muted flavor, while the crispy kangkong and crushed peanuts give it layers of texture.
Crispy Hong Kong Noodles
Got a few friends with you? Order the Crispy Hong Kong Noodles (P240). It's a filling meal on its own, topped by a hearty trio of shrimp, chicken, and vegetables that brighten up the noodles without being overwhelming in flavor. The savory sauce adds a salty kick to the dish.
Matcha Bubble Waffle (P110)
A trip to Yo! Panda won't be complete without sampling their waffle desserts. Everything is made from scratch, including the gelato. They purposely kept a small menu of six different bubble waffle variants, to make sure that each flavor is good in its own way. We recommend the Mango Cheesecake Bubble Waffle (P180), served fresh from the griddle, crispy-on-the-edges, but unbelievably soft. The natural sweetness of the mango and the cheesecake cubes on the gelato, along with the waffle, blend faultlessly into an irresistible hot-and-cold treat.
Mango Cheesecake Bubble Waffle
Yo! Panda may be the siblings’ first venture in the local food scene, but with top-notch dishes, decadent waffle desserts, and plenty of fast fans, it certainly won’t be their last.
Photos by Criselda Carreon