Yuan Asian Bistro's MaLing Fries will take you back to childhood
This restaurant dodges labels.
Yuan Asian Bistro
Unit 4 Victoria Brixton Plaza, 1 Brixton Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.
(SPOT.ph) While authentic fare does have its draws, there is also a certain appeal to restaurants who like to play loose and break the rules and Yuan Asian Bistro is in that category.
Admittedly, when we hear the word “Asian” in relation to food, our minds immediately drift to East Asian flavors. But a quick look at Yuan’s eye-catching accent mural, a colorful depiction of street life with Chinese characters and iconography alongside Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, and more, clues you in that Yuan goes beyond the usual Japanese, Chinese, and Korean to explore flavors from the South and Southeast.
But even then, nothing can truly prepare you for the widely creative Asian fusion menu, crafted with the help of Chef Kel Zaguirre of Locavore fame.
X.O. Tonkatsu MaLing Fries
The X.O. Tonkatsu MaLing Fries (P325) has made its way to many Instagram feeds because of its novelty—and it helps that it’s picture-perfect. Thick-cut MaLing or Chinese luncheon meat is breaded tonkatsu-style with panko then served inside an empty MaLing can on top of shredded green and red cabbage. The taste is reminiscent of MaLing sandwiches from childhood. It goes especially well with the X.O. sauce, which is given a strong savory flavor by a mix of pork, shrimp, and beef grinds with sesame oil. This also comes with Japanese mayonnaise, Sriracha, and a house tonkatsu sauce plus sesame dressing for the cabbage.
Chicken Tikka Nachos
The Chicken Tikka Nachos (P309) trades corn chips for papadum or thin crisp dough from India. It's topped with chicken tikka masala with a spiced flavor similar to curry plus mozzarella, cilantro, pico de gallo, and lime. The spices are particularly strong in this one though balanced out with the acidity of lime juice and the earthiness of the herbs.
If you’re in the mood for something comforting, then you must have the Laksa Tantanmen (P335). Instead of the traditional rice vermicelli, this version uses ramen noodles for unexpectedly delicious results. The coconut cream-infused shrimp broth is reduced until it resembles a thick sauce. Mildly spicy, the briny taste of fresh shrimp stands out in every sip. This is served with lobster balls and tiger prawns.
Ribeye with Wasabi Chimichurri
Another must-try is the Ribeye with Wasabi Chimichurri (P875). The steak is already cut into strips, but you can still appreciate its tenderness, with slivers of fat melting in your mouth. The wasabi chimichurri gives the dish a spicy kick while also breaking the richness of the succulent meat with refreshing coolness. This is also served with beets, sweet potatoes, and snow peas.
The Satayaki (P349) is a fusion of chicken satay and yakitori with tender beef satay, chicken satay, ika yaki or grilled squid, and chicken yakitori. The sticks are all slightly sweet from the peanut sauce, and go well with the bar’s wide selection of drinks like the Matcha Dream (P250)—refreshingly tropical with vodka, coconut cream, and matcha powder.
It takes guts to center a restaurant on fusion—so many things can go wrong when one decides to throw rules out of the window. But Yuan Asian Bistro takes the leap anyway, and our tummies are better off for it.
Photos by Jericho San Miguel