2/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) UP Town Center, much like other malls throughout the Metro and beyond, can’t seem to stop switching things up. But in our constant search for the new, we inevitably slide home into some version of a long-beloved classic.
There’s a comfortable familiarity to Wow Wok, one of UP Town Center’s newest eateries, from their comic book-inspired look to the tried-and-true flavors that they boast, few can say no to.
It’s hard to mess up rice bowls, full stop, but Wow Wok puts their own spin on the go-to dish—called Wow Chow Meals (P249)—that just makes them extra special, not least because you’re given a noodle option, and that it comes with your choice of sides and drink. And man, do those noodles have a subtle-yet-enjoyable snap to them. Mushy carbs? We don’t know her.
The Sweet & Sour Pork delivers on all its promises, plus a bonus dose of freshness in the bell peppers. We recommend choosing rice with this one because those peppers really lend themselves to the texture—get a side of Siomai and you’re in Vaguely Asian Food Heaven. Select the Green Iced Tea to balance it out with an almost candy-like lychee flavor—it’s divine in the summer heat.
The Eggplant Tofu is a fantastic vegetarian option, which you’ll want to get with the Vegetable Spring Rolls for some extra crunch. This main can go with either rice or noodles, and that’s just one of the wonderful things about it. Pair with the Peach Iced Tea for maximum enjoyment.
But if you’re looking for something a little more over-the-top, the Surf & Turf has it all. This mash-up of shrimp and Wagyu should be had over noodles; the residual steak sauce doesn’t get lost in their hearty bite, and it’s savory-sweet and perfect. Picking a side dish and iced tea at this point become a matter of mood.
Then we have the Chicken Wings, which fly in at a half dozen per serving. Who knows what we did to deserve 5-Spice (P199), but whatever it was, it must have changed someone’s life. If you’ve never had anything flavored with the perfect blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns, then you’re in for a new treat. For something more local, there’s no going haywire with Salted Egg (P299)—who doesn’t love the stuff, especially when it’s done this well?
For a heaping mouthful (or wingful?) of nostalgia, order the—wait for it— Haw Flakes (P299). You may not be able to pretend to take Communion with them, but these wings have certainly banked on the tangy-sweetness of this pre-2000s childhood staple, so they’re excused.
If you’ve got your doubts, we get it; these are dishes that are hard to get wrong, it’s true. But we put it to you that there’s an ordinary way to do things, and there’s a great way to do things, and Wow Wok definitely leans towards the latter. Don’t wok past this place.
Photos by Vincent Coscolluela