Unit D 5666 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City
Contact: 0927-045-8640, 7943-6685
Open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Tuesday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) People travel for all sorts of reasons, but let’s be real: The best part about traveling is the food! There’s nothing like getting to know a culture by eating as the locals do and sampling the dishes that form the backbone of their culinary traditions. This, of course, is something the Viray family knows by heart—and at Fook Yah, they share their experiences by way of flavor-packed roasts and other eats inspired by their Hong Kong travels.
Get your fill of Hong Kong-style meats and noods at this new restaurant in Poblacion:
Your senses are stirred the moment you step past the huge red Fook Yah sign and enter the eatery. Located along the tight yet homey ol’ Don Pedro street in Poblacion, Makati, Fook Yah features a cozy, air-conditioned space with walls decked in green, red and black stools and chairs, and glass dividers in between the tables (safety first, of course). Get your smartphone cameras ready, too, as you’ll find a scaled-up Mahjong display on the wall—making for an overall playful feel and fitting right in with their Cantonese-style theme.
You likely know the Virays from their other restaurants that include Ebi 10, Joe’s Brew, Nokal, Kampai, and The Spirits Library—all rooted in their love of food as a family. Closely tied to this is a love of travel, as Celine Viray—the youngest of the siblings—shares that they would decide where to go based on where they wanted to eat. “Most people when they travel will really pick tourist spots, or you know, museums... For us I guess it was different because we really pick based on food,” she shares in an exchange with SPOT.ph. “We’re five kids so it was always a big production to go out of the country and travel, and then our parents also super love to eat.”
Hong Kong, in particular, is one of their go-to spots for great eats. “We have always loved the vibrance and playfulness of Hong Kong, not to mention that it’s also easy to grab a bite anywhere and it didn’t always have to be expensive,” says Celine. And when in Hong Kong, their go-to dish definitely includes roast duck and goose. “So ‘yong mga Kam’s [Roast] Goose, or Macau’s Pigeon House… those are bookmarks we have na when you go [to Hong Kong], you visit or you do at least one food trip and you plan your day around that.”
Her brother Marco Viray also describes Hong Kong as a “melting pot.” “So you basically get all sorts of cuisines [and] good restaurants,” he shares. “Every time we go to Hong Kong, there's always a new place to try.” But a standout dish in his book is the signature roast goose at Yung Kee, which he got to sample for the first time as a kid and enjoyed immensely. “Because of that, craving that type of food has always been there.”
Also read: Top 10 Roast Duck in Manila (2018 Edition)
You can definitely heed the siren call for all sorts of Hong Kong roasts at Fook Yah, as their menu has an extensive lineup that covers all the essential meats cooked fresh every day and based on traditional recipes. An easy way to get a taste of their best bites is by ordering up the Roasted Duck Combination (P880): This shareable platter features their Roast Duck that’s as savory and tender as can be, the Lechon Macau with crispy skin and juicy meat, and the Char Siu in all its savory-sweet glory. Keeping the meats company are sides of chewy-meets-nutty jellyfish, plus century eggs that tempt with its richness and ashy depth.
Though you can order their meats à la carte in varying sizes, you can also get them with rice if you’re dining solo. The Soy Chicken Rice (P255) features chicken given an umami tinge from soy sauce over rice that soaks up all its juices. Of course, you’ll want to complete the experience by ordering their sides that you can alternate bites of in between that of the meat. The Jelly Fish with Sesame Oil (P220) is all about light, chewy jelly fish strips in a nutty sauce, while the Poached Lettuce (P120) features the green usually eaten in salads, but in a warm, Asian-style light. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Crispy Cucumber with Spice Sauce (P120), which pairs cool and crisp Japanese cucumbers with a zingy sauce that brings on the heat.
Noodles are another essential dish when in Hong Kong, and they’re rightfully given great emphasis at Fook Yah. Yup, the restaurant goes as far as to make their noodles in-house for a springy, al-dente bite that can’t be beat! You can have these noodles with different toppings; the Stewed Beef Brisket Noodle (P320), for one, pairs it with a stew of beef brisket that’s so tender, it yields at the lightest prod of a chopstick. And if you’re looking to warm up, their noodle soups are your best bet; try the Wanton Noodle (P240), which comes with meaty and slightly QQ wantons in a soothing soup that’s just lightly savory without being overly salty.
Though flying out of the country isn’t the easiest to do given the current circumstances, there’s still something truly special about traveling by taste—be it to relive your memories of previous trips, or just to explore other cuisines and try something new. Fook Yah lets you do just that without having to do the Metro, in a cozy space that evokes the fuzzy feeling of being right at home.
Photos by Hans Fausto
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this strange new world.