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Sneak Peek: Experience Progressive Chinese Dining When ‘Ping Pong Diplomacy’ Opens February 1

From Tasteless Restaurant Group comes a new concept that goes playful and bold with Asian food. Check out these not so typical Chinese dishes in store for you when Ping Pong Diplomacy opens in SM Aura in February!

From Tasteless Restaurant Group (the creators of food hits like Hole In The Wall, Le Petit Souffle, Fowl Bread, and Freezer Burn) comes a new concept that goes playful and bold with Asian food.

Imagine your favorite Chinese food–the ubiquitous baskets of dimsum, glimmering roast duck, giant bowl of noodle soups, and the platter of sweet and sour pork. Now take those memories and tuck it back in neatly, because it gets a little rock and roll in this new restaurant. Ping Pong Diplomacy rolls out an entirely different experience, serving dishes with a signature punch, exploding with flavors and spice that aren't the typical. It's like a rockstar took over a Chinese kitchen and was told to have fun and play.

For this latest Tasteless Group concept, restaurateur Charlie Paw rounds up a band of culinary talents–Chefs Him Uy de Baron, Noel Mauricio, Miko Aspiras, and Kristine Lotilla–to create rocking dishes and specifically ordered them to not hold back. The result? A menu featuring a very bold, playful, and modern rendition of Chinese food unlike any other.

When asked about the restaurant's name, Chef Him mentions Tom Hanks' iconic film. "Remember Forrest Gump where he played ping-pong with the Chinese? That's actually during the Nixon era, how they established diplomatic relationships to ease the tension between China and America–through the friendship of ping pong. What we're doing here is American Chinese, that's where our whole thing comes from."

Opening February 1 at the third floor of SM Aura

Think Chinese food by way of America, rooted in New York culture. "It's more of the feel of Chinatown in the US," Chef Noel expounds. "Chinatown in New York, especially. So you have Chinese food, but they had to tweak it to adapt not just to Americans, but to everybody else — aside from Chinese in New York, there are Koreans, Italians. Right beside Chinatown is Little Italy. So it's not just American Chinese, it's like a melting pot and an evolution of the Chinese cuisine. So we call it progressive Chinese."


They started out with a really different menu, and it took almost six months to flesh out the idea. More food inspiration was found when they traveled to Hong Kong and Taiwan and this evolved their menu to what it is now. Check out these not so typical Chinese dishes that will give your palate something distinctively 'Progressive Chinese' when Ping Pong Diplomacy opens in SM Aura next week:

Wonton Cheeseburger: wrap the crisp Wagyu beef wonton with the lettuce and dip in the sauce


Truffled Mushroom Edamame Shumai: 3 kinds of mushroom in ginger broth


Crispy Eggplant with Fragrant Sauce: Chef Noel's favorite appetizer of battered eggplant coated in a sticky fragrant sauce similar to Korean style fried chicken


Ping Pong Wings: an instant hit during tastings; loaded with pork floss, crispy leeks, and sweet pickled cucumbers


Scotch Egg: 5-minute egg wrapped with shrimp and pork to dip in wasabi mayo


Pig's Ear Salad: served with leafy greens and a Lapchung vinaigrette


Salted Plum Watermelon Salad: tossed with marinated watermelon, feta cheese, and drizzled with salted plum dressing


5-Spice Steak and Eggs: 5-spice rubbed Kitayama T-bone served with fried duck egg to slice for the runny yolk to coat the meat; served with Zhenjiang vinegar


Not Mapo Tofu: egg custard replaces tofu, and it is topped with Szechuan roasted pork and crispy leeks


Typhoon Shelter Grilled Prawns: the bed of crispy garlic underneath can be turned into fried rice upon request for a spicy rice treat


Twice Cooked Cumin Lamb: lamb shank spiced with cumin and served with pita and a homemade herbed yogurt and pickles


Chicken Skin Dandan Rice: a riff on dan dan noodles, this spicy rice dish was part of a Hole in the Wall pop up 'Fire In The Hole' last year


Wanza Mian: a personal favorite, this spicy noodle dish is explosive with texture and flavor, topped with deep fried chickpeas and thick cut bacon


Surf and Turf Soy Sauce Noodles: break the 62-degree egg in the middle to mix it in the noodles and coat the blue mussels and char siew


Jicama Pie: Chef Miko helms the desserts at Ping Pong, and this one's his playful and elevated take on the fast food pie; he uses puff pastry and singkamas compote, and serves it with five spice ice cream


Fortune Balls: chewy treats that will remind one of Filipino bilo bilo (glutinous rice balls) but these mochi are flavored with taro, ginger and black sesame served on top of pistachio cream

More food is expected on the menu after their soft opening phase. "We're going to have a take-out counter where we'll have Chinese burgers, something like cuapao but on a burger bun," Chef Him shares. Chef Noel adds that their Chinese burgers will have many variations that use mapo pork, spicy Schezuan pork, and even braised duck and braised beef cheeks. Chefs Miko and Kristine who head the dessert development will be adding another dessert on the menu, and Chef Miko reveals it to be a very curious thing: mongo hopia ice cream!

Experience progressive Chinese dining in February

Ping Pong Diplomacy opens to the public on February 1, Wednesday, at the 3rd floor of SM Aura in BGC, Taguig. The restaurant will be open daily from 10am to 10pm. Follow Ping Pong Diplomacy on Facebook (@pingpongdiplomacyph) and Instagram (@ppdph).

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Ping Pong Diplomacy
Asian | Chinese

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