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."
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:
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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!
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).