Sometimes in life, we take for granted common things because we’re just used to seeing them often. Gilmore Street was a common route that we pass by whenever we go to Greenhills. Mien San was just a small restaurant then at the middle of a road which doesn’t have that much restaurants around back in the 90’s. And now, the restaurant had already expanded and noticed that the place was always packed. I have always been curious about Mien San even before I started a food blog but I never exerted effort to drop by and try their place. Thanks to Yen Yen, their newest competitor around the area, I had the eagerness to actually visit the place and try dishes.
I was there last week with my mom and tried the specialties of the house. I didn’t blog about it first because I wanted to go there for the second time to try other dishes. The week after that, I dragged my friend Juned and co-foodtrippings writer Karla to try out Mien San and we’ve concluded that Mien San is our new favorite restaurant.
There are a lot food blogs that have written about Mien San and got some tips on what to order. Their best seller appetizers are Steamed Kutchay Dumplings and Century Egg with Tofu. They really do taste good! The Kutchay Dumplings are very much the same with Dong Bei. So if you’re lazy to go to Binondo, this is the best place to get fresh Kutchay Dumplings. On the other hand, their Century Egg with Tofu is yummy! The secret here is the sauce made of soy sauce, chopped chives, garlic and ginger, sugar. I believe there’s also a bit of sesame oil to make it more flavorful.
I tried their Cha Chang Noodles last week. I didn’t take a picture of it but it looks like the the Taiwan Style Dry Noodle. The difference between the two is that the Cha Chang Noodles are topped with black mushrooms, tofu and peanuts which was a bit spicy while the Taiwan Style Dry Noodle has chopped braised beef, shrimps, beansprouts and chives with the evident taste of Star Anise. The Star Anise gives a herby taste which might not be appreciated by many. I liked the Taiwan Style Dry Noodle more than the Cha Chang Noodles. Both of the noodles are served with soup on the side.
We were literally hungry because we came all the way from Makati just to eat at Mien San.So in addition to the appetizers and noodles, we ordered rice and viands. The Vegetable Fried Rice was a real standout (Juned’s words) for all of us. Again, it is made of sliced chives, green onions and eggs. You must order this if you plan to eat a full meal.
When the last dishes arrived in our table, I just realized that almost all of the food that we ordered had chives. I think it’s common for Taiwanese cuisine to use chives. It gives a different taste and adds color to plain looking dishes. Not that I am complaining, in fact, I enjoy eating that :). The Sliced Pork with Tofu and Kutchay was pretty ok. I just liked the fact that it’s already a nutritionally balance dish.
I’m not really a fan of tendons. Juned loves tendons so we ordered the Beef Tendon Pot. Like the prior dish I described, this one is good too but not quite a stand out.
As mentioned, I have already dined at their competitor, Yen Yen. If you’re going to ask me which one is better, I’d say that each of them has their own merit. Yen Yen’s noodles with soup, dimsum and Pork Chop Rice were really good but fail to deliver on the variety of dishes to choose from and the actual dining and parking space (it’s quite small, only 4-5 tables inside). On the other hand, Mien San’s forte is the complexity of dishes to choose from and a bigger dining area. Service is very fast and servers are very attentive. The prices are very reasonable and most of their dishes are good for 2-3 people. Mien San is already an “institution” because of the 15 years of existence and has created a niche following among the Filipino Chinese and food trippers like us. Well, the commonality of the two is that both of these restaurants are accessible Binondo-like restaurants with much better food handling and sanitation. 😉
Too bad it’s only now that I tried this. This is a lesson for me. Do not take for granted the things you see often. You’ll never know that it’s this exciting.
Mien San Noodle House
36 Granada Street (Gilmore/Ortigas)
Bgy. Valencia, New Manila, QC
721 5794 / 723 0558