Orient Express: Yue Lai Seafood

9 months ago

yue lai

WHILE YUE LAI SEAFOOD AND HOTPOT MAY SEEM LIKE ANY OTHER CHINESE RESTAURANT, it’s actually where you can enjoy a complete Chinese meal without spending more than the usual. You can order dishes in small, medium, and large serving sizes, letting you adjust the serving to your budget, as well as suit your appetite. Don’t be fooled, though—the small serving is actually good enough for up to four people.

Upon entering, you’ll notice that Yue Lai is filled with aquariums housing live seafood, roasted ducks and pigeons, hanging at a roasting station, and large, round tables for big groups, just like any other Chinese restaurant. Unlike its pricier competitors, however, it maintains a friendlier and a more relaxed vibe, making it ideal for a wide range of markets, including locals, foreigners, and the nearby Chinese community.

Yue Lai’s kitchen is helmed by Chef Jimmy Law, a Hong Kong national, whose roots are represented well in the restaurant’s menu. One of his specialties is the Crispy Pork with Raspberry Sauce, a one-of-a-kind dish that takes the regular sweet and sour pork a few notches higher. It has the right combination of sweetness and acidity, and it also features unique fruity highlights that you can’t get from a run-of-the-mill sweet and sour pork elsewhere.

Yue Lai also offers an interesting appetizer, the Sliced Chicken with Century Egg, Mango, and Seaweed. Despite being a cold appetizer, the dish is spiced with red chili, balancing out the temperature with some heat. The contrast between the chewy seaweed and crunchy wonton strips also adds excitement in terms of texture. Order this if you’re looking for a unique starter to complement the main dishes. To fill you up, you can also try the Yue Lai Fish, a house specialty with fried lapu-lapu resting on a bed of tomatoes and cucumber. It comes with a Thai-inspired sweet and sour sauce with small bits of pork to make the light fish dish more robust.

To balance your meal, you can go for standard and familiar side dishes, like the Chinese Lettuce with Shrimp Paste in Pot or the Stuffed Pineapple Fried Rice, which do their job of complementing the mains quite well. Lastly, before you leave the restaurant, don’t forget to try their Masachi. Filled with sweet bean paste, this chewy rice cake is made memorable because of a liberal topping of crushed nuts, adding a crunchy dimension to this dessert.

Yue Lai is committed to living up to what its name stands for. Yue Lai, when translated literally, means “happy come back,” and true enough, their regular customers come back for its affordable yet filling food. In the future, Yue Lai hopes to expand its restaurant as well as its catering business, to offer to more people on the lookout for budget-friendly Chinese dishes.

Words by Rina Caparras

Photographed by Zac Moran


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